The formidable Oprah Winfrey declared that she finds it easier to make major, million-dollar decisions than she does “to decide on a carpet.” We can't help but wonder what her reaction would be were she to then change her mind. Living with a carpet that doesn't suit a room, has become dingy or discoloured or is simply no longer to your taste is a problem that has only one solution – the offending article has to be pulled up and removed. For anyone thinking of taking on this task without professional help, there are some practical issues to consider.
Before beginning to take up your carpet, plan what you will do with it and think about whether it can avoid landfill by being reused, recycled or, if in good condition, donated to charity. Pieces too large to roll up intact may need to be sliced into manageable strips, which could then be used as kneeling pads for garden or household chores or even made into a scratching post for a cat. Old pieces of carpet might also prove useful for camping or other outdoor activities and can be stored in the boot of a car. Anything left over can be recycled, depending on the material used.
The preparation stage
It's important that you wear a dust mask throughout the entire removal process. Take all the furniture out of the room and, to protect yourself further against inhaling dust which might fly into the air during lifting, thoroughly vacuum the carpet. Make sure you have a crowbar, a Stanley knife, pliers and a strong pair of gloves on-hand.
Start in the furthest corner
Using the pliers, wrench loose a corner of the carpet. It will be affixed to a tack strip lining the four walls of the room. This will be either glued or stapled to the floor, but it should come away with enough force. Next roll the carpet towards the centre. Pieces can be lined up, cut, and sealed with duct tape for easier removal. There's likely to be an underlay beneath the carpet. Treat this in the same manner, pulling up, rolling, and slicing if necessary.
What lies beneath
Once the carpet is out of the way, you will be free to examine the original flooring. If you are fortunate you might uncover original floorboards that only require a light sand and polish to bring them up to a good standard. Draughts can be a problem with unsealed boards, as can dust, so if leaving the floor bare it is worth investing in a quality sealant. Take care to remove all staples and tacks, whether laying a new carpet or leaving floorboards bare, for a safe and smooth finish to your new floor.
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