How to Pull Up Carpet

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Many homeowners discover attractive flooring concealed beneath their old carpeting.
Many homeowners discover attractive flooring concealed beneath their old carpeting. (Image: Getty Images/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Nothing improves a room's appearance more than replacing soiled, dirty, or torn carpeting. A carpet with outdated styles and colors can prove just as damaging to a room's decorative theme. Before you can install a new carpet, however, you'll need to remove the old one. Pulling up carpet can be a labor-intensive project, but you don’t need to hire a professional. Though one person can remove carpet, having at least two people makes the job easier.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Work gloves
  • Pliers
  • Carpet knife or utility knife with extra blades
  • Pry bar
  • Claw hammer
  • Broom
  • Vacuum

Remove all furniture and accessories from the room. Clear a path from the room to an outside door. Choose an area outside to place the scraps of carpet as you remove them.

Start at the corner opposite the entrance to the room. Use pliers to pull back the corner of the carpet. The carpet should pull away from the carpet tack strips. Carefully remove any carpet tacks or carpet tack strips that remain stuck to the underside of the carpet as you pull the carpet upward.

Continue to pull the carpet upward for four to five feet along the wall, removing any remaining tacks or strips stuck to the carpet as you go.

Lay the carpet edge back down. Use a utility knife or carpet knife to cut the length of the carpet to the opposite wall. This gives you a four-foot wide strip.

Return to the corner where you started. Pull the corner of the carpet up and continue to pull it away from the wall to which the four-foot strip is still attached. Again, remove any carpet tacks or strip that remain stuck to the underside of the carpet as you pull it up.

Pull the four-foot strip of carpet away from the wall opposite of where you started. Roll the strip of carpet up and remove it to the designated area outside.

Continue cutting strips of carpet, always starting at the wall opposite the exit. Repeat until the last strip of carpet is removed.

Remove the padding by cutting it into strips as you did the carpet. The padding should not be attached to the carpet tack strips. Roll up the padding and carry it to the designated area.

Use a pry bar and hammer to remove the carpet tack strips and carpet tacks from the sub floor. Thoroughly sweep the floor and use a shop vacuum to clean the floor.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear thick-soled shoes to ensure you don’t step on tacks or nails. Protect your hands by wearing heavy-duty work gloves throughout the project.
  • Dust and debris beneath the carpeting may prove troublesome to persons with asthma or respiratory conditions.

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