Nice little surprise

31 Replies

Starting renovating my first rental property. It is a duplex located in a mostly single family neighborhood. One unit was vacant and very outdated (as you can see), and the other one was recently renovated by the seller. When I bought the duplex, it was under joint ownership, and sold through a court appointed commissioner. Complicated situation.

Anyways, I received a quote to have carpet installed. $1400... thats Crazy to me. So I told myself id save a little bit of money and do vinyl myself. When I starting ripping up the carpet, this is what I found...



It was like finding gold. I had a friend in the wood flooring trade come help me buff them up with some new coats of poly.

 In the end ill spend about the same amount of money, since ill have to go with tile in the kitchen now. But The flooring throughout will be 10x nicer... Progress!

Great find!  I always bring a small pliers and pull up a carpet corner in the closet when viewing a place.  Pull back far enough to get beyond the tack strip and keep the info to yourself if you find hardwood gold!  

@Steve Vaughan I was fired up when I found it. And to my surprise in nice shape! I don't know why anybody would throw carpet over that. I used some leftover hardwood and installed it in the mudroom, I didn't even bother posting those pictures.. its not nearly as nice as the old stuff.

Broke out in hives ripping out that old stuff, man I hate old carpet lol. 

Originally posted by @Brian Ellis :

@Steve Vaughan I was fired up when I found it. And to my surprise in nice shape! I don't know why anybody would throw carpet over that. I used some leftover hardwood and installed it in the mudroom, I didn't even bother posting those pictures.. its not nearly as nice as the old stuff.

Broke out in hives ripping out that old stuff, man I hate old carpet lol. 

 Oh I hear you. I just refinished my 15th floor and am continually amazed at what people covered these beautifully floors with.  One last year had oil paint 3 layers thick- but just the border between a huge area rug and the walls.  What?  

Here's a couple pics of one I did last week.  It was covered in ugly red brick looking sheet vinyl, a black adhesive tar from hell 

and we removed a wall.

Steve, how did you get the black cutback adhesive off? Had the same problem myself. The area was always going to be replaced with tile, so I just ripped up the hardwood boards, but I'd like to know how I could have removed the adhesive effectively.

Originally posted by @Brian Ellis :

haha What were they thinking @Steve Vaughan 

Came out great though!

Do you do most of the work yourself? 

Yes, I do all my own hardwood work.  Pros want $5/sqft to refinish the easy stuff here.  Don't know what they'd charge having to also remove the crud crazy previous owners covered them with!  

A house I sold last summer costed me 3 days and $200 to do the living room. A realtor insisted she give me a CMA and estimated I added $10k in value vs the old carpet from a pic I showed her. Then I saved another $8k selling it myself even after paying a buyer's agent. That's the kind of stuff I want to focus on! Big stuff that gets me to my $90k annual savings goal swiftly.

@Steve Vaughan very impressive, theres nothing like seeing a finished product on a wood floor. 

PROs around here aren't cheap either. I spent around $600 to refinish those floors. Sure beats the $1400 I could have spent on carpet that would last a year.

Right now im contemplating cashing in after im done and pocketing 40k or rent it out for $600 a month cashflow (14% cash on cash return). 

Originally posted by @Jim K. :

Steve, how did you get the black cutback adhesive off? Had the same problem myself. The area was always going to be replaced with tile, so I just ripped up the hardwood boards, but I'd like to know how I could have removed the adhesive effectively.

I had to try a few methods, Jim.  The major 5x4 area South of the impromptu dryer vent hole we pulled out altogether and will re-install new hardwood. Had to replace that 3ft wide strip where we pulled the wall out anyway.

The thicker stuff was actually easier to remove with steady, multi-angled hits with a tile scraper.  It would chunk off. Added some 'character' to the wood floor, but oh well if a rental.

I hit the thinner tar adhesive from hell with  citri strip, a non-toxic stripper. Then pull scraped it with a regular hand scraper for siding. Then heat with a heat gun.  The skinnier stuff also responded to multi-angled hits from the corners of a sidewalk scraper.

If doing all over again, I'd go just with blunt force trauma with the tile and sidewalk scrapers, but heat did get me through the layer of concrete-like impermeable superhuman lead or whatever it was ;)  Wear your ventilator of course!

Originally posted by @Brian Ellis :

@Steve Vaughan very impressive, theres nothing like seeing a finished product on a wood floor. 

PROs around here aren't cheap either. I spent around $600 to refinish those floors. Sure beats the $1400 I could have spent on carpet that would last a year.

Right now im contemplating cashing in after im done and pocketing 40k or rent it out for $600 a month cashflow (14% cash on cash return). 

 Nice!  And it will last decades longer than carpet!

The best bang for the back I've got yet in the flooring area is laminate.  I did 8 living rooms in my townhome community.  Replacing a 13×15 room of nasty carpet costs me about $350 for 30yr, pre-backed Harmonic from Costco on sale.  My two young sons and I can re-do the flooring and paint the walls and trim in 2 days.  

