Goodbye, Green Carpet! Hello, Original Hardwood Floors!

I went over to the house this past Sunday to take all of my “before” pictures of the house, and after all of the pictures were taken, I just couldn’t control myself any longer.  I was so anxious to rip up the carpet and see what was underneath!!

Let me explain.  The hardwood floors were not a surprise or a “lucky find.”  I knew they were under there.  But in the one room (my office) where the hardwood floors have been exposed (while the rest have been carpeted for decades) there is one board that has termite damage.  (Not to worry…the bug guy came out and inspected and said that this is old damage, and there’s no sign of active termites in or around the house.)

Termite damage in hardwood floors in home office

I think that I can carefully cut that piece out and replace it with a good board — perhaps one from a closet.  But needless to say, I’ve been more than a little concerned that I might remove all of the carpet and find hardwood floors that are just riddled with holes from termites.

I only had time to peel back a couple of small sections on Sunday, so yesterday I went to the house and removed all of the rest of the carpet and padding from the living room, entryway, original dining room, hallway, and all three bedrooms.

I was absolutely delighted to find perfectly sound hardwood floors!!!  Unfortunately the carpet installers were quite liberal with the glue when they put the carpet padding down, so the floors will have to be refinished.  But I’m okay with that.  I’m just ecstatic that all of the actual wood is in near perfect condition!

And my, oh my, what a difference it makes in rooms just to have that old green carpet gone!!!

Original hardwood floors covered with carpet - removed in the living room and dining room

The floors are still filthy.  They gray you see in the photo above is just dirt.  There was so much dirt under the carpet pad in the entryway!!  And there are still remnants of carpet pad stuck to the floor, not necessarily from adhesive, but just from being walked on for 30+ years.  Old carpet padding is so gross…and almost sticky…and crumbly…and filthy.  I’ll never have a home with carpet in it!

I also didn’t have time to take up the tack strips around the perimeter of the rooms.  I dread that job.  In the meantime, I’ll just stare at my beautiful (but very dirty) hardwood floors.  🙂

Living room with original hardwood floors covered with carpet

Original hardwood floors in living room after removing carpet

30-year-old carpet removed from original hardwood floors

It’s pretty much the same in every room, so it’s kind of like looking at the same picture over and over, but since I worked so hard to get the carpet and padding out, I’ll show you anyway. 🙂

Here’s the hallway with it’s green carpet…

Hallway - original hardwood floors underneath old carpet

And the hallway with the carpet removed…

Hardwood floors - carpet removed - hallway

See those swirls of glue everywhere?  They make me sad.  Very sad.  Who could do that to such pretty floors?

And the master bedroom with its green carpet…

Master bedroom with original hardwood floors underneath 30-year-old carpet

And with the carpet removed…

Master bedroom with carpet removed from original hardwood floors

This room had way more glue than the rest of the house.  🙁

And last but not least, Matt’s “whatever” room…

Bedroom with original hardwood floors covered by carpet

This room had yet another shade of green (almost teal) carpet.  I think the whole house had four different kinds of green carpet throughout.

And this room with the carpet removed…

Bedroom with carpet removed from original hardwood floors

There’s still quite a bit to do before I can consider this project “finished”, but after only one full day of work, this house already looks considerably different.  Wouldn’t you agree?

Now I get to rent a floor sander.  I’ve always wanted to try one of those.  🙂

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  1. We just removed 30+ year old carpeting in our dining/formal living room a few weeks back, and I must agree that the tack strips are the absolute pits! Ours was only over our concrete slab, so at least it was “easy” to mend the nail holes with some Quikcrete. Scary all of the holes that will be in your hardwoods from the strips. 🙁 But it looks FABULOUSLY better already, glue lines and all. 🙂

    1. When I took the tack strips up at the condo, they were nailed into the concrete foundation. I had a heck of a time getting those out!! And when they did come out, the nails took out big chunks of the concrete. It was so infuriating! I think it’ll be much easier taking them out of wood (I sure hope, at least!!), and I’m hoping that the holes will just kind of disappear once the floor is refinished. Or maybe I need to fill them with wood filler. Hmmm…I’m actually not sure. :-/

