Sunday, August 21, 2011

carpet free

So, to explain my tardiness, do you remember this? And this? Well, we decided it was time. Carpet in a kitchen is.... possibly worse than carpet in a bathroom. Maybe. I've lived with both, and while the bathroom is awful (just imagine around the toilet...... the horror....), I think I spill things a lot more often in the kitchen. Eggs, chicken broth, bacon grease, milk.... Disgusting. We've been hesitant about it because we have plans to eventually change the layout of the kitchen, so if we tiled the floor it would really just be a huge hassle down the road. We talked about putting down linoleum temporarily, but Zach wasn't wild about that idea (why pay money for something temporary? He's so sensible). Anyways, one day I decided to just start ripping up the carpet to see what was under it. Surprise, surprise - In a room with five layers of wallpaper, OF COURSE there would be old linoleum under the carpet! Why not?? But then upon further ripping I found hard wood underneath the linoleum. (!!!!) But, it looked pretty rough. And I assumed (correctly) that it was covered in all kinds of nasty old adhesives and who knows what else (well, now we know what else - tar paper... ugh). And after researching a bit I learned that there was also a possibility that it was full of asbestos . So I found a place that I could send a sample to and have it tested. Amazingly, it came back asbestos free. And like any hasty couple that is thinking about all the times their kids and dog have most likely peed on the carpet without us realizing it, we started pulling it up immeadiately. It was tough going into it with no idea what we would find underneath. Plus having no idea how to get all the gunk off of the wood. I spent hours Googling, "removing linoleum from hard wood," and, "removing tar paper from wood," and, "why do old people cover everything in carpet?" Anyways, here's where we started:

You can see that the carpet is pulled up with the linoleum underneath and the black tar paper under that. Here's a close-up of the tar paper:

Fun!! After a couple of hours of trying different techniques (warm water, water and vinegar, a number of different cleaners I had in the cupboards...), we tried something we had read online that said to lay towels over the top of it and pour boiling water on top of the towels, let it sit for a few hours and then scrape the paper off. It was yucky and stinky, but it worked!! The paper came up pretty easily. Unfortunately it left behind a thick, sticky adhesive that made me want to crawl into bed and never come out again. It seemed like something that would never come off. But after trying a bunch of different things again we finally figured out what to do. And it's not easy. In this picture Zach is pulling the wet towel off of the tar paper and is about to scrape it all up. The brown goopy looking stuff between the towel and the trash can is the adhesive. And, by the way, how scary is that trash can?? Zach calls it the "Vomit Can". It's pretty sick:

So to get the adhesive off we would spray it down with warm, soapy water and then, using a scotch pad, scrub the heck out of it. It would get all foamy and thick and again, you would think, "Oh my gosh, this is never coming off. We have made a huge mistake." But then you wipe all the suds off with a wash cloth, rinse it off, and spray and scrub it all again. Amazingly it all came off pretty well once we figured out the right technique. But the adhesive/soapy suds mixture was a nightmare. I wish I had a picture of it. Here's the first section we cleaned off:

At that point we were feeling pretty optimistic about the whole thing. We'd figured out what we needed to do and knew it would go pretty quick through the rest of the kitchen. We decided we would move our work to the back of the kitchen so that we wouldn't be blocking the area where we walk the most just yet. So the next day we went to pull up the carpet in the back corner of the kitchen and it DIDN'T MOVE. Poor Zach was killing himself trying to get that stuff up. It was not behaving like it had in the front of the kitchen. And what was even worse, once we got the carpet up, the linoleum was HORRIBLE. Before it had pulled up fairly easily in big strips leaving behind the tar paper. Now it had to be chiseled up in little one inch pieces and even then it was just the very top of it. It was so bad. I don't even want to think about it really. Just know that it took a really terrible long time and that Zach is amazing. He worked so hard. And I tried to help, but it isn't exactly easy work with the equivolent of a basketball under your shirt, blocking your lungs, digging into your bladder... wah wah wah.... He would get the big stuff up and then I was the scrubber/scraper once we got down to mainly wood and adhesive. We worked in 4X4 foot sections to get it all up. What took us about two hours of work the first time was now taking us DAYS. Not fun. We felt super discouraged. Here's the back of the kitchen after working on it for about a week:

Luckily, the closer we got to higher traffic areas, the easier it was to pull everything up. Things started looking up. We started laughing again. We didn't cry ourselves to sleep anymore. And now, after about two weeks (wow, it seems like it was a lot longer than that), there is no longer any trace of carpet in our kitchen. Everything has been chiseled and scraped and scrubbed off of the wood and it's not a construction zone anymore. Here's where we are right now:

I put the rug down to protect the raw wood from splashes from the sink.

Plus it makes me happy. Even though Zach hates it.

We also removed a shelf from under that counter top just for fun.

We've done a little bit of sanding. At this point the plan is to lightly sand it and then paint it. Possibly a golden yellow. We're hoping to have that done by next weekend. NEXT WEEKEND!

There's still a ton that needs to be done in the kitchen in order for it to look more complete. Lots of painting that still needs to be done. New baseboards. New hardware. I could go on and on. But having the carpet gone? That's huge. Epic. I am a new woman. I might go throw an egg on the floor just for fun.


jen said...

ah, tar paper. We had fun with that too. Our floors didn't quite clean up as nicely as yours, but they are tar paper free as well. Jon just sanded them on Friday and put on a sealer coat & 1 coat of poly. We'll leave them that way now until we finish the rest of the house and then just refinish all the floors at the same time. Carpet free is the way to be! :)

Angela said...

WOW. Epic, indeed. What a nightmare. But old hardwood flooring is a hidden treasure! Paint, huh? I'm excited to see how that turns out!

Kristine Pratt said...

I am so impressed with all your hard work and that you are still happily married after all that! Paul and I struggle a lot doing home improvement projects together!!!

OUR HOUSE said...

Takes me back to our days of home improvement projects. It's so much work, but always worth it. I miss having my own home:(

Emma said...

great job your two- it was making me tired just reading this post. Yay for no more carpet!

mason said...

Wow...I am very impressed!!! It is looking good. My grandma swears by carpet in the kitchen and just the thought makes me CRINGE!!! You will LOVE your hard wood floor! Congrats!!

robin said...

i have never been so enthralled reading about carpet and hardwood floors! sounds like a nightmare, but what a pleasant ending... and i'm excited for you to paint it. i want to see that.

Jill said...

WOW! That looks awesome! You guys are like a real life HGTV do it yourself remodeling show! Hooray for no more carpet!

Jen said...

That's crazy! I was just ripping out carpet yesterday! I have laminate-wood under my floors. Definitely not as cool as hardwood! It was good to catch up on your life :)