Posts Tagged ‘flooring’

Rainbow Carpets on Westbourne Grove

Friday, March 16th, 2012

When I needed two new carpets I decided to try a local carpet shop rather than using one of the big chains.

rainbow carpets westbourne grove

I visited Rainbow Carpets (which also trades as AA Flooring) on Westbourne Grove in Bayswater. On my first visit I asked some questions about their service. Here is a summary.

  • Measuring – free.
  • Delivery – free.
  • Delivery time – usually delivered/installed within 2-3 days if the carpet is in stock with the supplier. They deliver and install the carpet at the same time.
  • Install charge – £5 per square metre.
  • Carpet grippers / edging strips – included in the price.
  • Underlay – I didn’t ask about underlay as I’d already fitted QuietFloor Plus sound proofing underlay.

First carpet

I arranged for a measuring of one of my rooms which was done a few days later. The guy arrived on time and it took less than 10 minutes to measure up and answer some more of my questions.

A few days later I went back to choose the carpet. Because of a previous experience with clothes moths I explained that I was only interested in 100% synthetic carpets. The shop will let you borrow carpet samples for a short time as long as you have already had the measuring done first.

I borrowed two samples, both made of polypropylene. It is well recommended to see the samples in the light of your own home rather than in the carpet shop. They can look very different when viewed at home.

I decided on the more expensive of the two and went back to place the order. They were able to order it for the next day but I delayed the install until the week after as I hadn’t yet finished my sound proofing. I also had hired a door trimming saw for later in the week. They told me in the shop that they could trim the doors for £10 each but I decided I’d rather have a go myself.

You have to pay 50% in advance and 50% on completion.

The delivery / installation day arrived and they arrived on time in their van. Two of them unloaded and unpacked the carpet. They did have to fold it to get it in the lift but that didn’t affect the final finish of the room.

rainbow carpets westbourne grove 1

One of the guys remained to do the install, first putting down the new carpet grippers and then fitting the carpet. It took him about 1.5 hours to do.

He asked if I wanted the offcuts to be taken away. I decided to keep one reasonable sized rectangular section in case any future patch repairs were needed, and told him he could take the rest away.

After finishing there were lots of cutting fibres all over the carpet but he advised me to wait a few hours before vacuuming them up to let the carpet settle. Below is a before and after photo. After vacuuming the room looked great! The colour is called ‘claret’.

rainbow carpets westbourne grove 2

There were a few minor chips in the skirting board paint from where the bolster was used to tuck the carpet into the gap after the carpet gripper but this is to be expected. These are easily solved with a quick paint touch up – remember to save some of your skirting board paint for this.

The agreement you sign says that you are supposed to pay the fitter after installation but I told him that I wanted to pay by card and so would go the the shop in the next hour to do so. He had to call the shop to check that was ok – which it was.

I paid, got my payment receipt and then thought about the second carpet.

Second carpet

The procedure with the second carpet was the same as with the first. They measured the room; I borrowed some samples, and then chose the carpet. I visited them on a Saturday so they told me they’d have to wait until Monday before they could order the carpet from the supplier.

I called them on Monday to check it had been ordered and then I could start moving the furniture. They confirmed it would be delivered / installed the next day as requested.

Large chains such as Carpet Right often have lead times of 7-10 days whereas these guys can do the whole order/deliver/install cycle in 48 hours. It is definitely worth considering a small independent carpet shop if you want your carpets fitted to a shorter timescale.

As before the guy did a good job with fitting the carpet. I’d make it easy for the fitter by fully clearing out the rooms before he arrived, but the measurer did tell me that they were able to move objects like beds or sofas if necessary.

In conclusion

The service was good, the installation was fast, and there were no problems.

Rainbow Carpets are located at 58a Westbourne Grove, Bayswater, London, W2 5SH.

Fixing squeaking floorboards

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Floorboard squeaks and creaks can be very annoying but there are a few ways you can try to fix them.

Screwing floorboards down

If individual floorboards are squeaking one potential solution is to screw them down to the joists. You’ll need to locate where the joists are. This is usually very easy as you can see the existing nails/screws that are holding the floorboards to the joists.

When screwing into floorboards you need to be very careful to avoid any water/gas/electricity supply cables/pipes. You can use a pipe detector to help you locate them.

If you put screws very close to the existing nails there is less chance of hitting anything important.

