How To Remove Carpeting

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Removing Carpet

Chip Gaines lied.

Demo day isn’t really fun.  Last week I told you all about how to install vinyl floors.  That was the easy part.  Removing the carpets prior to installing was the hardest part of that project.  It was a dirty job, but necessary, and of course worth it in the end.  There aren’t any pretty home pictures today,   I thought showing you how to remove carpeting might just come in handy for you the next time you install new flooring.

You will need*:

Utility Knife or carpet shears

Pry bar


Floor Scraper Blade

Utility gloves

Dust Mask

Flat head screwdriver

Duct Tape

Remove baseboard molding:

Before you can remove carpeting you have to first take off the baseboards.  Score along the top of the baseboard with a box cutter to loosen them up.

Removing baseboards score them first, how to remove carpeting


Once you’ve got them loosed up, wedge a pry bar in between base board and wall.  Then pry the molding away from the wall with the flat bar.  I found that some spots had longer nails than other areas.  To get those out I used my hammer rather than the flat bar to pry the molding away, the hammer gave me more leverage.

Removing baseboards with a flat bar how to remove carpeting


Once you have each section of molding off the wall, use the hammer to flatten the nails that are sticking out of the molding you just removed .  This is a safety measure so you don’t stick yourself or step on them later.

Remove Carpeting:

Now you’re finally ready to remove carpeting.  Once I had the moldings off, the carpet loosed up in the corners all around the edges of the room.  Next, you will cut the carpet in sections to make removal easier.  This was more difficult than I anticipated.  I was having trouble cutting the carpets with my utility knife.  Luckily my husband came home around this time with a sharper knife that worked much better.  Save your back by having the right tool for this part.  Carpet shears would likely be your best bet.

removing carpeting in sections


Remove each section,  and then roll it up and tape it for easier disposal.  We didn’t have duct tape so we ended up using painters tape.  That wasn’t sticking as well as duct tape would have, we had to go around each section a few times for the painters tape to hold.

Removing carpeting, how to dispose of old carpeting

Remove Cushion Layer

Under the carpeting there is a cushion layer that is stapled to the sub floor.  This needed to be removed as well since we were going to be installing vinyl plank flooring.  This was the dirty part.  It’s unbelievable how much dirt gets under the carpets.  I wore gloves and a dust mask for this part.

Remove Nail Strips:

You will find these tacky strips around the perimeter of the room.  Use your pry bar by sliding it under the tacky strip.  Hammer the pry bar to wedge it under more until it’s loose enough that you can pry it up with the bar.

how to remove the tacky strips under carpets

Removing Floor Staples:

I had picked up a sharp blade tool for removing the staples. I figured this would also be easier rather than going around and prying them out one by one.  We did use it, but it didn’t work as well as I thought it would and I still had to pry tons of little staples out using a flat head screwdriver.  I’d probably only invest in that if you are doing a large area or multiple rooms.

Fix Those Squeaky Floor Boards:

Don’t you just hate those squeaky floor boards?  (I know my daughters do when they’re sneaking in late!) I think that occurs due to moisture which makes the wood bow.  That is easily fixed by using  coarse dry wall screws which are threaded and will stay in place.  Drill one into squeaky areas next to the nails.

Although this was a dirty job, with the right tools it isn’t quite as hard as it could be.  I underestimated the amount of muscle needed for removing carpets.  It’s also possible that I may not be as strong as I think I am.

Demo day.  Maybe it’s a guy thing.


*This post contains affiliate links, you can read my full disclosure here.

How to remove carpets the right way, easy to follow, step by step

One thought on “How To Remove Carpeting

  1. It really is a ton of work. We once removed tile from an entryway and it was brutal. Excited to see it all done. We are in the home stretch.

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