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How to Remove Carpet and Odors on the Subfloor

When I moved into my first home, the carpet smelled awful. As soon as I got the keys to my new home, I learned how to remove carpet and carpet padding.

After Removing Carpet and Carpet Padding

I thought removing the carpet would get rid of the odor, but I was wrong because the the subfloor smelled too.

Read on to find out how to remove carpet and odors from your subfloor!

Here is the final product after removing the carpet, carpet padding, and installing Pergo flooring.

how to remove carpet
After ripping up carpet and adding pergo flooring

How to Remove Carpet and Carpet Padding

Removing carpet and carpet padding is actually a very easy DIY project, so do not be afraid to take on this project.

Before you start removing carpet, you should wear a mask and use a razor for this project.

I recommend starting in a corner to see if you can grip it enough to of the carpet to start pulling it up.

how to remove carpet
Find a corner!

Removing Carpet Padding

If the first corner of carpet does not easily pull up, try another corner or give it a cut to get underneath it.

Once you’re underneath the carpet, 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 remove it in smaller sections.

The foam carpet padding should come up with the carpet as well, but if not peel that up the same way you remove carpet.

Sometimes the carpet padding is held down with staples, so you might have to pull hard to remove it.

We will worry about the staples later.

You might even discover a beautiful hardwood or tile underneath your ripped up carpet.

Removing Tack Strips and Staples

After removing the carpet and carpet padding, you will 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.

Then you will have more leverage to pull down on the long end of the pry bar and the tack strip should come up.

how to remove carpet

Then I made sure to clean up all nails and staples.

If there are a ton of staples, you’d be better off hammering them flush into floor.

Hammering the staples flush into the floor, is much easier then trying to remove all of them.

Then sweep the floor clean and that’s pretty much as complex as it gets on how to rip up carpet.

Easily Remove Odors on Subfloor

As I mentioned earlier, I ran into a unique issue where animal urine from the previous home owners had soaked into the subfloor and smelled…bad!

I felt like my eyes were melting out of my face from the ammonia burn.

After a deep amount research about how to remove subfloor odors, I decided I was going to go with the bleach method.

carpet padding

Kilz to Remove Subfloor Odors

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.

I started with bleach first to see if it would remove the subfloor odor.

Bleach Method to Remove Subfloor Odors

To remove odors from subfloor with the bleach method, you will need 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 because my subfloor was gross.

It was well worth it to use a few coats of bleach because you would never know the subfloors were soaked in pet urine.

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

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Kelly Breton

Tuesday 30th of June 2020

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????

Brian & Lacey

Thursday 2nd of July 2020

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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Monday 16th of March 2020

[…] you still need to rip up that old carpet, check out my other post on ripping up carpet. If there’s urine stains in your subfloor, like there was in mine when we first moved in, I […]

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