Hello Mr. Jamerson

I want to remove the carpet from my living room and dining room, and possibly the hallway and three bedrooms and have the hardwood floors underneath the carpet sanded and colored to a new look. I would like to know if I remove the carpet myself, how much of a challenge will I incur and how much will I save from having your company handled this?

Thank you, L. Powell

A: Hello Mr. Powell… Removing carpet from homes whether you’re a carpet installer, floor refinishers, or a DIYfer, the struggle is the same and just a difference of what tools work the best and of course, know how. First you need to determine if you’re going to keep the carpet and donate it if suitable, or have it taken from your property and put into a landfill of sorts. If you’re going to donate it, you’ll obviously need to roll it without cutting so the recipient can maximize the volume. You may want to take a look at the padding and remove as neatly as possible so a savings of that cost can be another added benefit.

If the carpet will be destroyed and taken to a landfill you’ll be less stressed from the weight of trying to lift and remove a rolled carpet which can become very heavy based on the size of the rooms square footage it came from. You can cut the carpet into 3′ x 3′ squares which will allow you a much greater relief of moving to an area to prepare for the landfill. I would recommend the same for the padding.

What’s Required: You’ll need a small crow bar; hammer; pliers; staple removers; and case cutter knife and extra blades; masking duct tape. Professionals have a few other tools that make the process a bit faster but these are basic and will suffice for you! Use the pliers to grab the carpet from any corner of the room. Once you pull it back a couple of feet you can use your hands (be careful of nails or staples) the rest of the way pulling along the wall line. Flip the carpet so the backside is up and take the case cutter knife and cut into the backing with decent amount of pressure from one side to the other. Repeat approximately every 3′.  Now take each strip and cut 3′ from them, this will create the individual 3′ x 3′ ready for stacking.

After the carpet is cut and stacked, carefully pull up the padding. Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t react the way you want, sometimes its just easier to just start tearing it into as many pieces to get the sized you want. Sometimes you can pull apart and roll these and tape them up. The crow bar is now used to place the flat edge under the perimeter tack strip which held the carper in place. It’s better if the crow bar was placed where the tack strip had a nail going into the floor. Pry with only enough strength to pull the strip from the flooring and repeat until all strip is removed. Be careful because the tack strip has many, many very sharp small nail teeth that grab and hold the carpet and will literally bite you if not careful.

If you have gotten this far on the project, I’m impressed! The last part of the project is to remove all the staples that would have been used to hold the padding in place. Depending on the carpet installer’s skill level, only a few staples would be required to keep in place while working, however, I have taken out hundreds of unnecessary staples for reasons I will never understand!

Viola’ You’re Done!!! 🙂 Now I can’t possibly tell if you did a lot of swearing or not, but I would understand if you did!!! You may have just saved yourself approximately $0.75 to $1.25 per square foot on average for removal and landfill fees.

Side Bar: If your carpet was installed on a concrete sub-floor your padding may have been glued down and a more professional large blade tool may be required to get the padding as well as the excess glue off. This avenue can result in a slightly higher removal price.