How to Remove a Carpet Tack Strip

Amber Canaan

Removing old carpeting may be necessary to save labor costs if you are having your carpet replaced. You may also need to remove your carpet if you have hardwood floors underneath that you would like to refinish. After pulling up your carpet, you will most likely have tack strips left around the perimeter of the room.

Removing these strips that once held your carpet is the most tedious part of carpet removal.


Wear gloves to protect your hands from becoming injured on the sharp tacks. Safety glasses will protect your eyes in case a piece of the tack strip breaks and becomes airborne.

  1. Position the pry bar as close to the bottom edge of the tack strip as possible.

  2. Tap the pry bar with a hammer to force it underneath the tack strip.

  3. Place a wide putty knife under the pry bar to protect the floor if you find hardwood floors underneath the carpet.

  4. Lift up carefully on the pry bar to loosen the tack strip from the floor.

  5. Repeat until the tack strip is completely removed and discard safely in a trash receptacle so no one is injured. You are likely to find that the tack strip is nailed to the floor about every 6 inches. Positioning the pry bar at each nail and lifting upward will loosen it from the floor for easy removal.

  6. Pull up any broken nails you find with a needle-nosed pliers.