Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Introducing: Our Dining Room Floor, brought to you today by My Poor Aching Body

Today was Rip Out the Carpet Day, and I had originally planned to leave taking up the plywood for another day. But Von came home as I was mid-carpet pull and one thing led to another, and we pulled up all the plywood.

Ladies, Gentlemen and those elsewhere on the gender spectrum: We have a wood floor in our dining room, in place of the nasty carpet that has been the bane of my existence since we first moved here. I mean, c'mon, what can you say about a beige carpet that you clean 6 times and the water still comes up into the carpet cleaner as black the last time as the first?!? Pics are at the end of this post.

The news on the floor is mixed: Not as bad as we had feared it could be, but still a lot of work ahead of us. No real evidence of smoke/water damage from the fire that was in this room before PO's got hold of the house, but there's LOTS of old linoleum glue on the wood. Oh happy happy joy joy (NOT!). Some of it is being very kind and flaking right off, but most of it is going to require some serious muscle. Sanding it off isn't an option from what everyone has told me, because it will gunk the sander up faster than my pug going after a treat.

I ran some test patches of various things that might work to help soften the glue, and doused sections with goo-gone, Greased Lightning Orange Blast spray, Greased Lightning concentrated cleaner mixed 1/2 & 1/2 with water, and pure water as my control. The Greased Lighting spray was the winner in this round. Greased Lightning totally rocks - it's the only cleaner I use any more - but it's only softening a layer of the glue at a time, so I'm going to test some other options tomorrow.

The real bitch is the staples. Oh lord the previous owners went freakin' nuts with that freakin' staple gun when he was putting down that luan. And of course all the staples went through the plywood and stayed in the floor when we pulled up the luan. The only method I've found for removing them is to jam one side of my needle-nose plyers into the staple, brace my lineman's plyers behind them for leverage, then push down. My poor hand is only marginally functional at this point, and yet I've barely made a dent in all that are there. I'm definitely going to need a new needle-nose when I'm done, I'm putting it through such intense abuse. Do they made a needle-nose prybar?!?

I'm so happy with having most of the carpet gone (haven't taken it out of the doggie hall yet) that I could work until my body is one solid muscle spasm. Oh, wait. I already did that. ::groan:: I need some serious ibuprofen and a soak in the hot tub. Except we don't have a hot tub. My friends do, though... Hmmmm, I wonder if they're asleep...

OK here are the pics.

The before pic. Please ignore the mess. I wasn't about to clean just before I turned the room into a disaster area. The checked rug is the nasty ugly area rug that's hiding the hideously awful carpet.

Down to the luan, in half the room anyway:

There's the floor! We have no idea what that one stained area might be in the second picture - it seemed to be there from before the carpet.

The Great Solvant Face-Off!

For this teeny bit of progress, I feel hit by a truck?!?


EGE said...

Ooh, they're beautiful! But -- I don't know if you did a lot of research into this or anything, but seriously I wouldn't bother with the solvents. You're going to have to have them sanded anyway, and all that gunk will come up when they sand. Mine had linoleum on them and were covered in tar paper, and they told me not to bother touching it, so I didn't and they came out beautiful. Call a guy to get a price on sanding and ask him while he's there. I really think you can save yourself the hassle.

Congratulations on all that work!

Anonymous said...

yeah, I say skip to the sanding. Just make sure you seal off the area to be sanded real well and do it on a day when you don't have the kids around. I so hope we get to come see all of you and your floor this summer! -Leylah

Chris said...

If you sand, you'll need a floor sander and about a million pads--that adhesive is hell on sanding pads.

Stanley and others actually do make a tiny prybar; a six incher. When we ripped up the carpet at our new house, I started with the pliers method you mention. But wound up using the mini-Stanley and finishing in about half the time. You may have to modify the prybar--either sharpen the profile to fit under the staples or grind down the tabs or one tab to fit inside. Bottom line is that it will be six dollars very well spent.

Georgetown House said...

Ege, unfortunately budget declares that this is going to be a totally DIY project, and research has definitely shown that the linoleum glue is total hell on sanding pads, that's the only reason why I'm *ow* doing this *ow*.

(Yeah, I'm definitely hurting this morning but it's a "good" hurt!)

Leylah, you have no idea how much I hope that you & J and the kids really can come visit!!! Just remember I'm back to work Aug. 2nd and in San Francisco Aug 5-12 or so.

Chris, I have one of those tiny prybars and they're a toolbox must-have, but these staples are at most 1/4" wide -- literally JUST big enough for the very tip of my needle-nose plyers to fit. Even if I had a grinder, I don't think I could grind it down that far. Thanks for the tip, though!

EGE said...

Last thing I'll say about it, because trust me I understand budget constraints, but... It might be worth it to get a price on sanding anyway and do the math. We had two rooms done (sanding and two coats of varnish, with buffing between coats) for $800. If you're just doing the one room, if you can get a comparable price, by the time you rent the sander and the buffer, and buy the pads, the varnish. and all the solvents for taking the adhesives off, you're going to end up even anyway or maybe even ahead if you just pay someone to do it. Plus, if you don't REALLY know what you're doing with a floor sander (which maybe you do, I don't know) you can REALLY mess up a beautiful floor.

There. That's all I say. Good luck, whatever you decide! Have a big fat margarita in there for me when you get it all finished...

Georgetown House said...

Actually, you're right - we don't really know how to use the sander, and it may cost out to be the same. But what it really comes down to is that it's going to be several months before we can afford to do anything, even rent the sander ourselves - our HVAC install took us down to a single digit savings balance, so all house projects are strictly DIY with nothing costing more than $100 or so. I figure that with the goo off, the floors in there will match the rest of the house: Seriously in need of being refinished years ago!