We had heavily pet stained floors - and now they look great!!

Hideous to Epic: Fixer Upper Flooring Makeover

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Good bones, I told my husband as he side eyed me…watching me trace my fingers along the basement staircase wall where the railing used to be, judging from the trio of little holes. 

We bought a fixer-upper.

We do have plans to get into real estate investing as another revenue stream – so this was the perfect opportunity for us to get our feet wet. If you’re looking into flipping a house or becoming a landlord (whether single-purchase or multifamily), check out Lima One Capital.

It was a cute little ranch home in a great neighborhood practically across the street from the K-12 school in our tiny town. We got the house for a steal, considering it has 5 bedrooms and 2 baths. It came in under budget for us (see How Much House Can I Afford), and our mortgage payment was almost $250 less than what we paid in rent.

The house has a ton of storage – which is perfect because we do a tremendous amount of canning.

There was a small problem though. The previous owner had had ten dogs in this house.

Yep, you read that right. Ten.

Now, the house smelled fine – no odd odors that would even suggest a hint of animal had occupied this place…but as a pet owner myself, I know that looks can be deceiving, and smells can be masked. After all, the living room and hallway had wall-to-wall carpet. The carpet felt a little…stiff. Ok, maybe very, very stiff. And it was pretty grey in color, and not in a good way.

Redoing our flooring in our fixer upper
You can see the color of the carpet under me – it’s a bit stiff, too

We pulled up the carpet in the corner and were surprised to find hardwood floors underneath – score! So, we tore the carpet up completely.

The living room had significant damage to the floor, which are obviously pet stains. Crap.

Heavily pet stained floors after removing carpet
See how terrible these stains are?
Heavily pet stained floors after removing carpet
This is going to be a lot of work!

How to easily get rid of pet stains from hardwood floors

For the living room, we used hydrogen peroxide on the stains and they came up significantly. I couldn’t believe the difference just a small bottle of hydrogen peroxide made! Our next project is to sand the floors and poly them. But for now, they look ok!

Pet-stained wood floors had significant improvement after using hydrogen peroxide
Right in front of the fireplace where the stains were heaviest. The floors had significant improvement after using hydrogen peroxide. In case you’re wondering – the kids were playing a game using little robots during our daughter’s 11th birthday party that was themed as Harry Potter (you can see Hedwig in the cage, and an envelope hanging from the fireplace!)
Mid-cleanup of the floors.
Mid-cleanup of the floors. Also, demonstrating my skills in making a broom stand up straight with no support.

The Hallway

The hallway didn’t even have hardwood under it. In fact, it actually had really freaking old linoleum with that disgusting, super-difficult-to-get-up tar. We had the linoleum and tar tested for asbestos before we moved any further – and we were in the clear.

The hallway looked like this after removing carpet. Was it asbestos linoleum?
The hallway looked like this after removing carpet. Was it asbestos linoleum?

I used a heat embossing gun like this to heat up the tar, and a crow bar to scrape it up. This literally took us months to do. Hour chunks on the weekends…which left our hallway with much to be desired.

Mid-cleanup of the floors.
This is why it took us months – there was a black tar under the chipping linoleum.

I wouldn’t say that it was all 100% off, but it came off for the most part and we sanded it all down by hand so that we could lay underlayment down and our flooring. We did all of this by hand, which was a little overwhelming for the odd corners and near the doors…but for not being much of a DIY’er, I am pretty darn proud of us.

We laid underlayment in the hallway after getting the floor level and sanded
Here’s the underlayment in the hallway
Shopping for flooring at Lowe's
We got Park Lodge Oak flooring from Lowe’s. We had $500 in gift cards for Lowe’s from Delta Airlines causing significant flight delays for our family last year on our way home from Maui.

We ended up putting these laminate planks in the hallway, dining room, and kitchen. We had to have everything tested for asbestos, am one layer came back positive in the dining room.

From ugly to epic: Fixer Upper flooring makeover

From ugly to epic: Fixer Upper flooring makeover
So many of these tiles were cracked in our dining room and kitchen. I realize why they laid this tile over the linoleum. The linoleum tested positive for asbestos.
From ugly to epic: Fixer Upper flooring makeover
We had to use an angle grinder to get the backer-board screws – we didn’t want to disturb the layer underneath this wood layer because it contained asbestos. After removing the tops of the screws, we hammered them down so they were flush and we could put the laminate planks down.
DIY: Installing flooring
It was equal parts pleasure and stress doing this flooring – here’s in the kitchen right behind the stove
DIY: Installing flooring
Getting close to finishing the flooring!
The Great Pyrenees puppy approves of our new flooring
The Great Pyrenees puppy approves of our new flooring
New DIY flooring in the kitchen
The flooring is done in the kitchen!
New DIY flooring in the dining room
The dining room under construction – the flooring is done, though!

I’ll add more pictures as we continue to make improvements to the house. Stay tuned!

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