5 Ways Your Berber Carpet Can Be Damaged and How to Fix It

C.E. Larusso
Written by C.E. Larusso
Updated October 4, 2021
Child playing with toys on living room carpet
Photo: Catherine Falls Commercial/Moment via Getty Images

Closing the loop on Berber damage

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Particularly popular in the ‘90s, Berber carpet was once only used in high-traffic areas, like basements and living rooms. Lately, though, it’s been making a comeback and being installed in many areas of the home. This resurgence is largely thanks to new colors—it’s not only available in the traditional speckled style, but comes in solid hues as well, making it versatile and able to fit in with every kind of home decor. 

Many love its low cost and easy cleanup, as its looped design repels spills better than other carpets. That same design, however, can create snags that can quickly go from minor to major, especially if you have small kiddos or pets running around. 

Here are five common ways your Berber can be damaged, and what you can do about it.

1. Single-Loop Damage

Single-loop (otherwise known as single-strand) damage occurs when a strand of carpet gets pulled up. It tends to look like when you’ve cut the grass and left one long weed sticking out in the middle.

Damage to a single strand (or even two to three strands) is a simple fix. To get your Berber looking new again, you should gather:

  • A hot glue gun

  • A flathead screwdriver

  • Small scissors

  • Your patience

Using either your fingers or a screwdriver, see if you can simply push the strands back down. Often enough, this works, and you don’t have to do anything else.

If the strands refuse to stay down with just pressure, you’ll want to bust out the hot glue gun. Take the strand, push it down, and glue it in place using the tiniest bit of glue. This will prevent the carpet from snagging again—and may even hold up better than the rest of the carpet in the long run.

Alternatively, if the damaged loop is in a not-so-noticeable area, you can get away with just cutting the loops. It won’t cause the carpet to unravel more, and you don’t have to worry about it being seen.

2. Multi-Loop Damage: Patching a Berber Carpet

Close up of cat claws on white carpet
Photo: Ablokhin/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Multi-loop damage can happen from vacuuming, scampering pets and children, or by moving furniture. In this case, you typically have multiple loops coming up, and the carpet suddenly looks like a bunch of yarn was dropped on the floor.

You’ll need to patch up the affected carpet so it doesn’t keep unraveling. Patching carpet really only works, though, if the damaged area is 1 square foot or less in size. Otherwise, the fix might be too obvious to the naked eye. If there is lots of damage or multiple areas of damage in one room, consider re-carpeting entirely.

To do this, you should collect the following:

  • A utility knife

  • An awl or capped pen

  • A spare piece of carpet—ideally, you have a few scraps left over from the initial installation, or you can ask your carpet manufacturer for some if the style is still in production. If neither of those options is possible, cut a square from an inconspicuous place, like underneath a TV stand or the floor of a closet.

  • Double-sided carpet tape

After you have your tools ready, you’re ready to begin.

  1. Mark the area you’ll cut with the awl or the cap side of the pen. Drag the tool into a square shape, separating the carpet fibers, so you will only cut out what you need.

  2. Cut out the square area with a utility knife; try to only cut into the carpet backing, not into the Berber loops.

  3. Trace the shape of the cut-out piece on the area where you’ll gather the spare carpet using the awl or the pen.

  4. Cut the replacement patch using the utility knife, once again trying only to cut into the backing, not the fibers.

  5. Cut two strips of double-sided carpet tape to cover two edges of the patch’s backing.

  6. Remove one side of protective paper from the tape strips and apply them to the floor where the patch will go.

  7. Remove the other side of the protective paper, and put the patch into place.

If your Berber carpet has patterns and designs, this DIY fix might not look too great. You may want to call a carpet repair company near you so they can seamlessly install a new piece.

3. Burn Damage

Burn damage can happen, and (as long as the damage is only done to the fibers and not to the carpet pad underneath), you can DIY a quick fix. 

Prepare the following:

  • Scissors

  • A bit of matching carpet—you won’t be cutting out a patch, but you will need to “borrow” some fibers from the area

  • A glue gun

To repair the burned carpet, remove the burnt fibers by cutting them out with your pair of scissors. From there, locate your out-of-the-way spot of carpet (like behind a door or inside of a closet) that you’re willing to sacrifice. 

Next, cut some undamaged fibers with your scissors until you have enough to cover the burn patch. Finally, glue the untouched fibers over the damaged spot with a glue gun.

If the burn damage did get into the carpet pad, it’s better to simply replace the area as you would for multi-loop damage—or replace the entire carpet.

4. Missing Patches

You might have missing patches due to a variety of reasons; for instance, some pets like to chew on or scratch at carpeting, and some vacuum cleaners snag on the strands, creating many spots of missing loops over time.

If there are only a couple of small (less than one square foot) missing patches of carpet, you can follow the same procedure as described above for areas with burn damage. If there are large sections that cannot be covered with the amount of spare carpet you have around, it’s time to call in a professional to replace the entire Berber. 

5. Stains

glass with red wine spilled on carpet
Photo: Image Source/Image Source/Getty Images

Tackling stains depends on what material your Berber carpet is made from. To tackle wool Berber, steam clean the carpet. This will help get the dirt and grime found deep in the carpet fibers out.

For simple stains on Nylon, consider using a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to clean and revive your carpet pile. Don’t scrub too hard, though, as this could cause the loops to start to unravel.

Should You Repair or Replace Your Berber Carpet?

If your carpet is holding onto smells or you’ve found yourself sneezing and coughing more, then these are signs you need to replace your carpet. But if your carpet is under 10 years old, you should look into repairs first before making the decision to replace it.

Should You Use a Berber Carpet Repair Kit?

While some carpet repair kits exist and only cost around $15, they are not usually appropriate for Berber repair. Typically, they include small pieces of fibers to use as patches, and Berber carpets are typically colored very differently from other kinds of carpets. This factor is why it’s imperative to try and locate a spare piece of carpet from your original installation when you need to patch up an area. 

In addition, the tools these kits include are often watered-down versions of the ones you can buy individually from your local hardware store (e.g., the glue in the kit won’t be as strong as your hot glue gun or the double-sided carpet tape).

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