The only room in the house that had carpet in it is W’s (my older son). It was super ugly and also disgusting. I had been begging him to let me remove the carpet since we moved in a year and a half ago, and of course he just wasn’t in to it. That all changed because of this right here:
You can probably guess what has been happening all over that carpet since we got him about a month ago. I keep reminding myself how cute he is. That’s about all he has going for him. His second favorite place is over our floor vents. Presumably he likes a warm tush while he goes.
Anyway, the flip side is that it finally convinced W that he wanted his carpet removed. Michael and I were super excited to see original wood floors in the closet-which means there has to be wood floors in the rest of the room, right? (FYI, read on to the end of the post, but I really feel like the closet played a cruel joke on us and also maybe flipped us the bird).
Well, Michael had to go out of town unexpectedly this past weekend, and W got a bee in his bonnet and decided we had to remove the carpet RIGHT NOW. I’ve removed carpet several times before, and while it isn’t fun, it’s not really hard, so we decided to go for it even while Michael was away.
Here’s what we used-(affiliate links included for your convenience)
My little man, Beau, had a rubber mallet too, but that was just for looks 🙂
How to remove carpet
The first thing you have to do of course is take everything out of the room. Here’s what W’s looked like after we had cleared just about everything out. You may need sunglasses to shield your eyes from the glare of that paint color. The lighting is weird, but the second picture is the more accurate representation of the real color.
So, let’s just get this out of the way. My boys rooms will never be Pinterest stars. I let them decorate how they want to. They’ll be out of the house too soon, and someday maybe I’ll have picture perfect guest rooms, but I’ll probably miss the days of decorating with soda cans and stepping on Legos. I’m good with it. Besides, I have the rest of the house to experiment with.
We left that bookshelf in place. As you can tell, it had tons of stuff on it, but it was also securely attached to the wall. It was clearly built in place on top of the carpet and would have been super difficult to move. W’s idea- attach molding to the bottom of it when we’re done to bridge the gap between the carpet it sits on and the new floor! Super smart.
Anyway, we had to remove shoe molding first. Why there was shoe molding on carpet I don’t know. Simply take one of your mini crowbars, put the sharp end between the shoe molding and the baseboard, and use the hammer to tap:
and a small gap will form. Use your other mini crowbar to pull the shoe molding away from the baseboard. Be careful not to damage the baseboard.
That part went quickly. Once we had removed the shoe molding, we removed the threshold from the closet by prising it up using the mini crowbar. It came up pretty easily- but look at how long those nails are! Be careful!
So….now is a good time for a public safety announcement. You should really wear gloves and eye protection for this. I made my boys wear both, and I wore neither. Guess who ended up getting cut by a nail? Me. Wear your gloves! Sometimes I’m an idiot.
I know some folks will pull all of the carpet up from one side of the room and roll it up in one fell swoop, but I knew that I would rather pull it up in strips, just so it would be easier for us to pick up and take out. So we cut strips using the heavy duty box cutter. First up came the carpet, then the carpet pad.
Did we have beautiful original hardwood? No, we had this…
Ugly, sticky, soft, glued in place, old, linoleum.
It was still better than that nasty carpet, though.
As we went, Beau used the needle nose pliers to pull up staples in the linoleum that were stapled through the padding. They came up easily. That, my friends, is the only time in this process that I was glad that we were dealing with linoleum and not wood. Pulling staples up from linoleum was LOTS easier than pulling it up from wood floors.
Once we had the carpet and staples up, we went around the perimeter of the room and pulled up the tack strips using the mini crowbars. They came up pretty easily- but they can splinter, so be careful. Those suckers hurt like a you know what if you get cut by them! (That bit of shoe molding in this pic is what was on the small inset of hardwood from what used to be a hallway into the living room- oh, it’s a long story.)
Around the doorway, there was some evidence of prior water damage or something equally scary to the original floors and also to the linoleum. W calls it his “welcome mat” (that undamaged wood flooring is our entry floor):
It looks like the linoleum was glued down to the original wood floors. I don’t want to deal with that to be honest. Michael came home, said “huh” a lot, and also the dreaded “A” word. You know, asbestos. As in, “We could pull up that linoleum, but we’d probably have asbestos everywhere.” Uh uh, not gonna happen. Michael: “We could wear a mask”. Nope. For the record, I think he was kidding, but you can never be sure with a country boy. They do believe they can do anything with the right tools.
I’d love to be able to preserve the original floors, but I know when to pick my battles, and this is not one of them.
We’ll put down new hardwoods most likely, but the question is when, and what?
So, to summarize, here are the steps:
- Clear out your room
- Remove shoe molding using mini crowbars and hammer
- Remove any thresholds in the room using mini crowbars
- For ease of disposal, cut carpet into strips using box cutter, roll up the carpet, and dispose.
- Use needle nose pliers to pull up staples holding down padding
- Pull up tack strips using mini crowbars
Easy enough, right?
Edit: We didn’t put down new hardwoods! Here’s what we ended up with.