How to Remove Carpet Tack Strips – 2 Effective Ways

By Mats Hub Team

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Maybe you are replacing your floor joists or stretching out wrinkles from your carpet, anything that requires removing the carpet off of your floor, you will have to remove the tack strips first. In this article, we will be showing you a few easy ways to remove those nail-embedded strips along with step-by-step instructions on how to.

Tools You Need

Here are some handy tools you will need to get off the tack strips from the flooring.

  • Crowbar or
  • Pry bar and a hammer or
  • A shovel

Protection Essentials to Remove Carpet Tack Strips

Removing tack strips might involve nails jumping off of the flooring. Tack strips are full of open needle-sharp nails. So, make sure that you are wearing the below-listed items before the work starts.

  • Construction gloves
  • Protective eyewear
  • Thick soled shoes
  • No loose outfits

Steps to Follow to Remove Carpet Tack Strips

Tack strips are thin, wooden, and rectangular-shaped items that run under your carpets. They trace the boundary of the carpet and hold on to them. That is exactly why tack strips have needle-shaped nails protruding out of them like porcupines.

Carpet tack strips not only have nails above them but also ring nails below them to get them tightly secured to the floor. These ring nails are what we need to focus on while removing the strips. So, let’s get started with the process of removing or uprooting them off the flooring.

Using a crowbar or a pry bar and a hammer

How to Remove Carpet Tack Strips without damaging hardwood

  1. Finding the sweet spot: Use the crowbar or the pry bar and stick it between the tack strip and the flooring. Trace the tool along the tack strip until you find the nail holding the strip down. This is the sweet spot.
  2. Uprooting the strip: Take your pry bar and fix the nail between the end slits. Get a secure grip over the pry bar. You might need to hammer the pry bar further in, to do so. Once you get a good hold of the ring nail, rotate the bar downwards.
  3. Uprooting the ring nail: If the strip comes out along with the ring nail, that is awesome! But if it is still stuck to the floor, use the pry bar end having a smaller slot width and repeat the same process over the nail. This part is where you need to be careful of the nails flying off the floor. Don’t kneel down too close to the area you are working on and make sure you have your eye protection on.

Using a shovel

how to remove carpet tack strips and staples

This is the easiest way and the quickest way to get your carpet tack strips off the flooring. If you wish to reuse your tack strips, then the above-mentioned method is the way to go. Using this method might give you clean and unbroken strips provided you use the shovel carefully.

The best part of opting for this method is you don’t have to bend down and crawl along the strips as such. Simply stand in front of the strip you are dealing with and position the shovel towards it. There is no need for hammers or any other tool.

All you have to do is push the tip of the shovel between the strip and the floor and rotate it downwards. To lessen the breaking of tack strips, you could trace the tip of the shovel until you find the ring nail and then rotate the other end downwards.


The worst thing you can ever do while uprooting the carpet tack strips is to uproot them from a spot right in the middle of two ring nails. Doing so will crack the strips making it more difficult to uproot the next one.

Make sure you are wearing your protective gear. Once you remove a piece of tack strip, place it far away from the area of work so that you don’t step over it, by mistake. We hope you found this article on removing carpet tack strips helpful!

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