Take the 2-minute tour ×
Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

My carpet is about 25 years old now and it's time to go. I know some people rip carpet out of new homes because they're laying down hardwood. Any issues I should be aware of? (I like the idea of recycling instead of buying new) Thanks!

share|improve this question
add comment

3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Technically, yes you can, but in reality the results might not be great:

  1. Carpet is measured and cut to fit a house's floorplan: individual pieces are cut from a carpet roll to fit around the tricky bits in your house (door openings, inside closets, etc.) and then taped and ironed together on site. Unless you have the exact same floorplan, you're going to have some scrap, meaning it will have to come from a bigger house so that you have enough to fit yours1.

  2. Removing carpet without damaging it can be tricky. Think about your house's floorplan, and how you'd roll up a single piece of carpet to get it out your front door. Finding the seams between pieces is difficult because the original installers are trained to join separate pieces invisibly.

  3. Carpet has a grain, so pieces cut lengthwise from a roll will look funny next to pieces cut crosswise.

  4. The carpet gets a different amount of wear and tear in different parts of the house; if you have to join pieces from different rooms in the original house, they may not have worn the same. This may not be an issue if the house you're taking it from is new.

  5. Cutting carpet is somewhat demanding. Installing carpet, even with a power kicker, is a job for the young and indestructible.

  6. Carpet can pick up surprising amounts of dirt; be sure to have it thoroughly cleaned before installation, especially if the original owners have pets.


1. I helped someone do exactly this several years ago; the carpet and pad came from an approx. 2000 sq.ft. house and he installed it in his 1000 sq.ft. basement. The house it came from was very open-plan, with large living and family rooms and three good sized bedrooms. After cutting pieces down to size to fit his basement rooms (1 large bedroom, 1 small bedroom and a living room), he didn't have a whole lot of carpet left over.

share|improve this answer
    
So after having done it once, would you do it again? –  Kim Nov 4 '13 at 13:54
1  
@kim I wouldn't. The price was right (cost of a big U-haul for a day) but it took a lot of time to install and it didn't look great when we were done. This was in a basement where light wasn't great to begin with; if it had been on the main floors of the house, I imagine it would look much worse. –  Niall C. Nov 4 '13 at 14:58
add comment

In theory I can't see why you shouldn't be able to re-use carpet. Things you might want to check would include:

  • Size and shape of the room (obviously)
  • Why is it being replaced? You mention people going for hardwood floors, but you'd want to make sure that there wasn't another reason like spillage, infestations and the like.
  • How was it removed? If it was just "ripped" up then there might be damage to the edges, or even the middle of the carpet, which might make it unusable.
  • How was it stored after removal? If it was just left outside then there might be water damage etc.

So as long as you're happy with the quality of the carpet you should be OK.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Yes, you certainly can. But with some caveats:

  1. Carpet pad is nasty. You don't want to reuse the pad, whatever the motivation. It's healthier to properly dump the used pad and put in fresh stuff.
  2. Make sure you steam clean the carpets (or use other industrial-strength cleaning processes), to make sure you aren't just transferring 25years of dust mites, hair and what-not somewhere else.
  3. You may want to separate individual pieces from each other at the seams, to make sure they fit OK in the new space.

We recently removed all carpets from our main floor and replaced them with laminate floors. The old carpets have a second life as some sort of temporary basement floor covering; we just threw them on there, and will probably cut them into decent-sized pieces sometime.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.