How to Remove Old Carpet

Old carpet in an apartment.
What You'll Need
Utility knife
Hammer or crowbar
Flathead screwdriver
Sturdy scissors

Follow these steps to remove old carpet. The job can usually be done by a single person.

Step 1 - Move All Furniture

You will likely follow this project with the installation of another carpet or new hardwood floor. Move furniture to a spare room where it can be stored for a few days.

Step 2 - Remove Floor Stripping

The stripping that holds the carpet firmly in place may have been nailed or screwed in. If it has been in place for many years, the floor beneath may have warped, making removal difficult. If a screwdriver or hammer doesn't work, use the crowbar to pry up all nails.

Step 3 - Remove Tack Boards

Tack boards ensure that wall-to-wall carpet is fixed in place via tiny tacks. Use gloves and caution to removed these sharp pieces.

Step 4 - Start at a Corner

Use the screwdriver as a lever to lift the old carpet and pad foam from a corner. Rip large pieces of the carpet upward. In places where it sticks, use the utility knife to slice strips that you can roll up. Be sure to collect the padding from underneath as well.

When you're done, all that should be left are the underlying tack boards. You can either remove them or leave them to serve as part of the new carpet.