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Remove carpet and protect hardwoods

Hi there, we are removing the carpet from our house, and it is on top of some beautiful oak floors that we intend to refinish.  I'm a little concerned about how to get started, though, because I do not want to damage the hardwoods while we remove the carpet, pad, and tack strips.  What is the best process to remove the carpet and everything?

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Posted 2012-06-07T17:00:06+0000  by nowdontletsbe nowdontletsbe

To remove the staples use a screw driver and a pair of pliers or a tack puller which you can buy at any hardware store.


When removing the tack strip, use a 1/4 piece of plywood as a buffer, place it on the floor under the pry bar to protect the wood as you pry up the tack strips.



Best Answer

Posted 2012-06-07T21:45:49+0000  by Mike_HD_OC

Hi Nowdontletsbe,


Removing carpet is a pretty straight forward job. Here are some things to consider:


Are you going to paint the rooms?  Do so before you remove the carpet. It will protect the floor from spills and drop cloths will not be needed.


How will you dispose of the old carpet? Will the local landfill accept it? Will it have to be recycled, or will you have to pay to have it hauled away?


Vacuum the carpet first. This will minimize the dust created when it is removed. But still wear a dust mask, and gloves. Those tack strips are unforgiving, I know from personal experience.


Start by removing the base boards, use a wide stiff putty knife to loosen them from the wall. Mark or number each piece so they can be replaced in the proper location.


Pull the carpet up in one corner, use pliers to grab the carpet by the fibers.


Now that you have it started, use a utility knife to cut the carpet into manageable sections as you pull it up.  These smaller pieces can be rolled up to carry out of the room. Tape them with duct tape so they won't unroll before disposal.


Remember carpet is heavy and hard to handle, so cut it into pieces you can easily handle.


Next remove the padding, it may stapled or glued down, or both. Cut it into smaller sections like the carpet to remove it. Tape each section so it won’t unroll.


Finally remove the tack strips, use a flat pry bar to loosen and remove them. Pull out any staples or tack strip nails left behind.


Now is a good time to inspect the floors to see if they’re level, check for squeaks and repair any damage before you begin refinishing them.


Good Luck with your project.




Posted 2012-06-07T18:34:17+0000  by Mike_HD_OC

Thank you for the response!  Quick follow-up questions - when removing the staples (as it appears the carpet pad is stapled down only), should we use some sort of pry bar or pliers?  And when taking the tack strip up with a pry bar, what is the best way to prevent dents and scratches from the tool in the hardwood?  My main concern is damaging the hardwood while trying to get everything up off it.

Posted 2012-06-07T21:30:37+0000  by nowdontletsbe

What's a good product to use to fill in any gaps

Posted 2012-10-25T09:26:22+0000  by pwbjr

Hey there pwbjr,


There are a couple of different things and products you can use to fill in gaps between hardwood floors. Two of the most common are wood filler and wood putty. 


Wood Filler, like this Elmer's Wood Filler Max are great for what you're trying to do. They come in a variety of colors and set relatively quickly. They're also easy to sand as well! However, you may still need to mix colors to come to your correct shade since not all floors age and weather the same.


Wood Putty, like the Minwax 3.75 oz. Golden Oak Wood Putty work well too, but have a much longer drying time, meaning that you need to take caution if working with a lighter color, as it can discolor and collect dust quicker. Note that most wood puttys do not work with with water-based urethanes, so make sure that you don't cover them with one.

Posted 2012-10-25T14:51:36+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI
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