Blog Post

Carpet Ripples, Buckles and Bubbles: What You Need to Know

You notice that your carpet is rippling or has bubbles. You aren’t sure what caused it, why it has become so obvious, or what to do about it. Perhaps this is a carpet in your home with a pad underneath, or maybe it is a glue down carpet at your place of business. There are many factors that can lead to this condition. Here are a few of the most common:

  • Improper stretching: No, not as in before a workout routine. When wall to wall carpet is installed, it needs to be properly stretched and tacked down to the sub flooring. If the installer does not do this correctly, ripples can occur down the road. If you had new carpet installed in the past few months and this happens, call the company who installed the carpet. More often than not, they will return to stretch it properly at no charge.
  • Age of the carpet: The older the carpet is, the more it is used. This will eventually break down the padding underneath allowing the carpet to relax more. This “relaxing” means that the carpet now has more room in which to buckle.
  • Improper drying after a cleaning: As mentioned in previous blogs, it is important to ensure quick drying once your carpets have been cleaned. Moisture can break down the glues between the layers of backing which allows the layers to separate and carpet can then ripple. This is called delaminating. It may not be too serious, though. Allow the carpet a day or two in order to settle back down should this happen.
  • Improper adhesives used for glue down carpets: There is a bit of a science for properly gluing down carpet. I won’t bore you with the details today, but if done incorrectly, it can cause bubbles and ripples.
  • Dragging furniture: Most home carpets are tacked down on all sides using tack strips. These are small lengths of wood with small spikes on the top. They are secured to the sub floor and the carpet lays on the spikes to ensure it stays in place. If you are dragging heavy furniture, this can not only stretch out the carpet, but it can also pull the carpet loose from the tack strips. This can cause some rippling.

I hope this helps clear up the mystery of the ripples, buckles and bubbles in your carpet. Sometimes, all that is needed is to address the cause and they disappear. Other times, you will have to call a professional in to stretch it. Either way, they are normal and most often not a big problem if you know what to do.