Q: Our three bedrooms, living room and dining room have cream-colored wall-to-wall carpet. It was installed 10 years ago, but it looks fairly new. We have no children, and our guests take off their shoes when they visit.

Our problem is the carpet is bunching or bulging. We noticed this last year.

It started in the living room, now it’s all over the house. Is there a way to fix this? Whom should we call? – Frank (San Francisco, Calif.)

A: It’s likely that your carpet needs to be restretched.

A poor carpet installation tends to show itself quickly. That this problem is coming up after nearly a decade leads us to believe the original job was probably done properly.

Two reasons a carpet will bunch over time are either too much traffic or too much cleaning. So be careful with that steam vacuum.

The person for the job is a professional carpet installer. Call your local carpet dealers and ask them to recommend a good installer. Often these tradespeople are independent contractors and work for many companies.

The ones who are most reliable and who do the best work are the ones who get the most work. So if a couple of dealers recommend the same installer, you’re on the right track.

A carpet supplier we have used for many years says that restretching five rooms of carpet should cost in the neighborhood of $150 to $200. It’s likely that you’ll have to move your furniture out of the way, but have the installer look at the job first. Sometimes the piano can stay right where it is.

If you decide on restretching and must move your furniture, explore the possibility of new carpet. Ten years is a pretty good lifetime for what is essentially a piece of fabric. Find the right sale and you could replace the carpet for not much more than it would cost to restretch.

You might be able to use the existing padding under the new material.

And don’t forget, before the new carpet comes, and while the furniture is out of the room, it’s a perfect time for a new paint job.


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