I have a master bedroom and office which have particle board underlayment. I can tell it is off-gassing formaldehyde because I can smell it!

enter image description here

I plan to replace the carpet in a month so I'd like to remove the particle board first and put new plywood.

It is nailed down like below and I still don't know what's the most efficient way/tool to remove it?

enter image description here

Any suggestion is appreciated!

  • Prybar? There might be a better solution, but that's the first thing that comes to mind.
    – Chris M.
    Aug 23, 2017 at 21:24
  • Update: eventually I used a circle saw to cut the floor into small pieces and then used pry bar to remove each small pieces. It was quite easy and didn't take me much time.
    – XWLI
    Oct 3, 2018 at 19:29

2 Answers 2


My experience with removing old particle board sub flooring was to use a pry bar like this:

enter image description here

Pound the end in under the edge of the material and break it apart. This will make lots of pieces of the particle board that are relatively easy to handle and clean away. Most particle board removal like this will break away from the nails and make it easy to come along behind and easily pull them out with a claw hammer and/or the pry bar.

I tried using a cats paw to remove the nails from the top of the particle board and I can say it is a very time consuming process to do it that way and some nails will still resist being removed that way. It was overall frustrating and the above described process of breaking apart the material was much faster and more productive.


Buy a cat's paw prybar and pound it under each nailhead, pull each nail individually. I know it sounds painfully laborous, but believe me - much cleaner, efficient, and productive. Make sure to test the smallest piece first - they may all be glued. If that's the case, go buy the cheapest latex paint you can find and paint over the floor to seal in the stink until you get your carpet.

Honestly, I'd call my latter suggestion "Plan A", but I don't know your situation.

  • Thanks! I going to try a small piece and decide if go "plan B" :) .
    – XWLI
    Aug 24, 2017 at 20:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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