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how to pull up existing carpet

tips on how to pull up existing carpet that is glued to the floor. I would like to put down new carpet

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Posted 2011-02-01T13:59:43+0000  by cjones cjones

Hey cjones,


Thank  you for your question and welcome to the community.


I am a flooring associate from the Atlanta area and I have dealt with many a glue down removal work.


First thing you are going to need to find out  is how thick the carpet is and how well the glue is laid down on your floor. To find out, you can first go any spot in the room and cut through to see just how easy it is to remove with a knife. The perfect tool to do that, as well as cut and scrape the carpet/glue are in the pictures below; all found at your local Home Depot in the flooring department:




Cut out about a 3 foot by 3 foot section with your knife. Use the small hand scraper to see how easy or hard it will be to take off,  because how tough the glue is adhering down to the floor determines how tough the job is going to be of removing it. Check the moulding in the room to see if it is above the carpet, if it is, it will need to be removed as well before any carpet removal begins. After doing that, cut through the layers of carpet with the knife, use the larger floor scraper to get the big sections of carpet up by getting underneath it with the cuts you just made through the carpet with the knife, usually a 2 to 3 foot slash into the carpet. Try not to scrape at an acute (more than 45 degree) angle as if you have a wooden subfloor, it could get damaged. Did I mention you should be wearing gloves, knee pads, a dust mask/respirator and weekend clothes, as the glue still wants to stick around :smileysurprised: 


Now this isn't an exact science, because you may have to work with the the small scraper and knife in tandem and the glue could be put down unevenly in some areas. Experience has taught me that the worst areas to take up are generally the areas where the highest traffic patterns in the room are, the glue tends to bond better there, so be prepared to use all three tools in those areas. Have a bottle of adhesive remover just in case for those trouble spots, I'm including a picture of one further down this post.


If you have all the carpet ripped up and hauled away, you should visibly inspect the subfloor to check for large spots of adhesive still left and to make sure the subfloor looks level and secure. The glue has to be taken off at this stage mainly because if you lay the new carpet down, the glue can stick to it and prevent it from stretching.  If you have over a standard bedroom size (12 ft. x 12 ft.) or bigger, I'd recommend using a floor maintainer w/ black scrub pad from our Tool Rental department to get off the majority of the glue. Grab extra pads  just in case that glue is stubborn, here is a picture of it and its benefits:

floor maintainer.JPG


 While the floor maintainer should get up almost all of the glue up, you may have some trouble spots that the glue still is holding onto. If the glue is not tacky and thin enough, you can decide if you want to leave it as is for the new carpet or use an adhesive remover to take the glue off. That is sold in our paint department and works great for cutting into the adhesives, but it does let off vapors so keep that dust mask/respirator handy.  Adhesive remover brushes on easily and scrapes right off with the same small metal scraper you just used for the carpet removal. After getting up the glue, let any residue settle for a few hours before reentering the room. The best product I've personally used is in our paint department, heres the pic:

Adhesive Remover.JPG



Now you should have a nice clean subfloor ready for your new carpet. At this stage if you are doing glue down again or placing padding underneath let me know, and we can do a step by step from there.


 Additionally, three of our expert community members, PaintPro, gotogregg, and Ask_Mr_Jay did a fanatastic thread post about basic carpet removal a few weeks ago. While the removal is different,  this thread I am about to link to you covers a lot of basic questions and how-to tips for standard carpet and moulding removal, here is the link:


How To Remove Carpet


So there you have it cjones, hope this helps you out, and thank you again for joining us on the community, we hope to hear from you again.




Posted 2011-02-01T15:24:29+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

I just want to add a video on what joe said that i think that would come in handy:

Posted 2012-09-20T05:39:06+0000  by carpetsondmove

If you are a contractor and do a lot of glued down carpet removal you should know about the tearout trike. I've had mine for about a year now, and I wish I had it sooner!    


Check it out-



Posted 2012-12-18T20:09:57+0000  by AlexReid

I will suggest you to take help from any professinonals, Otherwise your carpet will tear off or it may damage your floor.

Posted 2013-02-26T06:40:31+0000  by JessicaPetty
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