How to Remove Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are absolutely awesome…until it’s time to remove them. In fact, removing a hardwood floor is oftentimes more of a chore than installing a new wood floor is. But, with the tips and tricks and timesaving tips below, you can breeze through the demolition and removal process with ease.

Tools Needed


  • Box of masks
  • Protective work goggles
  • Thick work gloves
  • Knee-pads
  • Work boots (optional but helpful)
  • Tarps and painter’s tape


  • Circular saw
  • Reciprocating saw (optional, but helpful)
  • Hammer
  • Pry-bar
  • Mallet
  • Vice grips
  • Nail claw
  • Chisel
  • Broom and dust pan

suggested steps:

Assess the wood: The first step is to figure out how much of the wood flooring you wish to remove and what you are going to do with it. Doing so will help you determine how large of a job it’s going to be and what your next steps will entail. For a large job, you may need to employ the help of another person or even several people. Otherwise, if you are able to do it yourself, you may need to grab a wheel barrel to help you move the old wood out. Also it is good to know if you are going to throw the old wood away or repurpose it for your own use or someone else’s. In the event the flooring is going to be used again, you’ll want to take more care in removing it than you would otherwise.

If You Do NOT Intend to Reuse the Wood:

  1. Cut the boards up. Wearing your goggles and whatever other protective gear, use a saw to cut the boards in small sections so they are easier to work with. Be sure to set the depth of your saw to ¾ or whatever the board thickness is.
  2. Pry the boards out. It’s easiest to work from the middle of one end of the floor and work your way around, pulling up the boards as you go. Simply get the pry bar under a section of the flooring, pull it back, and the floor should dislodge.
  3. Pull nails nut. All nails and staples should be removed from the pieces of wood and from the area. This can be done with vice grips and a claw.
  4. Dispose. Dispose of the wood however is best for you such as in a trash bin or wheel barrel. Throwing away your boards as you go make less of a chance you’ll get splinters as you move around the area.
  5. Clean up. You‘ll want to get the area squeaky clean so you can install your new flooring.
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If You DO Intend to Reuse the Wood

  1. Pick a board to scap. The most optimal way to salvage the wood planks is to begin with jeopardizing one. Saw one of the outside boards and pull it out so you can more easily access the rest without harming them.
  2. Pry. Pry each of the planks separately with the pry bar, being cautious not to bend or break any of them if possible. If you hear a noise, lighten up. Re-evaluate the method and the degree of strength you are using on them.
  3. Remove nails. Remove all the nails and staples with a pry bar. Be sure to put them safely into a bucket or can. Do this in a manner that is conducive to reusing the boards, unlike when you know the boards are only going to be tossed into the trash.
  4. Clean up. Clean the area very well so you can install your new flooring. If you are using the boards on the project, clean them as well.
architecture, blueprint, floor plan-1857175.jpg

So there you have it – the simplest formula for taking up your wood flooring. Best of luck with your project.

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