Easiest way to remove carpet tack strips

kbkidsMarch 12, 2007

I'm pulling out the carpet today to prepare to install laminate flooring in our rental property. The carpet tack strips are - well, let's just say, they certainly didn't intend for them to ever come up. What's the easiest way to get them off?

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Take a wide, flat prybar, a small one about a foot long is all you need, and a rubber mallet to tap the end of the prybar under the tack strip and just work your way around the room. Wear gloves - those tacks are painful.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 4:33PM
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We just did that in our home... and what aliceinwonderland said. We are nearly finished, should be totally done tonight.. whew.. but wow, does it look good.. wow.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 6:59PM
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Take a cold chisel(hefty), and pop the tackstrip right at the nail, with a couple of hits.

My electric compact jack hammer combo hammer drill with a flat paddle chuck, makes quick work of tackstrip.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 12:08AM
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If carpet tack strips are into CONCRETE, as they are here in Florida and most "Southern" concrete slabs, when you "pull out" the nails that hold down the strips, it also "rips out" big "craters" of concrete with it. True, if you tile over these craters, the thinset will "fill-in", but for a more professional (and it does take a bit longer) approach, I used my Roto-Zip with it's right-angle attachment and the metal grinding wheel (very thin but strong) and after "breaking the nailing strips around the nails" it left the nail sticking up "bare" enough to grind off the head and part of the shank.... grinding it flush with the concrete.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 11:09AM
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That sounds like turning a 10 minute job, into an all day affair!!!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 9:56PM
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"...rubber mallet..."

A dead blow hammer works a lot better and does not beat up the user as much with rebound.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 10:05AM
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Posted by floorguy (floorguy@austin.rr.com) on Fri, Mar 16, 07 at 21:56
That sounds like turning a 10 minute job, into an all day affair!!!

NAW.......... actually it's quite fast and believe me, the Roto-Zip (w/90 degree head) just cuts sooooooo nice and flush........ remember, "pulling" nails out of CONCRETE makes big (1" - 2") "craters"........ so much nicer looking and less "mess" (NO concrete pieces, just a few nail heads) and a nice, smooth, hole-free floor !!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 12:38PM
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They must have been real good tackstripers!! To not bend a nail and pock the concrete when they installed it.

I will guarantee, I will have the strip busted out, and some mud mixed up, and have the holes patched, along with skimcoating the entire concrete surface, to encapsulate all the contaminates you couldn't get scraped out of the concrete pores, before you can get half way around a 12 x 12 room with a roto-zip, using the cut off wheel on hardened steel nails.( I have a roto-zip and that attachment)

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 7:42PM
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floorguy..... you're definitely a professional, I'm just a "weekend perfectionist homeowner" that (as my Wife says) can take a two hour job and drag it into an "all-day-project"...... so YOU ARE RIGHT..... but I just wanted to state how "I" removed the nail-strips, especially in a room that we want to install "Laminate" flooring. I just rather NOT SEE hundreds of "craters/holes" in the slab.... that's all.......
By the way............ I am the guy who started the Forum Thread about the EXCESSIVE MOISTURE IN CONCRETE SLAB. Thanks for your help in THAT thread.... these "damp" Florida concrete slabs and certainly NOT "ideal" for laminate or engineered wood, although we have been in several homes with both laminate AND EW, used not only in their "family room" but in the KITCHEN, too. A year later no problem (for them !!) but THEY had "professinal" installation with all kinds of vapor barriers, floor coatings, etc. I MUST speak with them (BOTH friends moved out of state) and ask how THEY did it..........

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 10:33AM
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florida wen....I wish to god I had followed your idea before pulling up my tack strips. I did it without thinking there was another way in two 10 by 12 foot rooms. Now I have probably over a hundred 1 to 2 inch craters I can't find a reasonable way to fill. I had the idea like yours to use a grinder to wear the nails down flush, but it came to me 3 days after I had already done the damage. Now, I can't get accurate information on how to patch these craters with something I can stain afterwards. Will the vinyl concrete patcher that is available from Quikrete take the stain reasonably well? AnyBody know? Or, should I use a concrete bonder (spread on with a brush)(I think also available from Quikrete) and then spread concrete into the hole and level off with a trowel? Then It would be concrete, so it would at least accept the stain. But I don't really know that this "bonder" stuff will really work. (I'm aware there will no doubt be substantial color differentation, but that is OK with me as long as it takes at least some color) I can't find accurate information on the web from someone who has done this. Meaning: patch the craters with something that will stick and is stainable. I've patched concrete holes before with just a mix of concrete and they don't stay down. That floorguy's comments are just worthless. Patching it without some bonder or binder, just doesn't work. They come back up or flake off. I need a method that will stay down and take a reasonable stain, so I can make a finished floor. Please help me, anyone out there who has gone through this. I would love to be able to go back in time and redo it with the grinding down method. It would save what seems like years and a lot of worry and uncertainty.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 5:08PM
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Slootie, I'm in the same boat as you. About half of my nails came out and half I'm going to cut off with a dremel. If upi find a good way to patch the holes, I'd like to hear it.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 5:37PM
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Hoping to get help from more experienced DIY'ers...the wood appears to be glued down in addition to the tacks on concrete floor. I tried a mallet tapping a flathead screwdriver under the strip. Barely got 3" up when it appeared i started a crack in the concrete further down the strip than where I was working and it cuts diagonally about all the way to the other wall. Just an enormous crack! I just can't believe I cracked my entire foundation trying to get a tack strip up!!

The plan was to try that new acid-stain and seal. Sure didnt want craters, but in addition to the tacks, I'm almost positive they are glued! Of course it's right up to the wall, so I can't think of another way to deal with this and now I have to figure out the damaged foundation. It's the corner of the house and thought maybe it was perhaps weaked by settling? Any help from more knowledgeable guys is truly appreciated.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 1:20AM
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