Why Your Carpet Is Buckling? (6 Reasons and How to Fix It)

I know how frustraiting it can be to see your wall-to-wall carpet with ripples or wrinkles. It sometimes happens right after steam cleaning your carpet (either by a professional or by yourself using a carpet steam cleaner).

Has this happened to you? It’s known as carpet buckling.

Carpet buckling (a.k.a wrinkling or stretching) is the problem that your carpet suffers if you see wrinkles in your carpet. And it can happen both in the middle of the room or close to the wall.

Carpet buckling

But don’t worry to much! You can fix it yourself or call a professional to help you. But you won’t have to replace your carpet just yet!

Why is your carpet buckling?

The first step to get rid of the carpet wrinkles is to understand what’s causing them. Not only it will help you find the appropriate solution, but it also help you prevent from happening again.

We’re going to take a look at the 6 most common causes. And once we’ve done that, we’ll take a look at two ways of fixing carpet buckles (both for large and small wrinkles).

1. Wet Carpet

Wet Carpet

When a carpet is wet it becomes susceptible to a couple of problems: wrinkling and browning. And both have exactly the same cause: excess of moisture inside the carpet.

And it makes a lot of sense! Any material that gets inside a carpet takes room, and so it’s going to swell. That’s exactly what happens with moisture and why the wrinkles happen.

The good news is that once it dries out, the fibers will shrink again and you won’t even know where the wrinkles have gone to.



If you notice that buckling happens only after you steam clean your carpet, then running your air conditioning during and after the steam clean process will help the carpet dry faster. And that’s true for both winter and summer! The air conditioning reduces the moisture in the air and it helps the carpet release it’s moisture faster. Or running a dehumidifier is a great option too!

For small rooms I would recommend:

For Big Rooms I would recommend:

Pro Breeze Electric Dehumidifier 215 sq ft - Portable Mini Dehumidifier with Auto Shut Off for...
Waykar 2000 Sq. Ft Dehumidifier for Home and Basements, with Auto or Manual Drainage, 0.66...

The key question is… what should you do about it?

– If your carpet wrinkles all the time after cleaning or the wrinkles stay there for days, you can stretch your carpet using one of the methods described below.

– If it’s just after cleaning, I wouldn’t bother unless they’re trule a tripping hazard.



– If you’re steam cleaning your carpet yourself (which is a great way of saving money), don’t use too much product! That’s the number 1 mistake that people make when cleaning their carpets.
– If you’re hiring a professional carpet cleaner, let them know that your carpet is prone to buckling so that they are careful and use just the amount of product that’s needed.
– If you’re installing your carpet , ask your carpet installer to use a power carpet stretcher to make sure that the your carpet never wrinkles. Some won’t do it unless you ask them too! If they want to charge you extra, try to negotiate, but I would recommend paying t
he extra price.

2. Humidity

Just like the moisture from Steam Carpet cleaning can cause your carpet to buckle, so can the humidity in the environment. This is very common, naturally, on humid climates.

The moisture penetrates the carpet and causes all of it to swell.

Unlike when the cleaning is causing the buckling, humidity buckling will only go away when the summer (or whatever the humid period might be) ends. And that’s actually a big problem, because by then the carpet might not go back to normal. And even if it does, who wants to have their carpet full of wrinkles for a couple of months a year?

If this is the reason why your carpet is wrinkling, there’s two things you can do. Put on your air conditioning or buy a dehumidifier. Removing the moisture in the environment will help the wrinkles dissapear and you’ll create a healthier environment overall.

As I mentioned before, these are the dehumidifiers that I recommend all the time:

Pro Breeze Electric Dehumidifier 215 sq ft - Portable Mini Dehumidifier with Auto Shut Off for...
Waykar 2000 Sq. Ft Dehumidifier for Home and Basements, with Auto or Manual Drainage, 0.66...

3. Dragging Heavy Items

This is common sense, but if you drag heavy items through your carpet without lifting them, you will stretch your carpet. And you might not just stretch it, but you could ruin it completely.

If you’re going to move any heavy items, use a Dolly:

Cosco Shifter 300-Pound Folding Dolly

Cosco 12222PBG1E Shifter 300-Pound Capacity Multi-Position Heavy Duty Folding Dolly, Green...
  • Heavy Duty - Durable Steel Frame with 300 lbs....
  • Easy to Use - Quick Conversion with no pins or...
  • Multi-Position - Use as a 2-Wheel, Upright Hand...
  • Folds Flat for Transport/Storage. Product...
  • Fits in most size car trunks. Weight : 14.92...

But if you did stretch your carpet (for whatever reason) and didn’t make any holes on it, follow the below methods and your carpet should go back to normal.

4. Improper Installation

When a carpet is installed, your carpet installer should stretch it as much as possible because it may loosen up a little bit in the following days. The reason is that the carpet is secured in place using tack strips, which are basically wodden pieces that are nailed to the floor and have spikes that hold the carpet in place. The fabric attached to the spikes loosens up a little bit, and thus all the carpet loosens up.

