How to Pull Up Hardwood Floors


Hardwood floors are beautiful, durable and can be refinished at a fraction of the cost of a new floor. But if you want to put down a different type of flooring or salvage a hardwood floor from an old house, it's a fairly easy task. Pulling up hardwood floors from a good-sized room can usually be accomplished in one day.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill
  • Pry bar
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Circular saw
  • Look for any screw plugs, bore them out using a drill and remove the screws underneath. Don't worry about finishing nails. Some older floors will not have screws and will simply need to be pried up.

  • Pick a starting place and pry up a few boards. Salvaging the first few boards may be impossible, because damage is almost unavoidable. If you have difficulty prying up a starting point, cut a board out with a circular saw.

  • Work from the tongue side of tongue and groove flooring and work a pry bar under each board and apply gentle pressure as you slide it down the length of the board. If glue was used to secure the boards, angle a chisel under each piece and use a hammer to gently tap it loose.

  • Check the base floor for fallen screws, nails and embedded bits like nail stubs that may have broken away. Remove potentially dangerous hardware with large locking pliers.

Tips & Warnings

  • To salvage old flooring, remove the nails with large locking pliers. Reject warped or badly damaged pieces. The rest can be sanded, finished and reused for a beautiful new floor.
  • Always wear protective eye gear when working with power tools.


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