Pulling up old carpet: a handy how to

August 16, 2015

Installing new carpet is time-consuming, requires a lot of specialist tools and any mistake could ruin an expensive new carpet. However, you can pull up your old carpet to help out your professional carpet layer, solve some problems and save money, too. Here's how to pull up your old carpet.

Pulling up old carpet: a handy how to

What you'll need

  • Carpet knife
  • Needle nose pliers or old screwdriver
  • Pencil
  • Scrap or new flooring for patches (if required)
  • Circular saw (if required)
  • Screws (if required)
  • Electric drill (if required)
  • Clean cloth (if required)
  • Bucket (if required)
  • Bleach (if required)
  • Water (if required)
  • Insulated staples (if required)

1. Ready the room

  • If you strip the room yourself instead of paying your carpet layer to do it, you could save a lot of money.
  • To start, pull up your old carpet, cutting it into strips with a carpet knife as you go to make it easier to handle.
  • Take care not to damage the floorboards underneath the old carpet.
  • Next, rip up the underlay. This is a thin, easily torn material and shouldn't cause you much trouble.
  • Finally, get down on your hands and knees and work your way around the room, using needle nose pliers or a sturdy screwdriver to pry out all the old nails and staples.

2. Replace the rot

  • If there's rot in your wood floor, it will have to be removed before the new carpet is laid.
  • Cleaning up rot yourself can save you a lot of money.
  • Rotten subflooring is common near exterior doors, especially patio doors.
  • Mark out a section around the rot, sizing it so that it runs along the joists on either side of the affected area.
  • Any new patch you install will have to rest on those joists.
  • Set the depth of your circular saw to match the depth of the floor and cut out the section.
  • Remove the rotten section of floor and set your new patch in place, attaching it to the joists with screws.

3. Silence the squeaks

  • With your wood floor exposed, you'll be able to do some quick repairs.
  • The simplest way to get rid of squeaks is to fasten the floorboards to the floor joists with screws.
  • Existing nails or screws will tell you where the joists lie.
  • Walk around the room and mark the squeaky spots, then go back and drive screws into the joists nearest each squeak.

4. Stop the stench

  • If there have been pets in the house, it's possible that pet urine stains have seeped through the carpet and the underlay to the subfloor below.
  • To stop the stench, wet the area with a mixture of equal parts bleach and water.
  • After five minutes, wipe up the bleach and let the floor dry completely.
  • Once dry, seal the stained area with a stain-blocking primer.

5. Hide the cables

  • Install phone lines, speaker wire and coaxial cables before your new carpet goes in.
  • Run these cables between the the tack strip and the wall, securing them with insulated staples.
  • Make sure the plastic sheathing of the cabling isn't punctured.
  • Run the cabling around the perimeter of the room, but not across doorways or other pathways where foot traffic will damage it.
  • Don't use this technique to hide extension cords or electrical wiring.

Follow this handy how to when you pull up your old carpet before a new one goes in and you'll be on your way to helping out your professional carpet layer, solving some problems and saving money.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu