Ripping Up A Rug & Removing The Rug Pad & Tack Strips

We named the rug in the sunroom Stinky. We were feeling literal, and it was damp in the corners from moisture seeping into the sunroom from bad seals in the old sliders and some wood rot. The previous owners knew there was a moisture issue (along with a serious smell issue) in there, which definitely came into play when they set the low-enough-to-be-in-our-range listing price, so although this rug sounds like a curse, we actually consider it to be a blessing (heck, if we can take care of something that might turn off other buyers and it helps us afford a house that we LOVE, we’re all about it).

So here’s how we got that rug up and outta there along with the glued down rug pad underneath – and some pretty serious nails and staples that were lurking below. First we yanked up the rug in the corner using a small crowbar to free it up from some of the nails in the tack strips around the perimeter of the room that were holding it in place.

After we got the rug free from the tack strips around the edges of the room, we rolled each side like a scroll, towards the midpoint of the room. Once we got them there in the middle, we used a box cutter to slice the rug in half so it was easier to carry out of there (you can cut a rug before you roll it, but we found that the extra slack that it gained after it was rolled made cutting it easier once it was in this position). Then we carried each section away while trying not to inhale or think about how much of our body it was touching.

Next we attacked the rug pad, which sadly was glued all over the place (we hoped it was just a floating pad so the concrete under it wouldn’t have glue stains out the wazoo). Soon enough… we hit glue. Boo, glue, boo. And suddenly this post is an ode to Dr Seuss.

Oh well, still had to get it outta there, glue stains and all. We yanked up as much as we could with our hands and for the areas that were super stuck to the glue, we used the same $25 floor scraper from Home Depot that had come in handy when we removed the carpet in the upstairs bedrooms. It has a pretty sharp and smooth blade at the end of it, so just like you’d use a razor to get paint off glass, you run it across the floor with some force and it basically slices the glue right off so the floor is smooth and flush again.

So glad the glue bumps could be removed, even if the glue stains were still there (I’ll show you those a little closer in a second).

While I was slicing my way around with the floor scraper (yes, with my dangly earrings on because I’m cool like dat) John got to work on busting the tack strips out from around the perimeter of the room. They were basically spindly old wood strips with nails sticking up that had held the carpet in place, and they were a pain to get up since they were so brittle (they kept splintering and breaking instead of coming up all as one strip – even when John worked the prybar under them every few inches to pry them away from the floor). It probably took a good hour and a half just to get the rug pad, excess glue, and tack strips up after spending about ten minutes pulling up the carpet itself.

Once all the tack strips, random nails, and glue spots were up it was time for the shop vac. First I picked out the longer shards of wood to bag and dispose of separately (no sense in trying to suck up a foot-long shard of wood with the shop vac) but all of the small splinters of wood, nails, balls of glue, and tufts of old carpet got swept into piles and vacuumed up.

And with that, the room turned a corner. The raw concrete, even with the glue stains that it has, is definitely an improvement on the swampy old carpet.

And thanks to my little scraper action, the entire floor is flush and smooth now, even with those frustrating glue stains that have soaked into the concrete (at least they no longer bump out along with a slew of nails and staples).

So we think a good cleaning followed by a coat of stain & odor blocking primer (just to be sure the stink is really gone) along with some porch and floor paint will cover up those stains, seal in any lingering smells (so they won’t waft out to greet us on a hot day), and we’ll have a room that’s approximately 98% more pleasant to be in.

And down the line we have big plans for this room. So beyond this little carpet’s-gotta-go first step, we’d love to…

  • Rip up old stinky carpet and padding
  • Scrub the concrete and seal in the smell somehow (so it doesn’t leech odor forever)
  • Stain or paint the concrete floor as part of Phase 1*
  • Permanently remove the half-broken base heater
  • Eventually retile the floor with outdoor-safe stone to upgrade the old concrete floors (down the line for Phase 2)
  • Convert sunroom to an open covered porch with new columns and no more sliders (many of the sliders are bad and the posts are rotten) – we’re envisioning something like this
  • Possibly build a brick outdoor fireplace off of the sunroom after we open it up? Kind of like this, but different…
  • Add beadboard to the ceiling and paint it soft blue?

* This is just a first-thought brain dump, so if we learn that painting the floor won’t allow us to tile it down the road, we’ll course correct and share the new plan as we go

So glad to have that old carpet gone. Even though we had to carry it out to the garage ourselves (which sends a shiver up my spine every time I think about it) it was totally worth it to have it outta there.

Psst- Clara’s having more conversations over on Young House Life. Number 5 made us laugh until we cried.


  1. Katelyn says

    When we pulled up our equally nasty carpet (except it was in our living room – I shudder at the memory), we very liberally sprayed the floor with an enzyme product called Anti-Icky-Poo (yeah, I know). It’s intended for dog and cat urine clean-up but it works on most organic smells. Our cement went from gag-worthy to totally non-stinky after 2 really good doses. We got ours, in gallon size, from the local vet.

    • Katie M. says

      I’ve heard wonderful things about anti-icky-poo! You can buy on Amazon as well! :)

    • Kate S. says

      I second this stuff! It’s better than any other urine clean-up product out there (like Nature’s Miracle). I will say that there is a bit of a fragrance to it, and I always prefer to let that fragrance air out, too.

    • Jenni says

      Anti Icky Poo is a miracle product. We use it on our concrete garage floor to tackle odors. Might be worth spraying a good layer of Anti Icky Poo before using the odor blocking primer just to be extra sure the smell will disappear for good.

    • Linda says

      Zero Odor is another good one – I believe you can get at Bed Bath & Beyond now. My poor kitty had some UTI and poop issues and that stuff was a godsend regarding odor elimination.

  2. Bonnie Bischoff says

    Does every house in your area have a sunroom? They aren’t common here but you seem to have one in each home!

    Another reason not to live in Canada perhaps??

    • Shannon says

      I’ve wondered the same thing! Here in NY some houses have them but not a whole lot. Lucky! :)

    • Amy says

      Here in southeastern Ontario they are extremely popular. I live in an older neighbourhood full of tiny little houses and many of them (including ours) have them. And actually my grandmother’s house in Alberta had one, too!

    • Bren says

      I love your sun room. And although the ideas you have are gorgeous for the room, would you miss having a sunny, but warm spot, in the winter time? I have a deck and always wish to glass it in for more use (here in NC we have MOSQUITOS in the summer, yuck! And chilly winters).

    • says

      Nah, we didn’t use either of our old sunrooms in the winter (the heating system is no match for all those doors, which aren’t energy efficient at all) so we only used them in the spring/summer/fall anyway – so this plan won’t be any different :)


  3. Amy says

    Do you not get mosquitoes? That is why I am always surprised when you mention converting the sunroom to a covered porch. I, personally, would want an outdoor room with mosquito protection. :) But it is, of course, your house and maybe you are some of those lucky people who don’t get bitten! If so: Jealous!

    • says

      There’s a ceiling fan in there, so even with the doors wide open they tend to stay away (we get them, but they hate wind/breezes, so fans are the best defense).


  4. Paige says

    Have you guys thought about mopping the concrete with a vinegar solution? I know you’ve used vinegar to remove the smell from musty thrift store furniture, so I wonder if it would work here?

  5. Jess says

    Even though it’s stinky and gross right now I’m glad you appreciate the potential there. You’re so fortunate to already have the structure present to pretty up. If I want a covered porch I’d need to spend thousands of dollars having a roof extension built, no fun!

    Tile would look great out there, but if the slab isn’t cracked or anything maybe you could have it professionally stained? It looks fabulous when they stain it to look like natural stone. It might be a lot cheaper than tiling too, and would certainly be faster. If you do tile maybe you could use something that would tie in to your foyer stone?

  6. says

    Good bye stinky, indeed. Our first townhome had several dogs and cats, a smoker, several places of water damage, and owners that were not fastidious cleaners. Don’t miss those early days. Random question: will opening up the sunroom decrease the SF of the house? I’m all for making a house work for me, just curious if that would be the case.

  7. Theresa says

    Love John’s face! (an eewww nasty carpet kinda look) As for Sherry, tres chic. I don’t even look that good out and about. Looking good! (the sunroom and you two)

  8. says

    Love the Phase 2 open porch. Can’t wait for Phase 1 – give us color hints, please! I’m digging salmons, pinks and turquoises right now, but that’s probably because winter was so long in MN that I glob onto anything tropical.

  9. Christy says

    Yesss! Looks so much better already and what a relief knowing that other people’s mess is outta there. I love your plans to open this space up and replace the old, dark sliders with columns – it’ll be much more airy and probably add more light into the family room as an added bonus. The cherry on top would be a true Southern sky blue ceiling on that porch. Maybe a lovely porch swing with cozy cushions to sip lemonade on?

  10. Lindsey says

    Whoa! I was wondering who the stranger was in the first picture until I stared at it long enough to realize it’s John! Something about the lighting/angle makes him look super tan and with gray hair. Haha!

    • says

      I was wondering the same thing! Then I saw that the body looked like John’s, so I thought that they had stuck someone else’s head on his body. I was so confused!

    • Lauren Nicole says

      I noticed the gray look to John’s hair in that pic, too. At least Sherry knows her man is still going to look sexy when he’s truly gray-haired! #iknowhesyours

    • Tanya says

      I though John was someone else as well. He actually reminded me of Zaib Shaikh – though I am guessing this is a Canadian reference so you may not know who I am talking about (see –

      Any other photo and I would never in a million years have though of this comparison (well I guess their build may be similar).

    • tam says

      I was wondering the exact same thing Sherry & Lindsey. I am really likeing the gray, you sexy young lad/mini Cooper (= (I am probably in the minority of the daily readers age here though, uhhumm late 40’s) Love you guys!!!

    • Laura C says

      This thread makes me laugh – I have a heavy dose of grey on the top of my head, but it doesn’t really jump out at you unless I’m under a bright light. Apparently my office elevators have bright lights, because twice in the past couple of months people in the elevator have complemented my hair and then asked where I go to have it “frosted.” I mean, come on – I thought people stopped frosting their hair back in the early 90s. Both women were somewhat mortified when I responded “uh, thanks, but that’s just grey hair.”

    • Debby says

      Haha I had to do a double take also. My husband is now in his very late 40’s with salt and pepper hair. It’s so gorgeous in the sunlight. I tell him it looks so sparkly:)

    • Briel K. says

      Haha I came in here to say something about John’s hair too! Too funny. He can definitely pull it off!

    • says

      I did a triple take as well! I first opened the post and thought, “well! they finally hired some work out, but it was for carpet removal?? Really??” It wasn’t until after I started reading I went back and looked at the image closely to realize it was John! too funny

  11. Carrie says

    I don’t comment much, but this post, and the possibilities that ensue made me literally gasp and “Wow!” out loud! I can’t wait for phase 2! I admire your vision and ability to see the possibilities!

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