I Killed a Runner
Not a pedestrian out for a casual jog…a carpet runner. Seriously people. My driving skills aren’t that bad. And I do have the sense to not admit first degree murder on the internet. Bringing death to fashion and other crimes are a totally different story.
So in our foyer there was always one thing that bothered me: our stairway carpet runner. It was floral. It was yellowish brown. It was remarkably dirty. And it smelled. Yup. I’m one of those carpet sniffers on my hands and knees with the tush in the air and nose on the ground…
Even after I added frames up the stairway wall, the carpet was always bugging me. I kept it a while…I justified that Will needed the extra padding on his little knees when he learned to climb the stairs. And then when he learned to jump down three stairs at a time (while holding my hand), I figured his future soccer coach would appreciate his healthy non-jarred knees.
But then one day….back in June…I got an itch. It was a let’s-remove-the-carpet-while-Jeremy’s-at-work-itch.
So I got to analyzing how I could actually tackle that size of a job with a semi-pregnant belly. First, I knew I would have to remove the hardware…
Each step had a bar across it with two brackets on the ends. The little finial was decorative. I don’t know exactly what it is…but I always called it a pineapple. This place has pineapples in the weirdest little places. This is just another one. Someone told me that they represent a happy home or hospitality…so I fully plan on replacing these little guys with another pineapple somewhere else in the house. Kinda like upcycling or reincarnation…just with inanimate fruit.
The hardware wasn’t hard to get off….and took the first set of stairs from this:
Check out that dirt trapped behind the hardware…gross!
Three hours, three blisters, two screwdriver gashes, and thousands of staples later, I had the first set of steps runner free.
Not too shabby.
And then I decided to quit. Yup. Two months later, the first set of steps were carpet free and the rest of the stairway still had that runner.
So one Sunday afternoon when Will was down for his nap, I talked Jer into helping me remove the rest of the carpet (I figured that I could do the staple removal if he was willing to pull all the carpet off which required a bit more brute strength). Here’s some of what we learned while tackling it…
First – it helps to have a bunch of tools. What worked for me wasn’t necessarily what Jeremy preferred…so it’s good to have some options.
All I had to do was unscrew the stair hardware to remove the cross bar. It was super simple.
Then Jeremy started on the carpet. It helps to start at the top and go down (silly me started on the bottom when I tackled the first set of steps and it took me twice as long and as twice as much energy than working with gravity instead of against it). Find a corner, try to pry it off and then use short vigorous yanks to get the staples to release their hold on the wood.
It helps a lot to roll the carpet as you go…just make sure the staples and nails are all facing inward. Trust me…your palms will thank you…as will your upper arm when you aren’t sore from a tetnus shot.
When you get to the risers, pull the carpet at an angle. Again – short strong yanks will do better tn a steady pull.
Underneath the carpet is the carpet pad, tack strips and thousands of staples. You wanna tear up the carpet pad as much as you can with your gloved hands. The tack strip is easily removed with a pry bar and hammer…or flathead and hammer…just go slow and steady with the tack strip rather than perpendicular to it. The carpet pad will be stapled down…and there will be other staples (illustrated by the arrows) pretty much all over.
We found that the fastest way for us to remove all the staples was to have Jeremy take a flat head screwdriver and pry up just a little bit of them while I followed with a pair of needlenose pliers and twisted, pried and yanked up the rest. Our stairs are definitely not perfect…they have tiny holes and scraps and even color discoloration now that the carpet is out…but in general, we like it SOOO much better than the carpet. Not only is it cleaner (no yucky previous owners dirt trapped anywhere) but it’s actually better for me and Will (we used to slip alot on the carpet ending up with jammed toes and twisted ankles).
Of course, with any renovation – even small ones like ripping out carpet, there are some snafoos. We learned that the runner installers used regular nails to keep the tack strips down…as well as roofing nails. Seriously. Most of the time we got them out…but there are a few that the heads broke off and we had to hammer the rest back into the steps. Whenever we have future floor refinishing, we’ll have to pound them all the way through and fill with wood filler to hide em.
So now that we have our runner completely in the grave, our stairway looks sooo much better.
Isn’t it so much cleaner and look so much better? Maybe it’s just me.
I can’t wait till the day comes when we paint all our creamy tan trim to a bright white and the risers will get a good coat or two of that too. And then I want to put numbers on each step…just so Will can finally learn to count. Right now he thinks counting is 1-3-W. I’m not kidding.
And now for our before & after side by side…
Not too shabby for just a little editing. The little nook art and decor helps too…but really the removal of the stair carpet was key.
So you guys rip anything out lately? Any carpet removal or carpet installation that changed the entire look of a space? Perhaps you ripped something else outta your house that changed your life? A light fixture, old cabinetry, a kid or a husband?