How To Pull Up Carpet

If you are tired of looking at your old, dirty, or worn-out carpet, you might wonder how to remove it and give your room a fresh makeover. Removing carpet is not as hard as it sounds, but it does require some planning, preparation, and patience. 

This article will show how to pull up carpet using simple tools and techniques. You will learn how to prepare the area, cut and pull up the carpet, remove the padding and tack strips, clean the subfloor, and estimate the cost of removing the carpet. 

By the end of this article, you will be ready to say goodbye to your old carpet and hello to your new flooring.

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How to Pull Up Carpet

Step 1: Prepare the Area

Before removing the carpet, you must prepare the area to protect your furniture, walls, doors, and other belongings from dust and damage. Create a clear and safe space for smoother carpet removal. To prepare the area, you will need the following tools and materials:

  • Gloves
  • Mask
  • Utility knife
  • Pliers
  • Pry bar
  • Hammer
  • Trash bags
  • Duct tape or painter’s tape

Relocate all furniture from the room or cover it with plastic sheets. This will prevent dust or debris from getting on your furniture and make it easier to move around. 

Cover vents and electrical outlets with tape to prevent dust from circulating in the air or entering the sockets. 

Remove any baseboards and moldings using the pry bar and hammer and set them aside for later reinstallation. This will ensure that the carpet edges tucked beneath them are accessible and that you don’t damage them during removal.

Step 2: Cut and Pull Up the Carpet

Start cutting and pulling up the carpet. Cut and pull up the carpet in small sections, making it easier to handle and dispose of and reducing the risk of injury or damage to the subfloor or pipes or wires underneath. 

The best way to start is from a corner of the room. Use the pliers to pull the carpet from the tack strips along the wall. You should see a gap between the carpet and the wall where you can insert your utility knife. Use the utility knife to cut the wall about 3 feet wide or as wide as you can comfortably roll up. Then, pull up the carpet from the tack strips along the cut edge and roll it up as you go. Secure the rolled-up carpet with tape or rope and place it in a trash bag or outside for disposal. Repeat this process until all the carpet is removed from the room.

Step 3: Remove the Padding and Tack Strips

After removing the carpet, you will see a layer of padding underneath that provides cushioning for the carpet. The padding is usually attached to the subfloor using staples or glue. You will also see tack strips along the edges of the room that are used to keep the carpet stretched tight. Remove the padding and tack strips before installing new flooring or leaving the subfloor bare. 

To remove the padding, simply pull it up from the staples or glue that hold it down. You may need some force or a pry bar to loosen it up. Cut it into manageable sections as you did with the carpet and roll it up for disposal. 

To remove the tack strips, use a pry bar and hammer to pry them up from the subfloor. Be careful not to damage the subfloor or hurt yourself with the sharp tacks. Use pliers to remove any remaining staples or nails from the padding and tack strips.

Step 4: Clean the Subfloor

The last step before installing new flooring or leaving the subfloor bare is to clean it thoroughly. This will ensure a smooth and stable surface for your new flooring and prevent moisture or mold problems.

Sweep or vacuum any dust and debris that may have accumulated on the subfloor during removal. Then, use a mop or rag to wipe any stains or residue the padding or glue on the subfloor may have left. You can use water or a suitable cleaner for this purpose. Ensure you let the subfloor dry completely before installing new flooring or leaving it bare. Also, check for any damage or repairs on the subfloor before moving on to the next step.

How to Remove Carpet from Stairs

Stairs often have curves, angles, and horizontal (the tread) and vertical (the riser) parts that carpet adheres to. The process becomes more intricate and can require more detailed work compared to a flat floor

Tools and Materials Needed

List the tools and materials needed for this step in bullet points, such as:

  • Utility knife
  • Pliers
  • Pry bar
  • Hammer
  • Staple remover
  • Trash bags
  • Work gloves
  • Safety mask

How to Remove Carpet from Stairs

Step 1. Start at the top: 

Always begin from the topmost stair and work your way downwards. This approach ensures you’re not stepping on freshly exposed stairs with protruding staples or tacks.

Step 2. Cut the carpet: 

Use the utility knife to cut a section of the carpet on the top stair’s edge. This will provide a starting point to begin pulling it away.

Step 3. Pull up the carpet: 

Grab the cut section of the carpet and begin pulling it away from the stairs. The carpet is typically attached using tack strips or staples so some force might be needed.

Step 4. Cut into manageable sections

As you pull the carpet away from each stair, cut it into strips to make it easier to handle and dispose of.

Step 5. Remove padding and tack strips

Once the carpet is removed, you will likely see either glued or stapled-down padding. This can be pulled up similarly to the carpet. Tack strips, if present, can be pried up using the pry bar and hammer.

Step 6. Remove staples and nails

Use pliers or a staple remover to remove any leftover staples or nails from each stair. Ensure the stair is free from any sharp objects.

Step 7. Roll and secure

 As you remove sections of the carpet, roll them up and secure them using tape or rope. Place them in trash bags for disposal.

