How to Remove Carpet From a Staircase

Carpet is normally attached to a floor through the use of tack strips nailed into the subfloor near the walls.

Carpet overlapping the edges of stairs makes removal difficult.Carpet overlapping the edges of stairs makes removal difficult.
Carpet installation on stairs uses a mixture of tape and staples, hidden from view, to keep the carpet stationary. Runners come down the stairs and are stapled beneath the lip of each step for security. Wall-to-wall carpeting on a stairway may have tack strips anchored to the stairs near the walls. Removing the carpeting is relatively easy with a pry bar and utility knife.

Cut the carpet with the utility knife at the base of the stairs where it meets the ground.

Cut wall-to-wall stair carpet, or carpet that overlaps the edges, down the center of the stairs from top to bottom to split the carpet in two pieces. Cut carpet that overlaps the edges along each edge on top of the stairs to disconnect the carpet from the edges.

Pry up an edge of the carpet with the pliers, at the base where the first cut was made. Pull the carpet free of any staples that anchor the carpet to the vertical edge of the bottom stair. Pull across the base until the entire base is free.

Pull up on the edges just beneath each lip to pull the carpet free of staples anchored beneath the lips. Wall-to-wall carpet requires that you pull from the center cut towards the outer edges.

Roll the disengaged carpet from the top stair down. Cut the carpet into manageable rolls as you roll it down the stairs.

Remove any remaining chunks of carpet and loose staples with a pliers. Pry up edge pieces left over along the stairs where the carpet overlapped the edges, using the pry bar A combination of the pry bar and pliers will pull the carpet from the staples anchored beneath the lower edges of the stairs.

Things You Will Need

  • Utility knife
  • Pry bar
  • Pliers


  • Wear gloves. Staples will be left in the carpet and may easily puncture the skin.