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Carpet disposal: What you need to know to remove and dispose of your old carpet

Removing and disposing of your old carpet might seem like a big challenge if you're a new DIYer.

But it’s actually pretty simple to rip up an old carpet, remove the underlay and get rid of old grips or staples that secured the carpet to the floor.

In this quick guide we’ll run you through the options and process for removing your old carpet and then take you through the different ways you can easily dispose of it.

How to remove your old carpet

To remove your old carpet you have a couple of options:

1 - Use the carpet fitter service of the retailer you buy your new carpet from (if they offer one)

2 - Ask whoever is fitting your carpet to also remove the old flooring (if you’re using an independent fitter)

3 - Hire a professional carpet remover

4 - Do it yourself

Obviously the first two options are reliant on either party offering a removal service - and they’ll likely involve a fee.

Sometimes retailers will be reluctant to remove an old carpet unless it’s one they sold to you in the first place, especially if you’re also asking them to deal with the disposal.

Some carpet fitters are more open to removing your old carpet and taking it away.

But usually only if it’s in good condition and they think they could reuse it elsewhere - like if they have a landlord for a client and they could reuse the carpet in a Buy-to-Let property.

Hiring a professional carpet remover can be a good option, but there’ll definitely be a fee involved.

Plus, some removers won’t actually deal with the disposal of the carpet, so you’ll still have to sort that out.

If you want to save some money, and have a bit of confidence in your DIY skills, the best option can be to take the carpet up yourself.

Especially when you realise how easy it is.


How to remove a carpet yourself

If you’re going to remove your carpet you’ll need a couple of tools to help.

The good news is you’ve probably got most of the tools you need in that toolbox you’ve had stored away for years.

But if not, they’re relatively inexpensive at any hardware or DIY store.

You’ll need:

  • Stanley knife
  • Crowbar
  • Pliers
  • Gloves (you can do this without gloves but we recommend them for protection)
  • A face mask
  • Goggles (again not essential but we’d recommend them for protection)
  • Crowbar or chisel (or any tool you can get some leverage with)
  • Scraper

The first thing you should do is clear the room of anything on the floor so you have a completely empty space to work in.

If space is a struggle and you can't remove everything - like if you can’t fit the sofa into another room while you work - move everything over to one side of the room.

Then you can just move everything over to the other side when half the carpet is up.

Once you’ve got everything cleared, all you need to do is find a corner or edge section of the carpet that you can get a decent grip on.

You can use the pliers if you’re struggling.

Most carpets will come away from the floor pretty easily, but if you are struggling, you can cut away a small section around the starting area, just so you can get hold of it properly.

Once you’ve got it moving, pull the carpet away from the floor along the length of the wall.

Be careful when gripping the carpet as the hooks attached to the rods on the floor can be sharp (this is why we recommend a good pair of work gloves).

When the carpet is away from the edges, you can use the stanley knife to cut the carpet into sections (obviously be careful with the sharp blade).

We’d recommend cutting the carpet into sections because it’s easier to roll up and manage multiple, smaller sections of carpet, rather than trying to roll up the entire thing in one go.

If you’ve got some tape, you could wrap the carpet and tape the rolled sections up to make them easier to remove, but you don’t have to.

Similarly, if you got any decent length of string lying around, this can be useful to tie up the sections of carpet so they’re easier to move.


Removing the underlay and grips

With the carpet underlay, the first thing is whether it’s been stapled to the floor, or glued down.

If it’s been stapled, you can easily pull the underlay up, cut it into sections and roll them up to remove them.

Then you can use the pliers to pull up any staples that are still stuck in the floor.

If the underlay’s been glued down, or become stuck to the floor, all you need is a scraping tool and a bit of effort and it will come away easily enough.

Finally, you just need to remove the grips.

These are the long, thin wooden strips that are stuck to the floor, with small metal hooks sticking out that go around the outside of the carpet.

They might be in good condition, in which case it could be worth leaving them for the carpet fitter to reuse - which could save some time.

But the carpet fitter will likely put new grips down anyway, so it can be easier to remove them.

And if you’re having wooden floorboards put down, you’ll definitely need to pull up the grips.

All you need is your crowbar or a chisel that can get between the grips and floor, and pry the wooden strip away from the floor.

And that’s it.

Your old carpet is up.

But now you’ve got a pile of rolled up carpet, underlay and wooden panels lying around.

So what are your options for disposing of them?


Put your old carpet in a skip

If you’re removing your old carpet as part of a bigger house renovation, you might have ordered a skip to handle the amount of bulk waste and old furniture you’re dealing with.

If you did hire a skip, your carpet and underlay can simply go in the skip with everything else. 

Just keep in mind that carpets are extremely bulky when rolled up and they could easily take up the majority of the space you’ve got.


Take your old carpet to the tip

Local tips and recycling centres accept old carpets so there’s always the option of taking your old carpet to one of these facilities.

But unless you’ve got a big car (and even if you do) you could be talking about multiple visits back and forth to dispose of the whole carpet.

If you have a van, you’ll need to book a slot with your local rubbish or recycling centre and if they’re busy there’s no guarantee you’ll be dropping the carpet off anytime soon.

Reuse the carpet

If you’re feeling thrifty, you could always try and reuse your old carpet.

Maybe you could use a small piece to carpet under the stairs.

But chances are you’re replacing your carpet because it’s started to look a bit worn out, so do you really want to still have parts of it in your house?

Order a council collection

Most local councils will offer a bulk collection that includes old carpets (unless you’re looking for a disposal from a commercial building).

But these council collections can be costly, especially if you’ve cut your carpet into sections to make it more manageable as each of these could be considered a separate item.

Council collections can also take a long time and often need to be booked weeks or months in advance - especially today when so many councils are delaying bulk collections due to a lack of vehicles and drivers.

Ask the retailer or carpet fitter to take it for you

There is always the option of asking the retailer who sold you your new carpet to take away the old one - but not many are willing to do this.

For a start your old carpet has no commercial value as they can’t resell it and they’re just left with the responsibility of disposing of your old carpet.

There’s a chance your carpet fitter might take it.

Some carpet fitters have deals with Buy-to-Let landlords and will take old furniture or flooring that could be reused in a flat.

But the carpet will have to be in good condition and big enough that it can be re-cut to fit another room.

And this then makes the process of removing the carpet from your home more complicated because you have to pull it up and remove it in one, large, heavy piece.


Call a carpet disposal service

By far the easiest, and often most cost effective option, is to use a dedicated carpet disposal service who will come and take your old carpet away and dispose of it for you.

This is the kind of service we offer here at LITTA.

Our network of 200 drivers can easily arrange to come and dispose of your old carpet quickly and make sure it’s disposed of in the best way.

We have a 93% recycle rate of all the waste we collect, so your old carpet will be delivered to a recycling centre where it can be put to good use whenever possible.

If you need your old carpet disposed of quickly, we can arrange a same day collection, provided you call us before 12 noon on the day of collection.

Plus, you’ll be able to track your collection drivers to your front door so you don’t have to wait all day for your pickup.

Finally, unlike council collections and other carpet disposal services, we’ll come and pick your old carpet up from inside your home.

We’ll never ask you to do the heavy lifting and bring the carpet to the curb for us.

All we ask is that you clear the path to the outside of the property for our team to follow safely.


Get your carpet disposed of quickly with LITTA

Want to find out how much it would cost to have your carpet disposed of?

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