Carpet wrinkling, buckling or rippling is a very common problem, and it just means you need to have it re-stretched.

Sometimes it’s obvious and sometimes not-so-much, but if you’re wondering, here's an easy test: Pull it up by the fibers and if the carpet can be raised from the floor by an inch or so, you need re-stretching.

What causes it?

The biggest reason may be that the carpet was never installed properly in the first place. During installation, a power stretcher must be used. The power stretcher extends the rug tightly to the wall and then the excess is cut off. If it's not tight enough, the carpet will eventually become loose.

Consumers, please don't be fooled if the installer says "I use the knee-kicker, it does the same thing." While knee-kickers also stretch the carpet, they are smaller tools and, hence, used for smaller spaces, such as closets and not entire rooms.

Most manufacturers will state in their warranties that it must be power stretched during installation; otherwise, if not done to their specifications, the warranty will be void.

Other reasons could just be moisture or excess water caused by flooding, leaks or improper drying from the steam cleaning. The wrong padding will also cause it; again, be sure to check the manufacturer's warranty which often specifies the type of padding that must be used, or the warranty will be void.

There’s also something called delamination when the rug separates from backing. This often happens from excess water or a manufacturer defect. Once it separates, the rug moves and buckles.

Why should I have it re-stretched?

First, it just doesn’t look very nice! Appearance aside, a wrinkly and buckling soft surface is a safety hazard, especially if you have kids or senior residents in your home. This creates an atmosphere for falls and tripping.

Another benefit is that, when properly stretched, it just lasts longer. If you have ripples, dirt and dust will settle in those little grooves and that can speed up the wear and tear and shorten the rug's life.

It’s best to handle it right away while the problem is still small and manageable. Otherwise, they’ll only get bigger and cause creasing so it will never lie flat.

For more information, come into the Dragon Scale Flooring showroom in Laurel, MD.