Some Things to Know Before Removing Carpet :: Remodeling in a Home Built on a Concrete Slab
While I do get paid to organize and run residential remodeling projects and commercial cabinet work, I try not to bring my work home with me (oh, how I try). Many of my home improvement projects begin because of what I’ll call The Final Straw Syndrome. I may have walked by that broken hinge or pile of coats or ugly paint for years, but one day I just snap and decide I can’t take it anymore. This happened yesterday with removing carpet in the family room. Have utility knife, will travel.
It was a dark and stormy noon. OK, really it was a grey day with rain threatening. I had spent a good deal of time the last week trying to get all of the stains out of the carpet.
We have paid seasoned professionals in the past, but I thought that I could at least attempt this myself with a good cleaner and a little elbow grease. Plus, I couldn’t take the “Seriously? Clean this?” looks again.
Our house is about 17 years old, and I am pretty sure that the carpet is original. We haven’t replaced it because we don’t want to spend the money on something we want to get rid of anyway and, more charmingly, we have a rescue dog with occasional bladder anxiety. You see, “sometime” in the “near future” we are going to put hardwoods in on the first floor. Our downstairs is basically a big circle, so we have to do the job all at once.
I fully admit that my projects are put off as long as possible. No one in my family complains, which is great when I don’t want to be reminded. However, on occasion (and it can never be charted or previously determined as to when), all of the sudden, something takes over my corporal being and next thing you know, we have no more towel bars. Or the bedroom furniture has been rearranged. Or, most impressively, that project that has been hovering around forever…has been accomplished. The dervish recedes just as quietly as it came and all is back to normal.
In the past, I have removed the carpeting from both the living room and dining room, so I knew what to expect down under. For those of you who are considering carpet removal without intent to replace, please remember/consider the following.
What to Know Before Removing Carpet
*What IS under there?
My home is built on a concrete slab. Under the carpet is a pad, and under the pad is the concrete. Oh, and dirt. Lots of dirt.
*That concrete will look cool and contemporary, right?
No. Most likely it will have many imperfections, from lots of paint overspray to footprints to divots (where someone dropped something heavy) to stains from spills. Bleach water can help, but it won’t be perfect.
*But I can stain the concrete, right?
Sure. Of course. But unless this concrete was never touched by ANYTHING, your final product will be splotchy and uneven. If a carpenter and an electrician shared a sandwich on your job site and they spilled a soda on the concrete or maybe a painter dribbled some sealer or paint thinner, even if they cleaned it up and you can’t see it now, you will see it once you stain it.
*Why is my table wobbling?
Guess what? Carpet helps make floors that aren’t level seem level. Your concrete pad is not 100% level and may even have dips in it in places. Wobble Wedges rock.
*Watch out for the Tack Strips
Ai Yai Yai, that hurt! Oh I see you found it. That’s called a tack strip, and it goes around the perimeter of the space to hold down your berber. Those are tiny nails sticking up that will hold the carpet in place. You will have to remove it; I recommend a pry bar and a good hammer. It will splinter, so be sure to wear safety glasses. Oh, and sometimes the concrete chips off with the nails. Just sayin’.
*What about the Baseboards
I need some space. Well, you’ll have some…below your baseboards. About ½” of space, to be approximate. If you decide to lower the baseboards, remember you will have to paint above them. Otherwise, just wait until you install your new flooring. Whenever that may be.
*Watch for Transitions from Other Flooring
Son of a biscuit! Yes, if you have another type of flooring installed nearby, it will now be higher. You will stub your toe and/or trip until your brain stops concentrating too hard on best pizza/lyrics to ‘Who Let the Dogs Out?’/GEICO commercials/Edward Cullen (What? He’s over 100).
*Consider How You’ll Dispose of Old Carpet
Can I throw the old carpet and pad away in the trash? How should I know? Call your city waste disposal department and ask.
Now all that’s left is to clean your floor (especially pet stains or spills that have seeped through) and vacuum, vacuum, vacuum with a good wet/dry vac. Get a nice area rug and a pad, move the furniture back in and you are ready to settle in and…forget it. After all that work, it’s time for a lie-down.
Note for the hosts: As one of the earliest subscribers to our blog, it just made sense to have Audrey @revihabitats do a post for us. Maybe akin to her home remodeling habits, it just took a little time. Great points though. For Audrey (and family) all the best with the floor as it is and as it will one day be.
Audrey can be found online at a number of locations, including: revitalizedhabitats.com . . . among others. Thanks again Audrey.
For information on Flooring on a Concrete Slab, please see our article – Basement Flooring Options. Thanks for reading and great day all. ~jb