How to patch a carpet: How to Repair a Carpet With Carpet Patching

How to Repair a Carpet With Carpet Patching

DIY carpet repairing made easy with donor patches


Lee Wallender

Lee Wallender

Lee has over two decades of hands-on experience remodeling, fixing, and improving homes, and has been providing home improvement advice for over 13 years.

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Updated on 01/30/23

Reviewed by

Deane Biermeier

Reviewed by
Deane Biermeier

Deane Biermeier is an expert contractor with nearly 30 years of experience in all types of home repair, maintenance, and remodeling. He is a certified lead carpenter and also holds a certification from the EPA. Deane is a member of The Spruce’s Home Improvement Review Board.

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Project Overview

When your carpet has small areas that need repairing, the situation might look hopeless at first. Do you need to call in a carpet technician? Possibly, but you might be pleased to hear that you may be able to repair the carpet by yourself. Carpet patching is a simple, economical, and reasonably effective method of giving your carpet new life again by using what’s called donor carpeting.

Repairing a Carpet With Donor Patches

Carpet patching is a simple system of carefully cutting out the damaged area and replacing it with a patch of donor carpet of the same size. If you cannot find a new donor piece, you’ll need to search around the house for existing carpeting that can be cut out as donor patches.

New Donor Patches

  • New remnants are often leftover from the original installation. It pays to thoroughly hunt your house for every possible source of new remnants, as they provide the best donor materials. You may find these lying around in a garage, attic, or basement.
  • It may be possible to purchase remnants of the same carpet from a store. For this, you would need to have information about the brand and style of your current carpet in order to match it. Visually matching is not dependable. If you go back to the store where you purchased the carpeting, they may have your order information on file.

Existing Donor Patches

If you cannot source from new remnants, you will need to cut out small pieces of your existing carpet from hidden areas in the house. In order of preference, ideas include:

  • Clothing or linen closets
  • Water heater or furnace closets
  • Under enclosed staircases
  • Under furniture that you do not expect to move, such as a media cabinet
  • Behind or under beds
  • Under desks
  • Open areas of carpeting that are out of the way


Because the donor area (the location where you will obtain the patch piece of carpet) is filled in either with a piece of remnant carpet or is left unrepaired, carpet patching is considered to be an adequate though imperfect method of repairing carpet.

Equipment / Tools

  • Seam roller (preferred) or an old comb
  • Carpet knife or utility knife


  • Donor carpeting
  • Double-sided carpet tape (adhesive, not heat-bond tape)
  • Small remnant carpet to fix the donor area (optional)
  1. Assess the Damaged Carpet

    Carpet patching works best for small, localized spots that are frayed, worn, scorched, or stained beyond repair. It is most effective for areas that are 1 square foot or less in size and which are not numerous. If you have larger sections or numerous sections, you may want to consider re-carpeting the entire room.

  2. Find the Donor Carpet

    Ideally, the donor carpet should be a new version of the same type of carpeting as the damaged area. Patches made with anything other than this, even patches that are close in color or pile, will be glaringly obvious. First, try sourcing from unused remnants of the same carpeting. While many homes do not have extra carpet, then the second option is to look in closets, under staircases, in pantries, or even under beds for the source material.

  3. Mark the Damaged Section

    Use an awl or capped pen to establish a square around the damaged area. Press the instrument into the carpet between the tufts and drag it. This separates the tufts and minimizes the number of tufts that will get cut.

  4. Cut Out the Damaged Section

    Use your carpet or utility knife to cut the carpet along the lines of the square. Try your best to cut only the backing of the carpet, avoiding tufts. Carefully remove the section of carpeting. If any carpet fibers remain attached, cut them rather than pull them away.

  5. Obtain the Donor Carpet

    Take the damaged piece that you cut out over to your donor carpet area. Lay the piece on top of the donor carpet. Use the top piece as a template and draw around it with the awl or pen. Similar to the previous step, cut out the donor carpet, making sure that you cut the backing without cutting tufts.

  6. Decide on Nap Direction and Test Donor Piece

    Carpeting is milled so that its nap runs in one direction. Run your hand across the carpet in several different directions to see which way the carpet nap naturally lies. This does not apply to low pile carpets like Berber or trackless carpets. Establish the direction on the donor piece as well. Set the donor piece in the correct direction next to the area that you will fix and make sure that it does not move.

  7. Apply the Carpet Tape

    Carpet tape has adhesive on both the top and the bottom. Because it is extremely sticky, carpet tape gives you only one chance to stick it down. If you stick it on the wrong area, it is best to rip off the tape, discard it, and begin with a fresh piece.

    With the protective paper still in place, cut four strips of carpet tape to cover the perimeter of the patch area. If the patch area is 4 square inches or less, cut only two strips: one for each side.

