Water and Fire: Learning to Read a House

Dad tossed a screw at me. “This came from the closet track. See how rusted that is?”


“This house had some sort of water damage. That’s why they replaced the roof. People don’t usually replace the roof before they get damage.”


Ripping the carpet and pad out of the office was easy (especially since the room isn’t oddly shaped like the upstairs bedrooms are). Taking off the tack strip and quarter-trim, however, was a different story.

We had noticed that the quarter round trim in this room was a good 1/4″ off the floor. That wasn’t true for any other room in the house. I wondered if the trim had been applied after the carpet, but the carpet’s date was 2010 (the same as the carpet upstairs), so that didn’t make too much sense.

The tack strip and quarter trim kept splintering. The nails were stuck fast to the floor, and when I did manage to get them out, they were rusted. Also, the tack strip was a different brand than the stuff upstairs.

“Hey Dad, if you install carpet, can you reuse your old tack strip?”


“I think this room was carpeted before. They added the quarter-trim to this carpeted room when they added it to the rest of the house, which is why it’s off of the floor. And the tack strips are rusted because of the past water damage.”

Sure enough, in the closet I found bit of dark, dark blue carpet under the quarter trim. I felt like a successful detective.


When I pulled back the carpet in the office, my eyes immediately went to this.

Not a Pet Stain

Although it doesn’t show in the photo, there is a small hole burnt straight through, so you can see the basement floor.

At first, I thought someone had dropped a cigarette or something. But then I went into the basement and discovered it had been burnt from below.

The white concrete in this photo is the area where the breaker box is. Was someone balancing a candle on the ledge? Hiding the smell of something illicit, perhaps?

Fire Starter

They burned entirely through the subfloor, and the circle is about as big as the side of my fist.




The floors in the office are in much better shape than the ones upstairs. There is a bit of a snakeskin pattern when the floor is viewed at the correct angle. I think this is probably from the blue carpet’s carpet pad. It’s actually kind of neat.

Snakeskin Pattern

Good Man came over from wok yesterday, saw the floors, and started dancing.

Good Man Dances

Removing Staples

Then I put him to work removing staples. They had used those tiny rise staples in the closet (why?), and they were a pain to get out.

Good Man Does Some Work

Office Floor, All Cleaned Up

Finally, all of the carpet in the house has been removed!

Waiting for Trash Day