Hardwood floors are coveted by many homeowners today, so it can be difficult to believe that anyone would cover their beautiful floors with carpet. However, the texture and softness of carpeting combines with its ability to buffer sounds and other benefits to give it a unique appeal. Carpeting certainly has its own benefits, but it also can wear out quickly, negatively impact indoor air quality and collect stains and odors. If you have discovered a beautiful floor underneath your outdated, dirty carpeting, removing the carpet without damaging the wood floor is at the top of your to-do list. Are you ready to learn how to remove carpet from hardwood floors safely?
How to Remove Carpet from Hardwood Floors in Five Steps
Many people do not realize has filthy their carpet is until they pull it up. Regardless of how frequently you vacuum the floor, old carpet likely is saturated with dirt, dust and other elements. These will fly through the air, and many of the particles will land all over you as you pull the carpet up. Therefore, learning how to remove carpet from hardwood floors starts with wearing the right clothes. Wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Put on work gloves, a dust mask and work goggles. This may seem like overkill, but you will be happy you took these steps after you get started.
Gather the Supplies
You will need the right tools and supplies to complete this strenuous task. A pry bar, a box cutter knife and pliers are the basic tools that are needed to pull out the carpet. You also need packing tape or twine to manage the large sections of the carpet that you pull up.
Choose a Strategic Starting Point
You should not stab the box cutter’s blade blindly into the carpet. This could easily damage the hardwood floor underneath. Instead, start along a wall. Carpeting is held in place with tack strips, and these usually run along the perimeter of a carpeted room. Carefully pull the carpeting away from the wall using the pliers. Then, make a deep cut through the carpet with the box cutter knife. You may be able to make a cut that extends several feet away from the wall in one clean motion.
Cut the Carpet into Manageable Strips
Your inclination may be to pull the carpet up in one large strip. This is one strategy, but it may make more work for you overall. The carpet will generally need to be cut into manageable sizes so that it can easily be hauled off. In many areas, curbside waste removal will not pick up these very large and heavy objects such as a huge roll of old carpet. Plus, a single, large strip of carpet is very heavy and can be awkward to remove from your house. You can plan ahead for an on-site waste removal service, or you should contact your curbside waste removal service provider to learn about their requirements. The carpet strips that you cut should conform to those requirements. Roll up these sections, and bind them with twine or tape.
Remove the Padding
Once the carpet has been removed from the work area, you will need to remove the padding. Some installers glue the padding to the subfloor. If this is the case, you may not be able to salvage the wood floor. Otherwise, the floor may need to be refinished thoroughly. If the padding is laying free on the floor, start ripping it and rolling it up in the same way that you removed and bundled the carpet.
Remove the Carpet Tack Strips
The only things that is standing between you and a beautiful wood floor are the tacking strips. If you have not put on your work gloves up to this point, you definitely need to wear them now. Numerous tacks jut out of the wooden strips with their sharp side up. Carefully use the pry bar to loosen the strips from the floor underneath it. Then, grab the strips to pull it completely free. Some people wrap up the wood strips in the padding for easier disposal. Otherwise, you can dispose of them in a bin. Avoid using a plastic bag because the sharp tacks will poke through.
After You Learn How to Remove Carpet from Hardwood Floors
Once the carpet, pad and strips have been removed, you will be left with a messy floor. Even if your carpet appeared clean before you started ripping it up, you may have a visible layer of dirt covering the wood floor now. Use a broom to sweep the dirt into a pile. If your vacuum does not have a “beater bar,” you can use your vacuum to suction away the filth. Now, you are ready to inspect the condition of the wood floor. It may need to be refinished, or you may discover that it should be replaced or covered over with new flooring.
A hardwood floor that is well-maintained has a decades-long lifespan. If your wood floor has been protected by carpeting over the last several years or longer, it could be in beautiful condition. The only way to know what you are working with is to remove the carpeting that sits on top of it and to inspect the full condition of the wood planks. Now that you know how to remove carpet from wood floors properly, you can make light work of the project without unintentionally damaging the wood planks that you want to save.