How to Remove the Carpet from Your Stairs

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I have already showed some pictures of our mini stair makeover but I thought I’d circle back and talk a little bit more about the process of removing the carpet runner on our stairs. Not only was this fairly  simple to do but the stairs look so much better now. I can’t get over the difference ripping the carpet off made.


How to Remove the Carpet from your Stairs

We had builder-grade runner that was showing its age {our house is 11 years old} with oak treads underneath.  {If you don’t have hardwood stairs under your carpet, we have a great tutorial on that process HERE.} The runner had over the years had gotten worn and dirty, and even though it was functional I just didn’t love how the carpet looked. The real wood underneath was prettier, so I figured I’d show it off.



I had consulted two flooring professionals before I started while we were getting some other hardwood estimates, and they both told me that I couldn’t just rip the carpet off. One said the floors would be too faded from the sun, the other said there would be too much damage from the tack strips.  I actually found neither of those issues to be the case. Maybe we were just lucky, but I think sometimes you just have to jump in a project and see what happens! The stairs aren’t 100% pristine, by any means, but I’ll take them over dirty carpet any day.



Our steps are divided, so the stairs you see above go down to our front door. Behind them we have a full set of stairs that goes into the back of our home toward the kitchen. We started with the carpet on the shorter front staircase first to see what would happen.



My teenage son and his nice strong arms were key to this project, pulling the carpet up with about 100 staples/nails definitely took a little muscle. He did that job and I went along behind him and pried up all the staples. I found the most useful tools were a small crowbar, a flathead screwdriver and this pointed putty knife. If you do this, be sure to wear eye protection and work gloves, as the little pieces can go flying and they are very sharp.



We found most of the damage to the stairs came from us digging too deep to get embedded staples out rather than from pulling off the strips or the carpet. For the most part, the staples popped out pretty easily. There were quite a few of them in each step but in the end, this wasn’t nearly as horrible as a job as I thought it would be.



Once the carpet was removed and all the staples and nails pulled out I swept the stairs then gave them a good vacuuming. I was a little scared by the amount of dust had accumulated under the carpet, another reason to say good riddance to the carpet, yuck.  Then I gave each stair a good wipe down with a rag to clean them up further and to make sure I hadn’t missed any staples. The front steps only need a little touching up (I actually used a furniture touch up pen) and a quick polish with some furniture polish and they looked great at this point. The back steps had more damage {you can see them above}, it seemed the installers had put twice as many staples on them for some reason? For the back steps, I gave each stair and riser a quick sand, wiped them all down again, then I filled the nails holes in with some wood putty.  Once the putty was dry {and sanded down yet again} I used a rag and went over each step with a light coat of stain {our floors are MiniWax in Gunstock}. That was it! I did purchase some floor ‘polish’ which I may try to use to spiff them up further but for now I think they look great. So much better than with a dirty carpet runner.



The tape kept our kids and dogs off them for a few hours until they dried. The only drawback is that now it sounds like the house is coming DOWN when our two large labradors bolt down the steps each morning for breakfast. They were a bit surprised the first time they hit the slippery surface 🙂 I still may add a runner on the back steps to help with some of that noise, I am not sure yet, I am considering this one and just stapling it down. Overall it just looks so much better I can’t believe I waited all this time to tackle this project.



If you would like to see more of our projects, you can see our post from last year with Two Years of Home Projects in a Builder Home.  I just realized we are almost to year three, I guess I should get to work on that post next :).

If you aren’t ready to tackle this project right now, here is an easy to pin image so you can remember it for later!

Have old carpet on your stairs? Removing it is easier then you think, see how to spiff up your steps in this easy tutorial.


We also removed our large, builder mirror as part of our bathroom makeover, you can see that post HERE. 



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Our posts contain affiliate links.  If you make a purchase after clicking on these links, we will earn a small commission, which helps to keep our content free.  You don’t pay a cent more than you would otherwise, since that would be tacky! Please see our full disclosure policy here.



  1. Wood Stairs Manufacturers says

    Wow nicely done looks like its done by professionals

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