Owning our new home has come with MANY projects, some planned and others not so much. I cannot express how much I love our new place. It’s in the country, I hear more wild turkeys and deer grunting at any given time than cars, and it’s in the mountains. Granted it was 95 degrees today, on September 25… but on a mountain nonetheless! Anyways I’m getting side tracked here. The first thing to do was removing carpet throughout the house! We were able to do a fair bit of work to the house before actually moving in based on how our rental arrangement worked out.
For about a month I went to our new house every night for 3-4 hours after dinner with the family and busted my rear doing various projects to get our new place ready. Removing the old carpet was no small task but thankfully, it’s behind me! So, how does one go about removing carpet? You were probably starting to think I’d never get around to that!
Carpet Removal PPE
Carpet is the petri dish of flooring options, so even though I’m not much of a germophobe, gloves, glasses, and a dust mask are pretty much required. After all the funk I saw while removing carpet, I’m soooo glad I wore these things!
Here’s a shot of the carpet before I got started. It was definitely time for this stuff to go.
Pull It Up!
The process of actually removing carpet and the pad is pretty easy. The staples and tack strip… well now that’s just a pain.
To pull up the carpet, get out your pliers and grab the carpet in a corner and… pull! You’ll hear the very satisfying sound of that filthy carpet being dismembered from its equally disgusting tack strip. Once you get enough to grab hold of, pulling up the carpet becomes super easy and fast. Now, don’t get too carried away and pull the entire room in one swift motion like yanking the table cloth off a finely set dinette. I like to cut the carpet into 5′ wide strips so they’re easier to carry and subsequently load into the truck for haulin’ to the dump.
I find it easiest to cut the carpet after it’s been pulled. So, pull a section the length of the room and about 6′ wide. Fold about 5′ over the remaining carpet so the underside of what you just freed from the tenacious grip of the tack strip is facing up.
Whip out your handy utility knife (or RIDGID pocket knife) and proceed to cuttin’. Simple, right?
Now, roll it up like a cannoli…
And throw a bit of duct tape around it for safe keeping.
Repeat this process endlessly over the next few hours for the remaining carpet and you should have a stack of old carpet tall enough to make the neighborhood cats think they’ve gone to kitty heaven! Note, this pile was just for the den, by the time I was done the stack filled up the entry way!
Repeat the above steps for the carpet pad. One unfun fact is that the pad is much more crumbly and doesn’t pull out quite as evenly as the carpet does.
With all the carpet pad removed the place is already looking a lot better. Granted it’s just subfloor but it’s better than seeing that nasty carpet through the house!
Carpet on Stairs = No Fun
Watch out for these guys! The installers threw tons of staples into the carpet on the stairs and let me tell ya. It does not feel good when you kneel down on one of those things!
The carpet on stairs is installed in much smaller sections for obvious reasons. This is kinda nice however as you’re not pulling 10′ lengths of carpet down the stairs. That just sounds like a recipe for disaster.
All done. This shot reminds me of some one that nicked themselves a lot while shaving 🙂
Awesome, you rock! Go take a break and get ready for the real fun. Buwahahahaha!
If you’re putting down new carpet, you’re done with the tearing out phase and ready to install fresh unviolated petri dish material. If however, you’re putting down hardwoods or tile like lucky ol’ me, the less exciting and more laborious work is about to begin.
Tack Strip Stripping…
Yeah, that title sounded funnier in my head I guess. Anyways, let’s get started. You’ll need a few items in addition to what we’ve already discussed. First off, Sir Crowbar, meet Mr. Hammer. Hold the short end of the crowbar in position against the tack strip where a new section of tack strip begins. I work from right to left, so I can use the hammer to bump the crowbar down the strip as I work. Mess around with techniques until you find one that works for you. Trust me… You’ll have plenty of opportunity to hammer out a method that works best for you. Bad pun I know, but sometimes you just gotta go for it.
Check out the video for a better explanation of this process.
Look At All Those Staples!!!
The tack strip was a pain, yes…but dang at pulling the staples. The thought of pulling staples by hand with a pair of pliers gave me the feeling that my hands would be permanently shaped as though pliers were in fact still in my hand. I had to find a better way. Yes I googled, and googled, and even YouTubed…
While deciding on which way I felt would work best, I stumbled across an idea I thought was just a bunch of bologna. It was to use a long handled scraper. Really? What? Come to find out after asking a few friends that have done way more remodeling than myself, this is actually a common approach! Whooda thunk it? It just didn’t seem like a sufficient way to remove staples but by golly it sure does work! Now yeah, you still have to get down on the floor with your pair of pliers or diagonal cutters (wire cutters) to pull out the stubborn ones. But using a long handled scrapper saved me countless hours which I’m so ever grateful to have not lost to such a less than fulfilling task.
The process is pretty easy… Run the scrapper back and forth over the staples. Things are a touch more efficient if you approach the long side of the staple with the long side of the scraper. Wanna see a clip of this in action? You got it!
The job is not finished until you clean up all the dang mess you’ve most certainly made. You can sweep it up, but with all the filth that’s laying around as a lingering memory of the carpet you’ve just victoriously removed, I suggest you grab the ole’ shop vac and go to town.
Well congrats, you survived! May your floors be ever so grateful and the allergy sufferers that visit not beg you for tissues.
Be sure to check back soon (ish) as I’ll be adding posts on the continual house projects that include relocating stairs to our basement, installing hardwood floors, installing tile, re-grouting a shower, and knocking a big ol’ hole in the wall to open up space between our kitchen and den. And those are just a few of the projects on our list!
Other Finished House Projects:
As always, I’m happy to answer questions and if I missed something or you’ve found a better solution let me know! Thanks for readin’ y’all!