Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hardwood flooring 101. Our first home improvement project was to tackle re-laying the hardwood floors. In hopes of improving the appearance of our house for sale, the previous owner took out the carpet in the living room and put down hardwood flooring. Great idea, right? Well, for some reason, we have yet to figure out, he put the hardwood OVER the carpet padding. Imagine walking across the wood floor and having it squish a half inch with each step. Also, he put the planks down in rows without staggering them. Picture straight lines across the floor where all of the planks ended ended every four feet.
So, we removed the wood planks and threw away the carpet padding. We did some research online to see how it was supposed to be done. It couldn't be THAT hard, could it? The planks are tongue and groove; we'll just take them out, cut some of them, stagger them properly and put them back down. Easy, right? Well, they were GLUED together and came up in groups of 4-5 that we could not separate. Plan B? Price new wood floor. Ouch. Price carpet. Debate.

We were hosting Christmas, so we put the wood on the patio to have room for guests and food and presents. We put down a cheap area rug on the concrete. Classy, aren't we? But, it worked.

The wood spend a couple days outside in the fog. Our realtor suggested using one of the glued together sections of the wood flooring in the entry to protect our carpet. So, we brought some in to get a feel for how it looked. Well, the planks came apart. Who knew? Fog will loosen the glue that sticks wood floor together. Then we decided to try the rest of them and THEY ALL CAME APART! Back to plan A.

Now, the fun part. You have to get the blue foam stuff that has the moisture barrier on the bottom to keep the moisture from coming up through the concrete and damaging your wood. Good idea. You also need these little black spacers that you put between the floor and the wall to create an "expansion gap" so to floor can stretch out. You need really good glue, in a fancy glue gun. You shouldn't need glue, but if you have bits of dried glue already in the grooves, they are not going to go together smoothly. And you need a fancy metal thingy that pulls the wood pieces together tightly if you smack it with a hammer. It also helps to have a good sense of humor! So, here we go. First you stack your wood and make sure it's level. A kids train will do this; if the train rolls, it's not level. Just kidding. It just seemed to fit this picture which I thought was cute.
First thing, you want to remove the baseboards and the nails that did not come out when the baseboards popped off. Maybe you would not have to remove them. But we plan to paint the walls and replace the baseboards anyway. So off they pop.

The first couple of rows are the hardest to get lined up and straight. After that it's pretty easy until the last row. I love the glue gun! At this rate, I might just become a "handygirl."

Laying wood floors is hard work. You want all the help you can get. So call out the big guns. Take a picture of them "helping" then put them to bed :-) The boys really wanted to help.

Ok, very bad picture here. I had to use the timer on my camera to get a picture of us both working on the floor together. Notice I have the glue gun again! Here we are about 2/3 of the way done. I must have been so exhausted when we finished, because I did not take a picture of the completed job. But, if I do say so myself, it looks pretty good. And, it does not squish when you walk across it.

Our current project is painting. The previous owner had an interesting sense of "style." And, well, ours is different. We started last weekend with priming the living room and front bathroom. This weekend we were going to "color" the living room and prime the hall. But, an extended family crisis put that on hold. So, maybe next weekend. We plan to be here a while; so there's no real hurry, except that I want to have a house warming party... eventually.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Finally, some pictures of the house. We are totally living the American dream, all wrapped up in a white picket fence. I love my house, although it still has a lot of work to be done. I smile as walk down the street and see it. It's so welcoming. I love the big trees (and I love that I have kids to rake the leaves). So here it is:

Here are few photos from inside. The kitchen floor still needs to be replaced. It has old scarred up linoleum, but the cabinets are nice. The counter tops and the back splash are all tile, which are in nice shape too. We are also planning to re-paint the walls though; as they are an odd shade of sea foam green in there currently. It might be ok for a nursery, but not so much for a kitchen/dining room. We are thinking yellow. We found a nice shade that goes great with the cabinets and our dining room set is the same light maple color.

Here is a picture of Jacob's Pokemon/soccer room. We were unsure of a theme for him, so we combines the two things he loves right now. He is so excited to just have his own room, that I don't think it would have mattered if he had anything in there at all, so long as he can keep Nate out when he chooses. I wish I could have captured his expression when he realized that he had his own room. The fact that the house has four bedrooms was kept a surprise until after we closed. He thought until then that he was going to share a room with Nate. Jacob is good about taking care of his things and keeping his room picked up. Nate, not so much...
Then there is Nate's Transformer bedroom. We were planning to stick with the Thomas train bedding we bought him a couple of years ago. But, when talked to Jacob about how he wanted to decorate his "side" of the bedroom (I know we played it up), Nate kept saying he wanted Transformers for "his side." I guess he has outgrown the trains to some extent. Although he still loves to play with them. We will set his train table up in the living room as soon as it is painted (this weekend). The rug on the floor was bought for Joshua when he was about the same age. Boy, I have got my money's worth out of it. Nate is not so thrilled about having his own room. He is such a social creature and would much rather be in the same room with anyone else. But, that's ok with us, most of the time... Here is Nate's room:

As for the big boys. They share a room and it pretty boring. They are teenagers. Enough said? They have bunk beds. I don't have any pictures. Their beds hadn't arrived when I took pictures of the little boys rooms and I just didn't think about it after that. I'm sure they don't care to have their room displayed on the internet anyway...

My room? Well there is still work to be done in there too. So, maybe that will come some day.

Keep checking in. I'm going to start sharing home improvement projects. That should be fun. We have already re-done the hardwood floors in the living room. That was our first adventure and I have photos. We have also begun painting. The living room is currently primer white. And the main bathroom... well, I have pictures of that too. Some things you just have to see.