When the carpet in my basement entryway tore, I tried to fix it with another strip of carpet. But the Berber fibers failed to hide the repair. Instead, I decided to cut that section of carpet out and install flooring. But I wanted to achieve my floor makeover for $0.00.
Luckily, I never throw anything away. I had a pile of cherry wood flooring left over from my living room hardwood installation. I also had vinyl tiles left over from my bathroom remodel. I decided to carry out my floor makeover with one or the other.
1. Tearing Out the Carpet
Using a sharp utility knife and a long ruler, I cut the carpet where I wanted to transition to the new flooring. I then pulled out the old carpet. Next, I removed the carpet pad which had been nailed to the cement flooring of the basement. Finally, I pried lose all the wood edges and any nails remaining in the floor. Before proceeding to the next step, I carefully swept the floor, then vacuumed any remaining debris.
2. Choosing Between Wood or Vinyl
I laid the vinyl tiles on the floor then took a picture with my phone. Next, I lay some hardwood in the same spot and took a second picture. After comparing the two images, I could see that a wood floor, though harder to install, would be far more beautiful.
3. Preparing to Install the Hardwood Floor
By slipping a plain kitchen knife between the base molding and wall, I carefully pried it loose all around the installation area. I set the base molding aside, for re-use, and then cleaned off any debris that fell away from the wall.
4. Installing the Hardwood Floor
I began laying wood along the wall where the new wood floor and old carpet would meet. I made sure the wood piece would have a groove at its head, so I could slip the carpet edge into it to create an invisible transition.
I then used glue to adhere the hardwood to the cement floor. Slipping each new piece of wood into the groove of the former made installing the floor very easy. When I reached the end, I cut the wood down to the right length. I didn’t have to be 100 percent accurate, as the base molding would attach to the wall again and conceal any gap between the floor and wall.
5. Creating the Trim by the Doorways
I was lucky that a full piece of wood fit exactly into the doorway on the right. All I had to do to smooth the transition into the next room was glue a strip of window casing flush with the hardwood and overlapping the vinyl floor of the bathroom. I then stained the casing to match my hardwood.
For the left doorway, however, I was left with a five-inch gap. I didn’t have a saw that could cut my hardwood into narrower strips. I decided to cut four-inch strips with the saw I did have and install these in a line. Alternatively, I could have used a strip of molding used for floor transitions, and then stained it to match the floor.
6. Reattaching the Base Molding
Since the base molding came away from the wall with the nails sticking out of it, I now carefully drove the nails back into the wall, hammering the base molding gently into place. When I used too much force, the nails bent and I had to do it again.
It took me one day to install the floor. Much of the time was actually spent on making sure I was using the wood efficiently. I didn’t have a lot of leftover hardwood, and I didn’t want to cut down long pieces where I could use them whole.