Introduction: Exchange Carpet for Finished Concrete

About: Welcome to my Instructables channel where I'll share my wacky and unique creations that hopefully others find useful, or better yet, inspire an evolution of even better ideas!

Project Summary: Quick tutorial to show how to remove carpet and finish the bare concrete underneath.

This is an entry in the Concrete Contest, please vote if you like it: Contest Link


  1. Vinyl Concrete Patch (Quikrete Brand)
  2. Concrete Wet Look Sealer (Homax Brand)
  3. Caulking
  4. Paint for Touch Up

Total Cost = Around $60


  1. Razor Knife
  2. Claw Pry Bar
  3. Orbital Sander
  4. Putty Knife
  5. Shop Vac
  6. Mop
  7. Floor Scrubbing Broom
  8. Lots of Patience

Step 1: Remove Carpet & Pad

In my case, the carpet was in good shape, and I didn't want to throw it away, but keep it if we ever chose to put it back down (or sell the house and leave the option for the next owner). So, I simply pulled it away from the tack strips, rolled it up, and put it in the attic. (The room is slightly larger than 10'X10')

TIP: If your area is larger and you want to keep the carpet, you can cut the carpet into more manageable pieces by cutting into rectangular shapes and mark the backing with a Sharpie to show how it goes back together. Any good carpet installer can put it back down and seal the seams.

For the pad, there's really no reason to try to save it, especially if its glued down as in my case.

(Forgot to take pictures before removing the carpet.)

Step 2: Remove Carpet Tack Strips

I wished I had Googled this before I did it, but there are some techniques to help minimize the size of divets inflicted on the concrete as the masonry nails are pulled free. I recommend looking those up as it will simplify some later steps and help minimize the negative cosmetic effects. I simply popped them off with the 90 degree side of a claw bar.

Step 3: Prep the Floor

This step is mainly just cleaning. Vacuum as you go using a floor scraper to remove as much glue, foam, and drywall texture over spray as you can.

TIP:Don't put a huge amount of effort into removing the drywall texture over spray by scraping or sanding. Wait till the next step.

Step 4: Wet Clean

Get the entire floor fully wet. This will dissolve the drywall mud over spray and you can simply vacuum it up. Repeat this step several times until fully clean.

Step 5: Detailed Cleaning

This is the tedious step where you need to go over every square inch of the concrete surface to remove marks and glue residue. I found 120 grit sandpaper and a lot of elbow grease was needed particularly to get the stubborn glue residue off.

NOTE: Avoid using cleaners of any kind throughout this entire project. (I was tempted to use some Goo Gone to get the glue off). Any chemical residue, especially acidic residue if you were to use muriatic acid to clean, will react with the sealer, and cause the sealer to become cloudy and not clear. If you read the bad reviews for Wet Look Sealers where the people say it ruined their project; its because they didnt clean it well and had some type of leftover chemical residue.

Wetting the floor as you go helps to show where there is bare concrete and where there is still concrete with some kind of gunk stuck on the surface. This is by far the longest and most tedious step, but also the most important.

TIP: Wet concrete will show much more details of the surface than dry concrete. Similarly, the sealer will show even more. So what may look like a faded red mark in dry concrete will look like fresh lipstick after sealing, so you can't spend too much time on this step.

Step 6: Fill Divets

Use vinyl concrete patch like this from Quikrete. Again, the cleaner the surface the better, so ensure there is no loose debris or dust in the divets. Also, lightly wetting the surface helps the concrete to bond. Use a putty knife to fill and flatten the surface. Let dry overnight.

TIP: Once the holes are all filled in, use a pressure sprayer or spray bottle with plain water to gently mist the surface every hour or so. The slower concrete dries the better.

Pictures above were some very large holes that were filled in for some reason. (They were actually filled in with drywall mud to make them flush to the surface.) Mistake on the original slab? If anyone knows I'd be interested to learn. It wasn't from an old remodel either. (Use the same patch material and technique used there as for the smaller divets around the perimeter.)

Step 7: Concrete Patch Finish

Since the vinyl concrete patch is a mix of portland cement and sand, it will not give you a nice polished surface (unless you're really good at finishing concrete.) This is an optional step, but I mixed just pure portland cement to a toothpaste consistency and applied again over the divets with a putty knife to get a more smooth surface in the patch areas.

Step 8: Sealer Application

Can't stress enough to get the floor as clean as possible. If you can wet the surface and a clean paper towel wipes up with absolutely no signs or dirt or discoloration then you're ready to seal. If not, keep cleaning.

Also, close off the area if possible as any dust or hair that settles on the surface and gets embedded in the sealer will stick out like a sore thumb.

This is the sealer I chose to use: Homax Wet Look Sealer

I used simple foam brushes. Each coat applied in different directions (Left to right in picture above, and next coat was top to bottom)

TIP: To minimize any contamination between coats, don't wear shoes. (I just put on clean socks.)

Step 9: All Finished

Ended up putting down four coats of sealer, 3 hours apart from each other. Then let that dry overnight.

Finished with applying a bead of caulking between the trim and concrete and a little paint touch up.

The plan for the room is to put down some of these Nike Rubber Floor Tiles to use it as a gym room.

Thanks for taking the time to read through my Instructable. Please send me any questions or comments you might have. I try to answer them all. Stay safe and healthy! Happy Home Improving (and Home Exercising)!

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