Carpet Binding: Turn carpet remnants
into useful area rugs... or repair existing ones!!

Article and graphics provided courtesy Done With Precision Carpet Binding

What is carpet binding?

Carpet binding is a trade in the flooring industry that involves modification to the edges of a carpet with fabric, adhesives and/or stitching.  In practice, binding protects the edge of the carpet from wear and from unraveling.  Aesthetically, binding can add not only function but style to match your decor!

If you look at any area rug in your home (with the exception of indoor-outdoor and some rubber-backed bathroom carpets ), you'll notice the binding around the perimeter.  Area rugs almost always have one of the above listed bindings (also known as "applications") on the edges, while wall-to-wall carpeting typically has no binding on the edges, due to the fact it is secured around the perimeter of the room with tack-strips during installation so unraveling is unlikely.  Wall to wall carpets are not immune to unraveling.  For example, a metal or wood strip is installed over any carpet edge that is subject to traffic, such as where carpet meets a wood or tile floor.

Understanding the carpet binding process...

With proper training, the right equipment and a bit of artistry, the carpet binder can produce a functional and economical work of art!  These are the basic steps used to bind a carpet:

  • Cut the piece to be bound square or into the desired shape.  It the binding is being done to repair an existing carpet, trimming will need to be done so the carpet edge is smooth and straight.
  • Determine whether the carpet requires power beveling.  Power beveling tapers the edge of the carpet prior to applying the binding so there is a smooth transition to the relatively thin binding.  Thick carpets always require power beveling.  Low grade commercial carpet does not.
  • Choose the style of binding to be applied.  Low-end goods typically have a polyester binding, high-end goods may have cotton, serging or sisal/wide border binding.  The choice will be determined first by the type of carpet (since all types of bind can't be applied to all carpets) and secondly the aesthetic effect you wish to achieve... from simple to audacious!
  • Apply desired binding style using the appropriate materials and tools.
  • Stabilize the corners to prevent unraveling.  DWP uses hot glue for each tab.  Some carpet binders prefer to use staples instead of hot glue. Staples are quicker to install, but hot glue is less likely to loosen or cause problems later, especially if the carpet is exposed to moisture, such as with entry rugs, which can cause the staples to rust and discolor the carpet or even scratch the floor!

Some different binding types...

Here are photos of carpet binding applications.  From top to bottom:  sisal binding (various widths available), string fringe (various lengths and styles), and serging with yarn (various colors)

See more examples at the DWP website.

Basic power tools used in carpet binding...

Carpet binding can be done with either stationary or portable tools.  With stationary tools, the carpet is moved through the machine.  Obviously, binding a large carpet with a stationary tool requires a very large table and a very large workspace.  Enter the portable binding machine.  With portable machines, the machine is moved around the perimeter of the carpet.  Not only is a large workspace or table unnecessary, but many jobs can be done on-site lowering the overall cost of the job.  Portable machines are relatively new and the best binding services, such as DWP, make good use of them, even in the shop!

The first image (below) is a portable serging machine in action.  You can see the spool of yarn on the machine, stitching the yarn as it moves from left to right with the finished edge showing on the left.

The next image (below) is a stationary binding machine applying fabric to the edge of a custom carpet cove base.  Some businesses use carpet cove bases instead of traditional wood or rubber base moldings, the advantage being (1) a perfect match to the carpet and (2) will not show any foot scuffs or vacuum cleaner marks from "overzealous" cleaning crews!!

When is carpet binding needed?

There are a number of circumstances where carpet binding is the best repair choice...

  • Turn leftover carpet from a wall-to-wall installation into custom area rugs to protect your new carpet in high-wear areas, such as in front of couches, down halls or even under your dog or cat bed.  In fact, ANY carpet with raw edges can be fabricated with any binding application you choose. Carpet remnants can great mats around the home, garage or basement, so consider having your remnants bound. 

    QUICK TIP FROM NH: When you order your new wall-to-wall carpet, be sure to order a few extra feet or yards so you have plenty of carpet for matching area rugs!!

  • Repair or resize area rugs you already own that have minor damage or frayed edges to look like new again, simply by rebinding the exterior edges!  Or make a large area rug you love into smaller rugs.

  • Have a favorite large area rug that has a permanent stain?  Trim off the stain and have the edge rebound, or divide the unstained sections into smaller rugs.

  • Attach existing rugs of different sizes and shapes, then add a new binding for a simple and cheaper alternative to buying a brand new carpet.

How is the cost of carpet binding determined?

The cost of carpet binding services will vary, but expect standard polyester binding (the least expensive) to cost at least $2 dollars per linear foot (measuring the perimeter of the carpet).  Of course, where you live and the local cost of living will be a major factor in the price. The cost of carpet binding also increases depending on the style of binding you choose for your carpet.

Other possible charges are cutting fees (usually per linear foot), power beveling charge (cutting an angle into the edge of a heavy or thick carpet for a longer lasting repair) or a latex charge (a latex adhesive is applied to the binding to extend its useful life).

These extra charges are based on the type of carpet you are having bound and how it is manufactured.  If possible, bring a sample to the carpet binder for an accurate quote!

About DWP (Done With Precision) Carpet Binding...

Dan Padegimas, the owner of DWP Carpet Binding in South Windsor, CT, has been in the binding trade for over 15 years and in the flooring industry for over 25 years. Dan's passion and knowledge of the flooring industry has helped him develop a family operated, full-service carpet binding shop that is dedicated to using top quality products and providing services that are unmatched in turn-around time & customer satisfaction . DWP Carpet Binding provides same-day service or prearranged while-you-wait service, area rug repairs, specialty services (such as sisal/wide-bordered binding) and extended services include custom carpets. All this at fair & affordable pricing!

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