We finally found a place we like in our lovely little neighborhood. While we were looking for hardwood floors, this one has carpet - and a nice landlord who doesn't mind if we tear it up and fix the floors. So, my question is, should we? We are only renters - but with a dog and a baby boy - and we do plan on staying here until we buy that plot of land and build our very own container home...
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If we do this, should it be by ourselves? Hire someone? What do we use to seal the floor? Are we crazy?
I wanted to start in the second living room, which is going to be converted into a craft/art space. Mostly cause I hate the thought of paint on the new carpet, but also, wood is so much nicer.
Also, our landlord recommended adding new floor on top of the old floor. Why?
Ripping up carpet is grueling, time-consuming, filthy work, and when you're done you have to pay to dispose of the carpet remains. But if the floor underneath has not been waxed, you can "screen" it, which is a lot less messy than a standard sand and refinish because it only involves removing and redoing the polyurethane sealant. (Here's a good write-up on screening.) It sounds like your landlord suspects that the floors underneath are not in very good shape though, which could be why he's suggesting you refloor. If you sand a hardwood floor down one two many times you will erode the nailheads and create very creaky floorboards. So before you decide what to do, rip up the carpet in a small area like a closet to see what's underneath and gauge its condition.
If all you need is refinishing, you can hire someone to do all the dirty work for between $2,000 - $3,000. A friend who recently did just that recommends California Carpets. They used a "dust-free" system and a water-based finish that enabled her family to move back 24 hours after the work was done. And while she did find some dust along the moldings she had no complaint because she didn't even have to remove the pictures from the walls.
As for whether or not you're crazy, we can only offer that cleaning up after a toddler and a dog are much easier with hardwood floors. . . but that learning to walk is less painful when the floor is carpeted. And that you can offest with some nice, cushy area rugs.