How to Pull Up Carpets Over Hardwood Floors


One of the bonuses of buying an older home is the possibility that the original hardwood floors are hidden beneath the carpets. If you've peeked under the carpet in a corner of the closet and discovered a hardwood floor, you may be wondering how to pull up the carpets to again expose the hardwood floors. This isn't a difficult task, and can typically be accomplished in an hour or two.

Things You'll Need

  • Utility knife
  • Duct tape or twine
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Small pry bar
  • Hammer
  • Grasp the carpet in a corner of the room and give it a brisk upward tug. You'll hear a popping or tearing sound; this is the carpet coming loose from the tack strips that secure it to the floor.

  • Pull the carpet loose along the entire length of the wall and 5 feet down each side wall; fold it back against the rest of the carpeted floor.

  • Cut the carpet along the back the entire length, using a utility knife and taking care to cut away from your hands and body. This will give you a section of old carpet approximately 4 feet wide.

  • Roll the cut piece of carpet tightly, starting at one end and working the length of the piece. Secure the roll with duct tape or twine and set aside for disposal.

  • Cut and roll the carpet into pieces until the entire room is free of old carpet. The exposed floor will be covered with foam padding, and the tack strips will be around the perimeter of the room.

  • Remove the padding, rolling it as you did the carpet for ease of disposal. It will be held in place with staples and will easily pull loose.

  • Pull up all staples from the floor, using a pair of needle-nose pliers and taking care not to gouge or scratch the hardwood floor. Place the staples in a container as you work to avoid stepping on them.

  • Take out the tack strip with a small pry bar, placing a scrap of cardboard between the floor and the pry bar to avoid marring the hardwood. Tack strips are typically fastened with one nail per 2 feet of strip; place the short edge of the pry bar at the bottom edge of the pry bar at each nail location and gently tap the pry bar with a hammer. The piece of strip will come up easily. Continue the process around the perimeter of the room until all strips are removed.

  • Sweep the floor thoroughly; checking for any staples you might have missed.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the carpet is dusty, it's a good idea to wear a dust mask while doing this job.

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  • Photo Credit wood background image by MAXFX from
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