Friday, July 22, 2011

Our Misadventures in Subfloor Preparation

This has been one long, hard, work filled week!  On Tuesday my mom came up to visit (yay!), and we got to work tearing up carpet and preparing the subfloors for laminate.  This was truly a bigger task than we anticipated.  Since we sort of feel like this part isn't really ever talked about when you research how to install laminate floors, consider this your how to guide complete with helpful tips!

Tip 1: Invest in a three pack mini crowbar set.  We got ours at Home Depot for around $10, and we haven't used anything nearly as much. 

To start, either look for the seam, or cut your carpet with a carpet knife.

Tip 2: Measure the door to the room, and then cut your pieces of carpet about 5 inches shorter.  This will make carrying out the giant rolls so much easier than if you just split the room down the center. 

After removing all of the carpet, pull up the carpet padding.  If the padding was wet for any reason, let the floor (and residual pad) dry, and then scrape it with a metal putty knife.

Tip 3: Save some of the carpet padding to wrap the tack board into.  It makes clearing those spiky little things out of the room much easier.

Next, pry up all of the tack board.  The crowbar set I talked about earlier is great for this!

Once all of the tack board is gone, get to work on the staples.  It may seem tedious, but if you want to do it right, it's worth the time.  We used a hammer and the smallest crowbar (although the others work too, just not as well) to pry the staples up.  Then, use a pair of snub nose pliers (Podelnyk technical term) to pull the loosened staples out.  It takes forever, but in the end knowing that your sub floor is in the best possible shape will be satisfaction enough!

Tip 4: As you're removing staples, use your hammer to make sure all of the nails are flush with the floor.  This will save you from having to scan the entire floor later for loose nails.  

Finally, sweep the room extremely well.  It's amazing disgusting how much dust accumulates under carpet.  Also make sure you get all of those sharp staples swept up!

Once the floor is back in shape, use a big level to check for high and low spots.  Sand where it's more than 3/16" higher, and fill in with leveling compound where it's more than 3/16" lower and then you're ready to get started on floors!

Tip 5:  Watch lots of youtube videos.  I know it sounds silly, but we've learned so much from them.  Lowe's also has great DIY videos that have helped us tons!

Here's how ours went:
Colin using a hammer and mini crowbar to pull up tack board.
Carpet free stairs! (definitely the hardest part)
Front bedroom after scraping off broken down carpet padding.
Bonus Tip: Make sure to secure big furniture that can't be moved out.  We wrapped our couch pieces in industrial cling wrap to keep it safe from dust.
Finished living room!
Back bedroom before being scraped, and an example of using carpet padding to carry out tack board.

After finishing up the floors, we started breaking up tile!  It was pretty much the most fun ever, and I can't wait to start on the entryway tomorrow!  Hopefully we'll have our new tile in by the end of the weekend!

*Disclaimer: Of course if you find something crazy like mold or broken boards, you'll need to take extra steps.  Luckily, we didn't encounter anything like that so I can't include it in our "how to."

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