Drop Down MenusCSS Drop Down MenuPure CSS Dropdown Menu

Sunday, January 15, 2017

New Floors, Carpet No More

I've never been a fan of carpet.  I once had a large hot chocolate in my mom's living room.  My brother's dog came over as I went to set the drink on the coffee table.  He wanted to be pet, nudged my arm, and the hot chocolate went flying all over my mom's white carpet.  Carpet and I just don't mix and neither does carpet and three kids and three dogs.  We are a busy family.  We run in and out at times, there's no where to put dirty shoes in our little entry way, we are just not a carpet family.

I've been wanting to replace the carpet with hardwood but I wanted to put hardwood everywhere, kind of like Property Brothers do when they gut a house.  Wall to Wall hardwood floor is my dream.  We have so much to do, so little time to tear up the entire house, and just don't have the budget to do it all at once.

I've been shopping for months for the look I want, pricing it, and doing comparisons on whether to just have it installed or do it ourselves.  My husband does not like home improvement projects and we don't usually agree on anything when it comes to techniques, the look, or the price.

I finally decided on Pergo Outlast.  I had been reading up on it.  I have been comparing it to the look, durability, and price of hardwood.  It's almost the exact same thickness as hardwood.  It is waterproof and scratch proof.  It has a built in underlayment on the bottom of it and it's a little less than hardwood.  I don't want to mislead you into thinking it's cheap because it's quite a bit more than regular laminate.  It is cheaper than hardwood but it's not cheap, cheap.

We also decided to go with additional underlayment even though it's not necessary.  We have a ranch style house and our son lives in the basement.  The kids spend time in the basement playing video games and watching TV so we figured it would cut down on the noise and we are glad we did.

We have also had a leak from our dishwasher and it seemed to have dried out well not getting down underneath.

So the process...  I had unrealistic expectations as usual with any other home improvement project thinking we would get it done in a weekend.  It actually took us three weekends and Thanksgiving break.

Once we got all the carpet ripped up, carpet nails and carpet strips pulled up, and the laminate up a day was gone.  There are tons of little staples that hold carpet down.  We also found a surprise under the carpet.  The workers that built our house had walked through mud and there were muddy footprints and chunks of mud under the carpet pad.  There was also ceiling texture mud all over the sub floor as well as trash.  Yes, that was irritating but explained why the carpet never seemed to be clean, clean.  We had to clean all that then we noticed some areas of the sub floor weren't even and we had a leak around the sliding back door.  I'm kind of glad we found that.  It was from some caulking/siding that had water standing against the back door under a deck board.  I'm so glad we found that.  It was a small leak so it looked like it had just started happening and sanded right off.  We also had a stain from an old dog we had that had had a couple of seizures and wet on the floor.  That sanded right up too but the sanding took time.

Once everything was sanded and we had our furniture stacked on one side of the room, we were ready to lay flooring.  We rolled the underlayment out and taped it together at the seams.  I had just re-painted all the trim thinking we would just be able to fit all the flooring under the trim because it was the same height as the carpet and pad were.  Well that developed into a problem.  Not all the trim was even on the wall.  Some was higher than other pieces.  As we got to laying the flooring, it looked bad against the flooring anyway so we ended up removing the trim.  Then the sheetrock wasn't hung evening on the bottom of the wall either.  Some of the flooring slid right under the sheetrock, some of it didn't.  This does make a difference when laying Pergo because it's a floating floor.  There's a chance it will move if it shimmies it's way even 1/4" to 1/2" under the sheetrock.  It took some time to do this on the walls.

The Pergo was fairly easy to install.  You put it in on an angle and tap it into place.  You have to be careful not to tap too hard to it will chip the edges of it.  You also have to have a sharp blade on your miter saw or it will chip.
We chose Pergo Outlast Hand Scarped Java Oak.  It has a texture to it and it wide planked.  I wanted something that was dark but had a variance of color to it that would go with our pallet wall going down the basement steps.  I also have gray walls and it goes well with those.  I love to shop at Home Depot.  I know my way around there and the workers are helpful in answering questions.  They didn't have the amount in stock we needed.  We paid for it, they ordered more, and had it in within a week.  They were super helpful in going over the pros of the Pergo Outlast since it's a fairly new product.  One thing to remember is that you need to let it set and acclimate to it's environment for 24-48 hours meaning it needs to rest in the temperature it's going to laid in.  This is something the builder failed to do with our carpet we had in this house and it had to be stretched three times since they laid it in the winter when building our house without the heat on.  It does make a difference! 

You also have to cut all the pieces just right around the corners and the heat registers.  This takes a little time to get everything measured just right.

