Uncovering Hardwood

Our dining room has come a long way from the wallpaper & pink walls but the carpet in there was still bugging me.  There is just something a little icky about carpet in the dining room.  I knew we had hardwoods under the carpet (also in the playroom) but wasn’t sure what the condition of the floors was underneath all that carpet.  Here is the lovely carpet:

One corner of the carpet was loose, so I had pulled it back a few times to check out the floors and determine what kind of work would be required.  the floors seemed to be in pretty good shape in that corner so I thought we could pull up the carpet, patch any nail holes from the tack strips & install quarter round (toekick) trim.  The project seemed pretty doable so a couple weeks ago (between the snows) we dove in.

One night after Liam was in bed, we moved the furniture into the playroom and got started.

Here’s the last pic with carpet!

We pulled up the carpet starting in the corner that was already loose.  It was DUSTY!  We tried to roll it up as well as we could but that was difficult to do without scratching the walls.

Once we had it into a manageable pile/roll we just tossed it out the front door onto the sidewalk & went on to the padding.  The good news was that the padding was stapled mainly on the edges & only a couple rows down the middle of the floor.  We rolled it up in sections and threw it out the front door as well.

We were left with a pretty good looking floor…with a LOT of staples and a bunch of little sticky spots left from pieces of the padding.

The easiest way that we found to remove the staples was to gently slide a flat head screw driver under the staple to pry up one end and then remove the whole thing with pliers.

We only scraped the floor with the screw driver a couple times (oops!).  It took the 2 of us around 2 hours to remove the carpet, padding & all of the staples.  The staple holes were not noticeable so that was a big relief. We called it quits around 10:30 pm and blocked off the room so Liam & Mac wouldn’t hurt themselves on the tack strips.  Here it is at the end of work day night one.

I posted the carpet roll for free on Craigslist with the approximate measurements and had a response in under 30 minutes and a pick up in less than 2 hours.  I am glad that the carpet will go to good use for someone instead of being dumped in the landfill or paying by the pound to have it recycled.

The next day I vacuumed and then spent about 30 minutes giving the floor a good scrub with Murphy’s Oil Soap and the scrub brush end of the mop to scrub up the sticky spots left by the padding.  I was happy to find that there were only a couple big scratches in the floor and that the sticky padding spots had not stained the floor.  Here it is after one cleaning.

It took me around 1.5 hrs to remove the tack strips.  I cleaned the floor first because it was pretty gross sliding over the floor the night before with all those sticky spots.  Here are the tools I used to pry up the tack strips.

The technique that worked best was to gently slide a stiff 2″ flat tool (the one with the red & black handle that isn’t a screwdriver) under the tack strip between the nails and pull up on the handle to break the wood strips.  I sometimes used the small pry bar to make it a little faster.  I pried up a few feet of tack strip & then went back around to pull up the nails with a hammer.

After the tack strips were up it took me another 30 minutes for a 2nd cleaning.  So here’s where we had at the end of work day two (complete with a Mac photobomb).

I would like to try some Bona on the floors to see if they will get a little more shine back, but I will need to do the entry at the same time so I am saving that fun task for the future.

We took a family trip to Home Depot to get the supplies for adding the quarter round molding to the baseboards to cover up the gap between the floor.  We decided to get a nail gun to make the job easier.  On the advice of the guy at the store, we bought a Ryobi battery operated nail gun that uses the same batteries as our drill & other tools.  It doesn’t require a noisy compressor & the price point is more reasonable for occasional DIY jobs than the other nail guns.  This thing is FUN (& a little scary).

RyobiNailGunWe cut the pre-primed quarter round trim pieces down from 16′ to 8′ so it would (barely) fit in the car.  Next time (if there is a next time), I would be a little more strategic in the sizes that I cut at the store so there wasn’t as much cutting required  when we got home – but this stuff is cheap at less than 50 cents a linear foot.

Next came the cutting (while my parents played with Liam).  I don’t have a lot of pictures of that because 1) it’s not interesting and 2) it’s enough of a PITA without stopping to take pictures.   We labeled all the pieces with which wall they were for right after cutting to make it a little easier to install.  We did a dry fit and at the end of the day, all but one piece was cut correctly the first time.

But this piece took another 3 or 4 times to get the angle & length right.

Fast forward a week to the next weekend for the rest of the steps.  The painting was pretty quick since we already have left over trim paint.  I spread out all the pieces in the basement storage room on a plastic drop cloth and just gave them a quick coat in about half an hour.  Then came the fun part (the only fun part about trim) using the nail gun!  I read the instructions for the nail gun, which were surprisingly short, and we tested it out on a couple of scrap pieces of wood to make sure the pressure was right.

It only took about 15 minutes to nail in all the pieces.   I caulked the seams and called it finished for now.  There is still trim touch up that needs to happen but it is really very minor (and who goes around looking that closely at your trim anyway).  We also need to stain and install a transition piece in the threshold between the kitchen and dining room and fill a few nail holes but overall I’m very happy about having hardwoods instead of icky carpet in the dining room.  It is especially nice when you eat with a toddler whose idea of table manners is throwing food to the dog when he’s all done.

Here’s the before & after.  Yay for no more carpet!  I also got a couple more dining chairs from World Market to add to the set.  We usually end up with more than 6 people (including the kids) when we have people over so squeezing in a couple more chairs on the 8 foot table made sense (& the chairs were on mega sale  BONUS!)  WHY would anyone cover this up!!

Before:

After (obviously taken at a different time of day than the before):

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