Insulation contractor screwed up my floor. What now?


Insulation contractor screwed up my floor. What now?
I'm not exactly sure the proper terms to use, so I'll describe.
House was built in 1972. The subfloor is 1-1/2" thick tongue and groove. ON top of that is what I'm calling underlayment. It's 5/8" of particle board. Padding and shag carpet are on top of that.
These are actual measurements, not the "nominal thickness numbers".
As part of a weatherization package, the contractor is insulating under the floor in the crawl space.
The underlayment is nailed to the subfloor. The tips of the nails protrude about 3/8" from the bottom of the subfloor. There's not a lot of height in the crawl space, so the nail tips snag your clothing as you slither around.
The contractor got the bright idea to hammer the nail tips straight up level with the subfloor. That solved the snagging problem.
WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING??????
I discovered their "solution" when I felt lumps under the carpet as I walked around barefoot. If I mash on the area with my heel, I can reduce the lump. But nails still aren't showing underneath. I think all I did was push the nail head up thru the carpet padding.
They didn't pound the nails everywhere, but about 2/3 of the insulation is in, so I don't have visibility of most of the underside of the floor. I can't even access about half of the underside of the house because of the yet-uninstalled insulation bags in the crawl space. The known target area is only 50 nails or so. There are additional known areas where they pounded the nail tips sideways. Those places don't show symptoms of protruding nail heads. There are additional areas where the floor now "squeaks" when you walk on it. But that's in an area I can't currently access underneath.
I won't have the opportunity to confront them on this issue until Monday. I anticipate they won't want to admit anything, even if they could remember all the places where they pounded nails. I'm a packrat. I've got crap piled all over the floor to give them clearance to install windows, so I don't even have access to much of the top side of the carpet.
This is a state subsidized weatherization program. I didn't choose or hire the contractor. There's a government bureaucracy between me and the contractor.
So, what do I do??? The Hoover is gonna cause a lot of carpet damage when the brush rolls over protruding nail heads.
The carpet is 38 years old. If I demand that the contractor fix it, I expect they'll pound on the carpet until the lumps go away. I anticipate that will not make the nails go down, but will break the backing and have holes in the carpet sooner or later. I think I'm going to have to fix it myself. Are there any techniques I can use to minimize the damage? I'm thinking I might be able to use a tiny punch or nail set poked carefully between the weave of the carpet backing???
NO, I don't want to replace the carpet. It's old, but it still works.
Rolling back the carpet and padding to pound the nails is really not an option. The affected area is in a bedroom converted to an electronic workshop. I've got shelves, benches, etc. that were constructed inside the room and won't even fit through the door.
I'm willing to spend whatever time it takes to locate the nails with a magnet and get them pounded down without removing the carpet.
What I need is a "clever trick" to get the nails back down without removing or damaging the carpet.
Ideas? Thanks, mike
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Seems to me you already have considered a good way to do just that as above. Only modification I would suggest is to use a small probe to work through the carpet and then a fairly decent sized nail set in that opening to whap the nail back down. After you locate a couple of the nails, the rest should be in line and can be more easily found. An angle grinder should have been used by the contractor and would be the best way to deal with any more protruding nails in that area.
Joe
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You didnt choose the contractor, so I guess he is insured since you were not allowed to hire an insured guy. Id say they owe you new carpet and renail of the nails. I say new carpet because they cant remove and reinstall the old without damaging it, dont worry, insurance pays for it not the idiot installer.
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wrote:

You didnt choose the contractor, so I guess he is insured since you were not allowed to hire an insured guy. Id say they owe you new carpet and renail of the nails. I say new carpet because they cant remove and reinstall the old without damaging it, dont worry, insurance pays for it not the idiot installer.
Being a contractor myself I usually take a middle of the road appropriate on something like this.
Not this time! The idiot needs to make it right. Whether he pays out of pocket, his insurance company pays or the state pays this isn't your problem to solve.
I would speak with the contractor and with the agency who hire him.
Colbyt
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In wrote:

Definitely! Why should that outfit be allowed to go on bilking others with slip-shod work and getting away with it?
HTH,
Twayne`
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mike wrote:

I agree with those who said the contractor/agency should be responsible but if you choose to do it yourself the nailset/punch may be viable. The problem I can see with that is getting a punch big enough to do the job through the carpet.
If the nails are fairly close together, another possibility might be to "spread the load". I'm thinking of something a foot or two square, heavy and hard, with handles so it can be lifted and dropped. Sort of like a plate compactor. Maybe even a piece of ply that can be beat on.
--

dadiOH
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dadiOH wrote:

Thanks for the inputs.
I did a lot of experiments. Turns out that I can take an industrial grade ice-pick, poke it between the weave of the carpet backing and hammer down the nails quite easily. Puts a hole in the weave glue and the vapor barrier, but there's another barrier on the other side of the wood on the floor insulation.
The problem has become finding the nails. Easy in high traffic areas where the padding is crushed and the shag is mashed down. Not so easy in low traffic areas where the rug is still stiff and the padding and rug are thick.
I can tell the rug is lifted, but pinning down the location to within half a nail head width is problematic.
I found a stud finder with a field disturbance sensor "metal detector" It almost works to find the nail heads thru the carpet. Gonna take a lot of time.
Thanks, mike
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