      1. Having removed tack strips from both concrete and wood floors, the wood is definitely easier! Those nails are no joke, and filling those stupid chunks left me so angry! I think you’ll have better luck on the wood. Plus the sanders really are fun! It’s all in how you lean…

      2. I don’t think anyone would notice tiny holes from the tack strips along the floor moulding… and IF they did… they are rude 😀

  2. I’m so very jealous of those floors! The rooms look brighter and bigger already. A floor sander will work wonders on getting that floor looking beautiful. Do you anticipate staining it or keeping it the natural color of the wood?

    1. I’m still considering my options. I really don’t want to stain them. I’m pretty sure that the original finish is just some sort of polyurethane, with no stain. (I sanded a small area yesterday, and the dark color came off really easily, so it doesn’t seem like there’s any stain of any kind actually penetrated into the wood.) So I’m considering using either just a polyurethane, or perhaps even an oiled finish, like pure tung oil. I think the oiled finished are so pretty, and give the wood a deeper, richer look than polyurethane, plus they can be spot repaired and have more of a matte finish to them. So all that to say, I really have no idea. 😀

      1. I pulled up the carpet and padding in my rented condo and now my throat and top of my chest hurts. The padding left this yellow dust that smelled terrible. Was your throat irritated after? I wore an i95 mask but it didn’t fit properly.

  3. Hi Kristie,

    I’m a new follower and I love your style. The floors are awesome and would be great stained or left as is. Can’t wait to see you work your magic though. Wish I was close by. Would love to help. I’m sure working with you would be great. 🙂

    Good day.

  4. I also removed carpet from my living room yesterday to get ready for new hard wood flooring. I will also never ever have a house with’s clear the sweeper only gets the surface clean. It’s so gross. I have to spend the rest of the time pulling staples..would rather deal with glue. Staple over kill for sure. Your floors are beautiful. So glad to get to watch the transformation.

  5. Those floors already look amazing! I pulled up the worst gross (dare I say greasy?) carpet in my 1st house and remember that wonderfully calming feeling of seeing the wood underneath. Some fresh baseboards, a coat of paint and those nasty curtains removed and you’ll have a nearly new home already.

  6. How exciting! What a difference that makes! You point out a great reason why I want hard wood floors throughout – carpet traps in a huge amount of dust and dirt in it no matter how much one vacuums. Already the house is looking like it got a makeover!

  7. Oh, man, these photos take me back to so many houses in my life. I can remember pulling up the carpets to discover wooded treasure, removing those tack boards and staples until my fingers were raw, and then scraping and scraping all the adhesive and gooey carpet pad. We always washed them with Murphy’s Oil Soap as a final cleaning before moving on to sanding or staining. Now, just the thought of the smell of Murphy’s Oil Soap transports me to a really good place in my memories. SUCCESS! You are going to have so much fun with this house!

  8. Hi Kristi! We got rid of our 26 yr old carpet a couple years ago….thankfully, no glue. I took all the tack strip up myself..had a small flat looking crowbar which worked very well. The strip had some BIG nails in it…I don’t know what that person was thinking! We had the floors professionally done, and he told me to just leave the nail holes, the poly would fill them in. Mostly he was right, There are a few bigger ones I wish I had filled. I had two holes where speaker wires came up from basement, and he filled those…sadly, they do not match. But hey, compared to what I had before…my floors are beautiful! And I know yours will be too!

    1. Thanks, Martha! That’s very good info to know about the nail holes. I probably would have wasted a couple of hours trying to fill all of them with wood filler. 🙂 I think I’ll just leave them alone like your floor guy did, and just let the polyurethane fill them.

