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Super Handyman: Save by ripping carpet strips

I’ve been saving up for a wood floor in my bedroom. As much as I love carpet, my allergies are getting bad again, and I think wood flooring would be much less irritating than carpet. I’ve decided to save some money by removing the old carpet first. You also can do this, and save some bucks. Here’s how:

First of all, wear a dust mask because you will be stirring up a lot of dust and dirt.

Use a very sharp carpet knife and cut the carpet into 3-foot-wide strips, from one side of the room to the other.

Grab a corner and try to loosen it, then pull it up. Roll it as you go and keep going until you have reached the other side of that strip. Use masking tape to secure the roll. Do this with each 3-foot-section until all are done. Then carry the carpet rolls out to the curb or dumpster.

The padding should be done the same way, if it’s not falling apart.

Vacuum the whole floor before working on the tack strips. Keep the dust mask on for this part, too. An extra filter will help keep the dust from getting back out into the room.

You’ll need a thin pry bar to pull up the tack strips. Use pliers to pull up any nails that are left behind.

Sweep, and vacuum again.

If you see any gouges left behind by the nails, use floor filler to smooth them out.

Now you are ready for your new floor, and you saved yourself some cash, too!


Q: I am getting ready to paint our entryway ceiling. We are going to wallpaper the walls, too. There was a leak in our roof from years ago that left a stain on the ceiling. I’ve been told that it might show through the new paint.

How can you get rid of it before painting? – M.B.

A: It’s true. Water spots will bleed through the paint unless you use a sealer/primer first. Kilz is the choice of most painters, and I’ve used it more than any other one myself. After it’s dried, you can use the ceiling paint of your choice. Here’s a little tip – continue the paint down the wall about an inch. This way, when you put up your wallpaper, any irregularities along your ceiling and walls won’t show.

A super hint

If you have extra paint, siding, crown molding, flooring and other good building supplies, donate them to a local charity that helps people in need make repairs to their homes. Check with your church or city management for possible sources.


WD-40 is super, but the company offers more than one formula. WD-40 Specialist formula is a water-resistant, silicone-based lubricant that dries quickly, is completely clear, won’t stain and leaves no messy residue. It’s great for just about everything that WD-40 can’t be used on. To find out more, go to

You’ll also see that the company has several other formulas that you probably didn’t even know about.

Got a question or a handy tip? Visit Those of general interest will be used in future columns.