Best tool to remove carpet tack strip and not create divots?

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Forum topic by Gary posted 05-28-2012 11:20 PM 36148 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Gary's profile


1325 posts in 4522 days

05-28-2012 11:20 PM

I’m taking out carpet in order to use the terrazzo underneath.
I was told the carpet tack strips shouldn’t be pulled up. Instead, I was told the nails should be cut flush to the floor.
What’s the best tool for this?
I have a Porter-Cable oscillating multi-tool; is that the right tool or is there something else folks use?

-- Gary, Florida

10 replies so far

View Bobmedic's profile


381 posts in 3000 days

#1 posted 05-28-2012 11:25 PM

You could but I don’t see why you can’t pull them up. If there are divots left where the nails were they will be filled with the mortar under the tile.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3846 days

#2 posted 05-28-2012 11:41 PM

Concrete nails?

You might split the tack strips up with a chisel til you
just have the nails left. A dremel with a cut off wheel
will cut the nails and is pretty maneuverable. An angle
grinder with a cutoff (radiac) wheel will work too.

View MrUnix's profile


7038 posts in 2397 days

#3 posted 05-29-2012 12:07 AM

I’ve always just yanked the strips and filled in the divots. If done right, you will barely notice they were ever there. I’m not sure if it is justified, but I would worry that cutting the nails flush would lead to having them eventually start to rust. If you pull the strips up carefully, the divots will not be that big.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Gary's profile


1325 posts in 4522 days

#4 posted 05-29-2012 12:19 AM

The professional contractor/terrazzo refinisher said they cut the nails rather than creating divots because:
1. repairing divots is expensive
2. fixing the divots so they’re not glaring, ugly looking mistakes takes experience, hence it’s best done by a professional
3. #2 above is real expensive

Bob, the divots won’t be under anything because we’re refinishing the terrazzo and it’ll become the finished floor.

If someone reads this and has actual experience doing it, please let me know how you do it.


-- Gary, Florida

View chrisstef's profile


17759 posts in 3204 days

#5 posted 05-29-2012 12:47 AM

Id lay down a thin strip of plywood underneath the flattest prybar i could find. How did they fasten the strips to the terrazzo what kind of nails? Masonry i assume?I think a grinder is out. A multi tool like dremel or multimaster will work but take forever. What about splitting the strips, leave the nails, and using a metal cutting blade on a toe kick saw.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2484 days

#6 posted 05-29-2012 01:17 AM

Split the wood, use a dremmel multimax 40 with a hacksaw blade. Make some coffee first.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Karson's profile


35146 posts in 4598 days

#7 posted 05-29-2012 02:17 AM

I would use a muffler tool that is used to cut bolts when taking off mufflers. It’s an air tool. I would cut the heads of the nails on the strip and then pry up the strips.

Then cut the nails off flush to the surface.

An electric grinder might also work but a little slower.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View Gary's profile


9386 posts in 3631 days

#8 posted 05-29-2012 03:30 AM

Just did it in one of the bedrooms. I used one of those “Multi” tools. Mine is a dremel. Slides under the strip and cuts the nail. HOWEVER….it leaves scratches on the concrete. Probably would follow Karson’s advice if it ’s terrazzo

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View chrisstef's profile


17759 posts in 3204 days

#9 posted 05-29-2012 12:58 PM

If theyre just scratches the terazzo should buff out. In my experience terrazzo is pretty tough on diamond blades but a grinder will do some damage even with a metal cut off blade.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View BruceCM's profile


11 posts in 2442 days

#10 posted 05-31-2012 02:37 AM

I take it these are concrete nails? If so, they are very hard and would probably be very difficult to cut off.

Yes, pulling them with any kind of bar or hammer claw would likely make a nice big crater

I think what I’d try is to split the wood of the tack strip with an old chisel, then gently tap the protruding nail back and forth (easy does it), then as previously suggested, grab with vice grips and pull straight up. If done right, it should come out and leave a small hole that you sshould be able to patch with some fine sand mortar, like a grout or thinset.


-- cut once, measure once and......dam I'm good!

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