Has your stair carpet come to the end of its life? Before you rush to find your sharpest knife and start ripping it out, take a few moments to think about the best way to remove the carpet without causing any damage to the staircase. How to remove old carpet – The odd scratch may not matter if you’re going to fully re-carpet the stairs afterwards, but could make life harder if you’re intending to install a runner down the centre, or leave the stairs uncovered.
Follow these tips for how to remove old carpet:
Make sure you have all the right tools to hand before you begin. Pliers, a utility knife and a right-angled pry bar (also known as a wonder bar) should suffice to lever up the carpet. If you don’t have a pry bar, you might be able to manage with a hammer and chisel. Thick work gloves to protect your hands from sharp tack strips, staples and nails are also essential. And as old carpets and underlay can generate a lot of dust, a face mask would be a good idea. Laying out old newspapers at the bottom of the stairs will help to protect the floor. How to remove old carpet – Better still, use a tarpaulin or sheet to contain the mess. You can fold it up around the debris afterwards and carry everything straight outside. Now you are ready to begin. From the top of the stairs, slide the pry bar under the carpet to work it free it from the tack strips securing it to the treads. If the carpet is very close-fitting and you can’t find a starting point, try pushing the blade of your utility knife along one of the edges to lift it up a little. Failing that, you may be able to use pliers to pull up a small section of carpet so you can wedge the pry bar underneath.
Carefully lever the carpet off the tack strips with the wonder bar until you can pull it free from the top tread, then work your way down the staircase. Your carpet may consist of several short sections joined together, or it might be made up of one continuous length. A single long piece of carpet is best dealt with by slicing it into sections as you go along, for easy disposal. Always cut from the back rather than the front – it’s quicker and easier. When you reach a transition strip – a connector which joins two sections of carpet together – cut the carpet at that point, leaving the strip in position so you can use it again (assuming you’re planning to re-carpet the stairs).