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Ripping up carpet and padding 101

Have you ever wanted to rip up the carpet to expose your hardwood floors?  I’ve done it a couple of times before. Once at Jamie’s house when she first moved to Nashville, and here at my own home when I got tired of the carpet.  It’s always full of surprises and each of those experiences were different.

Being a glutton for punishment, I decided to do it yet again, at a small rental property known from this point on as the “project house”.



TIP: fold carpet to expose underneath side and use a utility knife to cut the carpet in more manageable widths, about 2 to 3 feet.


utility-knife-bladesI tried both of these blades and found that the regular blade worked better for me, especially using it on the wrong side of the carpet.


roll-small-sections-carpetAfter cutting the carpet into a small section, simply roll it up and secure it with Gorilla Tape.


removed-carpet-exposed-paddingAfter removing the carpet, it was on to the padding.   The other two times I’ve exposed hardwood floors, there were tons of staples everywhere hold the pad in place.  You can see from this photo there are NO staples, I was pleasantly surprised (this giddiness was short-lived)


spray-paint-hardwood-floorsLook what was lurking underneath that padding—who spray paints vents while they’re laying on the hardwood floors?  But, like I said the pad was not stapled down.


cats-paw-toolThere was of course the dreaded tack strip.  I discovered this handy tool when Jamie and I removed her carpet all those years ago.  I still keep this cat’s paw in my tool box for dismantling my furniture pieces.  So, the living room was fairly easy.  There were some random staples from years gone by, but they are easily removed with a hammer and the cat’s paw.



padding-glued-hardwood-floorsRoom two at the project house.  NO staples, BUT a lot of adhesive to hold the carpet in place.


glued-carpet-padRoom #3 at the project house was even worse.  The pad was glued in front of the closet, along a couple of the walls, and right across the middle of the floor.

You know how things go… it got worse as I went.  Had I uncovered this room first, I may not have done the other two.  This was b.a.d.


paint-thinner-looses-adhesiveIn room #3 I used an old mop to apply some paint thinner.  If you have carpet padding glued to your floor, please investigate what works best for your adhesive.  Some adhesives take a professional grade remover.

I did try sanding a spot without the glue being removed, thinking that the sanding would easily take care of it—it did not. I suggest you remove as much glue as possible before you start sanding.

heat-gun-removes-adhesiveBack to room #2.  I decided to try my HomeRight Heat Pro Plus .   I think both techniques worked equally well, it just depends on your patience level, and whether you’d rather use chemicals.


adhesive-glue-hardwood-floorRoom #2 with most of the padding removed, but still a lot of adhesive left behind. I ended up mopping this room with the paint thinner to remove as much of the adhesive as I could.


2014-01-19 15.15.08Room #3 with most of the padding and adhesive removed.

Overall the floors were in good shape, better than I expected them to be.  This house was built in the 40’s.


small-rolls-carpetThis is the carpet and padding.  I secured each of the rolls with my Gorilla Tape and set half of this mess out to the garbage for 2 different weeks.  I don’t believe the garbage company would have taken it if I had removed each room in one large roll, nor would I have been to carry it.


Next week, I’ll share a very detailed post  on sanding these hardwood floors.


Have you ripped up carpet?  Do you have some tips I didn’t include?  Please share them with us in the comments below!


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A teacher at heart, Gail relishes the chance not to show off her projects, but to help others find their inner handywoman, step-by-step. Her blog, MyRepurposedLife.com, chronicles her scrap-saving adventures and has been featured on countless DIY magazines and websites, including Women’s Day, Design*Sponge and Apartment Therapy. She is a longtime influencer for both Krylon spray paint and Gorrilla Glue. With a tribe of more than 400,000 followers, Gail is inspiring a new generation of DIYers to pick up some tools and get to work.
About gail@myrepurposedlife.com


    Speak Your Mind


  1. Hi Gail.. Glad I saw this post..Ill be ripping up carpet in my mobile home this summer, unfortunately I know there are no beautiful hardwood floors lurking beneath.. but thats a good tip to cut in smaller sections for the garbage to pick up. Thanks

  2. When you pull up your carpet and pad it can be recycled depending on your state. So land filling it is not your only option! Btw keep up the good work.

  3. The spray painting of the vents on the wood floor … bad decision! Maybe at the time, the wood floors were thought to be hideous and the owners couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to reveal them again???

    Your sentence about using the Gorilla Tape reminds me that I still have some unused Gorilla products in my basement. I ended up with a bunch from our blogger meetup. One of my son’s best friends is a Gorilla Tape junkie. For his high school graduation gift, he is getting a Gorilla gift pack and he will LOVE it!

