What Is Carpet Buckling and What Does It Occur?

Wrinkles, ripples, bubbles, buckles…

They are needed to be fixed as soon as possible after you have noticed them. It is happening because the carpet is not stretched enough, losing its forms and air pockets are formed underneath. The carpet is loose in the affected areas and seems to have bubbles under it which are rising from the surface.

Ideally, when you buy a new home with carpets, your carpets will gradually show wear and tear over the years. Let’s say you wouldn’t use your carpet, you wouldn’t walk on it, it would stay in the closet for many years, still, it will get wear and tear. However, sometimes things may not go well, and things you may not expect can happen to your carpet. This means you are dealing with carpet buckling. This means your carpet is loose or somewhat out of place. So it is an indication that it is time to act.

Reasons Why Carpet Buckles

Improper Installation

Poor installation may be one of the reasons for carpet sprains. Let’s say you have a wall-to-wall carpet in your home and it was installed incorrectly during the initial setup phase. This may cause your carpet to slightly relax and buckles over time. Remember that you need to stretch tightly when laying carpet from wall to wall. You should pay attention to this process. Just stretching is not enough. Then it must be fixed in place with fastening strips along the edges of your carpeting. Failure to stretch the carpet sufficiently may result in some loosening and buckling of the carpet.

You need to use a power stretcher. The power stretcher may help you. Also, it is an ideal way to stretch your carpet. During the installation, you need to stretch your carpet in order to prevent buckling. For this purpose, a power stretcher is a great tool in order to use for reducing to have buckles during installation.

If you want to install your carpet in a new area in which the weather and temperature are completely different from where it placed before, you will want to give the carpet time to acclimate or equalize, before it is installed. These differences could be high variations in temperature or humidity, for example. You need to give time your carpet for ventilation. And, it needs to be adapted to the ambient air temperature before installation to reduce the possibility of occurring buckles.

There is another tool to stretch your carpet. It is a knee kicker. Most of the time, professionals prefer to use a knee kicker. It makes their job easier and faster. And it provides them to get onto the next job quicker. However, as long as the room is small and the professional is, you need to make sure that they use a power stretcher.

In addition to improper installation, there are some reasons make your carpet more vulnerable to buckling. For example, old carpets, carpets survived from flooding, carpets in children’s rooms, or recently cleaned carpet. To prevent buckling after cleaning, it is best to wait 24 to 48 hours, then it will go back to its normal appearance.

Wrong Padding

Let’s say everything has done properly. Installation and stretching have been done properly but still, there are some buckles on your carpet. It can happen because of carpet padding. If you don’t use proper padding, it can cause buckling.  In order to keep this issue from arising, you have to be sure that you are using the proper underpad tor your carpet.

In the short run, low-quality carpet and padding may save you some money upfront, but in the long run, it will be more expensive and you have to spend more money than you have planned. It is a good idea to know what the alternatives are for padding. It mostly depends on the carpet you have. If you choose the wrong padding, it can invalidate your warranty as well as lead to buckling.


Delamination is not as common as other causes. Especially with modern carpets, it is not common at all. If buckling occurs in your new purchase, there is a possibility of a manufacturing defect. Because normally, the carpet has primary and secondary pad support. In the case of buckling, maybe the reason is the backs can separate from each other. The latex adhesive in it can cause this. Because while it has to hold everything together, it collapses. Obviously, as a result, carpet buckling occurs.

If it is handmade, it has both a primary and secondary backing. Primary backing is what the fibers are fastened to. The purpose of the secondary is to hold every fiber together. Because when you look at the carpet secondary backing is what you see. However, as we mentioned above, in the case of delamination, the backings are separated from each other due to the latex adhesive being broken and unable to perform its duty. So, the top of the carpet has become free to move and it causes buckling.

Apart from delamination, a manufacturing defect is another reason for buckles. If you think that buckles happened because of the manufacturing defect in your carpet, you should let your store or carpet manufacturer know directly. They will likely send a professional to see what the problem is.


Excessive water due to floods can be another reason for carpet buckling. This is an acute version of the high humidity problem. In this context, the idea here is how the carpet will be vulnerable to stretching if the carpet gets too wet. This stress vulnerability can cause some buckling in your carpet. The solution to this can be that you have flood prevention procedures in place and learn to clean your carpets properly after they get warm.

Excessive use of water can even cause delamination because of wet padding. It will be obvious when the backing is damaged. It makes your buckles not get uniform again. They can be going in all different directions.


