Removing your own wall to wall carpet is definitely not a job everybody wants to take on. It can be hard on your knees, your back, and, your patience. However, removing carpet is not rocket science. If using the right tools and taking your time, it’s a job that can be easily done by yourself. Then, as you install a new one, be sure to save on portable carpet cleaners for its upkeeps. Ready to remove your carpet? Just follow these easy steps and you will have your carpet removed in no time.
Most carpeting is installed by the stretched in method, which requires the use of carpet tack strip, also called tack-less by the professionals. I honestly have no reason why they call it tack-less because this is one pretty sharp carpet tool. The extremely sharp pinheads are used to dig into the carpet for stretching, and it can be very easy to get hurt using this tool so be sure to wear some thick gloves at all times.
The first step for removing carpet is to grab a corner section of it with a pair of pliers and gently pull it back. Hold the corner tightly and carefully wiggle the carpet around to help release it from the tack strip. Use a carpet knife to cut the carpet into sections of about three feet in width. This method will make smaller rolls so the carpet is more manageable and easier to move or haul from the home. If you have hardwood flooring underneath, be sure to hold the carpet up high before cutting to prevent damaging it. As you move along, be sure to roll up the cut strips of carpet and secure them with masking tape.
The second step is to remove all of the staples. For this step, you will need one of my favorite carpet tools, a pair of needle nose pliers, as these work the best for this job. If this is your first time removing carpet, there is no doubt this step may take awhile as it can be a bit frustrating, especially if the person who installed the carpet used a million staples. But, after awhile, you will get the hang of it. Just try not to yank the staples out too quickly as this may cause them to bend and stick. Use a gentle twist and tug motion and they should come out fairly easily. If you find that the carpet padding is glued to the existing floor, a little mineral spirits will quickly to soften the adhesive so it is easier to remove.
Another problem you may come across with hardwood flooring is nails or screws that may have been used to stop it from shifting or squeaking. If you happen to come across a couple of them, they should be okay to remove, however if there are more than a few, then it’s best to leave them alone. Removing them can be more trouble and work than you need. If there happens to be concrete sub floors, then you may find that the carpet pad is perimeter glued. Another carpet tool called a flooring scraper should simplify the work of removing it.
If you plan on replacing your carpeting with a new type of flooring, you will need to complete this step and remove the tack strip. If you are replacing your carpeting with new carpet, it will save time and money to leave the old tack strip down, therefore you can skip this step. For this job, you will need some additional carpet tools; a hammer and a pry bar. With existing hardwood floors, it is very important, once again, to prevent doing any damage, especially if you plan on refinishing the flooring. A wide puffy knife can be used to slide under the strip to prevent scraping the flooring.
Tack strips are commonly attached using small nails, and if done right, are usually spaced about six inches apart. Set your pry bar near the spot it will engage with the nail and begin to pound the hammer. Carefully pry back and move on to the next one. After you have completely finished removing the carpet, padding, and tack strips, be sure to thoroughly clean the floor from any dirt, debris, and glue. This will put you one step ahead for your new floor, whether your painting, staining, or laying new carpet.
There aren’t any ifs, ands, or buts about pulling up old carpeting, because you can’t lay any other material, even new carpet, on top of it. Even if you choose not to lay your new floor, it will still make it easier for the professionals, not to mention save you some money, (about .25 per sq ft) if you have the carpet removed and the floor prepped and ready to go, after all, it doesn’t seem like rocket science does it?