Friday, February 8, 2013

Oh So Soft

It's been clear to us that we wanted to replace the carpet ever since we went into the condo the first time. It had some stains that weren't terrible, but that we're noticeable, but more importantly it had her dog's hair embedded in it despite vacuuming and steam cleaning. Not only is it gross, but we've pretty much established that I'm allergic to dogs, so getting rid of the carpet was important. (For those of you panicking over the statement that I'm allergic to dogs--because I know some of you are--don't worry, it won't keep us from getting one, we'll just have to get a hypo-allergenic breed/mix.)

The second story of the house is all carpet, with the exception of a very small strip in the hallway. This small strip looks really weird to me because it ends at the doorways to the bedrooms, which is normal, but it also ends where the loft begins, which doesn't have a doorway. It has just always seemed strange to me that they didn't either a) carpet the entire upstairs or b) carpet only the bedrooms. Instead they did something somewhere in the middle. To deal with this, we clearly had two choices: carpet the entire upstairs or carry the laminate throughout the loft. While the owner did leave behind a little extra flooring, it's not enough to do the whole loft (or at least I don't think it is). Thus, we decided to just carpet it.

When I went around trying to figure out where to get our carpet from (you can read about that joyous experience here) a pretty common theme was that they'd take up your old carpet for a minimal fee, but to take up other surfaces there was a heftier upcharge (still fairly minimal--like $30--but hey, that's a decent meal for two!). To avoid paying it, I decided to take up the flooring myself. Note that I actually did the first part of this process before we painted, which is why the trim and walls are ugly in some of the pictures :) And they're phone pictures... which is why they're grainy. 

I decided to start at the top of the stairs because it seemed like the most accessible area.



First I pried off the piece that sits at the edge of the step. These transition pieces are glued on, so it took some elbow grease but I was careful to not damage it because we may need it later on, depending on where the carpet ends.


When they lay wooden or laminate floors and don't also replace the baseboards, they put pieces of quarter round (literally one quarter of a round piece of wood) along the trim to hide the cut edges of the floor. In order to get the floors up, I first had to get the quarter round up, so I stuck my flathead screwdriver behind it and pushed it off. They attached it with little finishing nails, so it was pretty simple.



Then I worked off the piece in the master bedroom doorway. It held on for dear life and got pretty ripped up, but that's ok because we won't need it in the future.


After I did the same to the transition piece in the guest room doorway and at the start of the loft, it was time to take out the floors. 


First I lifted them up at the edge to make sure they weren't glued down. Luckily, they weren't.


The first piece popped off pretty easily. 


The rest wasn't so easy because all of the edges along the door frames were pushed under the trim, which meant I couldn't just lift it up. After some creative shimmying, I had cleared it all out! All that was left was the blue pad they laid underneath.


I stacked the pieces into a keep and toss pile. The only ones getting tossed were ones that were cut lengthwise or had crazy shapes cut out of them. The closet downstairs that's off the living room has carpet in it, so I figured I could use these leftovers in there, or maybe we could use some of the leftover carpet that we were installing in there. I just really wanted to get up all of her dingy doggy carpet.


After I rolled up the pad, all that was left was the plywood subfloor.



I was hoping that the carpet installers would bring a vacuum to get up all the little bits of crap that had accumulated. Now for some official before pictures. Keep in mind that all of the stains/grossness you see survived the professional carpet cleaning she had done... yuck.


This is the corner her pooch used to lay in, as evinced by the large brown spot that used to be on the wall and the brown spot on the floor. It's not very evident in this picture, but it's there. 


They also stopped the carpet in a weird spot leading up to the master bath. Normally the carpet and tile meet half way between the doorframe, but they decided to take the carpet all the way across. It's peeling up and looking quite ratty where they meet (not to mention the fact that we haven't bothered to clean up after ourselves since we knew we were trashing the carpet).



There were some stains in the master as well as a strange yellow piece of plastic that will not come out of the carpet. I think it must be melted in?





There was a very large red stain in the loft.





The installers arrived this morning and got straight to it. First they ripped up the old carpet, then the old pad.



Along the edges of all the rooms are these wooden strips that have nails sticking out of them that are angled towards the wall. This is what holds the carpet at the edges and keeps it from coming up/towards the center.


Next the laid the new pad.



Then they taped the seams to make sure all of the areas were padded.


Next... they rolled out the new carpet... in the driveway. Let me tell you, my heart nearly stopped. I come from a home where we don't wear shoes in the house, and John comes from a house where you do. We've decided that in our house, we'll avoid shoes upstairs/on the carpet, but downstairs is fair game. That way, when we have people over, we won't have to ask them to take their shoes off, which is something I've always hated doing when guests would come by.

Point being, these men were not only walking all over my brand new carpet in their shoes, but also putting it on my dirty driveway. I seriously almost had a heart attack, but I just reminded myself that it must be necessary or they wouldn't be doing it.


Then, I had another near-heart attack when they put the old nasty carpet on top of it. This was to help them measure and mark so they could cut in the right spot, but oh my god I could hardly take it.


Before they cut, they used a tool that basically looked like a pencil to mark the edges.


Then they cut.


Now, when the guy from the carpet store came by to measure, he indicated that the master bedroom, the hall, and the guest room would be three separate pieces of carpet. The installers managed to make it one, long, continuous piece to eliminate two seams. This meant that rather than carrying three manageable sized pieces of carpet inside, they had to carry one enormous piece inside. They did their best to roll/fold it up, but it was pretty stiff and difficult, not to mention extremely heavy.




Here it is in its lengthy glory!


They unfolded it and it spanned all three areas.


I was a little nervous because you could clearly see where the carpet had been rolled, but I crossed my fingers that they'd remedy that issue.


Next up was attaching the seams. Where the edges of two pieces of carpet come together, they put a strip of hardened glue underneath.


Then, they take what's basically an iron and heat it up.


Next, they put the iron between the two pieces of carpet, on top of the strip of glue, and melt the glue. 


Then, they push the two pieces of carpet together and put a weight down to help them set in place.


Next they attached the carpet to the strip of nails. They have this crazy device that grabs the carpet and stretches it across the room to make sure there's no excess bunching up in the middle.


After they attach it, they trim the excess and tuck the edges in!


They also use this crazy device that they hit with their knee to get it snug at the edges.



Ready for the after pictures? Please excuse the crazy lines on the carpet... one of the installers vacuumed in a random pattern and the other one didn't. You'll see which room got which installer.









They also did the downstairs closet :)


After they vacuumed and left, I took my shoes off to give it a test run. I am not kidding you when I say that I nearly lay down and took a nap. The carpet is so soft. It's amazing. I think we're going to skip buying a bed and just sleep on the floor. 

We are one professional step away from being done! We're just waiting on the backsplash and then the rest will be on me to do. I'm so excited!! I hope you'll all come by and see it in person... I just ask that you take your shoes off if you plan to come up stairs :) 

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