Save Money by Removing Old Carpet Yourself

by Edward Lederman 01/19/2020

Photo by Rodrigo Souza from Pexels

Want to reveal that hardwood under your carpet? Or maybe you're ready to lay down new flooring? In either case, carpet removal by a professional adds significant cost to the project. Fortunately, removing carpet is something you can do yourself with minimal cost.

It does require a little upper body strength and some patience. So be ready to put your back into it. 

And know that carpet removal is a "no harm; no foul" kind of job. If you find it's more than you can complete, professionals aren't going to charge you more because you did some work before they got there.

What you'll need

  • Duct tape 
  • Utility knife 
  • Dust mask
  • Work gloves (on the thicker side)
  • Old towel and vacuum for cleanup
  • Empty trash bin or rental dumpster for disposal
  • Set aside at least two hours per room. But if you're new to a home project like this one, it might take longer.

    Step one: pick a corner

    If the carpet is coming up in a specific spot like next to the door, start there. While wearing your gloves and mask, try to pull it up from the edge. In some areas, sharp tack strips hold down the carpet. So be careful.

    *Pro tip* Go into a wide stance and don't put all your strength into the tug to avoid falling over if it gives suddenly.

    If there's no right place to start pulling or it won't give, carefully cut a 6" square into the carpet in the corner of the room. Then begin cutting and removing section by section. Be careful with the knife, especially if you want to preserve the flooring underneath.

    Eventually, you'll get to a point where you can pull up a huge section.

    Step two: deal with the carpet scraps

    Fold and roll large pieces of carpet. Use duct tape to secure it for easy carrying. Then grab a friend to help you take it outside. Gather the smaller scraps and place them in a bin or dumpster.

    Step three: remove the padding

    The padding is tacked down with staples along the perimeter. The padding will already be shredded in places where you cut the carpet, so simply start pulling it up slowly. 

    The staples should come up with it. But if any remain, you can get them up with a regular staple puller or something similar.

    *Pro tip* If you need to use a prying tool, wear eye protection.

    Now, repeat step two with the padding.

    That's it. You're ready to have a professional lay new carpet or pull up your tack strips to lay a different type of flooring. 

    For more fun, DIY-friendly projects, follow our blog.

    About the Author

    Edward Lederman

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