Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
Nothing adds coziness, warmth, and comfort to a home like a new carpet. However, in most cases, you’ll have to endure removing an old carpet before you can enjoy the beauty of your new design. Before removing your carpet by yourself, it’s essential to know what to expect from this labor-intensive project!
Ripping up carpet can be difficult, as the carpet is heavy, bulky, and challenging to dispose of. You’ll still need an expert to install your new flooring. DIY carpet removal includes stripping it by pulling a corner, folding it, and cutting it into strips that are easy to roll up and remove.
Ripping up carpet is not an easy job if you’re not a DIY expert. However, with the right tools and expectations, you can complete this job safely and efficiently – learn how below!
What To Expect When Removing Carpet: An Overview
There’s nothing that completes your home’s atmosphere like a carpet. A soft, plush carpet can be a delight for your feet on winter mornings, increase the energy efficiency of your property, and create a generally comfortable environment.
However, carpets are among the few types of flooring that require the most maintenance. Indeed, daily wear and tear, spilling drinks, pets, and children can make the carpet look worn and stained. And, there’s nothing like a dingy carpet to make your whole property look outdated!
Nonetheless, the good news is that you can easily breathe new life into your home by ripping out the old carpet. Whether you’ve just moved into your new family home or simply wish to increase your property’s value, changing the carpet is a great starting point.
The easiest way to do so is to pick your new flooring – whether that’s a wooden floor or even a new carpet – and ask a professional to complete the whole project for you. However, if you want to save and remove the carpet by yourself, it’s vital to have the right expectations.
Removing a Carpet Can Be Challenging
Firstly, it’s essential to keep in mind that removing a carpet can be highly labor-intensive. After all, carpeting can be heavy and bulky. And, since it can take you several days to remove the carpet and install the new one, you might have to endure severe disruptions to your daily routine.
Keep in mind that this might not be a job suitable for children and adults who suffer from respiratory conditions. That’s because studies have shown that a carpet can significantly worsen indoor air quality and increase respiratory problems.
When removing a carpet, you may be releasing spores and allergens in the surrounding environment, including into the air. Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep anyone with allergies and kids away from the room as you do this.
You’ll Need a Professional To Fit the New Carpet
If you feel like you can still remove the carpet by yourself, we’ll tell you how to do that in the next section. Nonetheless, keep in mind that you’ll still need a professional’s help to fit the new carpet or flooring.
A professional agency might offer you a discount if you hire them to both remove and replace the carpet. Additionally, they have the necessary tools, expertise, and resources to cut down on time, labor, and disruptions.
Consider whether the extra work is worth the money you save by not hiring a professional!
Disposing of an Old Carpet Can Be Difficult
If you decide to tackle the carpet removal process yourself, make sure that you already know how to dispose of your old carpet. After all, the last thing you want is to have bulky rolls of old, smelly carpet in the doorway or garage for weeks!
If there’s an affordable service near you, contact them before starting your DIY project to minimize the time your old carpet sits in the house.
Alternatively, if there’s no readily available carpet disposal service in your area, consider hiring a professional carpet removal agency that takes care of every aspect for you.
How To Rip Up Carpet
If you’ve decided to remove the carpet by yourself, here are some simple steps you can follow to minimize effort and maximize efficiency.
In the video below, you’ll find a summary of what you need to know to remove your carpet safely:
Or, keep reading for more details.
Gather Gloves, a Utility Knife, and Duck Tape
The first step is always to remove any furniture and decorations from the room. Then, start by gathering all the necessary tools for a safe carpet removal project, including:
- Dust face mask
- Knee pads
- Safety glasses
- Utility knife
- Duck tape
- Locking pliers
- Pry bar
It’s also a good idea to keep kids and pets away from the room.
Check Whether the Carpet Is Under the Baseboards
The baseboards are the bottom section of the wall – the part that usually receives the highest level of wear and tear. In most cases, your carpet won’t sit underneath the baseboards, and there’s no need to remove them to remove the carpet.
However, in some cases, plastic baseboards are fitted on top of the carpet. In this case, you’ll have to remove them to reach the corners of the carpet underneath.
Start Lifting the Carpet From a Corner
Once you can see the corners and boards of your carpet, you’re ready to remove them. For this step, locate a corner and start from there. Then, pull the corner of the carpet towards you.
However, if this is stuck down to the tack strips and doesn’t easily lift, you can use your utility knife to cut a 6x6in (15x15cm) square around the corner. In turn, this will create a handle that you can use to start lifting the carpet.
Keep Folding the Carpet Towards the Room’s Center
Continue pulling the carpet towards the center of the room until you can fold it over on itself. Create a fold of around 40in (1m) in length.
To make the carpet much easier to cut and roll up, consider folding it along a straight line later on. It’s best to find a partner who can pull the carpet at the other end.
Cut the Carpet Along the Fold
Only a few homeowners know that it’s much easier to cut the carpet from the back rather than along the front side. That’s because the fibers make it much more difficult for the knife to get through to the back material.
Instead, once you fold the carpet over, you can easily cut a straight line along the fold. Make sure that you’re holding the utility knife with both hands to avoid injury. Remember that the cut doesn’t need to be perfectly neat since you’ll throw away the old carpet anyway.
Roll Up and Secure the Carpet Section
Once the section is cut, you can roll it up and secure it with duct tape. Instead of dealing with a bulky roll of carpet, this solution allows you to have a few easily manageable rolls that you can handle by yourself.
So, neither you nor the disposal company experts will have to deal with backache!
Removing a Stapled-Down Carpet Padding
Once you remove the carpet, you’ll find that the flooring underneath is covered with a padded layer. In most cases, staples or tacks will hold down the padding. However, in some rarer cases, the padding might be glued to the subfloor. In this case, consider speaking to a professional to avoid damaging the floor underneath.
If staples hold down your padding, you can remove it by pulling a corner – ideally the further from the room entrance. Since the padding is much lighter than the carpet itself, you can easily roll up entire strips without worrying about added weight.
Ensure you’re wearing gloves and knee padding during this step, as there might be staples lying around the room.
Inspecting and Repairing the Subfloor
Once both the carpet and the padding are removed, you should consider inspecting and repairing the subfloor. Indeed, if you’ve spent a lot of money on a new carpet, the last thing you want is to invest in a professional installation just to find out that the subfloor is squeaky.
Some preventive steps you can take to ensure that the subfloor is healthy include:
- Fix the panels with ring shank nails.
- Remove the staples that help the padding down. There might still be some around the room, and they might make flooring uneven.
- Remove old tack strips. If there are some rusty nails or tack strips, you need to replace them. These might have been caused by leakage or spill. However, don’t forget that rust could “bleed” through the new carpet.
- Inspect the subfloor for parts that have changed color or are rotten. You might need to replace some of the panels.
A great majority of homes around the world leverage the benefits of carpet. Carpets can make a home warmer, cozier, and more comfortable. However, it does require high levels of maintenance. In turn, it’s necessary to change the carpet when moving in and every 5-10 years.
You can do so by yourself, but it’s always best to employ an expert agency’s services. Nonetheless, if you opt for a DIY job, make sure you fold the carpet and cut it into strips to make the rolls better manageable.
- NCBI: Do Carpets Impair Indoor Air Quality and Cause Adverse Health Outcomes: A Review
- SFGate: How To Clean Up a Deteriorated Carpet Pad
- University of Georgia: Remove Stains From Iron, Rust
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