How to Repair and Patch Damaged Carpet

Got a stain in your carpeting that can’t be removed by cleaning? Learn how to cut away the damaged area and install a seamless patch.

Keep in mind: Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money from these affiliate links.

There are many things to love about carpeting. It is soft underfoot, it muffles sound, it adds insulation, keeps spaces warmer in winter, and it is quite affordable. However, carpet is susceptible to damage such as stains or burns, and replacing it can be costly. Luckily, though, with a bit of patience and diligence, fixing a damaged carpet yourself is surprisingly easy and requires only a few tools.

Tools and Materials

  • extra piece of matching carpet
  • matching piece of carpet pad
  • carpet seam tape
  • screwdriver
  • cushion back cutter
  • utility knife
  • scissors
  • carpet seam tape
  • star seam roller
  • comb or natural-bristle brush

Step 1: Gather Supplies

Replacing a piece of carpet works best on a small area, less than about a square foot. For the repair, you’ll need a matching piece of carpet. Often, when a carpet is installed, remnants are set aside for potential repairs. If you don’t have a matching remnant or can’t source a new matching piece from a store, you will need to identify a piece of donor carpet. Donor carpet is a matching carpet cut from a hidden area. Some good areas to search for a donor are in corners, inside closets, or under sofas or other furniture. The donor carpet can then be replaced with a closely matching carpet. Because it is hidden, it doesn’t need to match perfectly.

tools and materials needed to fix stained carpeting

How to Repair Stained Carpet

Learn how to repair and patch stained carpeting.

Photo by: Jennie Andrews

Jennie Andrews

Step 2: Mark the Damaged Section

Use a screwdriver to mark a square around the damage. Work the pointed end of the screwdriver down into the fibers and gently separate the fibers in a straight line. This prevents the blade from cutting the carpet fibers.

Cutting Away a Stained Piece of Carpet

How to Repair Stained Carpet

Learn how to patch and repair stained carpeting.

Photo by: Jennie Andrews

Jennie Andrews

Step 3: Cut Out the Damaged Section

Using a cushion back cutter, cut a square, keeping your lines as straight as possible. Use caution not to cut the fibers of the carpet, only the backing. Gently remove the piece of carpet. If your carpet pad is still in good shape, leave it in place. If it is damaged, you may need to remove and replace it as well. A utility knife works best for this step.

Step 4: Cut the Donor Piece

Determine which direction the new piece should fit. On most carpets (excluding some low-pile styles), the carpet fibers run in one direction. Run your hand across both pieces of carpet to determine the alignment of the donor piece. Lay the damaged piece of carpet atop the donor carpet in the correct alignment. Using the screwdriver, trace the damaged carpet. Using the cushion back cutter, cut the carpet as close to the size of the damaged piece as possible, erring on the large side. If necessary, cut a square of carpet padding to match as well, either from under the donor piece or from a new piece of identical thickness.

Step 5: Install the Donor Piece

Begin by putting the carpet pad in place. Test the size of the piece to assure a snug fit that has no gaps. If the piece is slightly too big, you can trim it carefully with scissors. Re-check the direction of the fibers on the new piece. Cut four strips of carpet tape to fit each of the four sides of the hole. Most professionals use a heat-set tape that requires a special heat iron (around $100). While this may be a better option for especially high-traffic areas, a pressure-activated tape works well and can save you a bit of money. Once you have your pieces cut, peel the backing from the tape and slide each piece adhesive-side up, halfway under each edge. Use caution. The tape is very sticky and cannot be realigned once stuck. If you make a mistake, remove the tape and start with a fresh piece. Carefully place the piece of carpet into the hole and press firmly around the edges to adhere to the tape.

Step 6: Blend the Seams

Use a star wheel carpet seam roller to blend the fibers along the seam. A comb or a brush made with natural fibers also works well to meld the old and new pieces together, creating an invisible seam. Be careful not to pull any fibers from the carpet edges as you work.

Step 7: Admire Your Work

Stand back, admire your work and count all of the dollars you saved by tackling a quick and easy repair yourself.

How to Remove Wall-to-Wall Carpet

Removing old yucky carpeting can be one of the most satisfying DIY jobs. Plus, doing it yourself will save money. You’ll need just a few basic tools and less than half a day to complete the job.

Next Up

How to Repair Carpet

Learn how to fix damaged carpet with these step-by-step instructions so the repair blends in seamlessly.

How to Repair Leather Furniture

Learn how to fix minor scratches and tears in leather furniture.

How to Repair Drywall

A well-placed piece of art may be the quickest way to disguise a hole in your wall. But for a professional fix, follow our tips on how to patch a hole in drywall.

How to Replace a Garage Door Spring

Learn how to identify a damaged or broken garage door spring and determine what it may take to get your door back in working shape.

How to Repair Cracks and Holes in Drywall

Drywall damage can range from small cracks to large holes, but most repairs are easy and inexpensive to fix. We have six different ways to make the repair depending on the size, type and place of the damage.

How to Fix a Squeaky Floor

Keep it quiet with these troubleshooting tips.

How to Maintain and Repair Your Outdoor Furniture

Keep your outdoor furniture in top shape with these tips. Already dealing with worn wood, crusty cushions or rust-marred metal? No worries — we’ve got pointers for repairing not-so-pristine pieces, too.

How to Repair and Refinish Laminate Countertops

Learn how to repair scratches, gouges and chips; plus get the lowdown on paints and refinishing kits made to transform old countertops.

Bedroom Carpet Ideas

The right carpet will add warmth to your bedroom for years.

How to Remove a Door Knob

Get easy instructions on how to remove a door knob the right way.

Our Latest How-Tos

On TV

My Lottery Dream Home

10:30am | 9:30c

My Lottery Dream Home

11:30am | 10:30c

My Lottery Dream Home

12:30pm | 11:30c

My Lottery Dream Home

1:30pm | 12:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

My Lottery Dream Home

8pm | 7c

House Hunters

10pm | 9c

My Lottery Dream Home

11:30pm | 10:30c

My Lottery Dream Home

12:31am | 11:31c

House Hunters

1am | 12c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.