Green Room Flooring

Our first room to add new flooring to was a room we call the green room, but really, we were using it as a guest room, storage room, and office. We didn’t have much in the green room, a name it was given due to it’s very green carpet, so we cleared the room of all things on the floor and got to work. The first step was removing baseboards and removing the very long and twisted brad nails they used. Because the house has metal walls under the plaster, the nails would go into the plaster and bend in all sorts of ways when it hit the metal underneath.

Once the baseboards were off we began removing the flooring. We cut the green rug in half and rolled it up in two parts for our garbage men. We then had to pull up the underlayment the was partly glued to the floor, cut it in half and roll it up with the carpet. Josh then went through and pulled out all the furring strips around the edges of the room. We ended up unrolling an underlayment roll, and rerolling it with the furring strips in the middle.

Along the edge of the room, we had a 1 inch lip that came out into the room about 3 inches. To lay a floating floor, the flooring underneath has to be level. So, we chipped out the cement around the room and placed it in a garbage bag. We then mixed Quikrete sand with water and cemented the area we chipped out, making sure it was packed and level. Once it was dry, I washed the floor, twice, and I added 2 coats of Drylok Concrete Protector, a paint that makes the floor waterproof and works as a partial vapor barrier. Once the painting was done, we spray foamed and trimmed it along the edges to make it flush with the wall. We also cut any touching the floor were we were going to add the flooring.

Then, we rolled out the vapor barrier and underlayment combined. We placed it vapor barrier side do. The pieces tape together under the edges, and otherwise the vapor barrier floats like the floor, meaning it doesn’t attach directly to our painted cement.

I then did the math of how to lay out the flooring without extensive repetition and without wasting an extensive amount of material. We decided to do full boards, 3/4 boards, 1/2 boards, and 1/4 boards. We had to trim off an extra 2 inches off each row, but it fit and was able to get finished. We started with the jagged pieces under the door. they needed the most cuts. Once that was done, we put it in place and made sure they were equidistant from the opposite wall, meaning they were parallel to the room. We then used a floor tapping kit to help us assemble the floor. It was not recommended to use this kind of kit with this flooring, but we just made sure to be very careful and not hit it too hard when just trying to tighten up the seams. Finally, we laid our last row under the window. We had to trim off a bit of the board length-wise to get it to sit against the floor.

To remove the furring strips, Josh used a hammer and chisel to get under then pliers to pull it out. To chip out the cement we used a hammer and a metal chisel. To mix the cement we used a mixer attachment for the drill. We used a cement pedal and our hands to place and smooth the cement. I taped a broom handle to a paint roller to pain the flooring, and to do all the board cutting, we used a tables saw with a table sled. Laying the floor only took about 3 hours and we placed 22 rows. The prep work took about 45 hours (most of it waiting for things to dry) spread over about 2 weeks.

A New Big Project: Laminate Plank Flooring

Josh and I decided that with our stimulus money, we should do something large that we normally wouldn’t do for ourselves. After a lot of thinking, one big project we wanted to do was replace our carpets. When we first moved in, we were experiencing a lot of mold problems, which we learned was because of poor drainage around our yard. We have since added drain pipes around the problem areas, and as a result the house doesn’t have a musty smell anymore. With those old problems, we decided we need to remove all the old and likely damaged carpets and to just redo the floors ourselves. So, with about 1/2 of our stimulus check, and we got enough materials to replace all of the carpeting in the house with laminate plank flooring.

We bought Lakeshore Pecan from Home Depot, the link is here if you want to check it out (we are not sponsored). This is the second cheapest option they had, but the reviews were far better than the cheapest. Josh and I also liked the color and thought it’d look good in our home. Since we already did a closet with the same design for assembly, we decided to go for it.

Since we redid the closet already, we saw the underlayment was disgusting, and there was no vapor barrier despite the need for one when you have a slab foundation. So, we ordered a combination of vapor barrier and underlayment, and a floor assembling tool kit with all our flooring. (The flooring says not to use one of these tool kits on their flooring, however, Josh and I did, we were just very very careful to not damage the floor in any way.)

We made this purchase and these decisions months ago, and about a month ago, we were able to finish our first room. Keep and eye out as that post will be coming up in the next week or two!

Kitchen Cabinet Updating

Ever since we bought the house last June, I have disliked the kitchen cabinets. The tan seemed dated and showed every stain, and the white framing was another thing I didn’t like. It took me a long time to pick the color I wanted because I wanted the kitchen to be a certain way. I wanted a dark gray that wasn’t too dark, but also was a true gray without any undertones. I did lots of looking and my local Home Depot had a Behr paint called Anonymous that I just knew was the one. We also didn’t want to buy new hinges for this project, because we’ve thought about making new doors in the future. So, I soaked the old hinges in scolding hot soapy water for 1 hour, before leaving on towels to dry another hour before painting. The paint we used was on the hinges was the same we had used on the hall light fixture, Rustoleum spray paint in the color Brushed Nickle.

