Demoing the Main Floor (in which we begin to tear apart our house)

On the day we moved in (and by that, I mean the bed and some tools!), we immediately began to rip out the carpeting on the main floor. Here’s what the house looked like on move-in day:


It wasn’t bad (it was berber carpet and wasn’t too stained or anything), but we knew when we first looked at the house that it would be something we wanted to change. Actually, we decided then that we wanted to redo all 1000 square feet of flooring on the main floor, since it was composed of this carpet, a different carpet in the sunroom, light-colored laminate in the kitchen, and tile in the front hallway. It was choppy, and we knew we could open things up and make the rooms flow together better if we laid new floors.

We decided to immediately go for it for a few reasons: we don’t have much furniture at this point, and what stuff we do have we can easily fit into the upstairs bedrooms or basement. That way we won’t have to move everything off this floor in a few years after we’ve settled in. And we’ll get to enjoy the new floors longer, so that’s definitely a nice perk!

The flooring we decided on is Home Depot’s TrafficMASTER Saratoga Hickory laminate.


We liked this for a few reasons: the price ($.99/square foot!), the plank width (7 2/3″), the color, the reported ease of installation, and mostly, the texture. The edge of this laminate is beveled, giving each plank a little extra definition, and the wood grain is textured rather than just printed on a flat plank.

Since we went with cheap laminate, we made sure to invest in some nicer quality underlayment. We went with this recycled underlayment for $.35/square foot.

Enough with the chit-chat. Let’s get to the good stuff! Except, well, we had some work to do before we could start laying the new floor.

Here are a few shots of the demoing in process:


We carefully tore out the carpet and underlayment and got to work removing the several hundred staples and yard and yards of tack strips.


Note: these hairy legs are not mine. (Mine are hairier.)


We quit working around 10pm on the first day in the new house with things looking quite a bit worse than when we began moving in earlier in the day. #irony


Once we got all the carpet, carpet pad, tack strips, and staples, we still weren’t finished. We found that the flooring in the sunroom was about a quarter of an inch lower than the flooring in the dining room…and that quarter inch would cause problems later on if we left it.

So we gathered our supplies to level the floor.


We first had to seal the subflooring so the self-leveling underlayment mixture wouldn’t soak into it. So I slathered the pepto-bismol sealer and we let it dry for 24 hours.


The next day, Kenny mixed up the LevelQuik into a pancake batter consistancy and poured it carefully into the sunroom.


The mixture is self-leveling and we could generally just let it do it’s thing, but we did use a trowel to move it around a bit.


And then we had to let that dry before we could begin the flooring.

More excitement to come! Stay tuned.


  • It always seems to get worse before it gets better but you’ll be thankful you put the extra effort into your subfloor/underlayment. I have been really happy with the trafficmaster vinyl plank we put into our basement and it was super easy to install.

    • So good to hear that you’re happy with your flooring! I’m nervous we’re going to regret it in a few years, but for now, it seems like the right choice for us.

      • Here’s the thing–it doesn’t matter what you do now, you’ll likely regret some of it in a few years. That’s what happens to us house-lovers. But since you didn’t overspend now, you won’t feel bad about updating or buying an area rug or something.

        And if you have children, they destroy a $10,000 carpet as quickly as a $1,000 laminate, so good choice.

  • You might address this in another article, what were your deciding factors for choosing the laminate flooring? Did you look into Engineered Hardwood at all? I am assuming you did and assuming price played a large role in your decision, but just looking for more opinions.

    • Hi, Diane! We would have loved to do something thicker (and able to be refinished down the line)–either solid wood or engineered hardwood, but yes, price was the main motivator for the laminate decision. One added bonus was how easy it was to install. I’m guessing in 10 years we’ll be ready to replace this flooring with something permanent (we want to reconfigure our kitchen a little and that might be a good time).

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