Once we got to going, we could really see it take shape on how it was going to look.  I was getting really excited!  I had to paint that wall that was behind our TV bookshelf unit.  I hadn't done it since there was carpet there and we would have to remove everything.  Now was the perfect time to get that done.

As you can see, it was living in a mess.  We had to move all our furniture to one end of the room while we were working on the other end.  We also had live, cook, sort mail, do homework in all this mess for three weeks too.  It's not fun but also not the end of the world once you see the end result.  It was a challenge thought especially for someone who likes things put in their place.  I spent a lot of time moving things, cleaning things, and putting things away while my husband was cutting the angles to keep some sort of order and my sanity.

You can now see the finished product.  It is sooooo pretty!  I love, love, love it!  After that was finished, the trim looked horrible so I wanted to change the trim.  We have solid oak trim, it's not the cheap stuff.  I didn't want to buy all new trim so I took it to the garage and sanded the sides where there was some carpet fuzz and some paint hanging over the edges.  Even after putting it back up it looked small and almost non-existent.  I knew I needed quarter round but it needed more.  I saw a technique on Pinterest that I wanted to try.  I knew the budget wouldn't allow me to get more oak or even that much of the cheap trim I wanted.  I saw this:
You get a piece of small trim and paint the wall in between your trim/quarter round and that small piece of trim.  It makes it look thicker and really stands out.  I couldn't believe the difference it makes compared to the floor but I love the results.  You just use a 2x4 or even a 1x4 of the difference when nailing your small trim up.  It made putting the trim up a snap.  I even did this myself one afternoon finally getting the angles down on the miter saw.  This did push back moving all the furniture against the walls but it was so worth it.  

As you can see, it pops against the flooring!  You can also see there is still carpet in the bedrooms and on the basement steps.  These are future project waiting to be done.  We will have carpet on our steps but I plan to replace the carpet here.  Someone will break a leg on our steps if we don't carpet them.  

For those of you scared to do your own floors know that we don't have any prior experience.  We just wanted to change our house and didn't want to pay the labor so we figured it out a little at a time.  It takes us three times as long as if an experienced crew would do it but there is always that sense of satisfaction of doing it ourselves and that feeling when we actually do this!  So many people have come in and complimented us on the floors and the kitchen we redid ourselves.  It makes it worth the hard work we put into it!  I hope you try to install Pergo yourself someday.  You can do it!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Trash to Treasure Dresser

I have been looking for a large dresser to put in the basement.  I needed something to go under the tv for the kid's videos games, DVD's, board games, and books.  I didn't want to spend a lot of money on it and it needed to be heavy duty to withstand teenagers banging it around.  I found this big dude on an online yard sale site and it was free if I'd haul it out of the lady's basement.  I talked my son and two of his friends into going to get it with me and I'm glad I did.  It weighs a ton!
At some point this was used as a dresser, well used.  The large mirror is missing and the door that used to be on front in the middle.  I know because the hardware was still there.  It was in pretty rough shape!

The top had a lot of water damage where someone had left multiple glasses of water on it and the veneer had warped.  I wasn't sure how I was going to work with this so I just started sanding the top, and the frame, and the drawers.  I sanded, and sanded, and sanded some more.

 I use my palm sander for most of my jobs and I don't expect the corners to be perfect when working on the details.  Most of my pieces are rustic so I'm not worried about it looking perfect.  I got most of the finish off and was going to paint it with chalk paint so it has a rough texture, not smooth like satin.
I used a pretty heavy grit sandpaper and tapered down to a medium then finished off with a light weight sandpaper until it was smooth.  
We decided the top wasn't salvageable at all.  We went ahead and sanded it all out so everything was even.  We nail gunned pallet boards to the top and the sanded those too.  Have I said I sanded?  This part seems to last forever!  The pallet boards are not the kind you can pick up in the back of a hardware store for $2.  These are heavy duty oak pallets we got a from a parent at my school that has a siding business.  They've sat out and weathered for a couple of years so they are pretty good pallets, not the splintery kind.

Here you can see how we nailed the top pieces on and we used the sander to match up the curves that were on the existing top.  I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out or it we were going to need to trim it out but once I finished the sanding process, it looked like it was part of the dresser.  That worked out better than I expected.
 I then started painting all the drawers and the frame with DIY white chalk paint.  It's Dutch Boy Satin from Menards in an off white color.  I had it left over from my kitchen cabinet redo.  I painted everything twice leaving about a day for it to dry.  It was really humid here in Kansas so it took a long time to dry.

