Saying goodbye to a carpet runner

One of the first projects I tackled in our new old home was to remove a red runner that was attached with hundreds... no more like thousands of razor like staples and tacks. I have done this many times before, but this carpet removal project was a bit more daunting than expected, especially with just two small window air conditioners cracking away on 90 plus degree hot summer days.  Needless to say, I was determined to complete this project in two phases as quick as possible. 

Some of you might be wondering why I pulled up the carpet. This particular wool carpet was in great shape and of good quality, but the color and pattern were not part of our personal design plan.  Correction - I said "our", but I really mean "my" design plan since my Mr. liked it underfoot and he was impartial to the color or pattern. 

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The first phase of this project was to separate the floor runner from the stair runner.  I was hoping a seam was already there to pull apart, but if there was, it was tacked down so well that I was unable to split them apart. I took care to slice my own seam with a sharp utility knife and straight edge so that I could then pull the floor runner up and away from the first stair riser. 

I did not take any photos of the floor runner removal, but as I mentioned before, it took a lot longer than I thought and this girl was totally spent and exhausted once it was up.  The carpet runner was customized for this particular hall and pieced together in a "T" shape.  I ended up needing to cut it in smaller segments in order to roll it up small enough to carry out easily.  Remember that I mention the razor-like staples? I felt like I was wrestling a porcupine and it was winning this round. 

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Check out the sharp points and razor edge on these carpet staples! Yikes! Oh, and yes, I had to then remove carpet pad that was also tacked down. 

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Phase one complete. The floor runner is up and the floors received a good cleaning. I should have mentioned before that my hopes were to save the carpet runner for someone else to enjoy, but once I pulled it up and saw what was underneath, I decided against it.  I love the look and feel of carpeting underfoot, but a carpet in a heavy traffic area, especially one that is exposed to outdoor elements, such as a front foyer, it gets a bit.... well gross.  I can't tell you how many carpets and runners I have pulled up in homes we purchased or those of my design clients and found potential allergy causing situations.  Even in the cleanest homes that, I have found not only trapped sand and dirt under the carpets, but dead bugs and mold. 

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Before I go on, I wanted to mention that at some point I will be replacing the runner and floor runner, but the floor runner will be loose so that I can roll it up and have it cleaned professionally if and when needed. The carpet runner will of course be attached, but I will be looking for a tight weave to help lessen the amount of debris that can work its way through to the wood. 

I left the carpet runner alone thinking I would leave it there until I was ready to complete the foyer makeover and look for a new runner, but what can I say.... I am not very patient and pulled it off a few days later. 

Below is a photo of the stair risers that were full of holes from the staples and tacks.  At this time, I started to prep the holes to be filled so that I could then paint the face of the riser. 

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I used a putty knife to scrape off any loose paint chips left behind from pulling off the carpet and any left over carpet fuzz that had stuck to the paint. 

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I gave the stair risers a quick sanding then proceeded to fill the holes with a light-weight spackling filler.  I love using this product. I have not only filled small holes with it, but I have repaired decorative picture frames and other wood items with it such as this. 

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After the holes were filled, I let them dry before giving them a light sanding. 

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Once the holes were sanded, I like using sanding blocks, and the woodwork was wiped clean of any debris or sanding dust, I primed the the face of the stairs to prep them for their final coat of  satin paint. 

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There is still much to do to this front foyer and stairway, but I am tackling several projects at once, just to help us feel like the house is our home vs all of the other previous homeowners.  

1. I will be painting the walls and the hand railing that is attached to the wall will be painted the same color, but in a semi-gloss, to help it fade away. I thought for sure I was going to take off the wall railing, but after the first day of going down the stairs, I knew it was a keeper since the hand rail on the other side stops half way.   

2. The stair treads will be sanded and prepped for a deeper stain such as walnut. 

3. The hand rail and newel post will be painted black like in my past two homes. 

4. The floor.... this is a tricky one since it touches 5 other rooms, but that said, all of the rooms have different floors, so I guess whatever I do will work if carefully executed. I would love to see it a deeper cool brown tone or possibly painted with a large checkered pattern.  Since these floors are not old, I have no hard feelings about modifying them.  

5. Select new carpet runner and install.


Caring for your carpet

It sounds simple, but use a door mat inside and out.  It will help trap some of the dirt coming in. 

Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum! If possible daily (do as I say not as I do! LOL). I am currently using a higher-end Shark, but there are a lot of great vacuums out there. 

Clean any spots or spills immediately and make sure you dry the area as much as possible. I like to put a thick Terry towel over the cleaned area with something heavy on top to help wick up excess moisture a while before allowing it to air dry.  I have also used a fan to help dry areas. 

Have your carpet cleaned by a professional to get to what your vacuum can't.  Heavy extraction of soil, allergens, and pollutants is a must for a healthier home and carpet.