  9. My first house was built in 1950 and it also had green carpet! And harvest gold. Over beautiful hardwoods. I refinished them myself using a drum sander and a edge sander. The saw dust filled in the nail holes nicely. The carpet pad in that house was STAPLED down! Took me two weeks just to pull staples. But in the end it was so worth it. You will love them! Good luck and congrats on your new home

      1. I had two rooms of carpet padding stapled to hardwood floors. Thoroughly stapled. A screwdriver, sometimes pry bar, pliers, and a wooden block or thick cardboard to protect the floor from the prying were my best friends. And patience. Lots of patience. But SO worth it.

  10. It’s amazing how much bigger the rooms look. I like the idea of Tung Oil … it does amazing things to wood and the finish is really strong.

  11. We pulled orange tweed carpet up from the floors in a 60-year-old mobile home. I have just one word to describe it–disgusting. The staples were rusty, and the padding was all crumbly. Underneath it all was just plywood, but since it’s just a little vacation cottage, we cleaned the plywood and painted it with grey porch paint. It’s SO nice to have that carpet gone and have a surface that can be easily swept clean.

  12. I’ve taken up tack strip many, many times. Like someone above said, a small crowbar is your best friend, as well as a good claw hammer. I used the crowbar midway between nails and broke off the tack strip away from every nail first, then went back and pulled up the exposed and easy to access nails. Much easier than trying to pull up the nails with the tack strip in place. It breaks so easily. Just use good, heavy duty gloves – like welding gloves! Once the strip is out of the way, you can almost assembly line the nail removal. 🙂

    1. Agree here, too! Spent many years in the carpet industry and as Diane has described, that method should be your easiest. ~:)

  13. As everybody has stated, nail removal is the worst as obviously you already know. I don’t envy you this job. I can’t believe you removed all of that carpet already by yourself. I wish I had an ounce of your energy. Such a huge difference already! I’m excited for you! I’ll probably say that in every post, lol, but it’s true!

    1. The carpet removal did take several hours, but keep in mind that I was dealing with very old and brittle carpet. I could literally step on the edge, give a firm tug on the edge with some pliers, and it would tear into strips without much effort at all. Then those strips could easily be removed from the room. If it had been new(er) carpet, I’m sure it would have been much harder, there might have been tears, and I would have been calling my mom or brother for help. 😀

  14. That’s actually not too bad at all with the swirls. The home I grew up in (built circa 1960’s??) had all hardwoods and the owners had put down green low-pile commercial carpet (think burber but worse)….completely glued to the floor instead of put down with tackless. My dad spent days and days and days scraping-up the rubber backing and then even more days sanding with a hand sander (we didn’t have the money for rentals or hiring pro’s back then). In the end, I think he only ended-up exposing and re-finishing two rooms.

  15. So happy for you, Kristi, those floors are gorgeous. Does it feel huge? It looks huge! Are you going to live in the condo for awhile? I would think that would be a good idea.

    1. The house already felt really big to me (naturally, since I’ve been living in 834 square feet!), but it really is amazing to me how much BIGGER it feels with that carpet gone!!

      We really want to get out of the condo around September 1st so that we can get it on the market and hopefully get it sold. I really do love being able to work on the house without us actually living there, but at the same time, I have projects I need to finish up on the condo before we put it on the market, and those would be so much easier to finish up if we weren’t living in the condo. 😀 Wow…sounds like we need a third place!

  16. You are certainly blessed with what will be beautiful….expensive” hardwood floors…even if the glue had not been there you probably would have wanted to sand the floors anyway…take the old finish off and put new on…but what a wonderful find….I hate to say it but I am jealous….you really were blessed to find this house…congratulations…and another thing with the carpet up I’ll bet it will feel even cleaner huh?

    1. A little secret about those curtains…they’re vinyl. 😀 I didn’t realize it until I started taking up the carpet and went over to the window to let some sunlight in. Yep, they’re vinyl. It almost looks like that printed tablecloth vinyl that they sell by the yard at JoAnn Fabrics. So while I’d definitely love to take them down, it’s not quite as bad as having decades old, odor-absorbing fabric in the room. And I really can’t take them down until I have something to replace them with or the room will get too hot during certain times of the day, and people would be able to look right into the windows at night. And also, I’m not really sure what to put on the windows. I had hoped to use my favorite woven shades from Home Depot (the same ones I’ve used on all the windows in the condo), but I think those require an inside mount, and these windows don’t have enough room for an inside mount.

