No doubt, the greatest sin of the average rental apartment is a carpeted entryway and dining room.
I understand why it’s done. It’s cheap, neutral, easy to install, and as long as people take their shoes off and eat like mature adults, it can work. Clearly, kids are not being considered when this choice is made. I gave up an easy to clean stained concrete entryway and a wood floor dining room to move to the city. I was terrified what would happen to the carpet in our apartment and grossed out by the thought of having to live with my failures to keep it clean.
I scoured Apartment Therapy and Googled “flooring over carpet” or “temporary dining room floors, ” but only two main suggestions kept reoccurring.
- A rug over carpet. Sure, I’d get my security deposit back, but I’d have to live with a disgusting 8′ x 10′ cover up in the meantime.
- Wood laminate flooring directly over the carpet. We didn’t know enough about our future to justify the time and expense. Here’s a link to a success story over fluffy carpet if you’d like to try it.
My Failed Attempts
- In the entryway I tried a runner, but at only 30″ wide, my kids couldn’t be trusted to stay on it.
- In the dining room I purchased an inexpensive 8′ x 10′ bamboo rug. It had a wipeable surface, but proved to be too flimsy to hold up over the high traffic demands of the dining room. I’m sure it would have worked on a flat surface, but over carpet it was terrible.
I discovered the perfect solution by accident – or divine intervention – while browsing at a non-profit art scrap store. Basically, a store full of organized junk and random leftovers sold for pennies to creative types for art projects. Deep in the back in a bin full of rolled up odds and ends was this thick beautiful bamboo. For $10 a piece I took all 4 rolls home thinking I’d re-donate them if they didn’t work out. 6 months later, they are still exceeding my wildest expectations!
The bad news is I can’t tell you the exact brand, source or true cost of what I have. I found what appears to be very similar on Amazon – $58 for a 8′ x 4′ bamboo wall panel with free shipping. If you take my advice and buy these, please let me know if I’m pointing people in the right direction! Important: the bamboo slats can be purchased in either direction. If you plan to make an 8′ x 8′ square rug for under your dining table, be sure the slats run lengthwise the full 8 feet. This way the seam will disappear with the help of some simple duct tape from behind.
Close up you can see the edges aren’t bound tight like a rug would be. It’s a raw product meant to be cut and trimmed as needed. The loose strings blend into the beige carpeting so well though we just left it as is.
These panels are advertised for wall applications. It is thinner than bamboo hardwood flooring, but thicker than the finished bamboo area rugs you can buy. The slats are tight up against each other – which means you can really pinch yourself when you are unrolling it. Be careful! Once flat, however, there is no pinching or splinter worries. Spills have yet to penetrate through. We wipe up messes as we would any hardwood floor.
The natural brown in our entryway is holding up better than the black we have under the chairs in the dining room, but even that is holding up remarkably well under the constant in and out of chairs.
Take this post to your local lumberyard. Perhaps they have a source as well.
P.S. I see the amazon link is “out of stock”. Another source is online at Home Depot.