Repairing Damaged Flooring

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Home repair, Remodeling    by: ITC

Some floor coverings have an uneven wear pattern which means that some areas will become worn or damaged before others. The area in front of the main door, the spot in front of television viewing seats, the walkway to the dining table, and the triangle between sink, cooker and worktop are all examples of areas that will come in for a lot of wear and tear. Meanwhile, other parts of the floor covering will remain in perfectly good condition.

You’ll find that it can be dangerous to leave torn carpet, broken tiles, crumbling cork or worn vinyl on the floor — a heel caught and the result could be a nasty accident. But you needn’t worry about having to replace the entire floor covering at the first sign of trouble.

It’s possible to carry out some first aid on damaged floors before they get too bad, and that way you’ll save yourself expense and prevent accidents, in some cases, however, you won’t even have to bother with first aid: you could simply change the furniture round to alter the pattern of wear and relieve areas of the floor covering. Alternatively, you could place a rug over the most used area to take the strain. In the event of having some new floor covering laid, remember always to save some remnants just in case you have to make repairs in the future.

The edges of both rugs and carpets often become frayed over the years and should be repaired at once. But if you have a valuable oriental rug or carpet it’s advisable to have it professionally repaired and maintained.

Sealing a frayed edge on a latex-backed rug or carpet is straightforward. Start by working a 25mm (1in) wide strip of latex carpet adhesive along the back of the fraying edge. You’ll probably find it easiest to use a piece of cloth to do this. Leave the adhesive to dry and then trim the carpet — preferably along the second row of carpet weave from the frayed edge — to leave a neat, straight edge.

Then work more adhesive into the edge of the backing and rub it in, taking great care not to get any on to the tufts. Cut your carpet binding tape so that it’s slightly longer than the rug edge and apply adhesive to it. You can then either lay the tape on the back of the rug or carpet or, if you find it easier, lay the carpet on to the tape. Either way you must make sure that the tape overlaps the cut edge by about 3mm (1/sin); that way you’ll be able to fold it upwards to secure the backing. Finally, trim of any surplus tape.

In order to bind the edge of a jute-backed carpet you’ll need a proper carpet needle, some waxed thread and more hessian carpet tape. First you’ll have to trim the frayed edges to make them straight. Cut the tape so that it overlaps the ends of the carpet by about 25mm (1in), and apply adhesive to the first 50mm (2in) at each end.

Once the adhesive has become tacky, fold over and stick down the excess 25mm (1in) to give neat side hems. You can then line up the tape and carpet edge and fold the tape over so that it’s level at the front and back. Then stitch along the edge, using the special needle and waxed thread, making sure the thread passes through both the tape and carpet. Each end should then be secured with tight overstitching.

Small holes in rugs can be repaired with 4- ply rug wool or synthetic fiber of a suitable color. First you’ll have to trim any damaged tufts from the rug surface, and for this you’ll probably find nail scissors best. Make new tufts by winding enough wool for the repair round the fingers of one hand. Cut through both ends and bunch- the thread tightly together so you can cut off enough pieces to fill the hole. Each piece of wool should be slightly longer than the original pile length.

Use a match stick or cotton bud to dab adhesive into the hole, and then put a bunch of strands upright in the hole, using a toothpick to work them into position on the bed of adhesive. Continue putting in more until the hole is filled. You should then leave the adhesive to set before trimming off any excess wool and using a pin to tease up the new tufts so they blend in with the color of the surrounding material.

When carpets develop holes they, too, should be patched. It’s best to use a remnant from the same carpet, if possible, but otherwise try and get some from a local stockiest. Failing this, you may have to cut a piece out of the existing carpet — from an area that is covered by an article of furniture.

If you’re dealing with a hessian or jute- backed carpet. You should start by marking a square round the damaged area. Paint the back of the entire square with latex adhesive. Overlapping the edge by about 25mm (1 in), and rub it in with a rag. Then

Patch will blend in better. If there is a pattern, match it on your remnant, mark it and cut it out. In all cases, it’s important to ensure that the pile runs in the same direction as the original piece of carpet and that the color is as good a match as possible.

Cut two strips of hessian tape that is each about 50mm (2in) longer than the hole and coats them with adhesive. Then slide the tapes over the hole at the back of the carpet, overlapping the edges by 25mm (1 in) at each end.

These strips will serve as a base on which to graft the carpet patch. Spread adhesive on the back of the patch and round the edges, taking care not to saturate the tufts. Then place the patch in position and lightly hammer down the edges. Leave the adhesive to dry, and, if necessary, tease the edge of the carpet so that the join becomes invisible.

Foam or latex-backed carpet shouldn’t fray when cut and patching. However, you should cut the patch from the upper side of the carpet rather than from the underside. Make sure the patch is slightly larger than the hole and lay this over the damaged section, using a couple of carpet tacks to hold it in position. You can then cut through the carpet beneath using the edges of the patch as a template. Lift off the patch and remove the damaged section: then test that the patch fits accurately.

Cut strips of carpet adhesive tape that are 50mm (2in) longer than the hole and stick them across the back of the carpet in a crises-cross fashion so each one overlaps the hole by half its width and by 25mm (1 in) at each end. Turn the carpet the right way up, place the patch in position and press down on the tape. Lightly hammer along the join and tease if necessary.

All types of floor tiles can get damaged and will therefore need replacing. You can remove individual ceramic or quarry tiles using a hammer and chisel but, for safety’s sake, you must wear goggles or safety glasses. Break up the damaged tile and then, working from the centre towards the edges, chip out the fragments and smooth the surface underneath.

Put the new tile in place and check not only that it fits, but also that it sits level with the rest of the tiles. Remove the tile, spread a layer of ceramic floor tiling adhesive on the floor beneath and press the new tile into position. Scrape off any surplus adhesive with the trowel and leave this area of the floor unwilled on for at least 24 hours.

You can then grout the tile using either a flooring grout or a mix of one part cement to four parts sand, making sure that you wipe away the surplus with a clean sponge while it’s still wet.

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