  4. Now that’s a lot of work! I can’t wait to see it all done! I’m ripping out carpet too. But mine is all glued down, no nails or tacks at all! :)

  5. Hi Gail!
    I have ripped out carpeting before. YUCK! Not fun.
    One tip I have?
    Wear Protection!!
    Comfy shoes and of course, GLOVES! (SAW THOSE IN THE PICTURES)
    But most importantly? FACE MASK–DUST MASK… whatever you want to call it. Even a bandanna is better than nothing!
    I have to say… I have a ‘PROJECT HOUSE’ TOO! 😉
    I thought we all owned project houses… hee-he-he!

  6. Wish I had hard wood under my carpet. We have concrete slabs. I am so jealous.

  7. Who spray paints over hardwood? In my house the answer would be: Barbarians and Philistines.

    Tore up carpeting from our large living/great room and a bedroom. Luckily, my teenage boys did all the heavy work. There were two layers of carpeting (one really thin and cheap). The worst was that the padding had disintegrated! We had to use brooms and shovels to remove it. My patient son who doesn’t mind tedious work, pried them all up. Unfortunately, there wasn’t hardwood floors underneath; just plywood. But putting a new floor in wasn’t nearly as hard as tearing up the carpeting. This summer we are going to get rid of the lasts bit of carpeting in the house which is in an enclosed porch/laundry room (who puts carpeting near a washing machine?!).

  8. You are brave person to do that. I am going to take up a carpet that is all glued down this summer and don’t know what is under it. After this I am not looking forward to doing this but will wait until I can have the windows open to do this. Thank you for the advice on what to do with the carpet.

  9. Yippee! I am so excited to see the progress on this! Just getting to this stage was a ton of work, holy cow! Great tips though, I wish I had hardwood floors under my carpet, but I don’t. Pinned!

  10. We had to remove carpet from our current home but wood floors were not underneath them. I can’t believe they spray painted the vents on the wood floors!!! Who does that?!! Ahhh! I can’t wait to see your next post on sanding the floors down!

  11. I’ve done it the same way as you, cutting into sections is so much easier to work with and dispose of, as you say. I HATE the glue on the floor, it is such a lot of work to get off. I remember when my parents covered all their hardwood with wall-to-wall carpeting. I guess it was the late 70s or early 80s and the thing to do.

  12. Yup, we have done this several times, and helped friends with the process as well. Nothing we look forward too, but the finished result is worth it.

  13. Uh–G a i l ……not trying to sound scolding or anything, BUT……
    Are you SO TOTALLY RECOVERED that you should be doing THAT MUCH crAZiness–??
    Good Lord—that much stress, physicality, AND chemicals……what next crazy girl–?
    Can’t you just do the usual FUN stuff? (I know THAT wasn’t FUN!)

  14. Leann Doyle says:

    Can’t wait to see the project house and the finished floors!!! :) :) :)

  15. There is that “cats paw” again! I’m going to have to get one for my tool box. That one room has a lot of doors going on for a room! That whole job looks hard, good for you for sticking with it, can’t wait to see the finished results!

  16. girlfromwva says:

    I haven’t ripped up any carpet, YET! Will definitely keep the tools you are using handy when the time comes to do the job. Thanks for the pics along the way!

  17. Oh gosh! I’m just giddy reading this! I love love love the old hardwood floors! Some people just don’t care about them, as shown with the spray painting and the gluing. I know it’s a lot of work, but I am very excited to see the end results of this project. :)

  18. You have a “project house”…I am so envious right now! I would love to be able to renovate an old house! Of course I would also want to have lots of money to pay someone to do most of the work, lol! Can’t wait to follow your journey!

    • gail@myrepurposedlife.net says:

      The project house around here is known as “the little blue house” we have a habit of naming everything. We’ve owned it for about 15 years, and it’s small and needs a ton of work. It has the potential to be really cute, but lack of money, time, and energy has kept it a diamond in the rough. I would love to redo it and use it as my shoppe to stage and sell my pieces, but again, the lack of time, money and energy. :)
      It’s currently for sale, should it not sell, some minor things will be done to ready it for rental again.

  19. What a job! I haven’t had to do that before, thank goodness! Too bad about the spray paint (who would DO that???). Your “project house” sounds interesting, it looks like it’s got good bones. Good luck and have fun!!

  20. Doris Henson says:

    The project house.. huh?? Sounds interesting…will be fun to follow this. :)

  21. That will be my life in May. I plan to take up carpet in two rooms (the only rooms with carpet). I am not looking forward to it, but we have got to get going on this house. At the rate we’re going, the house will be “done” exactly twenty-four hours before they cart me off to assisted living.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me! I read and appreciate every word!