First major DIY project in this house

We have started to undertake the largest DIY project we’ve done in this house (and really, I’d say to date).  We’re pulling up the (moldy, stained) carpet in the basement – and  replacing it with tile.

We literally just started today, and I already curse anyone who uses carpet mastic.  I was hoping for some nice “tackless” carpet (the kind with the metal tacks on the edges), some crowbar love, and wa-la, bare concrete in the basement…  I should know that I’m not so lucky.

I’ve been wanting to pull up the carpet since December 2010 – when a root caused our main drain to back up – twice.  Most of the basement had sopping wet carpet – which we vacuumed up with the wet/dry vac, and since it didn’t smell anymore (and I was 8 months pregnant), I didn’t push it.  It did however seriously stain the carpet, and I was sure that there was mold growing under the carpet….

I got the “OK” from Dad this week – we turned the heat pump on cool for the first time since we turned off heat back in March-ish – and the drain pipe has two problems: 1) it’s leaking inside the A/C unit where the drain pipe connects, and 2) water’s not going down the drain like it’s supposed to.  I thought I fixed that.  The HVAC guys who installed the humidifier dropped a flexible hose down the drain to drain it, it moved the A/C drain pipe just enough so that it doesn’t go down the drain.  And the genius who built/designed our house did not put the drain at the lowest part of the house – that was somewhere under the carpet (or the “bar” they built in the basement) – the water seeps under the carpet and not into the drain.  It’s been smelling a bit rank in the basement, so Dad said, “OK”. (The HVAC guys are coming on Wednesday to fix the inside leak – under warranty).

Because we’ve basically flooded our basement 3 times since we’ve lived here in the last 5 years, I want a flooring that will be able to handle being flooded again – and that is either bare/stained concrete, or tile.  I love tile, and I mostly know how to install it, so I’ve managed to talk Dad into glazed ceramic tile in the basement, and we are currently looking at tile that runs $0.88/sq ft.  I haven’t measured yet, but based on the wall lengths, we’re looking at about 500-700 sqft roughly.  New floor for about $700 (and a lot of work/time)?  Sign me up!

I’ve never tiled an entire room before, but based on Youtube, it doesn’t look that hard, it’s mostly tile layout, then a lot of work on your knees.  I’ve tiled small areas, so I’m familiar with the general concepts, and I’m going to trust in Youtube, Google and my Home Depot 123 book for the rest.  First, we have to remove the existing carpet.

Today, we started removing the carpet.  We discovered that the carpet was glued down (very well in some places), and have been removing the carpet in pieces.  Dad has actually gotten at least half of the room cleared of carpet (but not glue).

We have some “issues” in the basement which make the whole project interesting:

  1. There are many heavy things in the basement (freezer, washer, dryer, treadmill, exercise bike) most of these things cannot be moved elsewhere while we’re working because of either hookups, or the fact that we can’t get them up the stairs.
  2. The basement is kind of a dumping ground for things we’re not sure of where to put elsewhere, so it has some piles which we’ll have to deal with.

What we’ve done so far, is move as much as we can to one side of the room, and remove the carpet.  I’d prefer to remove the glue as well before we move it all back to the other side.  Some things, I’ve tossed into a “sell, donate” box which is now in the garage.  I’m trying to go through things as we come across them.  The biggest storage closet in the room (takes an entire wall) has carpet on the floor, so we’ve got to remove things out of there temporarily as well.  We’ll continue to move things around as needed to remove the carpet and glue and put down the tile – the hard parts will be the treadmill, bike and washer/dryer.

One thought on “First major DIY project in this house

  1. Mr. 1500

    Post pictures!

    We are about to embark on a project of our own. We are in the process of purchasing a foreclosed home that’s in rough condition. I actually like this kind of work though. It’s neat to take something ugly and turn it into something beautiful and useful.

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