How to Remove Tack Strips From Hardwood Floors

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Things You'll Need

  • Heavy work gloves

  • Small pry bar

  • Hammer

  • Scrap of carpet or heavy cardboard

You've pulled the carpet up in your living room, and you're delighted to find the original hardwood floor beneath. The floor itself is in great condition; the problem you face is the tack strips that were used to install the carpeting.

You'll be relieved to learn it's a straightforward task to remove carpet tack strips from hardwood floors; with a few common tools you can have the job finished in an afternoon and enjoy your "new" hardwood floor.


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Step 1

Start in a doorway or corner of the room.

Step 2

Locate the brad nails that hold the first piece of tack strip to the floor; typically there will be three nails spaced evenly along each three foot section of tack strip.


Step 3

Place the curved edge of a small pry bar against the tack strip, lining the pry bar up with the first nail.

Step 4

Slide a piece of carpet or heavy cardboard between the bottom of the pry bar curve and the floor to protect the floor finish.


Step 5

Tap the opposite end of the pry bar gently with a hammer; the tack strip will lift slightly from the floor.

Step 6

Repeat the process with the remaining brad nails that secure the first tack strip and each remaining strip around the perimeter of the room.


Sweep the entire floor as soon as the tack strips have all been removed. This will avoid damage to the hardwood floors from grit and debris trapped beneath the tack strips.

For safety, place each strip in a box or trash can as you remove it.


Always wear safety glasses when working with nails.

Always wear heavy work gloves when removing tack strips.


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