Preparing a Room & Floor for New Flooring

chipping away brick

Getting ready to lay new flooring could include some demolition. If you are planning to combine two rooms into one, for example, you'll need to remove a stud wall or two and tear up old flooring before laying the new continuous flooring. Demolition is hard, messy work, but it can be rewarding. It moves along quickly, progress is instantly visible, and knocking things apart can be satisfying.

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Demolition with forethought
Before you start tearing things up, decide whether you want to salvage any building materials. Wood moldings, for example, can be difficult to match. But even if they are readily available, you can save money by reusing the old ones. You can also reuse framing lumber after you remove the nails. After deciding what to salvage, your primary objective will be to contain dust and debris.

Dust control
Some easy methods will help you isolate the worksite from the rest of the house.

If you are tearing out a wall or doing other dirty work in a room where you want to save the flooring (such as wood flooring that you want to try to match for the new adjoining space), protect it with reinforced plastic tarps. Tape the tarp to the floor to keep it in place. Set a small rug (a carpet sample works well) just outside the door of the work area to remove debris from your shoes. Slip into a pair of slippers and leave your work shoes behind at the end of the day.

Lay tarps on floors of adjoining rooms where you don't plan to work to protect existing flooring that you plan to keep.

Tape plastic over doorways you won't use or tack up an old bedsheet as a curtain for doorways you will go through.

If the demolition room has a window, open it and set a box fan in the opening to blow out airborne dust.

Keep dust from spreading into other rooms by taping cardboard over heat and return-air ducts. Remove the vent covers, wrap them with plastic, and reinstall when the job is complete.

Cleanup
If the work area is small, bag debris and put it out with the trash. Construction debris is heavy; don't overfill containers. Use heavyweight or doubled bags. Rent a roll-off waste container for debris if your project is especially large.

A shop vacuum makes quick work of construction dust, but most standard filters can't deal with the fine dust generated by demolition. To trap these fine particles, use bags made to fit over the regular filters. You might be able to retrofit your vacuum with an aftermarket filter.


One Hour or Less

Three simple projects to cross off of your to-do list -- just print these instructions and begin!


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