      Ack!!! So many things to do and to think about!!! 😀 I can easily get overwhelmed.

  17. My goodness, who would glue onto the wood!!! I have pulled hundreds of staples when removing carpet. I can’t wait to see you transform these dirty, old wood floors to beauty! Good job in attacking the carpet!!!

  18. the floors are gorgeous. Way back (about a million years ago) I was delighted to peek under a corner of the carpet in our first home, to discover beautiful hardwood underneath. Shortly after, all that carpet was ripped out. I love hardwood floors. xo

  19. I can not believe someone would glue down padding to any floor! Staples yes, glue…unbelieveable!!! Looks like a nice house and can not wait to see what you do to it. Just a bit jealous, am I!

  20. OK, I’m excited now. Anxiously awaiting the next step. Are you going to do one room at a time, or the whole floor at once? Def wear a mask. I’ve been through the whole sanding experience, and while it isn’t that difficult, it still kicks up a hefty shot of dust. House already looks better, and with nice wide floor and window trims, it will be awesome!

    1. I’m hoping to do all of the hardwood floors at the same time. So we’ll see how that goes. 😀 I guess when it comes to the polyurethane (or varathane, or tung oil…whatever I decide to use), I’ll just have to start in the bedrooms, then the hallway, then the dining room, and just work myself right out the front door. Should be interesting!

  21. So glad there isn’t more termite damage. That’s always so scary. We’ll be remodeling our master bath this year and I’m horrified to say that it has carpet in it. Disgusting. I can’t wait to pull it up. It’s probably mostly skin cells and hairspray by now. So gross.
    Good luck with the glue and tack strips. Get out the ibuprofen early.

    1. Oh gosh, the “carpet in the master bath” trend has to be one of the worst trends EVER in the history of decorating and design trends!! I just know you’ll be so glad to get rid of that!

  22. Kristi,
    Uncovering the wood has made the house look upgraded already…I had just assumed you’d leave the carpeting in place until you finished painting…kind of using the old carpet as a drop cloth.
    4 years ago we took the huge step of pulling up carpeting in our Wisconsin (ie, COLD) home. My husband and I have always lived in northern climes, and we could not imagine having uncarpeted rooms…our feet would be too cold when we woke up.
    Now…I’d never have carpeting again…Wood floors look beautiful, and are easy to keep up…even with our 10 children…Healthwise, they are the wiser choice; Aesthetically, no question. I think this winter we’ll do the Living Room and Dining Room, then be hard-surface only…hooray!
    So excited for you!

    1. Leaving the carpet in place while painting definitely would have been a great thing. But I’m really anxious to get the floors finished before we move in. I think the hardwood floors will be so much easier for Matt to maneuver around on rather than that lumpy old carpet. And since we’re planning on being in the house by September 1st(ish), I knew I wouldn’t have time to do painting before then. So I guess I’ll have to make myself be disciplined enough to use a drop cloth. 🙂 I’ve never been good at that, but after spilling one quart of stain in the condo bathroom, and two quarts of paint in the bedroom (gosh, I’ve become such a butterfingers!), I will MAKE myself use a dropcloth when painting in the house.

      And wow…it just dawned on me that you said you had ten children. Ten??!! 😀

  23. The floors are beautiful!!! (dirt & all!). I’m with you… carpet in my house either! I can hardly wait to see them sanded!!