The key time saver on the removal is a tile scraper to uproot the staples and tack strips. Rip through the staples while the pad is still down.  Your young helpers follow with simple tools and a broom after hauling out the pad. Done. This assumes the sub is just plywood or particle board, nothing you'll ever want to refinish.  Then patch quickly any knot holes, seams and unevenenss.    While that's drying, paint the walls and trim. No floor masking or cutting in around baseboards. That's day 1.  Next day install and trim out. 

This and refinishing the countertops for $600 total added at least $200k in wow value and about $175 per month in rent each, which is much more in NOI/market cap value. Rents when I bought in '05 were $500; now $975. Cheers!

@Brian Ellis That flooring is NICE. Talk about a wonderful bonus. While you're at it, it may be a good idea to see if there's a mahogany rocking chair hidden beneath the material of that recliner. :-)

@Steve Vaughan its unbelievable how a couple paragraphs you just wrote could have saved me dozens of hours of labor in the past. I always thought I was asking too many questions here, maybe I wasn't asking enough!

This duplex had carpet in the kitchen too? I don't know why, but the previous owner must have liked carpet lol. 

So I tore it all out to get rid of the smell, but I could have saved time by removing the staples and tack strips as you mentioned above. I wanted to go in with a paint gun prior to ripping out the carpet and just go nuts priming/sealing everything (since there is a ton of old stained shiplap panelling). But I had to jump on the opportunity to get the floors done when I could.

Thank you for the suggestions, I know its going to help me out a ton!

Originally posted by @Steve Vaughan :
Originally posted by @Brian Ellis:

@Steve Vaughan I was fired up when I found it. And to my surprise in nice shape! I don't know why anybody would throw carpet over that. I used some leftover hardwood and installed it in the mudroom, I didn't even bother posting those pictures.. its not nearly as nice as the old stuff.

Broke out in hives ripping out that old stuff, man I hate old carpet lol. 

 Oh I hear you. I just refinished my 15th floor and am continually amazed at what people covered these beautifully floors with.  One last year had oil paint 3 layers thick- but just the border between a huge area rug and the walls.  What?  

Here's a couple pics of one I did last week.  It was covered in ugly red brick looking sheet vinyl, a black adhesive tar from hell 

and we removed a wall.

Steve already thought you were one of the sharpest investors around.. now you just elevated to do it all category.. 

I enjoy supervising..  

Originally posted by @Steve Vaughan:
Originally posted by @Jim K.:

Steve, how did you get the black cutback adhesive off? Had the same problem myself. The area was always going to be replaced with tile, so I just ripped up the hardwood boards, but I'd like to know how I could have removed the adhesive effectively.

I had to try a few methods, Jim.  The major 5x4 area South of the impromptu dryer vent hole we pulled out altogether and will re-install new hardwood. Had to replace that 3ft wide strip where we pulled the wall out anyway.

The thicker stuff was actually easier to remove with steady, multi-angled hits with a tile scraper.  It would chunk off. Added some 'character' to the wood floor, but oh well if a rental.

I hit the thinner tar adhesive from hell with  citri strip, a non-toxic stripper. Then pull scraped it with a regular hand scraper for siding. Then heat with a heat gun.  The skinnier stuff also responded to multi-angled hits from the corners of a sidewalk scraper.

If doing all over again, I'd go just with blunt force trauma with the tile and sidewalk scrapers, but heat did get me through the layer of concrete-like impermeable superhuman lead or whatever it was ;)  Wear your ventilator of course!


 

Thanks, Steve. We're big on Citristrip, too.

@Steve Vaughan and @Brian Ellis , if there is a floor vent, lift that cover up and then pull the carpet from the vent hole. Many times I have discovered this beautiful oak flooring (ok, oak is still ugly but so durable) as the subfloor in these older houses. Pull up the tack strips, run a magnet-on-wheels around the edges to find all those nails, then refinish. 

But keep the carpet in place until you're done with all the other work! That carpet will protect the floor!

@Mindy Jensen that was my original plan! But my friend had a spare weekend to do the sanding, so I took the help while I could get it... fortunately I work at a manufacturing plant, so there is plenty of cardboard and fabric laying around I’ll put down now.
Originally posted by @Mindy Jensen :

@Steve Vaughan and @Brian Ellis , if there is a floor vent, lift that cover up and then pull the carpet from the vent hole. Many times I have discovered this beautiful oak flooring (ok, oak is still ugly but so durable) as the subfloor in these older houses. Pull up the tack strips, run a magnet-on-wheels around the edges to find all those nails, then refinish. 

But keep the carpet in place until you're done with all the other work! That carpet will protect the floor!

you guys could start a fix it show.. I am totally out of my element and depth here..  !!! 

i pulled up black carpet (which matched the black walls (sheesh!) in a 1910 farmhouse, and found the original wide plank pine.  Someone had painted that too...

I thought it'd be easy, I rented a sander.  Unfortunately the house had hot water heat and two of the walls had long registers.  But it was worth it when done. 

@Patrick Fraire a friend of mine brought a flooring orbital sander, we have it a quick scuff, then did two layers of oil base poly, and one layer of water base on top. The dark and light colors from the age of the wood look great with a little wear and tear. It goes with the theme that’s in style now “rustic”