Home Makeover: Removing Carpet and Restoring Hardwood Floors

Old, shabby carpet and wood floors can make even the neatest of rooms feel unclean and ugly. By restoring them to their former beauty you’ll make your place look new and inviting again. Of course, there are times when that aged wood or carpet needs to be replaced entirely.

Restoring Old Wood Floors

The difference between a shiny, attractive wood floor and a squeaky, worn one is significant. The good news is that most old wood floors can be restored even if it’s been damaged by termites, pet urine, etc. If you think your old wood floors can be salvaged, consider these five steps:

1. Get rid of any discolorations, stains, or paint on the floor caused by pets or household items like food. Many of these stains can be removed by scrubbing with mild soap solution and water. Don’t expect to get the big stains out; we’re just knocking out the small ones for now.

2. Remove any debris and dust by sweeping the entire area and then vacuuming. Once done, mop the entire floor with a light vinegar solution and then allow it to dry. Avoid screening the floor if you see areas of moisture or standing water.

3. Use either a fine steel wool or 120-grit screen and a rotary floor buffer or pole sander to abrade the top layer of the floor’s finish. An even finish should remain so that re-coating can be applied evenly to the floor’s surface.

4. Go through with the vacuum again to eliminate any grit and dust, then smooth over and tack the abraded surface by applying solvent with a rag.

5. Obtain the same wood finish that’s currently on the floor and apply a coat. You can test a finish by applying it to a small area and seeing if it peels upon drying. If it doesn’t, it is safe to use. Apply the coat to edges and corners with a paint brush while coating the rest of the floor with a foam pad applicator. Allow time┬áto dry.

Other tips:

  • Keep the room well ventilated while working with chemical finishes and floor buffers.
  • Avoid using a screen and re-coat on floors with wax finishes, otherwise, you’ll end up with heavy peeling and discoloration.
  • It is recommended that you hire a professional to deal with aluminum-oxide finishes since they require chemical treatment before refinishing.

Replacing Old Carpeting

While it is possible to restore old carpet, more often than not it’s better to simply replace it entirely. A new carpet will guarantee that you get rid of all those squeaks, odors, and stains. Save money by tearing out your old carpet and installing a fresh new one with these easy steps:

1. Once you’ve removed all the furniture from the room, start cutting your old carpet into strips with either a hook blade or knife. Those who want to save cash have the option of leaving the existing gripper and underlay if they are still usable. This is also a good time to replace door bars if they’re also worn.

2. Check to see if the existing carpet gripper and underlay are in good condition. If not, you’re going to need to install a new carpet gripper. Make sure to measure accurately so your carpet gripper cuts are just right. Secure the carpet gripper to the floor with nails or spray adhesive.

3. Bring in the new carpet and unroll it across the room. Start covering the floor area so you know where you’ll need to cut so it fits appropriately. We recommend focusing on one corner at a time and then stretching the carpet to another corner while cutting and fitting. The only major mistake you can make at this point is cutting the carpet to short.

Other tips:

  • To avoid cutting yourself, place both hands on the knife while cutting the carpet.
  • Wear gloves while pulling up padding. You might also want to bring some knee pads since you’ll be kneeling on a hard surface most of the time.
  • Vacuuming your new carpet at least once a day will make sure it stays nice and beautiful for much longer. Areas with more activity might need to be vacuumed more frequently.

Want to learn more home improvement tips? This article gives some insight on how to protect your home from post-party damage.

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