View Full Version : Wall-to-wall carpet: Can you get down to bare floor?
05-16-2010, 06:30 AM
I'm nowhere near the house in question at this time; I'm just curious. There are hardwood floors in the bedrooms, so that may mean that there's hardwood under the wall-to-wall in most of the rest of the house. Is it possible to lift the carpet and sand and varnish the floor underneath? Assuming there's something to work with under there. And for that matter, how can I find out what's under there before committing to the whole project?
05-16-2010, 10:04 AM
A lot depends on the age of the house and the quality level of the builder at the time. Many homes were originally built with finished floors and then carpeted in living rooms and halls. Cheaper construction came along and went with the carpet over unfinished sub-floors. You could check in some areas like a closet to tell. My best guess is that it is not a finished floor. If the floor is finished, you can refinish it or may not have to do anything. It depends on your needs. I had a home I was selling and did a quick sand and lacquer job that looked great but would not last long. A better job would require a better product and more time. If the home is empty, finishing the floors is a nice DIY job.
If the floors are unfinished, you are in for major work and expense. You would be adding half to three quarters of an inch to the floor level. The carpet would have been that thick, but if it did not run under doors, you would have to make adjustments at the doors by cutting door bottoms and so on.
My bottom line is: Do plenty of research before tearing anything up.
05-17-2010, 06:14 AM
Oh if it were as easy as just lifting up the carpet and getting to down to sanding and varnishing. Wall to wall carpets usually have a pad underneath and you will see evidence of the fool who had a staple gun and stapled the bejeezus out of the pad. So when you go to rip it up all the staples will remain behind. And before you can sand and varnish you will have to go around with a crowbar and pliers lifting up each staple, there will be hndred, maybe thousands of staple in a whole house. We ripped up carpet in our upstairs hall and stairs. I spent a whole weekend on my knees ripping out staples, after that we decided to put a new subfloor down anyway. At least that stopped some floor squeaks.
And now that you have peeked under the carpet and seen the hardwood floors, soon a compelling need to rip out the old carpet will overcome you. It is a gratifying feeling to rip out old, musty, sandy, gritty stained carpet. Until you see the mess hiding underneath. If there is carpet in the kitchen I can bet there is at least one or two layers of scuffed and battered linoleum underneath.
So worth it though just to get the nasty carpet out of the house!
05-17-2010, 09:51 AM
The wooden floor under the carpet in our house was in pretty good shape. We didn't need to refinish it, although now, 15 years later, it needs it. In the bedrooms, it was in perfect shape, but in the main living area, it was more worn. No stairs. No staples, just the tackless strip around the edges leaving nail holes. Often, the carpeting is put down because the floor is worn enough to need refinishing.
Hilarity N. Suze
05-17-2010, 10:25 AM
Every house I have owned in Denver has had nasty shag carpeting. I have always ripped it out, which is aptly described in chela's post.
We have found: wide pine planks (houses constructed in 1889 and 1904) and cabin-grade hardwood (houses built in 1954 and 1956).
One thing that has to be done, if the carpets were thick, is the doors need to be readjusted. In one case we had a handyman do this by gluing an extra piece of wood on, in another we just got new doors, that fit.
In our current house, the shag was removed by the seller and the floors were polished really nice so they looked good. However, he forgot to fix the gaps under the doors. It's particularly important for bathroom doors, and it's not really a do-it-yourself project, at least not for us.
06-03-2010, 06:05 AM
I hope this isn't too much of a hijack. We have a house built in 1937. We know there is hardwood under the carpet, although we have no idea what shape it's in.
Is it possible/advisable/insane to remove the carpet one room at a time? I'm assuming that would involve cutting the carpet at the doorway and putting down some sort of transition strip until we're ready to tackle the next section.
06-04-2010, 12:35 PM
Actually that would be advisable for a DIY'er, imo. But if you want to refinish all the floors best to do that at that same time.
06-16-2010, 07:23 PM
When I bought my house it had blue shag carpet downstairs - living room, dining room and front hallway. I was thrilled when I lifted a corner and found beautiful hardwood under it in the living room. So I pulled it up - I was going to regardless of what was under it, it was yucky and old.
Underneath was orange underpadding that had mostly disintegrated into a powder. I shovelled up bags of it. In a couple of places the underpad was some weird rubber stuff that had glued itself to the floor. That required a razor blade scrapper and me on my hands and knees to remove. I also had to remove the staple used to hold down the orange underpad. I stumble across the ones I missed still.
The living room is nice. No idea why the last owner covered it, its in great shape. Everything else is this ugly gray and red squares sheet flooring. There is nothing under that. I made the mistake of trying to lift that and now have a big chunk of subfloor showing.
I'm all for ripping it up... but I hate wall to wall carpet.
06-16-2010, 08:52 PM
Wall-to-wall carpet was also put down over hardwood floors here, too, and in many cases, it protected the floor for decades, and when you lift the carpet, you've got a beautiful, virtually untouched floor under there.
08-20-2010, 01:46 PM
As albundy said, it all depends upon the age of house. You may start your work and but it is possible that you get stuck in the middle because you didn't know about the age of the house and its construction. Its better that you check for the flooring as directed by Mr. Albundy by looking over to some areas then only start your project.
vBulletin® v3.7.3, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.