Monday, September 8, 2008
Flooring... Flooring Once, Flooring Twice...
While my muscles were nicely built up from hours of wallpaper remover removal, I thought I would continue the manual labor streak by tackling the god-awful green shag wall to wall carpet in my would-be dining room.
Not to mention that the super-white trim on almost white walls greeting me every time I came in the door was beginning to depress me. I didn't have the budget to put down the wood floor of my dreams immediately, but I was hoping that the plywood under the carpet would be in good enough shape that I could paint it a nice dark brown and live with that for a few months.
I began by thoroughly vacuuming the carpet in hopes that pulling it up would be much less gross that I suspected it would be.
It didn't help much.
One corner of the rug was already loose, so donning some goggles and work gloves I began pulling from there. With a little elbow grease and an ENORMOUS dust cloud, I had the carpet up in three strips within half an hour. The edge of the carpet was periodically nailed down to tack strips (which are strips of plywood with upside down nails in them) but where the carpet ripped rather than popping the nail, a pair of pliers did the job.
The carpet pad under the carpet came up equally easily (and filthily) to reveal about a quarter inch layer of solid dirt which I scraped, swept and mopped away to get to my...
Old, glued, stapled and nailed down linoleum. Now, getting up the old loose tiles that had been stapled down was actually pretty easy- I just had to work the staples loose with the edge of my scraper and pull them out with the pliers and then the tiles floated right off. The problem came with the ones that still had viable glue- they came off in about one inch square sections. But they did come up!
What didn't come up so easily was the afore-mentioned tack strips. I would get the edge of the scraper under one piece, then use the hammer as a lever to begin prying it up, and the wood would immediately splinter. There had to be a better way. And there was!
I cannot lie. I did go to Lowes and purchase a tool specific for the job that neither my mother nor the man that led me to it at Lowes could remember the name for. It was not a Cat's Paw, they knew that, but a more specific and useful tool. And useful it was indeed! It made the job of removing the tack strips require very little actual force, but quite a bit of patience. Of which I was running out after about three quarters of the room of tiles- patience, not force.
BUT! The new tool intrigued my mother-in-law (who was visiting from India and staying with us for a couple of months.) In India there are people that do these jobs, not tools to bring home that make it possible to do them yourself! The afternoon after I had purchased the tool I found my mother-in-law sitting on a little green stool, doubled over and prying up my tack strips.
Honestly- how lucky can a girl get? I offered to take over for her, but she professed that she was truly enjoying the opportunity to work on her son's new house.
Far-be-it for me to reduce my mother-in-law's joy! So I let her keep going.
For about 6 days she worked an hour or two a day and got up every last speck of linoleum and plywood. Down to the plywood I was aiming for anyway.
Which, sadly, was covered with glue residue. I hoped that leaving it exposed to the open air for awhile would dry the glue out and then I could paint over it. When I discovered the cat stuck to the floor (ok, not TOTALLY stuck, just walking in circles in slow motion with his paws sticking to the floor) a week later,though, I realized that my plan was not going to work.
So this is where my dining room floor is at the moment, and will remain until the wood-floor funding materializes. Don't you just LOVE the way that the filth from the carpet filtered down through the tiles and left that great checkered pattern on the glue residue?
Now, I'm sure there's a way to dissolve the glue residue and therefor get rid of those squares so that I actually could go ahead and paint the floor. But that, I'm certain, would involve chemicals, and mess, and my mother-in-law has gone back to India, so I'm on my own! For now I've covered a good portion of the floor with a nice rug (I pulled it back here to show more floor, but you can see it there- isn't is it lovely?) so the current state isn't driving me too crazy, so I'm leaving it. For now. (That AMEX rewards points gift card to Home Depot is in the mail somewhere!)
Besides, there are other things in the house that are driving me crazier that the state of the floor, and will be easier to fix. Like that white on white-ish wall color (back up the first picture there) I mentioned earlier... I'm feeling highly motivated to do something about that!
TIME: About a week.
COST: $20 so far!
Not-a-Cat's-Paw (15 inch pry-bar)- about $10
I already owned goggles, but if you don't own a pair, you really ought to invest the $5-10 to get a basic pair if you're thinking about doing any DIY projects.