How to Remove Wall-to-Wall Carpeting

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Remove carpeting with these easy steps. Photo by @soheilr via Twenty20
Removing wall-to-wall carpeting can uncover beautiful wooden floors beneath or allow a homeowner to replace the carpeting with the flooring of their choice. This can help increase your home’s allure, whether you are working to make it yours or want to make it look the best for potential buyers.
While removing wall-to-wall carpet can seem daunting, it’s a task most homeowners can take on themselves with a little time.
In this article, you will learn how to remove wall-to-wall carpeting from any room. First we’ll prepared cover all the tools you’ll need, then we’ll explain how you can prep the area for carpet removal, last we’ll go over the steps for how to remove wall-to-wall carpeting. Not sure if you really want to remove wall-to-wall carpeting yourself? No worries — we’ll also cover how (and when) you should really bring in a pro.

Part 1: Preparing to Remove Your Carpet

As with any home-related makeover task, having all of the right tools in place before you start can help keep the work moving right along and minimize delays or problems.
To remove wall-to-wall carpet, you will want to have a few tools handy, which can include:
In addition, you want to be safe and use the proper safety wear, including:
  • Dust mask
  • Gloves (preferably leather)
  • Safety glasses

Part 2: Prep the Area for Carpet Removal

Having the right tools is only the first part in removing wall-to-wall carpet. Next, you want to make sure the area is prepped. Follow these two steps to prep the area:
Step 1: Empty the room. The first step before any carpet can be removed is to empty the room. Make sure you have removed all furniture from the room, not just the bigger items. It will make removing the carpet much easier to not have to keep moving items around.
Step 2: Run a quick vacuum. To help prevent more dust when removing the carpet, run a vacuum over the entire carpet to help pick up some of the dust and dander.

Part 3: Remove your wall-to-wall carpet

Now that you have all of the right tools and the room is fully prepped for carpet removal, it’s time to get to work and actually remove the carpet. Follow these eight steps to remove your wall-to-wall carpet:
Step 1: Remove trim. Before you can start to remove your carpet, you first must be able to access the edges. There is most likely trim along the top of the carpet.
Remove this trim first by using a putty knife. Gently tap the putty knife with a hammer to start to pry the trim from the wall. Be gentle whether you want to reuse the trim or not, as pulling too hard can cause damage to the wall behind the trim.
Step 2: Pull up corners. Once you have the trim removed you can access the edges and corners of the carpet. Begin by first pulling up the corners of the carpet.
Step 3: Cut carpet into strips. To help manage larger carpets, you will want to cut the carpet into approximately four-feet wide strips. Take a strong utility knife and cut the carpet from one wall to the other every four feet.
Step 4: Pull up carpet. Once you have the corners pulled up and the carpet cut into strips, you can begin to pull up the carpet. Start at one end and carefully pull the carpet loose from any tacks or staples. Dispose of any staples into a bin for recycling.
Step 5: Roll up the carpet. As you are pulling up your carpet, start to roll up to make it easier to manage and move around. Use your duct tape to keep the carpet from unrolling.
Step 6: Remove padding and and staples. Once you have your carpet removed, you may have padding or underlying materials to dispose of. Pull these up in the same fashion as you did the carpet and roll up (if possible) or place waste materials into a garbage bag.
Some padding may have been adhered to the ground with adhesives, which will require additional effort and scraping from the floor for complete removal. If there was no padding or additional materials to remove, proceed to the next step.
Step 7: Dismantle and remove tack strips. Your carpet was most likely attached to the ground with tack strips. Be very careful when removing these strips as there will be tacks still sticking out. Take your pry bar and hammer and pull the tack strips from the floor.
Step 8: Dispose of your old carpet and padding. Take your old carpet to your local dump or waste management station for removal, or check to see if your waste disposal company will haul it away. Recycle any staples and tacks.

Part 4: When to Bring in a Professional

Before you start tearing out your carpet, don’t forget that while it is an easy task to accomplish yourself, it can still be dirty, tiring work.
If you are planning to re-carpet or lay down flooring yourself, you can definitely save money by removing the old carpet yourself. But, if you are having professionals relay new carpet or add other flooring, such as wood panel, find out if they offer complimentary tear out services. Some may charge a nominal fee, which may be more than worth the time and energy you’ll save.
New carpet can completely makeover a room, but first you have to remove the old carpeting. A little time, patience, and elbow grease is all it takes to remove wall-to-wall carpeting from your house.