    I’m going to wait & do my happy dance with Khadija……:)

  24. Oh how lucky you are to have all that hardwood already there!!!! I remember when I bought my current house over 20 years ago, I stood holding my breath on the front porch as the real estate agent jiggled the lock — PRAYING she would open door to reveal wood floors rather than some ratty horrible carpet that I couldn’t afford to replace!!! And whaddya know? The door opened and there was random plank oak flooring. In good condition even. **big sigh** I was ready to sign on the dotted line right then and there. Of course the rest of the house needed lots n lots of attention, it was definitely a fixer upper…but I’ll never forget how happy I was to see all that wood. Yours are going to look amAzing when you’re done with them. 😀

  25. Wow! Great job Kristi! I can’t even imagine why someone would want to cover such pretty floors….especially with that nasty green carpet!!! Once you get them sanded and restained, or whatever you’re going to do, it will feel like a whole new house already…again!!!LOL

  26. I knew you couldn’t wait long to get started. I would be the same way. The floors look fantastic and I can’t wait to see them finished. The house looks so much better already.

  27. Hi Kristi, When I moved in my house the floors were exposed but so mistreated. They had paint on them like they had spray painted items and it was the overspray in almost every single room!! And the dog and general wear and tear. I just did not have it in me to take it on myself. It was the whole house except dining room and kitchen so close to 1200 square feet. I felt fortunate to find a good floor refinisher who did it all for $2498 which included replacing some boards and sanding and wood filling the floors. Then staining and poly. They look gorgeous now. Not brand new mind you cause they aren’t but absolutely gorgeous. Carla

    1. Oh my, after reading your comment, I feel so glad that these floors were covered with carpet for three decades so that they couldn’t get scratched and damaged!! They do have glue, but that’ll be easy enough to remove with the sander. So glad you were able to salvage yours!

  28. We’ve taken up tack strips on wood before and it is much easier than with concrete. You’ll have some holes to fill but it should blend in well when you use the sander on the whole floor. These floors are very pretty and once sanded and refinished will be GORGEOUS! I’m so excited for you!

  29. I have been following for a little while now and I can’t hardly wait to see what you do with this house. I am soooo excited for you. 🙂

  30. Hi Kristi!
    Floors are stunning! My mom used the sawdust from the sanding to fill the nail holes when she refinished her floors..blends right in. That big, wonderful yard will be great to take breaks in while you’re working on your floors. I’m thinking lawn chair and lemonade under that big tree! 🙂

  31. Kristi, the house looks so different already! The pics look almost like “afters” if it weren’t for the glue swirls. So much BETTER! Isn’t it amazing how much dirt carpet collects, and it doesn’t go away, it just buries itself.

    I forgot to tell you in my last comment (yesterday), the paneling in that one room is actually quite nice. A friend of mine moved into a place at the beach that had dark paneling all over, and they painted it white and it looked AMAZING after, like the classic beach cottage look. Painted paneling is actually quite chic and upscale looking, so give it a try in that room and see what you think. You may just want to leave it that way.

    1. When I first saw the paneling, my immediate reaction was that I wanted to rip all of it out. But I think it’s just the dark finish that messing with my mind. After all, I did plank the walls in two bathrooms in the condo!! So obviously, I like planked/paneled walls. I think you’re right…white paint will absolutely transform that room. I’m definitely going to do that first, and I hope that I love it! (Because having to remove all of that paneling would be a real pain.) 😀

  32. I just want to know what you eat for breakfast every morning…and while you’re telling us throw in lunch ,dinner and whatever supplements your taking!
    All carpeted areas of the new house in one day….you are truly amazing. I wish I had your strength!!!!!

    1. Haha! Well, keep in mind that the carpet was really old and brittle. So old and brittle, in fact, that I could tear it into strips with relative ease, and then carry the strips out of the room one at a time. It did take several hours, but it wasn’t nearly as difficult as removing new(er) carpet that’s stronger, heavier, and has to be cut into strips with a carpet knife.

    2. I’m with you! I pulled the carpet from one room, thankfully the ONLY room, and it took me about 3 hours. I was showered and on the sofa, fanning myself and cursing that I wasn’t born wealthy so others could do the heavy lifting! I’m quite impressed!

