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What to Consider When Removing Carpets from Hardwood Floors

by Matt
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Are you ready for your new carpet? Then again, perhaps you want to restore your stunning hardwood floor? There’s something about wooden flooring that makes a room look both warm and beautiful. Even in cold winters, wooden floors can be lovely, especially covered in gorgeous rugs or even exotic Oriental rugs. Moreover, it’s so much easier to clean a floor than a carpet. Before you can create that look though, you’ll have to plan your carpet removal. Check out this link if you want to see how the professionals can support you.  

Equipment for Carpet Removal 

If you’re ready to remove your old carpet yourself then you’ll need to get some core equipment ready first, as listed below:

  • Safety glasses 
  • Dust mask
  • Thick Gloves
  • Knee pads 
  • Utility knife
  • Pry bar
  • Pliers 
  • Floor scraper
  • Duct tape 

Whilst it’s easy to ignore the need for safety gear, you’ll soon realize that carpet removal is a tough job. In fact, you’ll be on your knees for hours and you’ll also need to add a lot of elbow grease. This is especially true if you’ve had your carpet for a while. That’s because stains and mold tend to build up in patches underneath. Even carpet padding can’t fully protect your floors. Moreover, most manufacturers suggest changing your old carpet every 6 to 8 years. Although, most of us probably keep it for a much longer period before we finally get rid of it.  

Process of Carpet Removal 

To remove carpet isn’t complex but it is heavy work. Having said that, here are the main steps to follow if you think you’re going to like doing some DIY:

  • Pick up a corner with your pry bar and then pull by hand 
  • Use a utility knife to cut manageable strips that you can easily duct tape into a roll
  • Take care with the tack strips especially if old rusty nails are sticking out
  • Use pliers and a pry bar to remove the tack strip
  • Repeat with the carpet padding although, first remove any staples with the pliers 

When it comes to the carpet pad, you might have to use the floor scraper to help you if the pad has been glued down. You’ll have to be slow and gentle so as not to damage your hardwood floor though. At this stage, you’ll be grateful for your knee pads as you work through removing the carpet. 

If you have to remove any carpet from stairs then essentially it’s the same process. The only difference is that it can be a little trickier to find a corner to lift. Some people like to cut along the length of where the vertical piece meets the step. On the flip side, others prefer to cut the carpet lengthways down the middle of the actual step. It’s then very easy to grab and remove the carpet by pulling back on the edges.  

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Cleaning your Hardwood Floor 

Once you’ve finished removing the carpet then you’ll probably see various stains and dark patches. These aren’t so worrying if they’re only superficial and if you prefer to install a new carpet. On the flip side, you might choose to restore your hardwood floor. Although, again, here you have a choice of doing it yourself or calling the professionals. Either way, the overall approach is as follows: 

  • Clean the floor 
  • Scuff-sand the floor
  • Buff and apply polyurethane 

Clean the Floor 

When a carpet is held down for years, dust and dirt still manage to get underneath. Also, removing the carpet stirs everything up that will settle back down again into any grooves or scratches on the floor. That’s also why you might consider wearing a dust mask as well for removing the carpet.

The first step is to therefore sweep and vacuum thoroughly. Then you can either clean with a hardwood household product or your own mix of 10 parts water to 1 part vinegar. Once everything is as clean as you can make it, you’ll have to make sure it’s dried properly. 

Scuff-sand the floor

Depending on what kind of scratches and stains you have on your floor, you might have to do some light or very deep sanding. Of course, professionals can do this more quickly with their tools and machines. Nevertheless, you can have a go if you’re feeling active. Although, this step is less critical if you’re going to install a new carpet rather than expose the hardwood floor. Both can look great as can a new carpet rug.

Buff and apply polyurethane

You can easily rent a buffer machine but you might want to practice if you’ve never used one before. This equipment is for giving your hardwood floor a final good scrub. Once you’re done, you can apply your wood finish to give it its shine and protect it. Of course, you can also skip this step if you prefer to install a new carpet instead.

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Parting Words on Carpet Removal From Hardwood Floors 

Carpet removal isn’t technically difficult but it can be back-breaking work. Then again, it’s also very fulfilling once everything is finished. After all, if you’re looking for a home project then this is the perfect one to go for because you can’t get it wrong. Nevertheless, you might still want to call up the professionals to get some quotes. That way you can make an informed decision about whether you want to DIY it or get help. The choice is yours. 



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