What they never show you on those home improvement shows...

Staples! The amount of staples that await you when you rip up carpet = total fun.

Carpet in the process of being removed (upstairs):

Carpet is up!

We decided to start with removing just 1/3 of the carpet and baseboards in the upstairs attic/bedroom. Since we have a lot of stuff on the other side of the room, my next step is to clear out the downstairs office to make room for storage.

Originally we were going to paint the floors but now we are thinking about sanding and staining. Our goal is to get everything done by the summer so we can move our master bedroom upstairs.

Any advice for refinishing the floors?


  1. So your POs were carpet staple fiends, too? The upholstery nozzle of a little cannister vac is good for finding the strays. Bangs up against them.

    Use a little 95% denatured ethyl alcohol to see if the finish is shellac. If so, you can use it to take the whole finish off very cleanly and without raising the grain. I'm planning to give my de-carpeted wood floor a very light sanding after it's stripped, lay on two or three layers of shellac, then a give it wear coat of polyurethane over that.

  2. Just enlarged your photos. Oops, I see you've got paint blotches to deal with, too. POs probably said, "Oh, we're putting down carpet; we don't need to use a dropcloth when we paint the ceiling!" In that case (if it's shellac), go over the floor with the ethyl alcohol first (not methyl-- wood-- alcohol-- that stuff's toxic to your skin), then use something like Howard's Western Wood Doctor Refinisher to get rid of the paint. Again, it won't raise the grain.

  3. Thanks Kate H. for the advice!

    Yep, there is paint on the floor as well as mud from when they put up the drywall (we believe that's most of the large splatters that you see).

    The floors have never been finished up there and it's just raw wood. Hopefully that's a good thing!!

  4. We always got someone in to do our floors because we'd do the entire house. I think we would've butchered the floors otherwise.

  5. My very-handy friend, Dawn, just did this in one of her spare bedrooms in her 100+ year old house. Same as you...pulled up the carpet, pulled a bazillion staples out, had paint all over the floor, plus an odd burn/stain in the middle of the entranceway that probably came from a kerosene heater or something.
    She used a treatment for stripping the floor (can't remember what - I'll ask her), then used wood-filler to fix/repair any holes. She rented a sander and got the floor prepped for refinishing. It was a huge amount of work (not that she's opposed to work) and said that after what she paid for in supplies and equipment rental, it would have been worth it to pay someone to do it (it was a difference between $200+ and @ $500).
    By the way - her floor looks FANTASTIC.

    Hope this helps!