Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Visual Journey into Kitchen Floor Demo

Hark! I found the photos from ripping up the kitchen floors. I thought I'd take you on the visual horror we endured to get to our final destination.

What we started with: Pink/Mauve and White Vinyl flooring. Not really cleanable, scratched to hell and back from all the animals in the house.

The top layer of the vinyl wasn't glued anywhere except around the edges - so it came up quite easily. Notice our cuts to get to the lower levels?

The yellow and green flooring was underneath the plywood -- so third layer down. It was resting on top of another level of plywood. The puke green? That's the linoleum. Also known as the bane of my existence....

Behold....five layers down....green linoleum. At this point. Neil and I were questioning our sanity. I mean, who rips up over 200 square feet of linoleum on their first wedding anniversary? Oh, that's right - us.

The linoleum came up easily in some locations....and we were greeted with the beauty below. Which made it somewhat worth it.

Then we had to move the stove to get the flooring underneath it. Where we made the discovery that our cabinets were held into the wall with one screw. And were filthy.


Then, there was the mess underneath the cabinet. No flooring what so ever, just some sort of....something. It was odd to have nothing to rip up. But nice at the same time.

Then there was our newest entry into the "WTF?!?!" files for our house. The plug behind the refrigerator is a two prong plug. Instead of upgrading the plug in the already existing electrical....someone decided to place a three pronged plug...in the back splash. Half way up the wall and to the left. WHY? So we've added that to our list of upgrades will get to when we actually renovate the kitchen for real.

Next up....sanding and staining the floors -- aka -- why we'll never do something like that again in our life.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Kitchen Floor Demo

After discovering we did, in fact, have hardwood floors underneath the Five layers of bullshit (Pink and Muave Diamonds, Subfloor, Green and Yellow Vinyl, Subfloor, and Green Linoleum.) we bit the bullet and started ripping up the floors. On our first wedding anniversary. Some couples celebrate by going out to a nice dinner or exchange gifts. We pulled up kitchen floors for two days straight. Keeping it real.

We didn't anticipate ripping up the floors to take two days, but whoever installed the flooring previously was.....ambitious with the nails and screws. Top layer of Vinyl? Barely glued down. Every subsequent layer....was a living nightmare. Neil and I stopped counting the nails we were pulling out after 100 but we averaged about 5-10 nails per square foot. In a 200 square foot kitchen. Needless to say, it was a nightmare.

If you make the picture bigger - you might be able to see some of the nails still in the subfloor pile. Whee.

After removing all of the vinyl and plywood, we made it down to the Linoleum - which put up a fight coming up. Around the edges, the glue had deteriorated enough to let us remove it in big hunks. The rest, we pulled up with a Rockwell RK5101K SoniCrafter by sliding it underneath the edges to loosen it up and allowing it to come up. Since the floor may or not have asbestos in it, we made sure to remove the dogs, ventilate the area, wear masks and gloves...etc. No pics were taken because the two of us were too busy swearing at the person who invented linoleum.

After several days of profanity, tears, and increased alcohol consumption we had all of the linoleum up and were overjoyed to be faced with the task of removing the remnants of the glue and felt backing of the linoleum off the floor.

We've done this before, but on a much smaller scale. And at this point, we were questioning our sanity. But we decided to attack it and get it done. Because, really, we had no other choice. We ran some chalk lines to divide the floors into easy (from a psychological standpoint) grid that wouldn't overwhelm us. It's much easier to decide to knock out three square an evening as opposed to an entire floor.

After chalking it out....we went at it. For about two to three weeks straight. We'd attack a square or two a night and then cover the entire kitchen with rosin paper. Which smells. Worse than 50+ year old laminate.

Not even going to lie, it was brutal. By this point, I had damaged my hand to the point where I could barely use it (unbeknownst to me, during Demo I had damaged some tendons in my hand, but chalked it up to fatigue). Neil had recently fractured his ankle, so between the two of us, we could barely function. But we were determined to get it done if it was going to kill us (it almost did). So each night we worked at it. The only thing that kept us motivated were getting glimpses of this:

The floors were looking great, when we could see them - which was a huge motivator. And the fact that I was hosting Christmas Dinner and could not serve my guests with rosin paper on my floors.

