22 Jun 2022

Tearing up a carpet can seem easy on the surface, but it can actually be quite a tough process with a lot of specific things to consider. Hiring somebody to remove a medium-sized carpet can be expensive, and learning how to remove it yourself is usually cheaper, faster, and far more convenient.

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Getting Started

There are certain tools that really help when it comes to tearing up a carpet, especially if you want to do it properly. While you can always rip one up with basic tools, it is much better to have the right gear for the job: it can help you get everything done much faster.

Make sure to grab the essentials before you start working, items like:

  • Duct tape.
  • A pry bar/crowbar.
  • A hammer.
  • A utility knife.
  • Ring shank nails.
  • Locking pliers.
  • Safety equipment, like a dust mask and gloves.

The exact equipment that you use is entirely up to you, but most people will own the majority of these things already. These are very basic items, but they are perfect for removing your carpet without any fuss or mess.

Removing Your Carpet

Now it is time to actually get rid of the carpet itself. This can seem like a lot of work at first, but splitting the work into five individual steps can really help you break down the workload. It makes it much easier to tell which parts of the project you have already done rather than trying to do them all at once.

Pull up the carpet

Start by taking some of the carpet from the corner of the room and tugging on it, testing the nails or tacks to see how well it is stuck down. Be sure to avoid putting your fingers against any nails or tack strips – use your gloves if you have to.

Ideally, you want to start pulling the carpet up from the corner so that you can see the flooring below. This lets you see the kind of flooring that you are dealing with, identify the kind of tacks or nails being used, and check how resistant the carpet is to being pulled up as a whole. 

Be sure to remove it carefully if you want to keep the floor underneath safe and undamaged. For example, hardwood floors can get damaged quite easily if you start violently ripping up the carpet above it, so take things slowly unless you have no other options.

Create Carpet Strips

Take your knife and cut the carpet into more manageable pieces. Ideally, you want to get the carpet into at least three pieces, more if your room is larger than average. This makes it easier to move the carpet around and keep it away from the rest of the room but also helps you pull it up.

Once the carpet is sliced into three or more pieces, start trying to roll it up, using your knife to cut along the fold so that it separates from both the floor and the other pieces of carpet. Then, you can remove those individual sections of carpet, duct tape them up, and throw them away with ease.

Remove the Padding

You can take away the carpet padding quite easily since it is usually just stapled to the subfloor in a series of patch-like spots. This makes it easy to grab the seams and rip them up without issue, only using tools if you encounter some that are stuck down quite heavily.

Make sure you wear gloves to avoid stabbing yourself with the staples and keep using the ‘roll up and duct tape’ method to get it moved away conveniently.

Prepare the Subfloor

Removing the padding gives you an easy way to check your subfloor, letting you see what kind of situation you will be working with. Keep an eye out for rusted tack strips, squeaky panels, sinking floors, or loose staples – all of these could be dangerous and/or signs that something is wrong.

It is a good idea to repair and improve your subfloor straight away since you will not be able to alter it once you put some new flooring down. This is also the perfect time to completely replace your subfloor if you need to.

Remove the Tack Strips

You do not need to remove the tack strips, so you can skip this step if you want to keep them. If you are planning removing the tack strips anyway, slip your pry bar underneath each one and use the hammer to force it down, then pull it out of the flooring.

It can take a while to pull the tack strips out, and you will want to have your protective gear on, but the end result is usually a very convenient, empty subfloor that is ready for a new floor to be installed.

What Now?

Once your carpet is up, you are able to do basically anything you need to do involving your subfloor (or flooring as a whole). Be sure to dispose of the old carpet as quickly as you can to avoid taking up too much space, and make sure to throw away old tack strips or bent nails along with it.

You could use one of our dumpster rental options to help you speed through this part of the project and to help you dispose of the heavy carpet without needing to load it all into your personal vehicle. Be sure to secure everything properly and tape the carpet up before dumping it, just in case it flops open again.