Talk to me about ripping up carpet...

Never done this before, and I'm going to be on a tight tight schedule to install my laminate floors before moving into the new house.

There's a hideous thick carpet in there now, covering the living room and 3 small bedrooms.  About 700-800 sq feet.  I think it's tacked, not glued, though I won't know for sure, I guess till I start ripping it up. 

I've read a little bit online about how to do this.  What I need to know is approximately how long it will take.  Assuming I am doing this by myself, and including the time to take off all the baseboards (carefully, since I want to reuse them), do you have any idea how long this should take me?  Any tips would be very much appreciated too! 


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dorkusmilorkus on Apr 04, 2007:

You're in for a real treat, let me tell ya.

My husband and I ripped up carpet in our master bedroom when we moved in. The actual ripping up of the carpet and the pad underneath was no problem (albeit totally disgusting), but getting up the tackboards and tacks took FOREVER. Especially when you're being careful. Just to do that one bedroom, a pretty medium-sized room, took about 3 hours. Now keep in mind it was just my husband doing it - had I been in there with him it would've taken probably half that time.

Our tip to you: patience, a hammer and a pair of pliers. The only way we really could get out the tacks from the floor was with a pair of pliers.

Good luck, man! 

mi.jo on Apr 03, 2007:

Ok, I have figured out the source of my confusion.  I was using "baseboard" as an overarching term to include the sub-category of quarter-round.  In fact, I think what I have in the house actually is quarter-round (have to go peer in the windows to make sure) in which case it's really not worth re-using; nor can I put more quarter-round on top of it. 

So, I'm just going to get new quarter-round.

Ok, so next question, how should I paint it?  Don't want to stain it - Mom tells me the real wood quarter round is too expensive.  Can't paint it to match the walls - each room is going to be a different color, yet to be decided.  Mom suggests I paint the quarter round to match the lightest shade of the flooring ("antique" Ikea laminate).  I'm skeptical...  Anyone have an opinion on that?

jasimar on Mar 31, 2007:

We did it all rather quickly, too.  Rip those suckers up and wrap em tight.  One thing we didn't think of... and pretty foolishly, too, was that our utility knife was scratching up the pretty hardwood underneath.  Totally un-fun.

DIY Maven on Mar 31, 2007:

Yes, the quarter round goes up against your baseboard and the new floor. Chances are VERY HIGH that your baseboard was installed 1/4" to 3/8" above your existing underlayment so the carpeting could be tucked under it. Now, if you DON'T have that gap, that's when the quarter round is your friend! I'd just lay the new flooring up to the existing baseboard and slap down your quarter round over the gap. As for the shiny varnished surfaces, instead of sanding, you might want to consider using a deglosser like WilBond. After you remove your carpet, you could apply deglosser to the existing baseboard and apply a coat of primer; then install the new flooring, install 1/4 round (which you would want to pre-prime) and then apply a couple coats of paint to the new baseboard/quarter round. You could maybe put a coat of paint on all trim before you install the flooring to prevent floor muck up, but you'll have to fill holes in your 1/4 round anyway after you install it which usually requires a final coat of paint to cover your hole filler. The nice thing about using 1/4 round is you can get your floor laid and then worry about finishing the trim later--great for that move in time crunch problem.

mi.jo on Mar 30, 2007:

Thanks so much!

So, the reason I want to save the baseboards is partly to save $ (cuz after paying for the floor and the electrician, I'll have, like, none) but also to save myself the trouble of measuring and cutting new ones.  I was assuming that would be extremely time-consuming and aggravating.  But maybe not, especially since (now that I think about it), I wouldn't have to measure, since I could just use the old ones to cut the new ones.  (The baseboards are super ugly, by the way.  They were finished with a very dark stain and an unbelievably shiny varnish, for the interesting effect of making real wood look like cheap plastic.  Same effect achieved with all the trim and cabinets in the house, but that's another project for another weekend.)

So anyway, now I'm thinking maybe I should buy new laminate baseboards OR quarter round.   But I'm confused, DIY Maven, are you saying you put the quarter round ON TOP OF the existing baseboard?  How do you rip the carpet up without taking the baseboards off?  And how you put the laminate in without taking the baseboards off - you need to have that 1/4" gap at the wall with the little spacers, so don't you need to be able to go right up to the wall?


Chrisjob on Mar 30, 2007:

Also, save some of your less-gross carpeting to protect your new home as you move-in, etc.

DIY Maven on Mar 30, 2007:

Removing the carpet itself, if it's tacked down, will take no time at all. I did  three bedrooms in our first house by myself --and I'm not exactly burly. Maybe took an hour or so a room. The tack strips are a pain in the ass, because they bite back, but since there isn't hardwood floors underneath the carpet, I'm assuming here since you're putting in laminate, you don't have to be careful of mucking up the underlayment, so removing those should go relatively quickly as well. The baseboards is where you'll want to take your time, of course. For those, I'd use a small pry-bar with a piece of scrap wood to pry against. You'll pull upward, so you'll want to tuck this thin-ish piece of wood next to your walls, so you don't muck them up. And remember to pull your nails out of your baseboards from the BACK. Vise grips work great for this. However, instead of removing the baseboard, you could install quarter round AFTER you install the new laminate flooring. This will make for a finished look. You can buy quarter round relatively inexpensively. It comes in natural wood, which you can finish to match the existing baseboards. You can find it in pre-finished varieties too, some of which are 'finished' in paper to look like wood, which is the cheapest choice. 

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