How to Pull Up Carpet and Lay Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is not only attractive but also easy to maintain. This is one of the reasons more people are embracing it over other types of flooring. While carpets are beautiful and bring some coziness to a home, they can also be hard to maintain. If you have carpet flooring and are considering putting in laminate, where do you start? Is it a DIY job, or do you need to call the carpet installation service you used to come to and remove it? Most of the time, it depends on the skills and time on your hands. That said, here is how to pull up carpet and lay laminate flooring.

Removing the Carpet

Below is a guide on how to remove the carpet before you can lay your laminate flooring.

Gather All Your Supplies

The first step in how to pull up carpet and lay laminate flooring is gathering all the necessary tools for carpet removal. This includes a hammer, utility knife, duct tape, gloves, safety glasses, knee pads, locking pliers, pry bar, and a dust mask. Removing a carpet is a messy and somewhat risky affair. In fact, the only part of the carpet that is soft is what you step on. Underneath, the carpet is rough and pinned to the floor using nails or glue. That is why you need protective gear like gloves and safety glasses. And safer tools mean you will not damage the floor, your walls, or glass doors. You already have most of these supplies in your toolbox, but what you lack can be found in your local hardware store. The right supplies will make your job much easier and take a short time.

Start Pulling Up the Carpet From One Corner

Pick one corner of the carpet and pull from there. Be careful and avoid the tack strips along the edges. They are sharp and can prick you. If the carpet is not budging, no matter how much force you apply, get your utility knife and cut a small square near the corner. From there, you can begin to rip the carpet from the floor.

Cut the Carpet Into Strips

Use the utility knife to cut the carpet into sections as you peel it back. Two feet wide is enough. Try and keep the line straight, although you don’t need to measure. You can use the eye to maintain a straight line. Plus, you are disposing of the carpet anyway. Even if the lines are not straight, it’s not like you are planning to reuse the carpet. Roll up the strips and secure them with tape. This will make it easy to transport them to the disposal location. An important step to remember, even as you are learning how to pull up carpet and lay laminate flooring, is how to dispose of carpet and padding. Does your community have restrictions on how to dispose of such items? You will need a hauling company if you cannot place items in the trash can for the usual garbage pickup. They will pick up the debris and help you safely dispose of it.

Remove the Tack Strips

The next step on how to pull up carpet and lay laminate flooring is to remove the tack strips. Tack strips are tiny pieces of wood studded with tacks or nails used to install the carpet. Because they are sharp and spiky, do not try to remove them with hand gloves. A flat head screwdriver or pry bar can help you. Also, break the strips into shorter pieces for better handling when removing them from the room.

Remove the Under-Padding

Once you pull up the carpet, you are left with the underpadding. This is a necessary layer usually pinned to the floor during carpet installation. Since it is pinned using staplers and pins, removing it can be quite tasking. You will need to drag it as hard as possible to free it from the floor. When you finish, use a flat-head screwdriver to remove all the staplers. Staples proving to be difficult to remove can be smashed into the ground. This procedure is quite time-consuming, especially if you plan to remove all the pins from the floor. In fact, the whole task of how to pull up carpet and lay laminate flooring will take time. It might take a few days to do the entire house, including installing custom garage floors. Preparing yourself mentally for the job will prevent you from stopping midway. If the floor is concrete, the pad will be held down by glue. And once you pull the pad, some chunks will remain on the floor. You will need a sharp-bladed floor scrapper to remove them.

Inspect Your Subfloor

Once you have removed the floor, inspect your subfloor. This is an important step in how to pull up carpet and lay laminate flooring. If there are issues with the subfloor, it will be much more difficult to install laminate flooring. For instance, check for things like a sinking floor, as this indicates that your foundation is cracking. Before laying the laminate flooring, you will need foundation repairs. You should also look out for squeaky subfloor panels. Jump or walk around, and when you hear squeaky noises, grab your hammer and a few nails, and secure the panels.

Laying the Laminate Flooring

Once you are done, the exciting part on how to pull up carpet and lay laminate flooring is next. As an architect design firm will advise you, there are rooms where you can’t install laminate flooring, especially those prone to moisture. Take note of this before installing the laminate flooring.

