How To Remove Carpet On Top Of Hardwood Floors

6 materials
4 Days

Can you believe that when our ranch house was built in 1977, they installed hardwoods and then carpet right on top? My contractor hubby Steve says that was common back then. We found out about the hardwood ages ago after I chose and paid for new carpet. When the installers arrived and started pulling up the old carpeting – voila! There it was. Darn it. Flash forward and it’s time for a new flooring option. So we decided to pull it all up and I am sharing how to remove carpet on top of hardwood floors in four steps.

Making the decision to dive into this project was SO easy. One minute we were enjoying coffee on a lazy Sunday morning and the next minute we were yanking up carpet, padding, nailing strips, and staples. That night we were so sore and crabby, thinking we were just nuts. The bloom was off the excitement of our decision.

At this point, two weeks after starting, we have the very long hallways and the den completed. The sobering part of this project at our home is that the floors are very orange-ish and have only a rough sanding sealer on top. Meaning that the newly-discovered floors require sanding and a sealer. Plus, to me, a color option that will tone down the red oak color. UGH!

Steve spent hours sanding the floors with a heavy-duty sander and they look amazing. However, the whole house would take him forever! Now, he and I have determined that we will continue to remove the carpet in each room as we have time, then decide how to finish the floors later. Just moving the furniture to get to every inch of our rooms is daunting and our knees need a break after each room.

We know we are going to love the final result and you will too if you have discovered hardwoods under your carpet. P.S. have you peeked yet? Just use pliers to pull up a corner of carpet inside a closet to see what you have. Fingers crossed it’s hardwoods.

Grab your tools and let’s go!


TOOLS crowbar, 5-in1 tool, hammer or mallet, utility knife 

OPTIONAL trash bags for padding

STEP ONE Move the furniture to another area in the room to allow space to work in a section. We also had our kitties go to the guest room with a soft bed, food and a litter box. The nails are so sharp, and they are so curious.

STEP TWO Peel back a manageable section of carpet and use a heavy-duty utility knife to cut it off.

STEP THREE Remove the padding underneath in sections. You will see the tack strips up against the wall where the installer pulled the carpet tight. Be careful, there are little nails on both sides of the strips and a larger nail every few inches. There will also be staples in the middle of the area where the padding was secured.

STEP FOUR  Remove the tack strips and larger nails around the room. Use a mallet or hammer and a crowbar to get up underneath the strip. Use a 5-in-1 tool to pry up the staples everywhere else.

Sweep up, move the furniture back in place, and enjoy the exciting newness of hardwood floors!

Our rascally kitties think we built this wonderful racetrack just for their personal adventures.

So now you have a giant pile of carpet and padding to manage. Where we live Steve was able to take two loads to the transfer station (dump) in his Jeep Cherokee. One carload is $10 and a truck is $44. You could also rent a dumpster if you are doing a whole home at once.

I would love for you to follow lots of other projects and painting adventures on my blog at

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Debbie Dion Hayes Creative
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