But that’s ok as long as the carpet is very tight in the first place. That’s why you should ask your carpet installer to use a power stretcher.

It can also be the case that the tack strips have become lose from the floor or it’s nails aren’t holding it on place for a reason. In that case it’s better to call a professional to help you replace your tack strips and stretch your carpet again.



Some Carpet Fibers are more heat tolerant than others. That means that some fibers stretch more or less depending on the heat-cold conditions. If they bring the house from a cold environment (a warehouse) to your house (presumably a warmer environment than a warehouse) and it’s installed right away, it could buckle. Why? Because when it warms up it will naturally stretch a little bit.
This happens with some fibers more than others (learn more about all the different types of fibers). But overall it’s always a good idea to let acclimate to your house’s temperature before installing it.

5. Carpet Padding

This is a huge problem! We’ve seen a couple of people had this issue and it’s not easy to deal with.

As you probably know, Carpet’s have a padding layer below the actual carpet. That padding layer is what makes your carpet confy, and what adds support for you to walk on top of it.

Carpet Padding

There are many types of carpet paddings. But one of the most important things is padding thickness. Many people choose a very thick paddings because it makes their carpet more comfortable. But thicker isn’t always better!

If your carpet is too thick, it will buckle. And what’s worst… it will void your warranty. So make sure that you check your carpet’s warranty to make sure that you’re using a padding that’s compatible with your carpet. Most of the time it’s a 7/16″. But it can vary depending on the carpet mill that manufactured the carpet.

If you’re confused about this, we have an ultimate guide that explains everything you need to know about carpet padding:

Carpet Padding

Carpet Padding Buying Guide (Everything in 1 HUGE Guide)

Padding is a huge part of buying a carpet. But it’s not easy to understand and many salespeople make it hard on purpose. This Ultimate Guide covers everything you need to make a buying decision.

6. Manufacturing defect

Last but not least, we have the manufacturing defect called delimitation.

When you look at your carpet from underneath, you’ll see the carpet backing. What you won’t see is that there’s actually two pieces of backing. One that holds the carpet fibers, and another that’s the one that’s meant to be in contact with your naked floor.

Delimitation is the result of the carpet’s primary backing detaching from the secondary backing. This can happen due to multiple reasons. But the bottom line is that the primary backing and the actual carpet fibers come lose and so the buckling happens eventually.

If this has happened to you contact your carpet manufacturer and he should take care of the problem. It’s a manufacturing problem most of the time.

How to Fix Carpet Wrinkles

Now that we know the reasons why our carpet might have wrinkles on it, it’s time to try to fix it. As you already know, sometimes the problem will go away without you doing anything at all.

But if that doesn’t work, we’re going to learn a way that you can take care of the problem yourself easily. Depending on how big of a buckling problem you have, you’ll have to rent professional equipment or buy a couple of tools.

If you’re unsure, start by trying the small buckles method and try to move to the large buckles method later. You’re going to need the gear of the small buckle method in the large buckle method anyway.

And finally, you can always call in a professional to stretch the carpet for you. Although this is by far the most expensive option.

If you’re having trouble findind a carpet stretcher, most carpet cleaners offer a carpet-stretching service too, so just call a carpet cleaner.

Small Buckles: Use a Knee Kicker

For the first method we’re going to need a simple tool that you can buy on Amazon. It’s very inexpensive and super useful because of how much money you can save.

This is the tool I’m talking about. It’s called a Knee Kicker

Best Option Overall:

Best Budget Overall:

Roberts Economy Adjustable Knee Kicker
MaxWorks 80742 Carpet Stretcher Knee Kicker with Telescoping Handle, Regular, Silver

I could explain to you step by step how to use a knee kicker, but I found a video online that explains it better than I ever could with words. The video is quite long, but I configured it so that it starts right when he’s using the knee kicker. Watch the whole video if you want more information!

Large Buckles: Rent Professional Equipment

If the knee kicker didn’t work because of how big your wrinkle problem is, you can rent professional equipment to get rid of the problem. We’re going to be using a Power Stretcher

When I say professional equipment, I say “professional” because of how expensive the equipment is, not because it’s hard to operate in any way. That’s why I always recommend renting it!

I honestly think that anyone can easily use it. Take a look at this video that will show you step by step how to get rid of the problem using a power stretcher. It’s a simple weekend project that will get rid of your carpet wrinkles for ever!


And that’s it! You’ve learnt why your carpet is wrinkling and how you can get rid of the problem easily.

Remember that you can call a professional if you want and they’ll take care of the problem right away.

Nancy Adams

I am a fan of home decor, I devote all my free time to this activity. One of the most important components of home comfort is carpets & rugs and at the same time, it is one of the poorly covered topics on the Internet. Therefore, I decided to share my experience and knowledge in this niche.

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