Thursday, April 19, 2012

Staple Pulling Is For The Birds

Put simply, yesterday I got fed up with staple pulling (after pulling about three clean in half, leaving two hypodermic needle-like shards sticking up) and started pulling up that yellow linoleum rug. Well, maybe pull isn't the right word. Pried up is more like it.

Yes, that means there are still staples in the floor! But a few came up with the rug, I swear.
For the most part it was relatively easy to pull up chunks of the rug. A few places were a little more stubborn than others, though.  

In a couple of spots you can see the old what's left of some neat old linoleum that looks like it probably matched the euqally red and black and yellow wallpaper (hey, these people loved color). It's only in a couple of places like I mentioned so I assume they took it up before putting down these other layers.

So this is what we're left with for now. It's pretty rough looking because of all of the pieces of old rug and adhesive left behind. I've been reading about ways to remove the black stuff without using a sander (to avoid stirring it up into the air and lungs). So far, the most promising seems to be using hot water and a scraper like this article over at Apartment Therapy mentions.

Still, it's really not in that bad of shape. I'm going to see how easily we can clean it up and then, if it doesn't look awful, I may leave it just wood for now (no paint). We'll see, though. Who knows?

As for now, you can see there are still chunks left under the appliances so I'm off to start ripping that up. I'll let you guys know how the hot water works out if I get around to trying it today.

If the wood works out, I'm considering using a DIY stain. I've tried ebonizing (steel wool and vinegar) before and it worked great but it turns the floor kind of gray/black which is not what I want in here. Still, there are some pretty neat ideas out there like coffee, tea, tobacco and walnuts!


  1. I think those floors would sand up quite nicely if you wanted to go that route. Maybe invest in some face masks to avoid the dust? We recently had all the floors in our house sanded (by someone else) and it wasn't anywhere near as dusty as I was expecting it to be. Call it the miracle of modern sanding equipment. Good luck with the floors.

    1. I do too! I mean, they won't be perfect but I kind of don't mind it. And we'll definitely be getting some Hazmat grade face masks before we do any sanding! Better safe than sorry, right?

  2. Is there any way to have the glue tested to make sure it's not filled with all kinds of horrible carcinogens from the last 100 years? Also, either you took off work for this week or are the most motivated diy'er ever, cause I think I'd get like a square foot of that done and say fuck it, let's buy a new house.

    1. Yeah, you can have it tested. But basically, it's very difficult for asbestos to get into your lungs from sanding, sweeping, cutting, etc. If you wanna' feel all smart and stuff you can read this (or skim it like I did). And no, I didn't take the week off. I wish! I just work in the mornings 'til the early afternoon. I have the whole rest of the day to hate staples.

  3. In our upstairs hallway we tore up old carpet to find that the old green foam pad had stuck to the gummy old finish. We used brand new sharp chisels and chiseled the finish up slow inch by inch, revealing the golden oak floor underneath. Backbreaking work, but well worth the effort. :)

  4. Hi there, just wanted to let you know that we went through the same situation in our kitchen. Over nearly 6 months we tried all kinds of things to get the black stuff up: adhesive remover, boiling water, heat gun, a wide floor scraper, etc, etc, etc. The thing that worked best? Waiting for a streak of super hot days and using a sharp, stiff 2" hand-held metal scraper. We sweated like crazy and ended up with some seriously bruised and blistered knuckles, but of everything we tried this was the only solution! Who knows if it'll work for you (and who knows if you'll want to wait for hot weather), but I thought I'd share.


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