Renovations are a lot of work. For anyone who’s attempted one, that’s possibly the understatement of the year!! LOL. Renovations are a lot of hard, messy, tiring work. Unfortunately for most of us, there’s really no way around it. Being budget conscientious requires putting in some sweat equity where you can. Today I tackled what I think has been one of the crumbiest jobs on the renovation job site to date, carpet removal. (Click here for tips on how to keep your renovation on track).
Now admittedly there are crumby gross jobs and crumby hard jobs. Carpet removal I would classify as a crumby hard job. Well maybe not so much hard, as tedious. The carpet removal itself is really pretty easy. In fact it’s actually pretty satisfying to see how quickly the old carpet comes out and transforms the space. The removal of the staples left behind, however, that’s a lot of hard work! Especially on the staircase. The suck factor was very high.
Our old carpet and underlay came out last week, prior to the painter’s arrival. He needed the carpet off the stairs so he could spray our railings. If not for that, I don’t think we would’ve tackled a job like carpet removal ourselves. In our opinion, it doesn’t have significant cost savings compared to the time and effort it required.
Today we needed to finally tackle the staples left behind. Taking out the old staples in the staircase took at least as long as all three of our upstairs bedrooms and loft combined. Thank goodness we didn’t have to deal with carpet removal on our main floor! Anyways, we are finally done and all prepped for our new carpet to be installed on Thursday. I can’t wait for that!
For anyone else thinking about doing their own carpet removal, here are 7 things you need to know before tackling this project.
1. Wear safety gear
Even if it’s your own home, I highly suggest wearing gloves and even a mask. If it’s not your home…these are a must. Yuck! This is a really dirty, dusty job and you should protect yourself. Plus there’s all those nasty tack strips around the perimeter (more about those in a second) that will poke and scrape your bare knuckles every chance they get.
2. Find the seams
Depending on the size of your room and the width of your carpet (usually 12′ or 15′) your room may have a seam. Finding the seams will help you decide where else you should cut the carpet to make it more manageable to remove. Using a utility knife, cut the carpet into approximately 6-8′ strips.
3. Roll up the old carpet
Starting at one side of the room, pull the carpet away from the tack strips. Roll your old carpet up and wrap with a bit of duck tape to help with carry out. The underlay underneath the carpet will be similar: roll, tape, remove. The underlay pad is stapled to your subfloor, but will easily pull free…leaving you with a bunch of staples to pull.
4. Tack strip
The tack strip (or also known oddly enough as the smooth edge) is something that should be checked but left in place. If it’s in good shape it can stay, especially if you are replacing old carpet with new. Make sure it’s not rusted or damaged, but the tack strip can be reused by the installers with the new carpet.
5. Staple removal – The easy way
This is the part of the job that is not particularly fun. You need to remove all of the old staples before the new carpet is installed. One tip that I found helpful was to use an ice scraper on the floor area. A chisel, pry bar or even a firm putty knife might even help if your are fortunate enough to live where you don’t keep an ice scraper in the garage. You can use these to scrape across the floor ahead of you in a pushing or shovelling motion. Unfortunately this doesn’t help much on the stairs, but will help you pop most of staples out of the flat floor surface.
6. Staple removal – The rest of the story
Whatever staples you aren’t able to pop out with tip #5 will need to be pulled out by hand. Unfortunately this means crawling around on your hands and knees with some pliers and a screwdriver to get out the rest. This is not very fun, but grab a towel or some knee pads and save your knees as best you can. You can also try pounding some staples flush with the floor with a hammer to save having to pull them out.
When all is said and done, make sure you clean the subfloor prior to the new carpet’s arrival. Use a broom or a shop vac to remove any debris or loose staples. This will prevent anything from being trapped under your new carpet.
Have you ever tackled your own carpet removal? If you have any additional tips or tricks, please share them in the comments below.
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