Skip to Content

How to Remove Staples from Subfloor

For the latter half of the 20th century, carpeting predominated as the flooring choice for newly constructed residences. But as things have evolved, carpeting is becoming less popular. Nevertheless, there are still many houses with carpets in some areas.

At the height of the carpeting craze, magnificent hardwood floors were covered with carpeting because they were out of style. People are currently removing the carpeting and returning to the elegance of the hardwood flooring. However, things aren’t always as simple as they seem.

It’s simple to remove carpeting; a skilled individual can do it in a couple of hours to a whole house. However, there will typically still be many stapes and possibly some adhesive.

Before installing the new pad, carpet layers typically pound those staples into the carpet. But that is a bad idea if the house has hardwood floors. If it becomes necessary to refinish the hardwood floors in the future, leaving those staples in place may result in issues.

This article will walk you through the best ways to remove the staples on the softwood subfloors and the hardwood subfloors.

How to Remove Staples from Subfloor: Softwood Floor

The finest instrument for removing those staples from floors made of plywood or pine board is a long-handled scraper with an 8″ razor blade. The sharp blade will snag in the metal of the staples, causing them to come out, making it easy to remove the staples while being gentle on the back.

This is the only approach discussed in this article that you can complete while standing up instead of spending hours crouched over while working on the floor.

With this tool, some staples might not be easily removed, mainly if they are grouped together. A smaller version of the same instrument with a 4″ blade can be used in that situation. The smaller tool won’t offer as much leverage but will have better control.

Finally, a set of diagonal cutters is the best tool for staples that the 4″ scraper can’t reach. They provide the staple’s metal the same kind of hold that a razor blade would. Just be careful not to close them down too much to cut off the staple; otherwise, you might have to pound it in.

How to Remove Staples from Subfloor: Hardwood Subfloors

Hardwood floor staple removal is far more complicated than softwood floor staple removal. Most of the staples will need to be removed from hardwood floors like oak using the smaller scraper or the diagonal cutters.

Personna produces a 4″ scrape with a bulbous handle. As a result, it is much simpler to press down on the scraper at its back without experiencing hand discomfort. It will be cost-effective unless only a few staples need to be taken out.

Utilizing a specialist lever action staple remover will be necessary if the staple cannot be removed using the scraper. There are many of these available. The greatest of these are the ones where the staple is pressured by pushing down the lever, grasping it, and pulling it up. If you do that, the staple will probably be removed on its whole rather than just one side.

What to Avoid When Removing Staples on Subfloors

Most individuals use a straight-blade screwdriver or a pair of pliers to attempt to remove staples from the floor. Some have even tried using a pry bar, but neither that nor the screwdriver work. While pliers can be used, doing so is a rather laborious process.

Some of the most challenging staples could require pliers, mainly if the staple breaks off and only one leg remains firmly embedded in the board. In that scenario, grab the staple using slip-joint pliers as close to the floor as possible, then roll the pliers over the curve to remove it.

Small water pump pliers can be used for the same purpose.

Carpet Tack Strip Removal

The tack strips can most likely be utilized again if a new carpet is being installed. There isn’t much that could go wrong with them.

Before utilizing them again, check that they are firmly fastened to the floor, that the upward-facing tacks are still in place, and that no pieces came up with the carpeting.

On the other hand, the tack strips cannot be left in place if a different sort of floor covering is going to be installed. Then, removing them with minimal harm to the wood floor’s surface will be essential.

Start by removing the tack strips by pulling up on the tacks with a long-handled pair of electrical pliers with a well-shaped nose. These can be used to hold the tacks and pull up on them, which will cause the strip to come up and possibly break.

The nails holding the tack strips may or may not come out with the strips, as the tack strip will probably break.

Use a cat’s paw nail puller to get rid of such nails, supporting it on a thin piece of plywood so that the rocking action required to draw the nail out won’t cause the nail puller’s head to dig into the flooring. If necessary, drive the nail puller under the nail’s head using a regular claw hammer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should You AlwaysTake Out the Staples Before Underlayment?

Even if they are not sticking up, it is essential that you remove all the staples, nails, and tacks before installing new underlay and carpet. They might get loose on a later date, and you or a child might step on them one day.

Should Staples Go Through the Subfloor?

It’s crucial to get the right staple length. Ensure that your flooring is affixed to your subfloor, but the staples don’t pass through. The vapor barrier and your floor may be damaged if the staple penetrates the subfloor.

How durable are subfloors?

Most subfloor materials can be expected to survive for the lifetime of the home when adequately protected from moisture, but if the subfloor is constantly exposed to moisture, you may need to replace it after 20 to 30 years or even sooner.