  33. OOOH, Girl….I know you were keen to get to that hard wood….but, maybe paint the walls next so any drops can be sanded away…instead of needing to drop cloth all the floors. Just saying…I learned this the hard way. I do admit it is a spirit pick me up, to just get those dirty carpets gone. But, ….do you realize someday in the distant past, someone looked at those newly installed green carpet and said, “Wow, look at that beautiful color and softness. Aren’t you glad that boring brown wood is covered.” Styles go in circles. I remember spending hours stripping furniture to get back to the original wood….now everyone is painting it again. Sheesh!

    1. Oh, I wish I could paint the walls before sanding the floors!!! The problem is that I absolutely need to get the floors finished before we move in around September 1st (it’ll just be so much easier and less stressful for Matt if they’re already done throughout), so I don’t think it’ll leave me enough time to do all of the painting. Especially considering that I still have projects I need to finish in the condo so that we can get it on the market ASAP. Yikes!!! I’ll just have to make myself be disciplined enough to use a drop cloth. 🙂 I admit, I’m not very good at using drop cloths, but perhaps when I’m dealing with newly refinished hardwood floors, I’ll be motivated enough to be disciplined. We’ll see. 😉

      1. Ok, now I understand. Are you sure you can’t stay at the condo longer and finish it up while living there? I am sure you have your reasons to be on the timetable you are on. Hey, BTW, thank you for responding to my comment. Very nice of you

    1. I ripped all of the carpet out of the condo, and that left me with just cement. The good thing about cement is that there are options! You can paint it, or you can do luxury vinyl tile flooring. That’s what I have in the condo. I used the kind that looks like tile, but they also have the kind that looks like hardwood floors. OH…and there’s a new kind called “concrete” that comes in a 12 x 24 size!!! It’s really pretty (although I realize it sounds a bit ironic to cover up concrete with a tile called concrete…LOL). But those tiles stick amazingly well to concrete subfloors!

  34. Oh, what a difference removing all the carpet makes! It looks so much better, and it will be gorgeous when you’re finished. Most of the homes I have lived in have had hardwood floors, which I loved. My current house, unfortunately, has all carpet. I don’t like it at all, and want to install hardwood floors. Good luck with your new home. I look forward to watching it take shape! 🙂

  35. I’m voting for tung oil too! I’d love to have hardwood floors too, but just not practical with all the humidity we have here in Houston. Tile is much more user friendly! Looking forward to seeing the floors ‘done’. 🙂

  36. There is no carpet left in my house and I couldn’t be happier. We removed carpet from our second story ourselves. There was just plywood under the carpet and the tack strip was pretty easy to remove with a small crowbar. You just don’t know the thrill I got from saying to my husband…Hand me my crowbar. 🙂 Our pad had been stapled, so we took days to remove those, but tack strips weren’t too bad. It looks beautiful already.

  37. i pulled up all the carpet in my mothers 40 year old house. i can not decided if i want to try and sand them myself or have someone come in and do it. cant wait to see your progress… maybe it will inspire me to do our floors.

  38. Wow, you got a lot done, pulling carpet is a bear and the tack strips are sharp. Be careful when removing those. Great job!

  39. Hi Kristi…. Soooooo happy for you….. Say how far away from the wall are those tack strips…. you may be able to cover those nail holes with some fancy cove moulding….?

    1. The strip is about 1/2-inch from the shoe moulding, but I think the nail holes are small enough that the dust from sanding will easily fill them. Thankfully the installers didn’t use large nails to attach the tack strips!

  40. I love being on your adventure and viewing your progress from the “backseat”. Keep up the good work and I await your next step with anticipation!

  41. Wow! You really got a lot of work done in one day! Taking up carpeting is not n easy job!
    The house looks so much brighter and bigger without the carpeting! Too bad they used glue on the padding but hey, you get to try out new tool and the sander will also take up old dirt! I’ve also heard that you can ride around I circles on one but tequila is involved and it’s not recommended LOL! You are going to have a blast working on your new dream home! Congratulations! Hugs, Leena

  42. The floors are gorgeous. Maybe I can answer why did they put carpet on the wood question. Hardwoods weren’t not sealed and had to be waxed by hand by the lady of the house fairly often. My grandmother still talks about this chore and she is 91. It was a ton of work.