On the last night, Neil and I broke out the wine and just had fun with it.

Sadly, the picture that I took to document the big reveal of the hardwood floors? Yeah, it's lost somewhere. So just imagine dirty, smelly hardwood floors. With remnants of adhesive on it. And you have an idea of what our floors looked like! Total time invested from demo to ready for sanding: about a month. We started October 16th and were ready for sanding around the last week of November. It was honestly a pain in the ass keeping the area clean, and covering the floor every night with Rosin paper (which smells....did I mention it smells?). We probably would've been able to go faster if we both weren't injured....but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger! Next up: sanding and staining!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Curiosity leads to another project....

Living in an old house, we're used to things like cracks, peeling paint, stains that you can't explain...you know, normal things.

Most people just accept those things as character and leave it be. Me? Not so much.

I'm one of those people if I see peeling paint...I pick at it. Pickpickpickpickpick until the next thing I know I've picked/peeled half of the paint off of a door. It's like an obsession. Neil always gets suspicious if I text him in the middle of the day looking for a razor blade, a pry bar, or the heat gun. He usually knows he's going to come back to a mess made by his OCD wife.

Anyway, the curiosity got to the best of us in the kitchen. Tired of the ugly pink and white vinyl floor, we did what most home owners would do. Pull out a saw and cut down to see what the hell is underneath. Because surely it can't be worse right?



That putrid green (with an accompanying putrid smell) is linoleum. Much like what we experienced in our bathroom floor re-do. Neil and I were just THRILLED TO PIECES to learn that we had 200 sq. ft of that ugly stuff that needed to come up. But the bigger question remained, what was underneath? We got a little bit of the linoleum up and PRAISE JESUS - hardwoods are underneath. Tragically, just like the bathroom, the linoleum has been applied directly to the hardwoods.


So take a guess about what we're going to be posting about?

All because curiosity got the best of us.

Anyone else have this problem?

Monday, February 27, 2012


We've got a new renovation buddy around here.

Meet Einstein:

He's a pistol.

Neil and I were torn about getting another dog since we lost our Rottie in June. We thought we'd just stay a one dog, one cat home but decided to keep an open mind about it. Around October we started looking at German Shepard rescues and had our eye on a dog, but she was taken out of the running for adoption to work on some behavior issues. After that, we decided to just see what happened....because all of our animals came to us by chance. Our dog Toby? We got when we went to the Humane Society to adopt a cat. The evil cat? I was the only one in the neighborhood who could catch him. Our Rottie, Maya? We were walking down the street when the neighbor offered her to us. So with that, we figured, just let it happen.

Then the second weekend in November I woke up with the overwhelming urge to look at dogs. Like, it was almost scary. It was like my animal biological clock was about to explode. Neil, who was a bit terrified, agreed to take me to PetsMart so we could get dog treats and maybe I could pet other people's dogs.

We went to PetsMart for dog treats. We came back with Einstein. He was there with a rescue and in a cage looking very mellow (he had us all fooled. The dog is anything but mellow)and that was it. We ended up taking him on as a foster....and promptly adopted him two weeks later. He was a stray, hit by a car, taken to the vet by a good Samaritan, and the rescue we adopted him from took him on.

We're his first home, and we've had our hands full teaching him not to hoard things, that bras are not chew toys, and that he cannot chew on things like tools. We also had to put some weight on him and now he's a healthy weight and doesn't look like a skeleton anymore. He gets along famously with the evil cat, and has gotten Toby to come out of his shell and play. Toby never played with other dogs before. Now, he's instigating play time with everyone.

Einstein is a nut, and we love him. He's a great fit.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wrapping Up the Bathroom

We've been slack about updating around here. We've got a finished bathroom and I still haven't blogged about it. I blame life. It gets in the way. I also blame the fact that I've got a semi-busted hand from ripping out our kitchen floors...but that's another blog post. That I might do. In the next year.

Regardless, I've convinced myself that I have to finish blogging about the bathroom before the new year. That starts in less than three hours. So we're going to wrap it all up in one post. God help us.

After we refinished our floors we set out to install beadboard and our new sink. Not alot to the bead board. Went in easy peasy.

