Monday, November 11, 2013

Smelly Carpet... Oh, Smelly Carpet...


....what are they feeding you?

Wayyy back, the day we moved in, I posted this image of me doing cartwheels on our ugly blue carpet.  Now, we knew we would be replacing the carpet.  It was old, ugly blue, and darkened up the room quite a bit.  It had tears in several spots.  It was more scratchy than soft.  It had unknown lumps all over the place.



What we didn't realize, is how bad it had smelled.  We thought that it was the dog crate in the living room that caused the smell during our walkthroughs.  And for the first week of owning the home it wasn't that bad- the first smell that hit you walking through front door was the very strong sent of fabric softener.  Once we started cleaning the house (ie. washing machine) and opening windows to rid the house of the strong 'perfume' smell of the old owners it became clear.  The carpet smelled.  It really smelled.  I'd call it a mix of dog and dirt, with a some spots of chemical smell that my husband was particularly sensitive to.


Our plan was to wait on putting in a new floor so we could focus on more pressing structural issues, like our windows.  We didn't feel it had enough priority for our time, and we didn't have enough money to cover all the issues at once and still do a good job.  But after living with the carpet for seven weeks we decided we maybe it was worth a little bit of money for paint and a bit of our time.  Everyone seemed to hate that carpet, and allergies were running rampant.


These are photos just before we went crazy.  Before pictures, perhaps?   I guess I have none of the sunroom. 


...And with a little magic, after pictures.  Rocking chairs and stuffed chairs were brought up to the bedroom.  Pretty much everything else got jammed into the sunroom.  The image above is more illustrative of how dark the room seemed during the day than the other two.  I tried but I couldn't get either image to look true to life for the brightness.


Now the exciting part!  Ripping the carpet up.  To add to the suspense, lets try to guess what the big lumps were under the carpet.  Some hints about the lumps: 
  • The inspector had no guess as to what they were.  
  • They were hard. 
  • They were near the front door, bathroom and basement door.  
  • They didn't have any recognizable shape or pattern, and we would find them in different spots all over.
Any guesses? 

Dead mice, bulging wood and lumped up carpet padding were ones we had heard from friends & family.


Up comes the corner.  Everything looks normal so far...  Oh, the suspense!

And..... It's DIRT!   A mostly caked on pile of dirt & sand.

...Actually....  lets change pile to piles.  Piles of dirt. 


Lots of piles of dirt.  So, mystery solved!  It was all dirt under there.  That probably explained why the carpet smelled like... um... dirt.  Duh.  Why didn't I think of that before?


So with that, the full destruction began.  Jon and I each grabbed a carpet-section (c-section, haha!) and started tearing it up and tossing it on the lawn.


Getting around the doors in entryway was a little bit of a pain, but not too tough.  This job didn't seem so bad.


Until we looked at how many staples we had to pull up...

And how much dirt we had to clean up.  I decided to draw up a nice 'welcome mat' to help show how much dirt there was.  I had a really hard time conveying it in photos, but to give you a mental image- multiply this photo by about 100 and that's what we found on the well traveled areas of the floor. (This is a perfect opportunity for another "Friends" reference, but I find no one knows this one, and I can never find clips online.  So give yourself a smug smile if you know it.  Beach-house!)


It was quite clear where the well traveled areas of the floor were.  The couch was the clean area on the left.  The area in front of the couch on the right is where everyone eats and drinks....  Oy.

What looks like rings of dirt in the image were the most difficult areas to clean.  From what I we could figure, whenever someone spilled something the dirt would cake together in that area in resist getting vacummed up.  Add in some compression and drying, and we had quite the caked on mess.  I used a spray bottle with vinegar, a metal scrapper, shop vac to try to get it all off.  It took hours.

To get the staples up, we mostly used a pliers and a flat head screwdriver.  I found I liked popping them up with the screwdriver best and then stuck ones got pliers.  Jon preferred just pulling them up with pliers alone.


While I got started on the staples and cleaning, Jon went around pulling up all the tacks strips.  I'm pretty sure he loved this job.  He got stabbed in the foot more than one by these guys just walking through the house.  Sweet vengeance was his.


And like most of the repairs we've done, there's always one surprising bad spot.  Oh look.  A bad spot. Surprise! We're guessing an aquarium rotted this out, since it's an odd spot, and we have no other ideas.



It was late by the time we ripped out everything, so I ended the day by making our sunroom a little more organized.  When I was done, I actually liked how cozy it was.  A lot.  It made me a little sad that I liked our crammed together livingroom more than the big wide house one we had been living with since we moved in (as seen at the top of the post).  We pretty much set it up in a way really similar to the previous owners.  It really got me thinking about how I wanted to devide our space better to fit us better.   But I'm sure I'll get to that in another post ;)



I was pretty excited to start painting and get this project over with, but it was hard to find a good time to do it.   We made some good progress the first night after the kids went to bed, but I found it hard to work on [more] house stuff after the kids were asleep. 


After avoiding painting for a bit, I decided to enlist my kids help during the day. Eve did the section in the cones, and Eli, painting shirtless, worked on his section.  I tried to keep them off wet paint with tape and traffic cones, which mostly worked.


I've seen some really awesome painted floors online.  Tricks to hide the seams.  Nice looking, intricate designs.  At first I was tempted, but I decided to just prime it and paint it a solid color.  Yet, by the end of it, I was ready to be done.  So, our small plan got smaller, and we're sticking with just primer and no paint.  Even a couple layers of some of the really good primer we bought didn't hide some of the ring-stains, so we just embraced the 'ugly' and put our time into other more important house work.

But by no means were we planning on embracing this.  So after we had the rest of the area painted we had to address this before moving our stuff back in.  Fixing this was a project on it's own, and that is for another day's post.

To be continued....

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