Carpet Removal

Carpet removal isn’t a particularly complicated task, but it does require some patience and a bit of muscle to get through the process. The 800 square feet of carpeting at Sunnybrook Lane took Lisa about 15 hours to remove, including removal of all the stuff holding it down and fully prepping the subfloor for a new floor installation.

The process of removing a twenty-five year rug reiterated for me why I want hard flooring throughout the house. It was pretty gross. Not only does carpeting absorb more dust and dirt than you might imagine, the spills that go through to the padding never really completely leave, even with occasional professional cleaning. Soooo, out it all goes!

Carpeting is most often held in place around the perimeter by wooden strips with sharp tacks, nailed to the subfloor. There’s usually a layer of padding as well, which gives the carpeting extra cushion and insulation. We opted to do this job first so that we’d have the cushion of folded-back carpeting/padding to kneel on, making the job a bit less of a pain.

Our first step was to pull back all the carpet and remove the wood strips. This is best accomplished with a crow bar, using a hammer to tap it under the wood strip before prying the strips up. There are sharp tacks on one side and sharp nails on the other, so it is imperative one wears sturdy work gloves! We used a big box to pitch the sharp stuff, as it ripped right through garbage bags.

Where the carpeting adjoined the vinyl in the kitchen, it was held in place with long metal “transition strips” in addition to wooden tack strips. These we had removed when taking out the vinyl flooring, but you may find them in places where carpeted rooms adjoin or where carpeting abuts another type of flooring. They pop out quite easily with a crow bar.

Once the carpet was freed from all the tack strips and metal transitions strips, it needed to get out of the house. To make the job easier, we cut it into more manageable 3-4 foot strips and folded them up. After struggling to hack through the carpeting in the den, I nearly gave up the fight. Fortunately, Jeff had a stint working with a carpet layer at some point in his youth. Turns out, carpeting is WAY easier to cut from the backside. And, oh yeah, those blades in utility knives are replaceable for a reason! A sharp blade along the backing ripped through the carpeting in short order, with way less effort.

The carpet was folded into manageable pieces and brought to the dumpster (we reserved a few pieces to protect the new flooring if needed later). While we were able to find takers to re-utilize a large amount of what we removed, the carpeting was too worn and dirty to be useful, so unfortunately had to be taken to the landfill.

Once all the carpet and padding was cleared out, Lisa went around the entire house popping out staples and pounding in nails, the most time-consuming part of the process. This is where one realizes what a wonderful invention kneepads are…if you don’t have ’em already, get a set before ya start; your joints will thank you. And your plumber will finally stop yelling “kneepads!!!” at you every time he walks by (Dean!).

Last but not least, we went to work with brooms and a shop vac, getting rid of all the debris, including staples, nails, and bits of carpet/backing. We are finally ready to install new flooring throughout the house–will add a post showing you how, when we make our choice and start installing.

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