Clean Slate

Saturday we vanquished the gross flooring the previous owner left us. While I had already ripped up 2 rooms of carpet, there were still several rooms of disgusting left.

We chose to divide & conquer. That meant we never really worked together but it was certainly efficient.

I started in the 3rd floor back bedroom. It’s the only room to have wall-to-wall carpet that was most likely professionally installed. That mean tack strips and carpets tucked under baseboards & radiators.


The carpet wasn’t particularly ugly but it did feature this yummy stain.


Most likely left from this air conditioner left sitting on it.

I found a combination of tools helpful for ripping up tack strips & nails. The flat spade tile chisel (I think that’s what it’s called) & hammer popped the strips right up super easy. Robo Grips & needlenose pliers pulled up the nails left behind.
So flattering, right? Renovation shows look like a lot of fun. Lord knows I’m a complete sucker for a good Before & After but what they often fail to mention are all the little steps in the middle. Pulling up nails one by one. Or the omnipresent spackle, sand & repeat routine. The reality is renovations aren’t incredibly glamorous. In fact, they make you incredibly hot and sweaty – the droplet of sweat rolling down your nose or into your eye kind of sweaty. /soapbox

Apparently someone felt they only had to paint/stain the outside edges of the room, not the middle.

But look at the after!
3rd Flr Back Room No Carpet

I do love a good “after.” (Can’t wait until they’re sanded & refinished!!)


Meanwhile…. Rob tackled the study/future walk-in closet.
More disgusting carpet

Which had, not one!

But TWO layers of carpet!!


Need a closer look at that??

Makes me dizzy.

The rubber backing on the older carpet had completely disintegrated into a greenish-black dust.
Backing Dust

Looks better after we vacuumed but I forgot to take a picture of that.
Closet pre-vacuuming

Of course, being the efficient machine my dear hubby is, he also tackled the 3rd floor bathroom. And better him than me.


Do you see that?? It smelled as gross as it looks; like 5 years of drunken college barf were collected in the fibers. {vom!}

The previous owner LURVED carpet tiles. Literally could not get enough of them. At least it makes for easy removal.
pile of bathroom carpet tiles

Found an interesting choice of flooring under said stinky carpet.

3rd flr bathroom no carpet

That’s right, industrial looking laminate tiles edged with white ceramic shower tiles.



I worked on the 2nd floor hallway, where there were MORE carpet tiles.

starting 2nd floor hallway

But they’re super quick to take up, as it’s just friction keeping them in place.

2nd floor hall mid carpet removal

See? All done! No sweating required.

2nd floor hall no carpet

Then I just worked my way down the stairs pulling off all the plastic tread protectors.

Staircase mid plastic removal
(No before or after for that, just a halfway pic. Too boring for much attention.)

The foyer was also covered with – you guessed it! – carpet tiles.
Foyer mid-removal

These were stuck down with adhesive though. They peeled up easy enough but the paint underneath was all bubbly & malleable.



You can certainly tell what was covered and what wasn’t:


Guess cleaning really wasn’t a strong suit here.

If you’re keeping count, that’d be carpet tiles in the:

  • Foyer
  • 2nd floor hallway
  • 3rd floor hallway
  • 2nd floor front room
  • 3rd floor bathroom

LOVED. Carpet tiles.

The largest single floor removal happened in the living & dining rooms.

Laminate floors before


The previous owner laid down laminate wood looking floor over the hardwood.

Starting to remove laminate

Once Rob got an edge up, it was smooth sailing. The laminate was laid on a backer layer, which was on top of a layer of plastic.

Pulling up laminate in living room

The whole day was a dust fest. But for some reason, Bruce didn’t want to wear his protection.

Bruce with a mask

Brucen says no mask.


Interestingly enough, the laminate was almost the same color the hardwoods are painted.

No more laminate "wood"!

We still need to get all the debris out; deciding between renting a dumpster & calling 1-800-Got-Junk. TBD on that.

But, other than that, everything is up and the floors are ready for the refinishers to come. We decided it’s worth the money to pay a professional floor refinisher.

We toyed with the idea of doing the floors ourself. My friend Kim‘s husband refinished their floors and they look amazing. But frankly, it just looks like A LOT of work. We did the math and have 1,335 sqft of floors on 3 different levels to refinish, PLUS 2 staircases. They’ll probably have to be sanded multiple times (DUST!), stained, then coated with 3 layers of poly. Also, those floor sanders are heavy and we’d have to move them up and down the stairs. No thank you.

Everything comes down to time & money. Sure doing it ourselves would be cheaper but, for us, paying a professional is worth not having the aggravation. We’re paying for their expertise; they have the right tools & know-how. And – POOF – it’ll be done. Hopefully we’ll get cracking on it this week (more to come on that). But at least the floors are now ready.

King of the Pile

King of the Pile!! (Spartan stick and all)

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10 Responses to Clean Slate

  1. Eva says:

    Ack! Carpet backing dust! That crap is sofa king nasty.

    Yeah, no one tells you about the middle part of renovations. Where you start crying mid project because there is no end in sight. No idea of when your house is going to be anywhere close to normal and you can take the drywall out of the bedroom. There always is no AC and all parts of your dainty female body are covered with bullets of sweat. and you are pretty sure there is asbestos in your eye.

    X-Large Black Iced Coffee from McDonalds were my cranky mood savers.

    Its worth it though, when you house is something unique and a reflection all your hard work. Plus, you get fun stories to tell everyone, for example-like the time your husband shot a nail through a finger while roofing.

  2. caitie says:

    ridiculous thing #1: what the hell was a carpet doing in a bathroom? especially one like that? like, i’ve seen those crazy carpets with the long cushy fibers in bathrooms in like, my grandma’s friend’s houses. but a flat boring one? so glad you got rid of that.

    ridiculous thing #2: who the hell buys a beautiful brownstone and covers everything with CARPET?!

    i cannot wait to see the after pictures when the floors are done. how much does something like that cost? seems like a huge job

  3. Lily says:

    Wow, you guys are kicking ass and taking names! I’m totally impressed. NEXT time you have a destruction party (and the sis isn’t down for the weekend), we’ll be there.

    love ya!

  4. Pingback: Review: 1-800-Got-Junk? « brick city love

  5. Beverly says:

    Ya’ll are doing so great!! So much done in so little time! Your house is going to be unbelievable once you’re done! I love following your progress!!

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  9. -Q says:

    our floors have the same thing – stain only around the outside I think back in the day, they laid a permanent rug in the middle, and hardwood around the perimeter.

  10. Pingback: The Countdown has Begun |

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