    Remove the protective paper from one side of each strip as you apply it to the floor in the patch area. Press firmly down to stick. Place all four strips, then remove the protective paper from the top of all of the strips.

  8. Place Patch Down

    Stick your carpet patch in the square where the tape is waiting to receive it. Press it firmly in place.

  9. Blend the Patch With the Rest of the Carpet

    Using the carpet roller, comb, or even a dry cloth, rub across the carpeting in all directions to blend the patch with the rest of the carpeting. Pay special attention to the edges. However, do not work the edges too hard or you risk ripping away valuable edge tufts.

  10. Patch the Donor Area (Optional)

    If the donor area is not visible, you can leave it unpatched, if you wish. A better method is to patch it, using the above method, with a best-match remnant carpet.

When to Call a Professional

You should call a carpeting technician to repair sections of damaged carpeting that are more than 1-foot square or if the carpeting and/or labor are still under warranty. If the patch area is in a highly prominent area, such as in the middle of a living room or home office floor, you may want to call a professional to ensure the smooth blending of the old carpeting with the new carpeting.

How to Patch a Hole in Damaged Carpet

    • org/HowToDirection”>

      Press down firmly on the can.

    • Cut around the can with a utility knife.

    • Utility knives are sharp, so handle with care.

    • Only cut through the carpet. Do not cut through the carpet pad underneath.


    • org/HowToDirection”>

      Flip sample carpet onto its back and place down on a stable surface.

    • Place the can onto the sample carpet.

    • Trace the shape of the can with a marker.


    • Remove the can from the sample carpet.

    • Cut out the shape from the sample carpet using scissors.

    • Kitchen scissors are sharp. Always cut away from yourself.


    • Place the glue side of the carpet down into the hole.

    • Press down firmly on the carpet with your hand.

    • Let glue dry before using the carpet.


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    What to do if you burned the carpet – how to fix a burnt carpet?

    Carpets often suffer because of our carelessness and forgetfulness. For example, many customers complain that they burned the carpet with charcoal from a hookah or a dropped cigarette. Some owners of expensive coatings are accustomed to placing an iron on the floor. As a result, the included electrical appliance turns over and leaves a rough mark or even a hole on the canvas.


    • Where can I get a patch and how do I prepare it?
    • Ways to fix the patch
    • Methods for restoring minor damage
    • Features of professional carpet repair
    • When to ask for help

    Sometimes such damage can be hidden under furniture. But if the carpet in your room is badly damaged, it will be very difficult to disguise the defect. In such cases, it is not necessary to throw away the product and buy a new one. After all, a place that you burned with coal or an iron can be easily repaired. To restore the coating, it is enough to put a neat patch.

    Where can I get a patch and how do I prepare it?

    If you have severely damaged the carpet and burned a through hole in it, only an identical piece of carpet will solve the problem. It is unlikely that you will find another product from which you can cut a patch (especially since you will not buy a new product for such tasks).

    But it’s not a problem if you know how to restore a burnt carpet. After all, the material for repair can be taken from the coating that you damaged. To work, you will need the following tools:

    • T-shaped ruler;
    • stationery knife;
    • double sided tape;
    • Special adhesive for carpets.

    You don’t want to cut a piece out of your favorite carpet on the hall floor. But in the absence of a material with an identical pattern, this is indispensable. In this case, you need to choose the least noticeable place for the patch. It could be under the furniture. Before starting the repair, you need to put a sheet of plywood under the fragment with a hole or stain. Otherwise, you risk ruining the floor under the coating.

    Proceed in the following order:

    1. Cut out the area you burned with a cigarette, iron or charcoal. There should be no damaged fibers left along the edges of the resulting hole. Trim with a utility knife. Cut out the damaged area in the shape of a rectangle. So it will be easier for you to pick up a new piece of canvas. In this way, you need to remove both the burnt spot and the through hole.
    2. Measure the damaged area of ​​the coating.
    3. Cut out the patch in a spot on the carpet that is not visible from the outside. The new piece must match the size of the hole, otherwise you won’t be able to secure it. Make sure that the pattern of the patch matches the pattern on the base. In addition, it is necessary to take into account the direction of the threads of the canvas. Due to inattention to detail, the direction of the pile on the carpet and on the patch will be different. As a result, the replaced piece will stand out from the rest of the coating.

    After the above steps, apply the patch to the burnt carpet and make sure that it exactly matches the damaged area in terms of the pattern and direction of the threads. If all parameters are met, you can proceed to repair the product.

    How to fix the patch

    Cutting out the patch is just the beginning of the work. To continue the repair, you need to clearly know how to fix a burnt carpet. After all, the final type of coverage will depend on further actions. This is especially important for a handmade carpet for a rich interior or designer model.

    There are two ways to secure a new piece. Let’s consider them in more detail.

