Suggestions for a semi-permanenet covering for carpeted floor?

Hello - I was hoping someone on this group might have a good solution or suggestion for the problem I'm facing.
I live in an apartment (rented) with carpeted bedrooms, and I have a potential roommate who would like to move in, on the condition they can do their charcoal drawings in their room... From their description, charcoal will be getting around quite a bit, and carpet is a bad idea. That is, if we ever want to see our security deposit again. Obviously, it's a rental, so removing the carpet is also out.
We're trying to brainstorm potential solutions which may work, within some restraints. Namely, it can't damage the carpet, should not make the room unlivable or unpleasant, and should not be incredibly expensive.
We initially thought something like a sheet(s) of Masonite might work. I was also pointed to this by a friend, but it seems to be more for construction projects:
http://www.carpetbarrier.com/carpet_barrier/carpet_barrier/carpet_barrier.html
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
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I used the carpet barrier stuff in my house. I thought it worked pretty good. The masonite might be a stretch.
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Hey Mike -
Thanks for the reply! What is that stuff like, and how long did you use it for? Is it thick enought to leave down for a while? Can it be rolled back up and rolled out again when necessary? I was concerned that the mild adhesive might not do very well being rolled/unrolled.
Thanks again.
Mikepier wrote:

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How about buying a cheap rug to lay on top of the existing rug? Laying a washable blanket down when working might work. Paint drop cloths would work.
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The cheap rug suggestion is a very good one, thanks!
I think that is probably the direction we'll go, and then just buy a super high-powered vacuum (like a Dyson, or an actual steam-cleaner) just in case the inevitable accidental spill-over happens.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

The carpet barrier stuff is like industrial strength Saran wrap. It is extremely durable. The adhesive is strong. It will not get loose . However it is not something you roll up and re-use. You just roll a new piece out if you need to. In my house there is a foyer area that is carpeted that gets a lot of traffic and gets dirty quick, especially in the winter time. I put carpet barrier on it and I replace it when I need to. It saves a lot of trouble cleaning the carpet.
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Sign a contract with the roomate that they are responsible for cleaning and your security deposit if carpet is the issue.
Masonite may cost as much as the carpet
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On 6 Dec 2005 10:44:20 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

"They"? How many of them are there? I presume you mean one, and you don't want to say if male or female. :)
Actually I don't think it matters much. I would absolutely go see where he is living now, and what condition that place is in.
I lived for 11 years a few blocks from an art/architechture school, and many of the so-called artists among them were pigs. They seemed to think because they are "artistes", with the 'e', that they are above the normal rules of civilization and can get paint everywhere. They see it as the cost of their "creativity" if they notice the cost at all.
The dormitory the school had for them was covered a great deal with painting on the hall and stairwell walls, and not very well done in my opinion. I think, but not sure, the school painted it over yearly.
My own girlfriend for awhile was one of these, and it was because of her that I got first crack at her apartment, when all 4 decided to move on a September 1. I moved from a 2BR that had never had students to a 3BR + maid's room, 3Bath, so I was very happy, even though I needed more roommates.
I'm sure she came from a nice clean house, and her bedroom which I inherited was nice and clean, but the dining room she used as a "studio" had lots of paint on the beautiful parquet floors (luxury building built in 1930).
I scraped (sanded) the floor and made it good again. It was a lot of work and took a long time. But I made a point with every potential roommate to come up with a reason** to visit them where they lived now, to see what the place loooked like, and to ask their current roommate(s) what they were like. Actually most were not artists at all and one was a graduate student in art therapy, who did her art at her job, with injured vets.
How old is this guy? A graduate student is more likely to be good, but unless I saw how s/he lived now, I wouldn't rent to anyone who claimed he would be clean.

JUst ftr, not only does one want his security deposit bac, there is a separate duty not to destroy good carpeting, and not to make the landlord run around getting new carpeting, or having it cleaned first and then get new carpeting.

This is a really funny URL name. :) Cheeseburga, cheeseburga, cheeseburga.

Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let me know if you have posted also.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

If you put down a hard surface, the dust is just likely to migrate. Have you seen his present residence? If it is BAD, get a different roomie. Anything like a drop cloth is likely to get rumpled and be a hazard to trip over. If anything, I would cover the room with inexpensive indoor/outdoor carpet, tacked down at doorways...should allow the good carpet to get air but protect it. Charcoal dust could still settle through it, possibly, so it will still need thorough vacuuming. If he uses pastels, make him use them outdoors :o) If he puts a lot of energy into drawing, you could be in for a dust storm :o)
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As an artist I have had some experience with charcoal. It is messy. That's why I don't like it. I wouldn't use anything that the dust would mearly sit on, like plastic. Then when cleaning up, it would be free to get back in the air. Use something like the rug suggestion or an old sheet that can be spread out. The art done. And the sheet laundered. Whatever is used will probably get a lot of black dust. So keeping the dust at bay will be the issue. When using the charcoal it makes your hands black and transfers easily to anything that is touched.
It sounds like this person is not flexible about where they draw. I'd be a bit leary of that. Most schools have classrooms where a student may draw day or night. (At least my university did.) Some of the new sticks have coatings that make them less messy to hold, but the dust is still what it is.
The carpet barriers are to protect carpet, but what you need is a charcoal dust inhibitor. It's the dust that will get everywhere. It always reminds me of drawing with fireplace ashes. It is fine, gets all over and is dirty. Oh, I just had a thought. What about the yardage for picnic tables? I'd use the plastic side down to slide over the carpet and provide a not easily penetrated barrier; and use the soft flocked side up to hold the dirt and debris of the charcoal. It is not too expensive and may work. I don't know how it would launder, but it is the right direction.
Contain the charcoal dust/grit. Good luck.
___________
KaCe
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