Before & After: A Risky Carpet Removal Leads to Some Stylish Steampunk Detail

published Sep 25, 2014
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(Image credit: Tom Taylor)

Tom and Alison had “grungy greige dust-mite-infested allergy-inducing wall-to-wall carpet” in their 90-year-old rental so they took a big risk and pulled it up (with landlord permission of course). The beautiful wood was in great condition except for this one spot, so they found a unique (not to mention genius) way to enjoy their new floors, rot-free.

(Image credit: Tom Taylor)

From Alison:

We were desperate to pull up the wall-to-wall carpet in our 90-year-old rental home, knowing that underneath the nastiness was some beautiful wood that had been covered continually with carpet for at least 50 years. Our landlord was open to us removing the carpet, but was not willing to pay to refinish the floors. He had no idea what condition the floors were in, but the risk was worth it for us. Peeking under the corners, the glimpse of the original shiny shellac-covered oak boards was irresistible. We held our breath and started to pull.

When the carpet was gone, we were astonished by how good the wood looked—glowing and smooth, with a beautiful honeyed patina—except for one spot. Right near the entrance to the kitchen, a previous tenant had apparently over-watered a house plant for years and left a gaping black hole in the wood.

We didn’t have the budget to replace part of the floor, and were not inclined to refinish the entire floor because all that was needed on the rest of it was a good cleaning. What to do? It was in an obvious spot that couldn’t easily be covered by a rug or another plant.

Upon seeing some “aviator”-style furniture, I got an idea for the floor. My husband had some sheet copper (.032 gauge) left over from an art project, and so he cut a piece big enough to cover the black hole and sanded the edges a little. We removed the baseboard and laid the copper over the damaged area, tacking it to the floor with small copper nails. After, we smoothed all the edges down with a hammer to protect bare feet.

At first the copper was quite shiny, but now it’s mellowed to a beautiful patina that almost blends in with the floor. We liked the effect so much that we added some other circles and half-circles over other slightly worn entrance areas. We now get many compliments on our artistic, steampunk floor.

Thank you Tom and Alison!