After the bead board went in, Neil set out to install the sink. We wanted a console sink much like this beauty from Pottery Barn:

However, we couldn't stomach the $1,200 price. So we searched around and found an exact match for alot less via Signature Hardware. The shipping was free(!) and super quick. And they managed to get the huge tractor trailer up the narrow historic street.

The sink was super easy to install and the directions were clear and after about an hour, we had a working sink.

At first, I was nervous about the sink. Compared to the pedestal sink - the new one is HUGE! For the first day or so I felt that it took up too much space and that it dwarfed the room. Now, I'm loving it and all of the counter space that it provides.

After installing the sink, we realized that next to the white sink and white trim, our bisque/cream toilet looked well, gross. So, 4 separate trips to Home Depot and Lowes we found a new Kohler in white and installed it.

Lovely? Lovely.

Throughout this ordeal you might've noticed that we had plywood over the window. This was due to a renovation mishap that involved a dinky stick, sanding, and a broken window.

The window had some rotten wood and needed serious work, so we hired a local window restoration company to come and take the window and rebuild it, but in privacy glass and re-install it. When they reinstalled it, we discovered that most of the ropes that operate the weights were broken, so we received fresh ropes too.

After the window was installed, we made the executive decision to install new trim. The old trim just WOULD. NOT. strip and it had taken a beating during extracting the window. Luckily, Neil's been doing trim carpentry most of his life so he was able to trim out the window to look almost exactly like the original mouldings. He had quite the setup on the lawn and we had several people stop and comment on the workshop set up.

With the window in and trimmed, we finished up the mouldings for the beadboard. 7 1/2 speed base on the bottom and a basic chair rail at the top to give it more edge.

After puttying nail holes and caulking everything within an inch of our lives, the bathroom looked like this and was ready for paint.

Painting was easy and we were thrilled when the paint started going up.

We chose Sherwin Williams "Monorail Silver" for the walls and Allen + Roth/Valspar's "Subway Tile" for the trim. We added a few new accessories, cleaned it up a bit, and our bathroom finally was finished. LOOK!

I cannot tell you how proud we are of this bathroom. We took it from ordinary blah, to something sleek but still true to the time period of the house. It feels so chic and like something you'd see in a boutique hotel.

And just to give perspective - here's a poorly done side by side showing the before and after. Sadly, I had to gank the listing photo from 2006 because my original photos died on my computer.

Who knew that it could be so saucy? And who knew that my step-dad falling through the ceiling in 2009 would lead to a beautiful bathroom. In 2011.

I plan on doing a source post/what it cost us post in the near future, not to brag, but because I find those type of things helpful.

Until then, I'm going to lust after my finally finished bathroom -- and enjoy the last few hours of 2011.

Absolutely love it. <3

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Evolution of the Bathroom Floor Part 2

When we last updated you, gentle reader, the bathroom floors looked like this:

We had pried all the floor up and removed most of the felt paper/glue from the linolium using various methods. We had a few patches of stuff that wouldn't come up, but felt confident we could sand it out.

Neil took on the task of sanding and staining the floors - as I was freezing my butt off at a yard sale in March.

He started by sanding with 40 grit sandpaper on a palm sander and belt sander. Which yielded these results:

After using the 40 grit to remove the remnants he switched to 120 to level out the floor and finished with a 220 to make everything nice and pretty.

Once everything was sanded he put down a coat of wood conditioner which makes the floor absorb stain more evenly. After letting that soak in, he put down the stain and let it dry for a couple of hours followed by clear coat.

We used Miniwax "Golden Pecan" - which happened to match the floors outside of the bathroom perfectly.

The bathroom floors are on the left of the line, the hallway floors to the right.

Ironically, Neil had a sample of the Golden Pecan in his truck and we put it down for giggles -- not expecting to come anywhere near a match. There you have it.

The entire process staining/sealing/etc took about 12 hours (two six hour afternoons....and only two because we decided to put another layer of stain on to make the floors darker than how they look in the pictures). We used a water based polyurethane on the floor simply because it dries faster and this is our only bathroom. Also, we find that water based poly smells less than other products and since I have severe migraines that tend to be triggered by smells we decided to play it safe. The smell wasn't bad at all and had cleared out of the house after 3 days.

All and all, we're pretty proud of ourselves. We had zero experience doing floors of any kind and we think they turned out pretty damn good.