Sunday, November 13, 2005


(Warning: Long post with LOTS of pictures, may take a while to load)

Oh, we've been hit by the bug! Two and a half years in the house and we're finally getting rolling on improvements. Hubby is building a family room in the basement, we've torn out all the wallpaper in the bathroom and I -- well, I decide we need just one more project.

When hubby left for work around 2:30 Friday afternoon, the living room carpet looked like this, as it had for the last two and a half years. Note the variegated pattern of the myriad spills and stains (click on pictures to get the full effect) . . .

and the hallway to the kids' rooms looked like this . . .

Around 4:00 I had decided that I had cleaned up the last spill on that dingy, 25-year-old carpet. When the Kirby saleswoman came, right after we moved in, most of what she showed me in the filters was not dirt. It was the orange disintegrated remains of the carpet pad. I bought a Kirby. Anyway, by 4:30, the hallway looked like this:

That carpet pad was just nasty. I didn't pull any of it up in the hallway -- just swept it up.

I got all that mess cleaned up, finished up to the bathroom and upstairs doorways and we took a break for dinner. After bedtime, I went back to work.

When hubby got home at midnight, imagine his surprise when he drove into the garage, turned around to go into the house and saw a giant pile of carpet. When he got inside, I wasn't quite as far done as I would have liked. I had all of the tack strips pulled up and a 3-foot strip of carpet pulled up all around the room. I forgot to take a picture of that stage, but he helped me get the center pulled up, and this is what was left:

I swept that up and went to bed around 1:30.

Did you know that if you spill liquids on a carpet with disintegrated carpet pad beneath, it basically turns into clumping kitty litter? We had whole patches of stuck-on padding gunk all over the floor. So, Saturday as the kids played around me -- and praise God it was a nice day outside and I could send them out -- I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed. Oh, and pulled up staples. Because, you know, if you want to put carpet over a beautiful hardwood floor what you want to do is everything you can to ruin said floor in case anyone ever wants to pull up said carpet. Argh!

After a full day of scrubbing with a brush and not too much progress, I thought maybe I should use some kind of cleaning solution to dissolve the clumps. I was very wary about getting the floor too wet, but tried a weak vinegar/water solution and a plastic scrubby pad and wiped with a dry cloth after every couple of scrubs. It worked like a dream! It was better, but still dried-out and dull looking. I didn't have any hardwood floor cleaning supplies, but did have some lemon oil for my wood furniture. So I took two Swiffer WetJet pads, squirted some oil on them, and skated around the living room, followed by a dry cloth-diaper skate to soak up any excess.

And the final product . . .

Drumroll please . . .

Again, click pictures to get the full effect.

There's still some black staining in the center of the room, but other than that, it is a beautiful floor. I can't believe anyone would cover it up with ugly beige carpet. I'm not sure what we'll do about the stains, a professional refinish is out of the question. I've heard that sanding and refinishing is a lot harder than it would seem, so I hesitate to tackle it myself. We may just get an area rug for the center unless some wise readers out there have any suggestions. Right now, we're calling it character. Lots of character.

Next post, the basement . . .