Demo Day Ready!
After our first failed demo day, we were itching to start working on the house. We decided our first demo project would be to remove the old carpet since it would be fairly simple and would also make it easier to work on other projects in the house. However we came to find a not-so-pleasant surprise and it set us back a few weeks. More details below.
It wasn’t difficult but since there was carpet throughout the entire house, it took us several days to cut, remove, and roll up the carpet.
Above is the blue carpet padding that was underneath the carpet. It must have been old or a poor quality because it was falling apart. Some parts were worse and basically disintegrated in our hands. Our respirators came in handy because there was so much finely powdered sand trapped in the carpet padding and vinyl floor. Our shop vacuum came in handy to clean up the aftermath of the dust storm.
Tools For The Job
The tools we used for the job were:
- Utility knife with a hook blade – The special ‘hook’ shape of the hook blade allows the blade to cut the carpet without damaging the surface beneath the carpet. It also prevents premature dulling of the blade by protecting the blade from whatever lies beneath the carpet. See tips below.
- Duct tape – Used to tape rolls of old carpet for easier handling.
- Work gloves – The underside of carpet is rough and may cause scratches and cuts. Protect your hands with a pair of work gloves.
- Respirator & Filters – All sorts of dust and dirt gets trapped in old carpet. Protect yourself and your health with a good respirator. We like to use 3M half-facepiece reusable respirators with 3M P100 particulate filters. The 3M half-facepiece respirators cost a bit more than the basic white mask type respirators, but the comfort, fit and performance greatly outweighs the additional cost.
- Putty knife – The carpet pad was glued to the vinyl floor so we used the putty knife to help loosen the padding for easier removal.
- Shop vac (optional) – There was a lot of fine powdery dirt and sand trapped underneath the carpet and carpet padding. Thank goodness for the shop vac! You don’t want to use a regular vacuum cleaner because construction debris will get stuck and cause harm to it. The shop vac is heavy duty and such a good investment to keep our workspace clean and debris free.
Hidden Surprises: Vinyl Flooring & Asbestos!
As we started pulling up the old carpet, we realized that the carpet was laid over the original vinyl floor tiles. We want to install porcelain wood-look tile and it’s not recommended to tile over another material, so that means we have to remove the vinyl flooring. Since our house was built in 1968, that meant that there was a possibility of asbestos in the vinyl tiles and mastic.
When we purchased the house, we planned and budgeted only for asbestos abatement of the popcorn ceiling, but we hadn’t planned for any additional abatement costs. We took samples of the various floor tiles used throughout the house and had them tested for asbestos at an asbestos testing lab. Twenty four hours later, the lab confirmed our first hidden surprise–vinyl asbestos tiles. Reality set in and we knew it had to be done and done right. It’s not only expensive to have asbestos removed, but it’s a timely process for an inspection company to evaluate and a specialized team to abate. This set us back a few weeks.
Note: Since the tiles were in good condition (asbestos was contained within the flooring and no asbestos in the mastic) they posed no risk to our health as we continued to remove carpet. They were just covered in mastic that was impossible to scrape off. We scraped off as much as we can.
- Cut carpet into strips – Don’t try to remove carpet in large sections. Cut large sections of carpet into strips and roll the strips up for easy removal.
- Save your hook blade – Instead of raking your hook blade across the carpet and through the padding to make a cut, just make a 5″ incision and use your hand to pull the carpet up. You may have to use some force and pull it straight back towards you. Just focus on cutting the carpet—you can pull the padding up later. This simple technique prevents the blade from going dull and is much faster than cutting through the entire carpet.
- Precautions – Watch out for the carpet tack strips that hold the carpet down around the edge of the room. They are covered in multiple rows of sharp tacks which can cause serious injury.
- Save on disposal costs – Check to see if your city or local waste collection company will accept old carpet and padding. Our city waste collection accepts rolled carpet and padding for free, but each roll must be less then 4 ft in any dimension and under 40 lbs.
Let us know if you’ve also removed your carpet for a home renovation project and want to share your tips or if you plan on DIY in the near future!
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