Pulling Up the Carpet and Linoleum

I thought it made sense to start with the flooring. Uncovering the original floors was the only way to see what we had to work with.

Upstairs was mostly linoleum which was stapled down (not glued) over roofing felt or, for most of the rooms, over several layers of newspaper. This meant there was very little adhesion between the flooring and the wood floors. Look at those great baseboards.

Downstairs the floors were mostly carpet. Carpet held by carpet strips which were pretty easy to take up with a hammer and pry bar. The carpet pad was stapled which was really a pain. Sometimes I needed an awl or screwdriver to get under the staple so it could be pulled out with pliers.

The exposed floors are mixed. The lower floor is in better shape, the upper floor doesn’t have a subfloor. All are about six inch pine.

This is one of the upper floors- it doesn’t look like it was ever finished. At this point we planned to refinish all of them but the lack of subfloor upstairs was a problem.

The tools for this are pretty simple. I included a cat’s paw on the left though so far I haven’t needed it- it can extract an embedded nail but will mess up a surface. The Estwing pry bar in the middle was a big help- it can catch a really thin nail with no head. Most staples come up with the screw driver and pliers. The scraper is for the pad which can fuse with the wood. I like to keep things neat so I cut the carpet and pad into sections with the utility knife (very careful not to slice into the floor) and rolled it up secured with duct tape.

This is really easy- anyone can do it. But you have to pull up every! single! fastener! I tried not to let anything escape me because a broken off nail or staple can be really hard to find.

How long will it take depends on how the floor was attached and how many fasteners were used. If there was glue or the padding has melted into the floor it will take a lot longer. I found the worst part was taking out the narrow staples used on the pad- they can be really hard to dig out without damaging the floor. My average was about two hours per 12×12 room, except the kitchen.

The kitchen has linoleum glued to the subfloor with some black sticky substance. It took a couple hours to clear a 2×3′ closet. I am planning to rip up the flooring in this room. The odd thing is the linoleum looks exactly like the bathroom where it is adhered to 1/2 plywood nailed (not glued) to the floor- which should be pretty easy if messy to pull up. You never know…