I then started sanding the edges and details lightly to take some of the paint off to distress it.  Once I got everything distressed I took brown wax and mixed it with clear wax to go over the distressing as well as the white paint.  It gave it a rustic look and also softened the white paint.  This dresser is going in front of a pallet wall so I didn't want it to look super bright white and I wanted the color to match the hardware I redid.  I have all but one drawer left here.  I messed up on the first drawer.  I had bought red shop rags to use for the stains and tried putting the brown and clear wax on the white paint.  Big mistake, it turned the drawer red.  I had to resend and repaint it.

For the hardware, I used Rust-oleam's Universal paint.  This is my favorite spray paint for all my projects.  It comes in lots of different colors, metallics, and I love the grip it has at the top!  The color is Aged Copper.  It really ties into the distressing color well.

 The last step was to stain the top.  I used 1" finishing brads to adhere the pallet board pieces on.  It was like fitting a puzzle together.  What you will need to know about pallet wood is that the pieces are not square usually and occasionally that are a little warped but once you nail gun them down, they stay.  I put two coats of stain on and a  coat of polyurethane in a satin finish.  I did't want much of a shine of this piece at all.  It took three days for the polyurethane to dry.  We had to bring it in the house to get it to cure at all.
Sorry my products always look so sloppy.  I forget to take pictures ahead of time.  The Dark Walnut looks really nice with the cooper handles and the distressing.

 Here are the before and after comparison pictures.  I think it cleaned up pretty well.  Since this piece was free, the only expenses I had in it are the sandpaper, (I used quite a bit), the stain, brush for the stain, new shop rags, and spray paint for the handles.  I had the white paint and wax already from other projects.  I also had to buy some more nails for the nail gun.  If I calculated it out, I probably spent $40 on supplies.  
 Here's the dresser in the basement.  We don't have the flooring done down there yet, it's just polished concrete right now.  I think it looks nice against the pallet wall.  Not too bad for a trash to treasure project.  The teenagers seemed to love it, well after they got done lifting it and moving it downstairs that is.  This once piece of trash headed to the dumpster will get well used!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Kitchen Cabinet Redo

I I will tell you this was no small job and it's not something you could do in just weekend by yourself. There was some trial and error involved but even though it's hard work and your kitchen will be a mess for a while, it was so worth it!

I have been slowly painting all my orange oak builder's grade orange oak trim and doors white.  It's taken a while because of life being really busy with the kid's activities and actually having a job I have to work at as well.  I've been putting off the kitchen cabinets for a while now.  I finally decided one day I was going to start and knowing that once I started sanding, there would be no going back.  This is precise reason I rarely have any before pictures because I just take a piece and start sanding or painting making myself get started.  I do have some pictures so you get the idea of what it looked like before but not those perfect before and after pics that are the exact picture at the exact angle.  Oh well, I think you'll get the idea when you take a look.

The first thing I did was to take all the upper doors off the hinges.  I removed the hinges and even the screws to set aside to spray paint.  I wanted to save as much money as possible on this project so I reused all the hardware except the brass and porcelain handles.  You can use a hand held screw driver and manually take all the handles and hinges off but I used my husband's DeWalt drill and it cut down the time tremendously.  You just have to be careful.  The drill was pretty high powered and it can easily strip the screw or bore the head out if you're aren't careful.  I took the screws out and punched them into a shoe box to paint the tops.  The rest of the screw will be in the cabinet so it doesn't really matter what color they are.  I used Rustoleum Stain Nickel spray that I got at Menards. I have used this paint before and I love it!  It's very durable and the head on it works so well to grip.  I also used it on the hinges.  I did all the spray painting first.  Don't spray paint around your cabinet doors, you'll have nickel specks.  I did this outside in the grass on the paper and it dries very quickly.

 For the hinges, I just rolled out some of my daughter's craft paper and laid the hinges out and spray painted them.  These are actually my door hinges in my house but I wanted to show you a picture of what I did. What I learned is that you have to not only do both sides, you also have to bend the hinges so you get the inside or it will be striped.  These were brass when I started.  They seem to be holding up well with the opening and closing of hinges.  I only had to use one coat of spray paint on them.
The next step was to sand all the cabinet doors.  Since they are pretty detailed, it was hard to get the edges inside the grooves sanded.  As you can tell, my teenagers were more than thrilled to be sanding.  They each had an electric sander so the job went pretty quickly.  I think they stayed and sanded for about 3 hours that afternoon then helped some here and there along the way.  I believe they wanted to go to the movies with friends that night so I figured their time was worth $40.  Our Maggie dog got in on some of the action too but only got a measly dog bone for her efforts.

