After we selected the flooring that we wanted and finalized a contract with an installation company, we set to work preparing the room. During our contract negotiation process, we learned that we could save about 10% on our flooring installation if we prepared the room ourselves. This meant we needed to move out all the furniture and remove the old carpeting.
Since we had already emptied most of the room, moving the furniture was not a difficult task. The biggest piece to move was the upright piano. We tucked that into a corner of the living room.
With the room cleared, our next task was to remove the carpeting.
We had prior experience removing carpeting from our old apartment. The main lesson we remembered from that experience is that carpet is really heavy. So it is better to remove your carpeting in small sections so it is easier to cart away and throw out. We lifted up a corner of the carpet and used a utility knife to notch a strip about 3 feet wide. Once you have the tear-line started, it is pretty easy to rip and pull along this line.
We started off with this awkward arrangement of one person pulling and the other keeping the line cut with a knife.
We found it was much easier for one person to act as a weight, standing on the edge of the carpet where the tear line starts and moving along the line as the carpet tears away and the stronger person giving the carpet a good yank.
That left the carpet pad, which followed generally the same process but is much easier and lighter to pull up.
At this point, we discovered that our grand plan to cart all this yucky carpet away to the dump in our van with the seats out was not going to work because it was Memorial Day and the dump was closed! My husband suggested that we stack the carpet in the garage and wait until the next weekend to dump it. I wanted that carpet gone as soon as possible so I crammed it all into the van with seats and car seats intact.
My husband was shocked that I managed to do this. It ended up working out just fine. We dumped it the next morning on the way to preschool drop-off. Unloading it was a cinch and took less than 5 minutes.
I wish I could say that was the end of the prep work. Once you get rid of the carpet and padding, the fun is just beginning!
Next you have to pry out all the carpet tack strips. We have a small crowbar that we bought during our last carpet removing adventure that is perfect for this task. A few taps with a hammer, a little prying and the strips come out relatively easily.
During demolition, there is always some interesting archaeological find. When I came across this section of tack strips I worried that we had some sort of fungus growing underneath the carpet. On further inspection, I found that it was just the magenta strands of shag carpeting the previous owners thankfully replaced with their variegated berber.
Next, it was an arduous process of staple-pulling. We haven’t found a fast way of doing this. It takes a lot of patience, some needle nose pliers and a good pair of gloves.
We then swept and vacuumed and ended up with this.
This is all we were required to deliver to the installers under the terms of our contract but we had one more step to do for our own peace of mind.
The previous owners kept their dog in the family room and whenever we cleaned the berber carpeting and it was wet there was always a sort of odd smell to it. The plywood subflooring looked ok once the carpeting was removed but there were a few spots that showed there had been some sort of liquid spill. Between our children and the dog, the flooring had a hard life. To make sure there would be no odors in the new flooring, I sprayed the entire subflooring with a pet stain and odor formula.
The pet odor remover has a very powerful fume to it. It was hard to breathe while spraying it. I let it penetrate for the required minutes and then damp mopped it away, making sure not to get the subflooring too wet. The next day, you could see a visible improvement in the subflooring. It didn’t get out every stain but it did get out some of the major ones. We also felt good knowing that the subfloor was as clean as we could get it. We let the subflooring dry out for 24 hours prior to the installation. I am not sure if cleaning your subflooring is a bad idea because of the moisture you might be introducing into the floor but in our case the benefits outweighed the risks.
Finally, we were done with the prep work and the “fun” of installation could begin.
Tomorrow: Flooring Installation