I used a mix of 1.5 inch and 2 inch wood screws. They need to be long enough to go through the floorboard and into the joist.

After locating which floorboard was squeaking I drilled a pilot hole. I used a drill bit with an attachment that drills the countersink at the same time. I set the height of the countersink so that the drill bit would just drill through the floorboard, and not into the joist.

fixing squeaking floorboards 1

Then I could pop the screw into the hole and use another drill to drive it into the joist. It can be very useful to have two drills, one for drilling holes, and one for screwing down the screws. This can save a lot of bit swapping.

fixing squeaking floorboards 6

I found this method to be effective where an individual floorboard was squeaking. I didn’t find it helped in the case where a joist was squeaking.

Expanding foam filler

Where an individual floorboard was squeaking the noise was limited to that floorboard. In some cases the squeak was activated across the joist along a series of floorboards. For these squeaks screwing down the floorboards didn’t seem to remove the squeak as it didn’t prevent the joist from moving.

I tried a different technique. I got some large expanding foam filler canisters. Either 750ml or 825ml. These cost from £8-£11 each.

fixing squeaking floorboards 4

I then drilled a hole next to the creaking joist big enough to fit the expanding foam nozzle into. This hole does not go into the joist, it goes into the cavity next to the joist. As this is drilling into the floor cavity you have to be especially careful not to hit any pipes or wires. Make sure you use a pipe detector, and don’t drill any further than the depth of the floorboard. You can see a typical hole that I drilled in the photo above.

I sprayed in a bit of water (the instruction on the expanding foam say this is necessary for the foam to cure).

fixing squeaking floorboards 2

Then after shaking the can I sprayed the full contents of it into the cavity. Then I left the foam to harden for a few hours. This technique has successfully removed the squeaks from my floorboard joists.

fixing squeaking floorboards 3

It may be a good idea to wait a few weeks before putting down any flooring in case you find any other areas that need treating.

I’m guessing this technique works by immobilising the joist and the surrounding floorboards. If the foam stops the floorboard/joist from moving then there is no sound.

The space under my floorboards is very small – it is only about 4 inches. This technique may well not work if the space under yours is much larger.

I’m also not sure how long term this solution is. It has now kept the squeaks away for about one month. It is possible that over time the foam will compress and the floorboards will start moving again. I’ll update this post some time in the future with more results.

Removing carpet grippers from floor boards

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

If you are completely re-doing the flooring of a room (to go from carpet to wood flooring, or to lay sound proofing for example) you might need to remove the old carpet grippers. Here is how I removed the carpet grippers in one room. I used:

  1. A chisel with a fine sharp end that could get under the carpet gripper
  2. Another item to use as a fulcrum under the first chisel. I used a smaller chisel but I could have used anything of similar size and solid such as a screwdriver or piece of wood or metal.
  3. Safety glasses. A lot of DIY guides say to use safety glasses but of course you never do. In this case you really should – especially when removing smaller strips of carpet gripper. They are covered in sharp nails, and they can fly off the floor when levered up. I’ve had some that have shot up well above the height of my face when they suddenly pop out of the floor.

removing carpet grippers 3

The method I used was to start at one end of a carpet gripper machine and push the sharp end of the chisel under the first nail. The using the other chisel as a fulcrum I slowly levered the nail out.

removing carpet grippers 1

If the gripper is really tight on the floor board you might need to hammer the chisel gently to get it below the gripper, but I never needed to do this. In all cases I was able to push the end of the chisel under the gripper a little by hand, and then work the nail out.

Then I moved onto the next nail. I found that on a strip of carpet gripper the first nail might take about 5 seconds to get out, but then the next ones might take 2-3 seconds. I was able to remove the grippers pretty quickly, and intact using this method.

removing carpet grippers 2

It is even possible to reuse the carpet grippers after they have been removed using this method, but because the nails are now pushed down, and slightly curved after being removed they are a bit arkward to hammer back down. New carpet grippers are really cheap so it is probably less hassle to buy new ones than to attempt to reuse them.

If you do want to reuse them then I’ve found it is easier to remove the fixing nails and then use new nails/screws to secure them. To remove the nails I used some combination pliers to push the nail up a bit, and then some diagonal pliers to twist and pull the nail out. I can get each nail out in about 10-15 seconds doing this. Wearing thick gloves on the hand holding the carpet gripper will stop you cutting yourself.