Step 8. Clean the stairs 

After removing the carpet, padding, tack strips, staples, and nails, sweep or vacuum the stairs to remove any dust and debris. Use a mop or rag to tackle any stains or residue on the stairs. Allow them to air dry completely before installing new flooring or leaving them bare.

Tips for Removing Carpet

Removing carpet can be daunting, but with the right tools and techniques, you can do it yourself and save money. Here are some tips to help you remove carpets safely and efficiently.

Safety First

  • Always wear protective gloves and safety glasses when removing carpet. The tacks, staples, and rough edges can lead to injuries.
  • A dust mask is also beneficial, as old carpets can harbor allergens and dust.

Start at a Corner

  • Finding and starting from a corner makes it easier to begin the removal process, giving you a point to grip and pull.

Work in Sections

  • Don’t try to pull up the entire carpet at once. Cut it into manageable strips (usually 3-4 feet wide) using a utility knife. This makes it easier to roll, lift, and dispose of.
  • Ensure your utility knife is sharp. A sharper blade will make cutting the carpet and padding easier and more efficient. Always have extra blades on hand.

Leverage Tools

  • Use pliers to help pull up the carpet if you find it tough to get a grip with your hands.
  • Use a pry bar and hammer to remove the tack strips that line the perimeter of the room and are used to keep the carpet stretched tight.

Be Mindful of Nails and Staples

  • Once the carpet is up, the subfloor will likely have staples and nails used to secure the carpet and padding. Remove them to ensure a smooth surface.

Roll as You Go

  • As you cut and remove sections, roll them up and secure them with tape or twine. This makes transportation and disposal much easier.

Check Local Disposal Regulations

  • Before disposing of your old carpet, check with your local waste management facility. Some areas have specific guidelines or recycling programs for old carpets.

Remove Padding Separately

  • The carpet padding should also be removed and disposed of. It’s best to cut and roll padding like carpet for easier handling.

Clean the Subfloor

  • After removing the carpet and padding, sweep or vacuum the subfloor to remove dust and debris.
  • Use a mop or rag to tackle any stains or residue on the subfloor.
  • Allow the subfloor to air dry completely before installing new flooring or leaving it bare.

How to Repair Subfloor After Removing the Carpet

Before laying new flooring, you must prepare the subfloor by inspecting, filling, sanding, and sealing it. This will ensure your new floor’s smooth, stable, and protected surface. To prepare the subfloor, you will need the following tools and materials:

  • Level
  • Sandpaper or floor sander
  • Filler or patching compound
  • Primer
  • Sealer
  • Moisture meter
  • Putty knife

Follow these steps to prepare the subfloor:

  • Inspect the subfloor for damages, dents, or protruding nails and staples. Remove any that you find.
  • Fill any cracks or holes using a putty knife with a suitable filler or patching compound. Let it dry according to the product’s instructions.
  • Sand down rough or uneven areas using sandpaper or a floor sander to ensure a smooth surface.
  • Apply a primer or sealer suitable for your subfloor type to protect it from moisture and stains. Let it dry completely.
  • Use a moisture meter to check the subfloor’s moisture level. High moisture can jeopardize the durability of some flooring types.

Can I remove the carpet by myself, and how long will it take

Yes, you can remove the carpet by yourself and save money on hiring professionals. However, the time it takes depends on several factors, such as the size of the room, the type and condition of the carpet, the type of subfloor, and any challenges like heavy furniture or intricate room layouts. For an average-sized room (around 12×12 feet), a solo endeavor could take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours, considering both carpet and padding removal. However, pacing yourself, especially when working alone, is crucial to ensure safety and thoroughness. Spreading the task over a few days might be beneficial if you tackle multiple rooms or a larger area.

How to Reuse the  Old Carpet

  1. Area Rugs or Door Mats: Trim the carpet into smaller sizes suitable for entrances, under desks, or high-traffic areas.
  2. Pet Bedding: If you have pets, old carpets can make for a comfy bedding or play area.
  3. Gardening: Carpets can be used as weed barriers in gardens. They block sunlight, preventing the growth of unwanted plants.
  4. Insulation: They can be used in sheds or garages as an added layer of insulation on the floor or walls.
  5. Protect Floors During Projects: If you’re painting or remodeling, spread the old carpet to protect floors or other surfaces from paint splashes or debris.
  6. Car Boot Liner: Trim the carpet to fit the boot of your car. It will protect the original lining and can be easily removed for cleaning.
  7. Stair Treads: Use pieces of the old carpet as treads for wooden stairs to prevent slipping.
  8. Soundproofing: Carpets can help in soundproofing rooms or spaces. Mount them on walls or floors where noise reduction is needed.


You have learned how to remove carpets using simple tools and techniques. You have prepared the area, cut and pulled up the carpet, removed the padding and tack strips, cleaned the subfloor, and repaired any damages. 

Now, you can enjoy your new flooring or leave your subfloor bare. Depending on your preference and budget, you can choose various flooring options, such as hardwood, laminate, vinyl, tile, etc. You can also paint or stain your subfloor for a rustic look or add rugs or mats for extra comfort and style. We hope you found this article helpful and informative. Please comment below or contact us for more information if you have any feedback or questions.

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