Carpets: Neither Car nor Pets

We can both confirm, there’s nothing more satisfying than knocking down a wall, or breaking up an old piece of wood, or ripping up some old carpet. We don’t regularly do all of those things, but I did spend a day ripping up the carpet in our upstairs bedrooms. Oh, and I also ripped it off of all of our stairs. And I didn’t even fall on a nail or step on a single staple! Pretty impressive, I’d say.

I used a Kobalt 28-piece multi blade utility knife to cut and remove the bulk of the carpet. The straight blade was good for the big pieces and the blade with the hook was good for the stapled in bits on the stairs.

Kobalt Utility Knife SetThe carpets weren’t in terrible shape when we moved in, but the previous owners had pets and we were worried about what might be hiding underneath. Luckily after they were all up, the floor underneath was in good shape and relatively stain free. We didn’t have the same good fortune that we did last time I ripped up carpet, but a clean sub floor is fine with me.

Ripping up carpets

Check out some before and after shots of the freshly carpeted upstairs and our freshly painted stairwell and landing (and ceiling). That’s Hotel St Francis Clay Angel, the same color we used in our living room.

Stairs New Carpet Before After

Upstairs Before No Carpet Upstairs New CarpetRipped up CarpetNew Carpet on Stairs


No Pain, No Stain

We’ve had unfinished projects before, but when I think of the one that caused me the most pain over the past 21 months, its the transition from our kitchen to dining room. When we moved in, there was a metal transition, the kind you’d expect in a garage or shed.

Old Transitions

When we replaced the linoleum flooring in the kitchen with laminate, we attempted to install the transition that came with the laminate flooring. This worked somewhat well as it went from laminate in the kitchen to the carpet that was in the rest of the house. Still, it wasn’t perfect, as there was nothing to secure it to below the carpet. We had to use glue. Glue that I ended up having to scrape up by hand after that piece of wood was removed.

Transition Left Behind Glue

When we ripped up the carpet and had the hardwood refinished, we discovered the problem went deeper than we thought. The reason the transition had nothing to hold onto was that the old exit from the kitchen to outdoors had never been replaced with regular flooring when the expanded kitchen was built.

Transition Flooring Gap

Let me back track a bit if that last part was confusing. At some point in the 60’s or 70’s the original kitchen became a dining room and an expansion was built and made into a kitchen. When this happened the old step to the outside became a transition into the kitchen with a roughly one inch gap left open.

We tried to reuse the transition we installed when the carpet was there, but that wasn’t the right size. We bought a new transition that matched the laminate, and again we glued it in place. However, after numerous bumps and trips, it didn’t hold and we ripped it up. There’s been a gap there for the past few months.

This time we bought a solid wood transition, and stained it to match the hardwood. Our hardwood is pretty dark, so it took a few coats of stain.

Minwax Polyurethane

Before putting a coat of poly on it, I screwed it into the floor with two very long wood screws. I filled this with wood filler, and stained it to match. In retrospect I probably should’ve installed it and then stained it, but I didn’t want to have to leave it there while the stain dried.

Screw to Secure Flooring Transition

A long running and frustrating project had a rather simple solution, we just needed to use the right supplies this time.

Finished Transition Hardwood to Laminate

Ace of Base (Molding)

Ever since having our floors refinished, I’ve been slowly but surely going back and touching up, refinishing, repainting or replacing most of the baseboard molding throughout the house.

Supplies and Tools for Quarter Round Install

This whole project was probably something we could’ve done in a weekend, but somehow, here we are 6 months later, its winter and I’ve just finished replacing the molding in the living room.

Dining Room Workspace for Painting Trim

Molding Removed from Wall

We started the project in our dining room and our hallway. This is the room that has what looks like the newest trim. It seems to be a pretty decent quality wood in good shape, so we refinished it.

Dining Room Molding Before Refinsh

The pieces were stained a dark color, so we sanded, primed and painted them white to match the rest of our trim. We added quarter round, and came out with what I think is a pretty clean look.

Close up Wall and Floor with Quarter Round

The method of installing molding to the wall, like most things, isn’t without debate. The route we chose is especially contentious. For the new install in the living room, we chose pre-painted white MDF. Medium Density Fiberboard is much cheaper than regular wood, and in our case makes the risk worth it. The stuff chips easily, and in my experience doesn’t take well to being nailed to the wall. See the photo below for an example of that issue.

MDF Molding with Nail Damage

Instead or regular nails we used Liquid Nails adhesive to adhere the board to the bottom of the drywall.

Quarter Round with Liquid Nails

Overall, with the quarter round, the final product looks better than what we began with, so I don’t mind the risky cost savings. I would have kept what was already there, since it was in decent shape, but it didn’t really lend itself to quarter round very well. Take a look at this “before” photo for proof.

Living Room Wall Before

And here’s the after, aka the finished product.

Final Product Refinished Hard Wood and Molding with Quarter Round

The gap between the wall and floor wasn’t too bad in most places, probably less than a quarter inch, but in other places the floor boards seemed to end leaving an inch or so. Quarter round was a necessity.

This sort of project seems to be a never ending one for us. Even in the photo of the “finished product” I can still see some things that I’d like to fix. The trim around the door frames in the living room doesn’t really match the base molding anymore. If we don’t replace it, it at least needs a fresh coat of paint to match the new molding. Once we get into that. I’m sure we’ll notice all of the other spots in the house where trim and molding needs a touch up. I guess its just one of those things that we’ll always be working on.