The new to do list for getting the third floor done is this:
Paint walls and trim. Rip up disgusting 20 year old wall to wall carpet.
- Remove the ugly “built in” dressers from the knee walls
- Drywall and finish the crawlspace behind one of the knee walls
- Create built-in cubbies where dressers once were
- Lay down Flor carpet tiles inspired by this awesome picture ——>
- Enjoy really cool fun new space.
We are getting there!
Let’s talk about getting that carpet up, ok? It was the worst. It was tedious and smelly and dusty and itchy and I hated every second of it.
To pull up the carpet, I started near that window in the picture, which is the back of the house. I started with the carpet only, leaving the padding for second. I pulled back the carpet about two to three feet so it was completely off the tack strips that lined the walls and then, using a sharp utility knife, sliced it (though the back, not through the shaggy carpety part) and rolled it tightly up and put it aside to take to the trash.
Next, I did the same with the padding, but because it also had staples, it was just a wee bit harder to do. When I would pull the padding back, some of it would get caught under the staples (you can see the black speckles on the subfloor in that picture above, right?) which turned out to be a good thing for me, as it helped me find really quickly where the staples were that I would need to pull up.
I repeated the above two steps until everything was up. If you’re going to do this, I recommend wearing long sleeves, pants and even a breathing mask. Twenty years of dust and dirt and pet dander is a lot to be shoving your face into. (gross)
I was getting really bored and anxious to get done (ha. Little did I know I’d have several more WEEKS ahead of me) so I was painting a coat of paint and then taking up carpet while the paint dried and then doing it over again. Which is why you see the paint pan in this photo.
My husband is the best. He’s the best because he very dutifully helped me by lugging all those damn carpet and padding rolls down three flights of stairs to be disposed of. Thank you so much honey. You didn’t hardly complained at all and I really appreciate it. Mwah!
Also one of the most tedious parts of this task was pulling up those staples and the tack strips. I started with the staples that were in the subfloor using needle-nose pliers… that’s what every DIY blog post I could find advised me to do. And boy was it a pain in the ass. I ended up getting HUGE blisters on three of my right fingers from those stupid pliers. It was painful. It wasn’t until they were almost all finally up that I discovered sliding the corner of the crowbar under the staples (some were old and pounded flat into the plywood) would pop them right out. No blisters. I wish I could back in time and never have picked those pliers up in the first place. The crowbar was my bae. (I even wrote the crowbar a love poem.)
I’m serious when I say that the crow bar was the most invaluable tool for this project. Between the tack strips, the pounded-in staples and the head-less nails that appeared after the tack strips came up, that crow bar did it all.
One thing that I discovered about the subfloor when I was on my hands and knees bonding with it for hours on end is that part of it really did smell like animal pee. We have a cat that we don’t let go up into the third floor because the first day we moved in, I caught him peeing up there. The previous owners had animals so I think our cat, Peanut, was just responding to territory markings he was smelling and claiming it as his own, which is why he was banished from the third floor. I didn’t want to lay the Flor tiles over the subfloor that still smelled like piss because I didn’t want to just continue the animal pee cycle, so I did some interneting.
After much research and consultation with a variety of home improvement forums, I came up with a solution:
I scrubbed the floor boards with a one part bleach/one part water mixture and let it dry overnight. After it was 1000% dry, I rolled on two thick coats of Original Kilz oil-based primer. I haven’t laid the Flor tiles yet and I definitely haven’t let the cat up there yet, but I stuck my nose to the floor again and I cannot smell any more animal pee, so I think (hope) we’re good!
If you want to see the finished project, check it out here!