How to Remove Carpet from Concrete [Step-By-Step Guide]

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how to remove carpet from concrete

If you have carpet in your home laid directly over concrete, taking it off isn’t difficult.

Removing it consists of cutting strips and rolling it up. However, if you’re dealing with glued-down carpet or carpet padding, there will be a few extra steps you need to take. The glue makes the process time-consuming, but it’s still manageable with the right tools.

Here’s how to remove carpet from concrete.

The Best Way to Remove Carpet from Concrete

To remove carpet from concrete, start by cutting a piece of carpet into a 12-24 inch strip. Roll the strip up until it becomes too big for you to manage, and then cut it off and take it to the dump. Repeat this process until you’ve removed the carpet. Afterward, you can remove any padding or tack strips. If there’s glue on the concrete, you’ll need to scrape it off.

Removing Carpet from Concrete: Step by Step

removing carpet from concrete

The steps to remove carpet from a concrete floor are easy. However, the process can be very time-consuming – especially for glued-down carpets.

Here’s what to do:

  • Using a utility knife, cut the carpet into small strips that are 12-24 inches long.
  • Roll up the carpet until it becomes too large/heavy, and then cut your section off with a utility knife.
  • Repeat until you’ve removed all the carpet.
  • Use a crowbar to pry up the tack strips.

If you’re dealing with glued-down carpet, follow the same steps, pulling up carpet pieces in 12-24 inch wide sections. If you’re having trouble getting the carpet pulled, run a large scraper underneath to help lift it.

Once you have the carpet removed, you need to apply an adhesive remover to your floor and allow it to sit for the recommended time. Afterward, use a scraper to remove the glue. Repeat this process if necessary.

How to Remove Glued Down Carpet Padding from Concrete

If you’ve removed the carpet and tack strips and there is no padding or adhesive underneath, congratulate yourself. You’re finished.

For everyone else, now is when the hard work starts. 

On concrete, installers typically glue down padding with carpet adhesive. Unfortunately, this makes removing it very difficult.

Here’s what to do:

  • Scrape off as much of the padding as possible with a scraper (even if you’re only taking off the top layer.)
  • Apply an adhesive remover like Goo Gone or Blue Bear Mastic and Adhesive Remover and allow it to sit for the recommended period of time.
  • Scrape up the glue and remaining padding.
  • Repeat if necessary.

It’s going to take a lot of scraping to thoroughly remove the adhesive that was left behind. 

If you’ve scraped and there are still patches of glue left on the floor, use coarse grit sandpaper to remove the spots. (You can also rent a floor sanding machine, but you need to be incredibly careful not to over-sand the concrete.)

Once you get the padding and glue removed, clean your floors with a gentle mopping solution.

Frequently Asked Questions

faqs how to remove carpet from concrete

Does vinegar remove floor glue?

If you’re trying to remove adhesive from concrete, one recommended method is to mix white distilled vinegar with hot water and pour it on the glue to help soften it. In theory, the hot water and acidity of vinegar could help soften the adhesive.

However, I tried this on my floor, and it did nothing to soften or help remove the glue.

Do I need to remove carpet glue before laying vinyl floor?

Yes, you need to remove carpet glue before laying vinyl, especially if the leftover carpet glue is thick with ridges. If you fail to do this, your vinyl will be uneven, more likely to tear, and if you’re gluing it down, it won’t have a clean surface to adhere to.

Will WD-40 remove carpet glue from concrete?

WD-40 is a solvent, so it could potentially remove carpet glue. This will depend on how thick the glue is and how old it is. To see if WD-40 will remove carpet glue from your floor, spray it on a small section and allow it to sit for five minutes. Come back with a scraper to see if the glue comes off the floor any easier.

Conclusion

If you’re wondering how to remove carpet from concrete, the steps are easy, but it does take a lot of work. This is especially true for glued-down carpet padding. In this case, you’ll need to use an adhesive remover and do a lot of scraping.

Once you’ve removed your carpet and padding,  give your floor a good cleaning.

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AUTHOR

Katie Barton lives with her husband and three daughters in an 1800’s style log cabin in southern Ohio. She thinks cleaning is relaxing and is considered the organizing go-to person by her family and friends. She runs the blog Cabin Lane where she shares about cleaning, decluttering, and minimalism. See full biography here.

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