Install a carpet or fix loose and wrinkled floor coverings with professional carpet stretcher tools to ensure home safety. The Public Employees Federation (PEF) explains how loose carpeting puts you at risk for injuries from falls. Seniors are especially vulnerable; Loyola University Medical Center Injury Prevention Program experts tell us, "Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries to older people in the United States."
Knee kickers are essential carpet stretching tools used in conjunction with a power or hand carpet stretching tool, unless the room is very small (e.g. bathroom). In that instance, a knee kicker alone is sufficient. A knee kicker's function is to ensure the edges of carpet are securely attached to the teeth on tack strips (underneath the carpet) at the edges of a room; otherwise the carpet can pull free of those tack strips over time. The United States International Trade Commission Rulings and Harmonized Tariff Schedule describes the knee kicker as "a 16 ¾ long metal shaft with a knee kicker on one end and a carpet head 'grabber' on the opposite end." The worker's knee pushes against the padded area at one end in order to exert force to push the carpet horizontally into the tack strips, stretching it slightly in the process.
Hand Carpet Stretcher
A hand carpet stretcher is a long thin tool made up of a series of adjustable nested tubes (resembling vacuum cleaner extension tubes). It looks like a longer version of the knee kicker, and features pads of hooks at each end which grab sections of carpet and pull them in opposite directions by means of a ratchet and cog system which elongates the tool. The stretcher is operated by a lever on one end of the tool. Hand carpet stretchers are inexpensive when compared to power carpet stretchers and suit jobs where homeowners are working on smaller areas of carpeting.
Power Carpet Stretcher
Power carpet stretching tools suit carpet installation in rooms with a total area greater than 10,510 square feet, giving installers an advantage of speed and extra power. Thisoldhouse.com experts write, "A power stretcher, which can be expanded to span a room, allows greater leverage. And that means less buckling later on." A power stretcher is a large, heavy, electrically powered tool. Using the same kind of tubes and grippers at each end as the hand stretcher, this tool is controlled by an additional tall handle resembling a manual floor sweeper. To ensure the best results, set the amount of stretch per inch according to your carpet manufacturer's directions or follow general guidelines in the stretching tool manual. Renting a power carpet stretcher from your local tool rental shop could result in a significant savings if there are many rooms involved in your project. Always factor in an extra day's hire costs for homeowners unfamiliar with this machine.