How to Remove Carpet

Carpet removal is a common project DIYers can perform themselves to save money or for tradesmen and contractors wanting to offer extra services to clients. Replacing flooring is an instant way to transform how the space looks and feels, add sound insulation, and improve air quality by replacing old carpeting with years of dust entrenched in its fibers.

However, removing carpet is not always easy and requires some planning and preparation. In this blog post, we’ll teach you how to remove carpet efficiently with fewer secondary rounds to re-do stubborn patches and ensure you get a clean finish every time.

How difficult is it to remove your carpet yourself?

Carpet removal can be a challenging task — it’s manual work that can put stress on your joints, especially if the carpet has been glued down for a long time or your carpet features an action back where the individual fibers have adhered to the subfloor. However, with the right tools and motorized walk-behind or ride-on floor scraper in your arsenal, you can make it a more manageable and shorter task to complete.

The difficulty level depends on the installer’s skill level, the room’s size, the carpet’s condition, and the type of subfloor underneath. Square uniform rooms are the easiest to manage, while spaces with nooks and alcoves may require more elbow grease to unfasten each inch of carpeting.

Is it worth learning how to remove the carpet yourself?

Removing carpeting yourself is an option…but a challenging one. It requires sweat and dedicated labor time to complete. If you have experience with home improvement projects and feel comfortable using power tools, doing it yourself can be a cost-effective option.

However, if you not have the appropriate experience level, it may be most cost effective to hire a professional to ensure that it’s removed entirely and cleanly — otherwise, it could compromise the finish of the floor and require you to call on the services of a contractor to ensure all the old adhesive and tack strips are eliminated.

The blades needed to remove your carpet

When learning how to remove a carpet, your blade is one of the best tools for cutting the carpet into sections and removing it. Utility knives and dedicated carpet blades are best suited for cutting through carpet and backings without fraying the carpet fibers as much as possible. On the other hand, a carpet knife pole will help you make long strikes without requiring you to rest and put pressure on your knees to section the old carpet.

To expedite the removal of your carpet, a ride-on or walk-behind floor scraper will do all the work of pulling up and even rolling your carpet. Choosing a double-edged blade will help you cut through thick flooring and extend the use of your blade to reduce the number of times it needs replacing. But be sure to have several replacements on hand, as dull blades will reduce your ability to efficiently and effectively complete your project.

Using a floor scraper vs. carpet pullers

Carpet pullers and clamps are options that can help you rip out your carpet; however, they require significant manual labor to drag, pull, and detach the carpet off the subfloor. Maintaining a proper technique is important, as kneeling and bending down can strain your joints and muscles enormously.

For the best carpet removal technique that will take the stress off your back and knees, a ride-on or walk-behind floor scraper will help safeguard your body’s posture. Moving at your regular height without irregularly posturing your body, you can allow it to do all the work, including rolling the carpet if it has been segmented in short strips, so you have one less step to do.

How to remove carpeting using a floor scraper

Step 1 — Prepare the space

Start the project by ensuring the room is clear of any furniture, including any floor moldings — set them aside if you or your clients want to reuse them. Cover any vents with plastic to prevent dust from settling within its holes and tape the bottom of walls and built-in cabinetry with cardboard to prevent any dings and knocks.

During any home or commercial renovation, wearing gloves is important to stop blisters and other skin irritation caused by the vibration and friction of power tools. Additionally, slip on heavy-duty work boots to protect your feet from the sharp points of tack strips and secure a respirator or mask, as the carpet fibers will release ingrained dust and debris when disturbed.

Step 2 — Cut and segment the carpet

Using a carpet, utility, or carpet knife pole, cut the carpet into long strips that span the room’s length. Make each cut as straight as they can be and repeat this process until you have several sections that can be easily handled.

Step 3 — Start removing the carpet

Observe the room and create a workflow plan to determine the best course of action to work without needing to double up on sections, and always observe the placement of the cord if your machine isn’t powered by a battery pack or propane.

Start by the threshold by the door or the left corner, and move the scraper to the next strip on the right as you complete each length. Throughout the project, you may need to adjust the blade’s pitch to ensure it quickly lifts each section and can properly reach the carpet if the surface isn’t level. Pay careful attention, as blades that aren’t leveled correctly can risk damaging the subfloor and the scraper itself. Additionally, if your floor scraper is not effectively lifting the carpet, it could indicate a dull blade that should be replaced.

Step 4 — Remove the underlay

Follow the same steps above and use your walk-behind or ride-on floor scraper to remove any underlay and padding.

Step 5 — Clean the space

After removing your rolled piles of carpet, use a broom or industrial vacuum cleaner to wick away dust and other debris, and observe the condition of the floor to check that there are no tack strips left behind. If so, remove them with pliers or a scraper and hammer.

It’s highly likely that you’ll face residue from the adhesives previously used. Apply an adhesive solvent cleaner and scrape off the residue before it dries — you may need to work in sections of the room. Broom or vacuum once more, and you’ll be left with a floor that looks good as new!

Make carpet removal easy with the range of floor scrapers from Specialty Equipment

Removing carpeting is a simple task that can be accomplished with a bit of guidance and effort. For a polished and professional outcome, explore Specialty Equipment’s selection of walk-behind and riding floor scrapers and matching blades that have been meticulously engineered to tackle any job with accuracy and convenience.

Whether you’re working on a residential, retail, or commercial project, you can rely on the dependability of our equipment for effortless maneuvering. If you need assistance selecting the appropriate machine size to match the size of your workspace, don’t hesitate to reach out — our team is readily available to provide valuable and expert advice.