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December 2008
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How To Repair Burns In A Carpet

This is the time of the year that those of us with woodburning fireplaces can have problems with flying sparks that burn small holes in the carpet near the fireplace.  OR, even those who smoke can drop hot ashes from the cigarette and again singe or burn a hole in the carpeting.  Actually these small burn areas are not difficult to repair.


The first step in the repair job is to use sharp scissors and cut away all of the damaged pile, or loop, depending on the type of weave.  Snip the pile off as near the rug backing as possible.

Figure 1 shows a cross-section view of the burn before the damaged pile was removed.  Figure 2 illustrates a cross-section view of a burn after the damaged pile has been removed. 

If you are fortunate enough to have scraps left from the time the carpeting was laid, you can cut pile from this for repairing.  If not, the pile can be cut from a corner in a closet where it would not be noticable.  The pile to be used for mending should be cut off in the same manner which was used to remove the damaged spot – by snipping it off just above the backing.  Cut the pile in small sections, just two or three tufts at a time.  After cutting, lift them with tweezers and lay each tuft carefully onto a plate or shallow pan so they may be easily carried to the location of the spot to be repaired.  If your rug has several shades of one color in the pattern or more than one color, be sure you cut the correct shade or color of pile to make the repair.


Glue, the type that is white in the container and dries transparent, is used for the repair.  Use a bottle with a nozzle dispenser and squeeze the glue onto the backing of the rug where the burned pile was snipped away (figure 3).  Be generous with the glue, but also be careful not to get it on the pile around the edge of the hole.   The rug backing will soak up the first application of the glue, so after a few minutes, put on another heavy application and start filling in the hole with the little tufts of pile.  Again use tweezers to handle the pile, and start filling in around the outer edge of the hole, so that the undamaged pile sill support the  tufts which are being carefully set into the glue.


Keep working round and round setting the tufts in rows (figure 4), working toward the center, until the entire exposed area of the rug backing has been covered with tufts of pile (figure 5).



It may become necessary to add a little more fresh glue as you work toward the center of the area.

Naturally, you will want to keep any traffic off the repaired spot until the glue has completely dried.  This can be done by placing a small chair, table or even a box or pan over it.

You will be happy to discover that if you repair a burned spot in your rug or carpet in this manner, it will be practically impossible to find where it has been mended and it will sithstand both wear and vacuuming.

WAIT A MINUTE!  Something tells me that this is the kind of repair job that could bring in some extra money!  Whether you actually have a burn hole or not, there are probably dozens of homes in your town or subdivision that DO have unsightly burn holes.  People tend to try to cover the burn spots with area rugs, but the burn hole is there!

The entrepreneur in me says “dig out a small piece of extra carpet, make a burn hole or two, then repair them per the instructions given and become an expert in repairing burn holes in carpets”.

After you’ve become an “expert” in repairing burn holes, put a small classified ad in the local newspaper, put little flyers in fabric shops, dry cleaners, and don’t forget to give information to the local carpet dealers as well.  Figure out how much time it takes to do the repair and charge accordingly.  Some homes may have several burn holes for you to fix, so I’d suggest that you don’t give a repair price over the phone – wait to see how many burn holes there are that need to be repaired, then figure the repair fee.

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Pattern Maker, Instructor & Author

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