First, I removed all the doors and hinges. I began scrubbing down the remaining cabinets with a mixture of hot water and comet. I then taped off the inside of the cabinets and painted them. By the time I finished my first coat it had dried at the beginning, so I added my second coat then. The next day, I added the hinges to scolding water, and began scrubbing down the doors with more comet-water mixture. I then pulled out the hinges and let them dry on a towel for an hour before taking them to the garage to spray paint. Once done, I began taping off the doors to paint only the faces. I painted only three doors that day. On my third day, I finished painting the cabinets with two layers of paint. I waited for them to dry, then hung the doors on the new hinges, and reattached the handles.

I then took a week off before starting the bottom cabinets. I had Josh pull off the baseboard for me, and I pulled off the rubber baseboard before I started. I used a bladed scraper to remove the glue residue that would stick out above the new trim. I then used wood putty on the doors and cabinets wherever there was a seam or gap, that was the end of my first day. The next day, I pulled off the hinges and doors. I began soaking the hinges. I then sanded all of the cabinets and washed them with more comet-water mixture. Once dry, I began painting the left island cabinets. I gave that two coats, then I went outside and painted the hinges. When I came in, I gave the right hand cabinets two coats and added the drawers back in. On the third day, I painted the remaining drawers. I sanded the doors where there was putty, then I scrubbed the doors with more comet-water mixture. I waited for them to dry and painted only three doors that day. On the fourth day, I painted the cabinet doors, and attached the handles to all the cabinets. And on the fifth day, I hung all the painted doors and hinges. My kitchen was painted!

Dishwasher to Storage

We’ve been working on this project on and off for several months now. Our dishwasher died in December and rather than have a broken machine in our kitchen, we decided it would be better to have the extra storage. Here I’ve split up the process into the big steps that we took.

Removing Dish Washer

First, we had to remove our dishwasher. We turned off the water near the dishwasher, remove the foot board, and lower the dishwasher. We then pulled out the machine, unhooked the water and drainage pipes, and we fully removed the dishwasher from our house.

Capping Garbage Disposal

The drainage for the dishwasher came into our garbage disposal. This posed an issue since the garbage disposal usually had a metal plug that would keep it sealed, but once it is popped out, there is no way to reattach it even if you kept the tab. We ended up using a rubber foot for protecting a chair leg and used a hose clamp to attach it onto the arm of the garbage disposal.

Making Walls, Bottom Shelf, & Painting

We were left with a mess. There was a hole in the left wall there the hoses were run to/from the water supply, and there were live wires for that was the dishwasher. First, Josh capped off each wire and wrapped it with electrical tape (the universal sign for a live wire), we then attached it out of the way. We got it so our water was no longer leaking and so that we won’t have to worry about them leaking again any time soon. We cut out the section of damaged wall, cut a piece of plywood to fit, and attached it with glue, filled the crack with a glue and sawdust mixture, plastered the wall, and sanded it flat. We used MDF to create a false wall in the back. We used brackets to wedge it against the wall since we didn’t want to put screws into our metal walls. We then made the bottom shelf with plywood and 2 2×4 feet that ran the width of the gap, with one placed in alignment with the cabinets on either side. This made a consistent kick board along the ground. Finally, we glued in the shelf to the cement, and we calked in the shelf and painted everything white.

Making Curtain Rod and Shelves

Josh made a holder for the curtain rod. He used 1/2 inch wood to create mounting points on either end. He drilled into each a hole for 1/2 inch conduit, and that would be my curtain rod. I had a set of extra curtains from college, so I added one panel, sewed it to the correct length, then attached the curtain rod. The mounting points for the curtain rod don’t have an option to simply remove the rod at this point, but we plan to rework this in the future. You can also just order a small tensions rod off the internet as long as you have the measurements. Finally, Josh took some aluminum angle to make the mounts for the selves. He drilled 3 holes to attache each to the sides of the cabinets and he added some on top if i even want to attach the shelves permanently. I picked the height I wanted, Josh cut 23/32 inch plywood to be shelves, I added 2 coats of white paint to everything, installed, and reorganized.

Final Product

Removing Wallpaper

When we moved in, there was a wall that ran through the house that was covered in wallpaper. It ran from the utility room through the kitchen, dining room, living room, and the hallway outside the bathroom and two bedrooms. It literally went throughout the whole house. We have been working for weeks to remove some the wallpaper and to figure out how to deal with some spots that were giving us some problems. First, there was not just one layer of wallpaper, but two layers of the exact same wallpaper! Second, there were spots where they plastered over the wallpaper extensively to cover all damage, now we were stuck with spots that had plaster on top of the two layers of wallpaper!

Before New Year’s, we were able to strip the wallpaper almost completely off of 1/3 of the wallpapered surfaces in the house. We recently were able to finish that first third by sanding off the plaster, removing the underlying wallpaper, plastering spots that were damaged, sanding again, washing the walls, then finally painting the wall. Thankfully, this wallpaper can be removed with water, so that has been very helpful, but it was still a lot of work. Take a look at the work so far, and keep an eye out as we still have 2/3 left to go!

The next two photos show some flaws in the wall after painting. I’ll let you know what we do about that in the future, but for now we’re gonna leave it since you can only really see the flaws at night in artificial lighting.