How to Remove Old Carpet

by JoAnn Heller 04/14/2021

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

    JoAnn Heller

    2020, 2019, 2018 C21 Allstar Sales Person of the Year!

    You can google what does it take to buy or sell a home. What google doesn't tell you is how does all that information apply to your personal situation and needs. Most important, how do you use all that information to effectively create a plan to meet your housing and financial goal? That's where I come in.


    I’m a Real Estate Associate Broker with Century 21 Allstar Real Estate Inc. If you’re a Home-Buyer or Seller you already have a real estate plan in mind, a goal to attain and a financial outcome your hoping to achieve. I provide extensive experience, knowledge of the market, effective use of technology, strong negotiating skills, ongoing professional development, tenacity, attention to detail and I really know my way around real estate contracts! As an attentive communicator and fierce advocate, I put your plans into motion while working with integrity to get you to the closing table. I coordinate the symphony of different players that are involved to make a successful transaction a reality. If you're here, then you're searching for a Real Estate Agent. If you're reading this, then my marketing worked. Next step.. put your real estate plans into motion by contacting me.

    JoAnn Heller,

    Real Estate Associate Broker


    [email protected]

    W/C21 Allstar Real Estate Inc.

    Serving Southeastern Michigan with emphasis on Monroe County and surrounding areas

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