Sunday, April 27, 2014

Do it yourself, they said. It will be easy, they said.

So less than one week into homeownership, we've discovered our first less-than-pleasant surprise. Huzzah!

Hermione's contribution to today's work.

As I wrote about in the last post, we were happily and successfully removing carpet from the upstairs. I knew some of the harder parts, like pulling up the staples, were yet to come, but I was feeling good.

Then we tried to take the carpet out of the closet.
The house came with this lovely built-in custom closet system (I know, poor me) which is AWESOME. However, it was of course installed on top of the carpet, with a very tight fit, and attached in about 37 places. We couldn't get the carpet out from underneath it, and even if by some miracle we managed to wiggle those pieces out, there would be no way to install the new floor there. It would have to come out.

That was the last time Brett smiled for the next hour.

After dismantling it in every way we could see, Brett spent ages yanking, wiggling, hitting, and otherwise attempting to persuade a tower of shelves and drawers to move. No luck. This went on for at least half an hour, when I finally heard a very loud tearing sound, and the whole thing came loose. Yep - we had missed a screw. It had been screwed to the wall the entire time, and Brett just finally yanked hard enough to pull the screw loose. He's my He-Man.

After that the rest of it came out with moderate ease, but it was pretty time consuming.

You'd think we'd be done then, but oh no no...

There are two decorative columns at the top of the stairs. These, too, were installed on top of the carpet. They were also screwed to the stair wall in such a way that we had to take off all the trim from the wall in order to get to the brackets that were holding them on. In order to remove the last two 6" squares of carpet, we had to take apart two walls!

The dreaded decorative column in its native habitat

Then a run to the dump to get rid of all the pulled-up padding and carpet - I'm thrilled it's done but that took another chunk of time out of the day.

Once all the carpet was up, the padding pulled right up and the tack strips popped off pretty easily with a crowbar or cat's paw.

This bit was actually pretty satisfying. At least, for the first twenty minutes.

That left only ... the dreaded removal of the staples. We were deterred from trying to shortcut the whole endeavor by using a floor scraper - people warned us that would damage the subfloor. Apparently there's some kind of specialty tool for staple removal, but we didn't have one. So Brett and I spent half the day on our knees, ripping staples out of the floor one by one with pliers.

I hurt everywhere.

The saddest part is we didn't even finish (although we're past halfway), so we're going to have to face it again one of these days. Probably not tomorrow, though. My fingers need to heal.

Subfloor with staples removed. The result meets with Hermione's approval.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. That certainly sounds like a hefty predicament, with all carpeting and cabinet building you had to do. It's a good thing you were able to power through it all. Doing that without the help of professionals is really an amazing feat. Anyway, I do hope all your future endeavors with the renovation is in relative ease. I wish you all the best!

    Arthur Bryant @ Contractor Express