I got my sander last fall at Home Depot.  It's the Rigid Sander 2.4 1/4 sheet.  You will need to get at least two different kinds of sandpaper, one that is more coarse and one that is smoother.  Start sanding with the rough paper to take the finish of your cabinets then finish with the smoother paper to make it as smooth as a babie's tush.  It works really well if you do several doors at a time with the rough sandpaper then go through and use the smooth paper so you aren't constantly changing the paper.
Once the doors are all sanded, the painting fun began.  For these oak doors, it took three coats of paint.  I used Duraclean Dutchboy paint from Menards in a Satin finish.  I wanted to be able to clean it but didn't want a high gloss since they are supposed to look somewhat rustic.  I used a 2" brush with an angled edge.  It's my preference to use an angled edge but a regular high quality brush would work.  I wouldn't skimp on the brush type for this project.  The cheap brushes tend to loose their bristles and you don't want that on your cabinet doors.  I would paint most of the fronts of the cabinet doors then move to the backs by flipping them over after a few hours.  I didn't use any kind of special paint or anything expensive to paint them, just painted off white paint on them.
They looked really nice at this point but they were too white to match my off white appliances and I wanted a more custom look.  

 I played with some brown wax and clear wax and this is what I ended up with, (the cabinet on the left).  I really liked it but it was too brown for the look I wanted.  I just painted my walls gray and this wasn't going to look right at all.  I knew I liked the custom look better than just white so I went back to the drawing board.  I tried some black wax and that made the cabinets look gray and dingy.  
 The brown waxed cabinet door trial.  I had rubber gloves on and just dipped a fingertip of rag into the brown wax and smoothed it just along the edges.

I have tried different finishes on different pieces of furniture.  I have tried stains, glazes, chalk paint, and waxes.  The trick with white finishes is finding something that is durable that isn't going to turn your white paint yellow.  Many products such as polyurathane will do exactly that.  I saw this wax in the paint section of Wal-mart a couple of years ago and thought I'd see how it compares to the others I've tried.  I noticed it was pretty runny compared to what I've used in the past.  Waxes can be kind of sticky once your piece is finished but I trudged on trying to find the perfect finish.

I wish I had taken pictures of the technique I used to distress the doors but I didn't.  I had rubber glocves on.  I took my sander and barely sanded some of the edges of details of the doors.  They were bare wood when I did this.  I took a cloth that idn't fuzzy at all.  You don't want little pieces of fuzz in the paint.  I dipped just a fingertip of the rag in black paint.  It was chalk paint I had made myself.  DIY Chalk Paint Recipe.  I smoothed the black paint very thinly on the details barely touching the cabinet so you could see it a little darker in places and a little lighter in places.  I then put the Americana clear wax on another cloth pretty thick and went over the black paint spreading the paint out in a straight line, meaning following the edge of the cabinet.  Do not go in circles or cross wise, it will ruin the look.  I then spread the wax out all along the face of the door making sure the wax went everywhere.  Don't do this too think or it will look globby, that's a word right?
This picture probably shows the details the best.  They have very little black on them but just enough to accentuate the details of the door.  If you like a perfectly smooth cabinet door, the wax will not be an option for you.  They have a little rough texture just like a chalk paint would on a piece of furniture.  I kind of like that finish though since kitchens are never completely clean.  It seems to hide some of the fingerprints and little spills here and there.  
Here are the uppers when I finished them.  I love the handles but couldn't wait to get the drawers done to see how the drawer pulls looked with the handles.

 Here is the finished kitchen.  As you can see, my island is a different color.  I went from having a red kitchen/dining/living room to light gray.  I was so tired of all the oak that I didn't want to become tired of all the white so I went with a different color for the island with the same handles/pulls.  I almost painted the island turquoise but know myself all too well.  I'd probably get tired of it and change it in a few years.  At least with the black and white, I can change the paint color in the kitchen and not have to do the cabinets again since they are a neutral color.

 We still need to get the flooring done.  That's our next project. 
 We are also going to change out the countertops.  I'm thinking will do DIY concrete countertops but I'm not sure if I'm that brave yet.  My husband can make the frames for the countertops, I just need to practice with the concrete first.  

The floors are going to be a dark, rich color.  We need to find a window when we'll be home for 3-4 days to get that done.  We are doing baseball and softball right now, so maybe at the end of the month.  

Here are the handles I picked out.  I bought them at Home Depot.  I actually bought one of each and decided I was going to keep them so I ordered the rest online.  They wouldn't have had that many in stock.  The handle has some really nice detail in it and I think it goes great with the rustic look! 
They aren't made from the same company but when I held them up to compare them, the nickel finishes were exactly the same and they looked really good together!

Here are my kitchen cabinets completely finished.  I stayed up until 11:00 that night to take this picture because I couldn't wait to share it with you all! I LOVE MY KITCHEN NOW!  I can't tell you in pictures how much brighter and alive my kitchen looks!  I'm so excited how it turned out.  Feel free to share if you like the progress of my kitchen and ask questions about any technique I used.