Flooring – The carpet on the stairs is worn. Should I repair it or just remove it


In our house the second floor and the stairs to them have carpet over top of old hardwood floors (installed by previous owner). The carpet is wearing out, particularly on the stairs where it has come untacked in a couple places so that when you go up or down them the carpet will at times slide forward creating a hazard we need to deal with. We can see under the carpet in a couple places and the floor looks okay, but not great.

Does it make more sense to remove the carpet and risk the condition of the floor underneath or try to tack the carpet back in place? What would be involved with retacking it down? If the finish on the original floor is in poor shape, is it a problem just to leave it alone (assuming no splinter hazards)? Finally, if we remove the carpet, what will we need to do to remove the tacks and other carpet related things from the floors?

Best Answer

I'd go ahead and pull it up and see what you've got. It sounds like it's in pretty poor shape so you're going to have to get rid of it either way.

Depending on how the carpet was installed you'll probably find tack strips that look something like like this: tack strip

You might also find staples -- I don't know if this is common but our installer used a staple gun in some troublesome spots. Most if not all of the staples will probably be pulled out when you rip out the carpet.

Before removing anything, take a look at the hardwood stair treads and make a preliminary decision about whether you think they're in good enough condition to leave exposed. If they're really rough and/or you want to recarpet, leave the tack strips in place and hammer in the staples.

If you do want to leave the stairs uncarpeted, you can just remove the tack strips, being careful not to damage the floor underneath. For minimal damage I'd recommend this type of prybar available at box stores for ~$14:


Use a hammer to tap the pointy claw end (like you would hammer a chisel) under the head of each nail holding the tack strip down, then pry up the nail enough that you can get your hammer's claw under it to pull it out. No tools ever need touch your stair tread.