    Method 1: fixing without backing

    When installing a patch without a backing, the work is carried out in this order:

    1. The new piece is treated with glue around the entire perimeter. This is done in order to secure the threads and prevent them from unraveling. Double-sided tape must be applied over the glue. It will hold the threads until the adhesive solution dries. Before proceeding to the next step of the restoration, check that the adhesive has dried.
    2. Apply double-sided tape to the edges of the hole. This is done from the wrong side. The tape should be glued halfway to the material. The second half is for the new piece.
    3. The patch is reworked with glue around the edges and placed on the tape protruding from the hole. The insert must be pressed well around the perimeter and held until the adhesive solution begins to thicken.

    In this way, you can repair an elegant classic carpet or other model. But this technique is more suitable for restoration after minor damage. If you need to replace a large piece of canvas, it is better to use another method that allows you to more securely fix the patch.

    Method 2: Use underlay

    If you burn through the carpet with an iron, you will need to use underlay, as a patch that is too large will not be held securely by the adhesive only around the perimeter. In this case, it is better to cut a stain or a burnt hole in a circle. Accordingly, the substrate should be in the shape of a circle.

    Make it from thick cardboard. Make sure the backing is larger than the new piece to be pasted. Cut the circle on one side from the edge to the center (the cut should be along the radius of the circle). This is necessary so that the substrate can be easily placed under the coating through the hole without bending it in half.

    Apply double-sided tape to the cardboard surface. Do this not only along the edge of the circle, but throughout its entire area. After that, carefully grease the substrate with glue and place it under the carpet so that its edges go beyond the base. Place a piece of material with the appropriate dimensions and pattern on the surface of the cardboard. It must be pressed well and held until it sets.

    Important! Adhesive tape adheres well to cardboard and the wrong side of the carpet. It does not peel off when walking on the floor in ordinary shoes or barefoot. But this material is very afraid of point loads. If you walk on the surface in shoes with thin heels, the installed patch will quickly come off. This also applies to loads from furniture. It is not necessary to install furniture so that its leg is on the glued area.

    Methods for restoring minor damage

    If you burn a carpet with a nice long pile with an iron, it will take a lot of effort and time to restore the fabric. But if the material is burned with a cigarette or fine coal, it can be easily and quickly repaired without the use of professional tools and consumables. This work is also carried out in two ways.

    Option 1: using a patch

    Double-sided tape can be dispensed with if there is a small hole. Moreover, you will not need a cardboard backing. The problem is fixed with an identical piece of material. Do the following:

    1. Cut out the damaged section with a utility knife or sharp scissors. The result should be a rectangular hole.
    2. Form a patch with the same pattern and thread direction as the old patch. The dimensions of the patch should be larger than the burnt fragment, by 1-2 centimeters.
    3. Lubricate the hole around the perimeter with special glue. If you don’t have carpet adhesive, you can use a builder or fabric adhesive. But it is better to first consult with the master, so as not to completely spoil the coating.
    4. Attach the fragment over the defect so that its edges overlap the perimeter of the hole, and the threads go in the desired direction.
    5. Press down the edges of the patch with any smooth object.

    With this method of repair, the patch is applied not butt-to-butt with the base, but on top of it. But with minor defects, this does not become a problem. The patch will still not be visible unless you specifically look for it (provided that you correctly align the pattern and direction of the threads).

    Option 2: no patch

    You can get rid of a small burnt spot on the surface of the fabric even without using a patch. In this case, you can restore the burnt carpet without cutting the defect around the entire perimeter. To work, you will need nail scissors (they must be very sharp), thin tweezers and professional glue. Carry out the restoration work in the following order:

    1. Cut off the burnt villi. You need to cut exactly the pile, while the base itself should remain intact, without a through hole.
    2. Carefully remove the cut fibers. This task can be handled with thin tweezers.
    3. Trim the whole pile from the undamaged area. Do not do it “under the root”, otherwise the defect will form on the donor part of the product. It is better to cut the fibers so that short fibers remain on the base.
    4. Spread the fibers in a container and make sure that there will be enough of them to mask the defect.
    5. Coat the area with adhesive.
    6. Place the cut lint on the adhesive solution. Do this not with your hands, but with tweezers, as it will be difficult to achieve a high-quality result with your fingers.
    7. Cover the repaired area with a box, bowl or other hollow object. This is necessary to protect the fibers from displacement.
    8. Remove the protection after a few days and comb out the pile with a brush or a wide-toothed comb.

    In this way, you can easily restore a single-color fragment with a medium pile. As a result, the defect will become completely invisible from the outside. It will be determined only by touch if you are used to walking barefoot at home.

    To the bare foot, the patched area of ​​the carpet feels stiffer than the rest of the surface. But this is much better than a rough burn mark on the material.

    Unfortunately, you will not be able to repair an expensive designer carpet with intricate patterns using this technique. You simply do not have enough knowledge, experience and tools necessary to solve such problems.

