How to Rip up Carpet and Remove Odors on Subfloor

What’s that smell? When I moved into my house, I immediately noticed the carpet had to be replaced – probably 700 or 800 sqft of it, the entire first floor. The carpet was old and smelled of urine, so there was no question that it had to go.

I thought ripping up the carpet would also get rid of the urine smell – wrong. But I’ll get into that later. For now, I’ll show you how to rip up carpet.

For this job you should need goggles, a razor, and a mask. At virtually no cost, this is something you can easily do yourself, and quickly.

Step 1: How to Rip up Carpet

If you’ve never ripped up carpet before, it is much easier than it looks. You may want a mask and razor for this though. Your best bet is start in a corner and see if you can grip it enough to start pulling it up. If not, try another corner or give it a cut in order to get underneath it.

Once you’re underneath it, just start pulling it back and it should peel away from the tack strip. If the carpet is too big, you may have to cut it a few times to do it in smaller, more manageable, pieces.

The foam pad should come up with the carpet as well, but if not peel that up too. If the foam padding is held down with staples, just keep pulling it up and we’ll worry about the staples later.

You might even discover a beautiful hardwood or tile underneath it, which could just be touched up, cleaned, or stained to restore it.

STEP 2: How to Remove Tack Strips and Staples

Once the carpet is up, you’ll need to go along the edges and pry up the tack strips. You could use a hammer or pry bar for this, and goggles of course.

As a tip, push the short end of the pry bar under the tack strip as best you can, then use the hammer to drive it further under the strip. You’ll have more leverage to pull down on the long end of the pry bar and the tack strip should come up.

After the tack strips are up, make sure there’s no nails or staples left behind that need to be pulled up. If there are a ton of staples, you’d be better off hammering them flush into floor. It’s much easier, and a lot less time consuming. Sweep the floor clean and that’s pretty much as complex as it gets on how to rip up carpet.

STEP 3: How to Remove Urine from Subfloor

As I mentioned earlier, I ran into a unique issue where animal urine from the previous home owners had soaked into the sub floor and smelled…bad! If you had this same problem, then read on. I felt like my eyes were melting out of my face from the ammonia burn. After a deep amount research, I decided I was going to go with the bleach method. The other option was to cover the smell with a paint called Kilz Odor Blocker. Kilz paint is a great option if the bleach does not completely remove the odor.

All I needed was some bleach and a firm brush. Soak the brush in a bucket of bleach, and then start scrubbing. The urine should bubble up wherever the bleach touches it, although it was pretty clear where the urine stains were.

Wipe up the bleach after it soaks for a minute, then repeat until the smell disappears. I had to do this 3 times until I couldn’t smell it anymore, but I will say, it’s completely gone now. I can’t smell anything and I’ve been here for over 2 years.

How to Install Peel and Stick Flooring

We started laying the flooring down against the back corner then worked our way over, making sure the seams of the floor were staggered. Flooring can vary in color in each box, so be sure to mix each box while laying down the flooring.

Carefully start to work your way left to right, and peel the remaining paper from the floor as you work your way to the end of the plank. Do not firmly push the flooring down until the plank is in the correct place.

To learn more about how to install peel and stick flooring, view our post here!

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3 thoughts on “How to Rip up Carpet and Remove Odors on Subfloor

  1. We ripped up our carpet and foam and nails and whatever else. We ripped it up due to cat and dog urine. My husband scraped the floor and took a huge amount of coating stuff off the floor. Now the floor is soaked with something! It just keeps coming through the wood! There are no leaks that we can see anywhere in the house. We have a fan blowing on it but it doesn’t work. It looks wetter in fact but still smells like urine. Any advice????

    1. Hi Kelly, I’m not sure if you’re still having this issue but if water or liquid just keeps materializing on your sub floor, I’d definitely consult a professional. It sounds like a leak of some kind, but a professional should be able to figure it out for you. Good luck!

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