My goodness. This has been a strange trip. I honestly never anticipated this project being so large and involved. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, though, and it’s not just another train barreling at us. I think it might possibly be the sun. We’re not there, yet, but very soon (I hope). We’ve finished scraping the floor, which was a week and a half long process, and we’ve hired a company to come sand and poly the floor. We seriously considered doing the sanding ourselves and even called around to get rental rates. After some discussion, we decided that it might be a little out of our skill range so we ended-up calling five different companies. Two of them didn’t want the job but assured us it was really a piece of cake and we would have no problem doing it ourselves (but they didn’t want to do it, not even for money, so that should tell you something). One company wanted to do the job for a lot of money. One company told me they would be happy to give us an estimate sometime in mid-July (yes, just the estimate). Finally, the last company we called gave us a decent rate, which is still an ouch to our savings, but definitely something we can live with. We’re familiar with their work and strongly feel that they’re going to do a much better job than we would. Plus, I’m tired of sleeping in my living room. I just want this done!
The scraping, though – that was all us! (Thumbs pointing to self with a feeling of satisfaction.) To rewind a bit, we started here with this very pale carpet. We wanted to pull this carpet up to reveal the hardwoods underneath which run throughout the rest of the house.
We pulled-up the carpet, removed the first layer of padding and all the tacking strips, nails and staples, leaving us with this 50 year-old layer of padding that had melded itself to the hardwoods underneath. After much, much research, I found out that after WWII, carpet padding was made out of rubber until about 10 years later, when they started adding clay to the composite because the rubber flattened too fast. They figured the clay would give the rubber more ‘body’. Over time, especially in heavy traffic areas such as in front of the doors, the stuff just broke down and became very hard. This is what we were left with covering the entire floor.
After more research, and failing at several various methods of removal including saturating it with water, vinegar, ammonia and using adhesive de-solvent, we finally settled upon our final removal method. We went back to the least toxic and stinky water method, using very hot water and a little Murphy’s Oil Soap, sopping the floor in roughly 4X4 areas and covering the areas with old plastic tablecloths overnight. In the morning, after the water had soaked into the padding rehydrating it somewhat, we used heavy duty metal wallpaper scrapers to scrape up the padding. We tried using plastic scrapers first because we were concerned about the floors, but they just didn’t work. We found enough websites that said the floor was going to have to be refinished at this point anyway, so we used the bad boy scrapers and went to town.
Here you can see the areas that were covered in plastic and the progress we had made about mid-way through.
We debated about whether to do the closets because once we got done with the main part of the room we were exhausted. It was a lot of hard work and we weren’t sure we were up to the task. However, after a couple of days rest, we decided that if we’d come this far, we might as well go all the way. Plus, J’s closet needs cleaned-out desperately. If you recall, that’s been on the list since the January Cure.
Amazingly enough, the closets turned-out to be a breeze compared to the rest of the room. Because there had been no foot traffic in there, the padding was still as supple as it was 50 years ago! It came right up with no problem whatsoever.
Here’s where we are as of today.
Too bad the whole floor wasn’t like the closets because they turned-out great!
They’re starting work tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. It feels like Christmas tonight even though it’s hot as blazes. I’m so excited. Moving everything back in will be no small feat, I’m afraid, however, I’m going to use this golden opportunity to thin the herd in our bedroom. I don’t know how all of our stuff fit in there in the first place when it’s taken over the rest of the house. Physics would suggest that it’s impossible, yet, apparently it’s not.
I’ll share pictures of the floors when they’re done. So, what have you been up to?Share!