    Professional Carpet Repair Features

    After reading these instructions, carpet repair may seem like a simple job. But we must remember that the result will still be much worse than after restoration from the master. After all, the workshop has all the necessary tools and materials. Thanks to them, a professional does not cut the surviving surface without urgent need. He can patch any fabric into which he then weaves fibers with a similar texture.

    When using this technique, the master does not even need to select the shade of the villi in accordance with the burnt area. The main thing is that they match the base in terms of thickness and softness. The color of the restored surface can be given with the help of special dyes, which are always present in good workshops.

    When to ask for help

    We hope our advice will help you if you did not know what to do if you burned the carpet. But all of the above is more applicable to plain or plain products with a short pile or fibers of medium length. In other cases, it is better not to take risks and not engage in self-repair. Otherwise, you can ruin your favorite thing. The help of the master will be useful to the owners of the following products:

    1. Long pile.
    2. With elaborate patterns.
    3. Handmade.
    4. Expensive designer models.

    Restoring burnt fragments on these items will require special skills and materials. For example, for many products from our catalog, it is possible to select fibers of the desired thickness and density only in the workshop. At home, you can only put a patch, making it from an intact section of the canvas. This is unacceptable for expensive things, cutting which needlessly does not make sense.

    But don’t despair if a cigarette falls on the floor and leaves a noticeable burn on a handicraft or designer piece. This problem can be solved without buying a new carpet. It will be enough to take the old one to the workshop, and you will not even notice traces of repair.

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    What should I do if there is a hole, cut or fray on the carpet?

    Unfortunately, things don’t last forever, and carpets are no exception to this rule. Damage to a section of carpet in the form of a through hole from a cut or tear, abrasion, as well as old stains, is not uncommon. And then we will consider messages from our users on this issue.

    Burnt carpet restoration

    Hello! We didn’t have time to rejoice at the purchase of a wonderful vintage carpet, when misfortune happened – during a feast, an ember from a hookah fell on our handsome man and burned a hole in him … It is small, even more noticeable in the photo than in real life, but I would like to know how repair in this case.

    Your carpet is made of wool, and like linen, cotton or silk, it suffers greatly from high temperatures. Unfortunately, the restoration of such damage is only possible for a specialist. Most likely, he will cut out the charred area and apply a patch with pile woven into it, similar to the original in color and structure.

    What to do with discolored areas?

    It just so happens that our favorite silk and wool carpet has fallen victim to a spilled Sprite and now has a large discolored area on it. You can judge the scale of the disaster from the photo. I understand that he cannot be helped at home, but I would like to know – is there any hope for restoration at all?

    There is always hope if you manage to find an experienced master. As you rightly noted, you cannot solve the problem at home, so look for a restoration service that will take on the restoration of a discolored pile by painting or a complete replacement.

    A similar situation happened with a more inexpensive carpet, and the discolored spot occupies a small area? At home, self-tinting with felt-tip pens or paints can be a temporary solution. Naturally, in this case, from time to time you will have to update the color of the pile, but you can do without third-party restoration services.

    Carpet repairs with cuts and tears

    The frieze carpet ordered in your store arrived perfectly packed, but when unpacking we accidentally cut it. .. Can I sew it up myself or will I have to send it in for repair? Just in case, I send you a photo.

    From your photo you can see that the cut is neat and runs parallel to the base line, the pile, if it fell out, is insignificant. You can try to repair it yourself. To do this, connect and sew the edges from the inside with a thick thread (in your case, white is preferable), alternating the length of the stitches (from 2 to 3 cm). Then seal the resulting seam with a piece of thick fabric so that the flap is slightly larger than the sutured incision. You can glue the fabric with double-sided adhesive tape or shoe glue.

    But it is not always so lucky with a cut that it runs clearly parallel to the warp or weft line. In the event that the cut is multidirectional or crosses the threads diagonally, it is better to seek professional restoration.

    During an unfortunate transport, a tear occurred in the mat. Is it possible to self-repair such damage?

    Unfortunately, you did not send a photo of the gap, so it is impossible to judge its complexity. But given the specifics of a lint-free carpet, we advise you to seek professional restoration, as any mistake will be very clearly visible.

    Restoration of leaky carpets

    We knew, of course, that the moth is the enemy of woolen carpets, but we did not think that this would affect us … Tell me, what should we do with our beloved handmade carpet ? A couple of months stood in the pantry rolled up, and as they unfolded – gasped. It was eaten by moths… For clarity, I am sending a photo – in some places on the carpet there are practically through holes.

    We regret to state that the carpet looks very damaged in the photo. Restoration at home is excluded, perhaps in your city there are craftsmen who will take on the repair of the product. But in this case, their services will most likely cost you the amount for which you can buy a new carpet, because the damaged pile will have to be almost completely replaced.