Clearing Spaces of Carpet

This kitchen project has been fits of high speed and then nothing. They had the kitchen demoed in four days and then it sat for almost two months. This week I was thrilled to have progress start up again.

Soffits with old cabinets

The fabulous 70s soffits are gone. There is just a little more drywall patching and surface texturing and my beautiful blank slate will be ready.

No more soffits! Look how much better the light is from the window already.

This weekend I had to get everything out of the family room, living room, and dining room. These are the rooms that will get new flooring in a few weeks. I needed to get everything out so I could pull out the carpet. That’s a fun job.

The carpet was in really bad shape so I was thrilled to get rid of it. Getting rid of the tack strips wasn’t too hard. Most of it at least. For some reason, someone supplemented some of the strips with roofing nails which made some of the strip crumble, and there was even one section that someone felt compelled to supplement with an extra tack strip.

The carpet wasn’t going to get away

For the most part I was able to get through it pretty quickly because I had absolutely the best tool for the job.

Also important to have good gloves. My hands normally don’t do anything but type delicately so they need a little protection.

The nail-removal end is tapered enough that I rarely had to use a mallet to get under the strip. This also works really well with trim removal. I had the tack strips removed in both rooms in under an hour per room. The base trim took even less time. I think I had the family room trim off the wall in less than 30 minutes. It took more time to number the pieces and the wall so that they go back in the right spots.

The other end of my pry bar was absolutely perfect for removing all the staples you encounter with carpet removal. It not only worked great on the shorter staples tacking down the carpet pad but I’m pulling up the particle board layer and it tackles the loooong staples used to fix those to the sub floor.

I would love to not have to replace the particle board but over the years its gotten wet and damaged. Unfortunately, everywhere it has gotten wet it really wants to crumble so it is a bit of a challenge to get up.

My four tips for this project are:

  1. Get the right tool. I lucked out when I got my pry bar and I think it saved me a ton of time. Not only getting it up quickly but also because it tended to get the strips up in a single piece which made clean up a snap.
  2. I found that coming at the strips from the right worked a lot better than coming at them from the left (or even straight on). I theorize that the nails may have been hammered in at a slight angle (depending on the handedness of the installer) and prying from the right was really easy. If you are starting a project like this, see if one direction is noticeably better than another. My pry bar was at about a 45 degree angle for optimum prying.

  1. This tip may not apply to everyone. Don’t do hard labor like this in an underwire bra. It hurts. It pokes you in the arm pit and is really really annoying. By the third day I finally figured out that working in a sports bra made a lot more sense. After all, you are getting a pretty good workout.
  2. The most important tip? If you accidently drop your super-good pry bar in the open air vent (because you are prying up the floor around it) you may want to think twice before you shove your arm down the air vent and get stuck up to almost your shoulder. This is very disconcerting and you may start to feel a little panicky when you realize you are really really stuck and your brother has helpful suggestions like, “let go of the pry bar” like you are some kind of giant raccoon.

I’m not going to get the proper level of pity for this. Have you ever noticed the most impressive bruises come from some unknown injury while injuries that actually hurt look very unassuming?

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