No matter the result is, no matter the cause is, humidity is always the biggest enemy of carpets. For example, for mold growth, for carpet buckles, for bad odors, etc. There is a tendency that humidity occurs in places where four-season climates are felt. Because, as we can understand, there is a vast difference between indoor humidity levels in the summer compared to fall and winter in those places.

Or, there is a worse scenario which is if you are living a place where is humid year-round. It feels like your carpets are always wet, always stretched, and as a result so many buckles. If you are living a place like that, it is not a good idea to use carpeting in your house. In either situation, because of humidity, there is plenty of water in the air, and as a result, buckling occurs.  

It is a challenging task to keep your carpets from buckling when there is a lot of humidity in the air. It is difficult to reduce the chance of this happening. You need to use air conditioning to make the air dry or a dehumidifier to pull moisture from the air. In these ways, your carpet does not act as a giant natural dehumidifier anymore. In addition, humidity can affect your carpet at the time of installation as well. So, in order to avoid that, let all flooring materials you will use dry before starting installation.


Temperature is another cause of buckling. Let’s say, you left your house or room closed for a long period of time at high temperature, it can end with buckling. Even though it is easy to stretch your carpet in summer because of the high temperature, still there is a high possibility to occur buckles. But here is the problem. When you have done stretching in summer, when it comes to winter, your carpet becomes stretch. Or in the opposite case, when you have done stretching in winter, there will be buckling in summer.

You need to be careful if you don’t use a professional tool for your installation during the summer. Especially if your carpet doesn’t even be on the edge of buckling. But when you have carpet installed in the summer, your chances go down. Because when it gets cold outside your carpet could potentially tighten up even more. This does not mean that you should not have carpet installed on a cold winter day. You only need to make sure that you are getting a truly professional installation and not an average one.

Dragging Heavy Furniture Over Your Carpet

You shouldn’t drag any furniture across the surface of your carpeting, it doesn’t matter which kind of you have, such as traditional carpet, wall-to-wall carpet or carpet squares, by pulling or pushing. If you drag things like furniture over your carpet without using plywood to “walk” them across, the objects will create waves the same way you would and the carpet will distort as a result. These waves are unwanted buckles. So, you need to be careful when you move heavy objects over your carpet. You should either lift and carry them or use wooden planks to push them wherever you want them to go.

You need an adhesive tape to keep your carpet in place. It has small nail-like spikes that grip the carpet’s back. In order to occur buckling force applied when dragging a heavy object, tearing the carpet off the adhesive tape,  damage the back of the carpet, or loosening the strip during processing would be sufficient enough.

Old Carpets

Most of the time, carpets have a useful life. When you can exceed this useful life, all bets are out of topic. For example, a properly maintained and cleaned carpet with a 10-year useful life at proper intervals can last more than 10 years, such as 20 years. If there is no proper care, it is ready to be ripped and replaced at 10 years.

The older carpets are more prone to buckling. Because when the time passes, both the adhesives and carpet padding starts to lose their features. They don’t work as it supposed to de. Carpet becomes to release itself and leads buckling. Depending on the age of the carpet, condition of the carpet, and the care it takes, sometimes it makes more sense to replace the carpet instead of trying to get rid off its buckles.

How to Fix a Buckled Carpet?

You don’t need to be disappointed not to fix it if you have carpet that buckles or loosen. If you have a buckled carpet in your home, it has an easy solution. It needs to be re-stretched. After re-stretching, it can look as good as new. If it is done professionally, the chance is getting higher. If the buckling is not severe and limited, you may wish to do the re-stretch yourself. It is not a difficult task to do, you can do it yourself.

Re-stretching of your carpet is like a facelift for your face. It makes a similar effect. It removes the wrinkles from your carpet like removing wrinkles from your face. It removes the wrinkles and gives your carpet a new and refreshed look. The sooner you do re-stretching, you can get the better result. Sooner is important because with time buckling gets worse and your carpet becomes unusable.

While you might be able to re-stretch your carpet on your own, don’t hesitate to do it. On the other hand, if it has happened in a smaller area, it will be a better option to get professional help. If you are dealing with a carpet you bought from a retailer, you might have warranty coverage to cover the expenses.

While you cannot prevent buckles by vacuuming, frequent cleaning, and frequent maintaining, you will be far more likely to notice there is something missing. You need to take into consideration every possible cause we mentioned above.

Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like history and reading about carpets. I like to play soccer too :)

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