Prepare the Subfloor

Once your carpet is gone, you must prepare the subfloor before laying down laminate flooring. Start by cleaning it up and removing any debris collected under the floor. If there are loose screws, secure them or replace them with new ones. You will also need to level the subfloor. Installing new flooring on an unleveled floor is not only tasking, but the final appearance will not be appealing. Even if you have chosen a laminate flooring that compliments your designer office wallpaper, it will still look off if not installed on a flat floor. After that, sand the subfloor and recheck just to be sure there is no debris left

Install Underlayment, Sound Barrier, and Vapor Barrier

This stage on how to pull up carpet and lay laminate flooring is very important. These three elements will protect your flooring and reduce noise. The underlayment is a plastic sheet applied on the subfloor before any other material. The application process is pretty straightforward. You only need to unfurl the material and lay it on the ground. Ensure it has covered the entire floor, then cut away any excess materials.

You can also install the vapor barriers. This is also a sheet that you place on the floor and cut off the excess material. Aside from the sheet, one can get a liquid barrier that you paint on your subfloor and leave it to dry. It is also a vapor barrier only that it comes in the form of a liquid.

A sound barrier is another type of underlayment that goes on top of the subfloor. This soft material resembles form and helps reduce noise when one is walking on the laminate flooring. If you install an underlayment, you will not need a vapor barrier or sound barrier. A quality underlayment will serve all these roles.

Purchase Your Laminate Flooring and Cut the Board

Laminate flooring comes in different shades, giving you options. But it is also good to consider your home design when installing it. For instance, if installing them in the kitchen, look at your cabinet designs and get a shade matching that. Doing so brings some harmony to the room. Once you have selected the shade and pattern you like, the next step on how to pull up carpet and lay laminate flooring is cutting the boards. This can be challenging for some. You have to ensure you cut the wood correctly. Use a pencil and mark the precise point where the cuts need to go. Double-check your measurements before cutting to ensure you have the right sizes. It is wise to think of your level of expertise around power tools before cutting the boards. If you are not comfortable, let a professional do it for you.

Installing the Laminate Boards

This is the most important part of how to pull up carpet and lay laminate flooring. You should lay the first row near the wall instead of the entryways. The board should not touch the wall but simply be placed next to it. Most walls are not perfectly straight, which can mess with the pattern. It is also good to think of the pattern you want before you start laying the boards. This gives you a clear picture of where to start. Most professionals suggest the boards run perpendicular to the floor joists. This is to offer the laminate flooring extra structural support.

Once you are done, click down the laminate. If you are using click lock laminate flooring, the boards will easily snap in place. Use a hammer to gently tap on the board to ensure they remain in place. Modern laminate flooring does not need glue to stay in place. But if you are using glue, get PVA type II glue. It is water resistant and can withstand some heating. Apply the glue on the underside of the piece, then lay it where you want it to go. Remember to wipe away excess glue to avoid messes.

Lastly, reinstall your baseboards. You can also get new baseboards that match your new flooring. If you can see extra holes, fill them with caulk and repaint them.

Laying Laminate Boards Around a Door

While installing laminate flooring is not that complicated, some areas will challenge you. One such area is the doorway because of the shape of door frames and door jambs. The last thing you want is for your designer doors to look off, standing on top of flooring that was not installed correctly. One of the mistakes that homeowners make is cutting the boards in a bid to try and circumnavigate the door frame. Unfortunately, this ends up ruining the appearance of your new floor.

Instead of trying to circumvent the door jambs, cut the door jamb at the base and install the flooring under it. It is much easier than making complex cuts to fix under the door. Doing this gives your doorways a great look, and it will appear as if you hired a design agency to do the job.

Laying Laminate Boards on Stairs

Another tricky area when placing laminate floors is around the stair. Here, you also need to be careful. Start by checking if one plank will cover the entire step. If not, it is better you cut two planks and place them instead of using one plank and a small part of the other. Your stairs will look much better. You will need three pieces for each step. The first one is the tread piece which sits on the step. Another piece will be the riser which sits vertically on the step, and the last piece is the trim or stair nosing.

Start by laying the tread from the top of the stairs as you work downwards. You may need to use glue to ensure it firmly sticks to the step. The glue will also help prevent the step from slipping under your feet when stepping on it. Next, fit the riser by gluing it to the front of the steps. You can also nail it at the top as the nosing will cover the nails. The last thing is adding the nosing. Unless it is a self-adhesive nosing edge, you will need to glue it in place. Repeat the same process until you are done with the entire stairs. Remember to wipe out excess glue to avoid messes.

This is everything you need to know about how to pull up carpet and lay laminate flooring. Set a good amount of time, especially if you plan to do the task alone. Preparation and having the right tools will allow the job to go smoothly.

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