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I have on occasion, usually after coming up with an easier way to accomplish a task, been accused of having more up my sleeve than a hairy arm. To help balance the scales, allow me to share a couple of things that have made the installation process easier for me and, hopefully, will do the same for you.

First, examine how you currently get all the staples from the pad off the floor when pulling up carpet. You might use a pair of pliers and simply pull them up. You might use a staple remover; it works faster than a pair of pliers, but it is still a lot of work. I prefer something faster and easier. After all, time is money.

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To remove staples quickly and easily, I use my telescoping-handle, 8-inch razor scraper with an old, dull blade(Photo 1). Be sure to use a dull blade, as a new, sharp one will dig into the wood floor. Employ a scraping motion down the line of staples and the dull blade will catch the protruding staple head, pulling the staple out of the floor with very little effort. In the time it would take to remove a dozen staples by hand, you could clean up a whole room.

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This approach works on stairs as well (Photo 2). When cleaning the risers, use a downward motion(Photo 3). However, this will not get all the staples out. The longer size of the electric gun staple (e.g. 9/16-inch narrow-crown vs. 3/8-inch wide-crown), the more difficult it is to remove them. For the staples that are not removed, using the scraper will flatten them so tackless can be installed over them.

Here is a suggestion to help improve the look of floor vents. Put tackless all the way around the vent. This gives a solid base for the vent covers to sit on, as well as providing a cleaner, finished look. If you are concerned about stretching over the vents, either pound the pins down or face the front and the back toward the wall.

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This final bit of advice comes from CFI-master installer Dick Schmidt. In order to protect your chalk lines from being wiped out when troweling glue, spray the chalk line with hairspray(Photo 4). It’s quick, it dries fast, it seals the chalk line and it is compatible with your adhesive. Now, when faced with installing VCT, carpet tiles, or ceramic tiles, you can trowel right over the line and still see your preserved starting point through the glue(Photo 5).