Thursday, August 27, 2009

Carpets Stretched and Refeshed!

All of us have moments in out lives that test our courage. Taking children into a house with a white carpet is one of them. ~Erma Bombeck

I have be dreading the appointed day to have our carpets stretched, but Tuesday it was upon us. Nothing reminds you of how much stuff you have until you have to move it! Thankfully, my husband was able to take two comp days off and he worked at breaking down our two queen beds and a day bed with a trundle. Plus everything had to be removed from every closet and from some of the furniture that needed to be moved around. It was nearly like preparing to move out of the house, but messier.

It is rather uncommon to need carpets stretched after installation, unless the installation was not done right, as was the case, obviously. Promising installation before the holidays, Home Depot had an amazing special so we purchased a lovely, thick carpet, an exclusive, when the Princess was first crawling and we were planning to have family visiting us for Christmas. The carpet was something between a cream and light beige, a big no-no with Georgia's red clay, but the lighter color was more appealing and it was a bit darker that the carpet that came with the house with which we had lived four years. The original carpet was a very poor grade and worn beyond help. We both would have preferred to have put in a hard wood flooring, but our collie, having a malformation in her hips, a birth defect, was unable to manage slippery floors and steps.

The new carpet had a lush texture that reminded us of a weave on a fisherman knit sweater. The deal included free padding, but we upgraded the padding to a premium type with a water barrier, as we had two dogs and two cats and a toddler at the time--accidents were bound to happen and we did not want the padding to be a repository of whatever might filter through.

Have you ever noticed that most nightmares begin as just real dreams were all is going along nicely and then you realize you are in a nightmare? That was how it all went with the new carpet. It was a dream carpet but....

A woman came out and took measurements. She was very nice but, we would find out later, she did not order enough of the carpet to do the job. She had mentioned how overworked everyone was with this special that had a deadline and that she rarely did the measurements anymore.

The installation date was the week before Thanksgiving and it was really cold. A crew came out, all speaking Spanish, but the supervisor was bi-lingual. They were using knee kickers. I remember that they had to let the carpet warm up a bit to unroll it. We now know that the carpet should have been delivered a few days before to acclimate. They finished with all they could do with the amount of carpet and padding they had leaving the dining room, the four steps from dining room to the sunken living room, and the twelve steps down to the finished basement uncovered.

Having exposed tack strips with a crawling child was enough to make me quite alarmed, but knowing that it would be that way for another two weeks because of the Thanksgiving holiday made it worse. Then there were other things, like the parquet foyer was ruined and there were scratches on the walls and trim in rooms I had previous painted personally. We were assured that since the shortage and damage was their mistake we would not be charged extra and they would replace the foyer, but I had never like the parquet so they offered us any type of flooring we wanted. We chose tile that made for a good transition to the carpet with the colors that would blend with the Georgia clay that would probably get tracked in.

After Thanksgiving and before Christmas they sent one man out to finish the carpet. I was not impressed with how he did things at all. The carpet, though, looked lovely. Unfortunately, it made more work for my husband. The carpet was so lush and that padding so thick that nine doors had to have the bottoms sawed off a bit.

I am not certain, but I think it was not until after Christmas that the foyer was completed. Thankfully, the man who did the foyer was a real pro. He said he used to have his own business in Florida where tile is very popular and he appreciated our choice of tile saying it was one of the best Home Depot carried and the colors worked so well with the clay for inside and outside applications.

Over the years we have had our carpets cleaned at least once a year, more often twice a year. We usually move everything we want to move ourselves. This carpet usually takes a full day or more to dry, so it is not a small undertaking. We try to plan to go somewhere for the day when we can.

As the years went on, the carpet started having rolls bumped up in it in some rooms. This happened because the installer did not power stretch the carpets. My husband hand stretched and repaired a huge one in our daughter's room, because it was wearing the backing and might cause a tear. Eventually we saw this in every room and we knew that we needed to get the carpets stretched. However, the last two years we were hit with some financial difficulties with my husband's injury and then unemployment and then just getting back on our feet from that. We had not had the carpets even cleaned in over two years.

So, we decided that we would have it done this year. The estimate for stretching and cleaning was nearly twice what I hoped it would be, but I have to admit that looking at the breakdown cost for each room, it was reasonable. The trick was saving up and then scheduling so that my husband could help. After just one rescheduling, the day approached.

Books were taken off shelves, beds were taken apart, mattresses were placed in the garage, small furniture was moved into bathrooms and the kitchen and even on the front porch. One man, the owner of the business, came and spent the entire day working--and talking with my husband. The Princess and I with cat and dog stayed out of the way downstairs in the office/schooling area, but there were no lessons. Instead we played Myst, a very old computer game that was one of my favorites, and watched a movie. Of course, she also painted as she likes to do nearly every day.

My husband was supposed to work locally this week, thinking we had time to get things back in order slowly in the evenings, but as we prepared to go out for dinner, he received a call saying he would need to be in Miami on Wednesday, the next day.

When we returned home we set up our bedroom with plastic under the legs of all the furniture as the carpets were still quite damp. Way past her bedtime, the Princess and I slept together, while my husband opted for the recliner in the living room. The carpets were still quite damp in some areas as we prepared to go to the airport.

Yesterday, I was feeling ill and with the carpets still damp, I took an afternoon nap. In the evening, I put the things in our bathtub back into the closets as they were dry enough and the Princess had a bath.

Last night before bed, I realized the carpet was dry--finally. It looks beautiful and feels wonderfully silky and is even springy to walk on again. We were told that because there was so much movement in the carpet that we were not getting the benefit of the padding and I must say I can really feel the difference. There is some wearing so that the texture is not as easily seen in the high traffic areas, but even as he worked with the carpet, the man said he rarely sees carpet so thick with such good quality so it should last quite a long time yet, now that it has been stretched.

We shall see, but I pity folks who install our next carpet, because we know few things about how it should be and should not be done now.

~ My Lord, having my carpets stretched and cleaned reminded me of all the work You must do to maintain a relationship with with us. Thank you, my Lord. ~


  1. Oh my! How I hate jobs like that ~ & one reason we don't own carpet. The other is because in our first house we owned just a small piece, not tacked down, & I *saw* what fell through to the bottom!!!!! YUK! Couldn't cope at all. Luckily our climate means hardwood floors are fine.

  2. WOW! What a task, I truely do not like cleaning our carpets either, but with the children it is a must as they are all over the carpeting. I'm glad you got it all taken care of and that your carpet is thick and comfortable again.


Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.