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How To Remove Old Carpet

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If you would like to save some money on your hardwood floor refinishing project, then removing your old carpet before we come is definitely worth the effort. It isn’t too difficult and is something almost any handy homeowner with a few basic tools can do.

Remove Carpet

There are few simple steps in the process – removing the carpet, removing the underlay, and then removing the tack-strips and staples.  Below are 3 videos showing the steps needed to complete this project.

Tools You’ll Need:

  • Dust mask
  • Eye protection
  • Sturdy gloves
  • Retractable knife or blade
  • Hammer
  • Pry bar
  • Pliers
  • Roll of Duct Tape
  • Knee pads
  • Shop Vac or broom

It is best to use a dust mask as there will be a lot of dust coming up from beneath the carpet no matter how well you have vacuumed. We also advise you to use sturdy gloves as the tack‐strip can give you nasty cuts if you’re not careful.

STEP 1:

  • Cut the old carpet down the length of the room into strips you can easily handle
  • If you have hardwood floors underneath, lift the carpet soyou don’t cut into the hardwood floor
  • After cutting it, pull it up to remove it from the tack-strips
  • Roll it up and wrap tape around it so you can dispose of it easily

STEP 2:

  • Pretty much the same procedure as the carpet, cut it into strips and roll it up for disposal
  • Leave a section of underlay out and unrolled so you can wrap the tack-strip up in it. Believe us you’ll be glad you did.

STEP 3:

  • Take out your pry-bar, or an old chisel and hammer and VERY carefully remove the tack-strip. (If you have plywood under your carpet you don’t have to be as careful.)
  • If you look closely you’ll see there are bigger nails every few inches that have been used to attach the tack-strip to the floor, you need to get the pry-bar under these and carefully lift them up so the pieces come out in big strips.
  • Once all the tack-strip is removed, break it up into smaller pieces and roll it all up in the remaining section of underlay. Tape it up well. This step will save you or someone else from gashes and cuts if it’s disposed without gloves.
  • Now the super fun part… take out your pry-bar or pliers and start removing the hundreds of staples left over in the floor
  • When you think they’re all gone, vacuum or sweep the floor, double check for any stray staples and remove the remaining ones that got away
  • Lastly, load up your car, van or trailer with the trash and enjoy the drive to the dump.

Yes it’s not glorious work, and it’s dusty and messy. But with a bit of effort you’ll be able to save a good chunk of money… and be able to boast that you had a big part in renovating your hardwood floors.

More Information:

Our downloadable PDF article “How to Remove Carpet Without Damaging Your Wood Floors?” is available here .

Updated June 2020

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6 Comments

Great information! Thank you for posting!

You’re welcome Chris

This helped me out a lot today, thanks for the videos. Very helpful website you have here.

Happy to help out Kim.

Tadas

I agree. I bought a 70 year old home and the carpet was new but stunk like an old home with cats.
It took me 3 days to get the old carpet, tack strips, and padding out. It definitely broke my back. The crowbar is great for the tack strips. I just flung that thing under them and pushed down.
Make sure you use eyewear as well because a few times I was hit in the face with small pieces of junk.

Glad it worked out and good tips.

Tadas

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