Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Adventures in DIY Flooring - Cutting the Rug VI

Once I got the master bedroom complete, I decided not to wait to do the walk-in closet and water closet. The water closet (i.e. toilet room) had oak hardwood instead of carpet and thank you past owners for that!

This tiny space is the only part of the master that has base moulding. Further supporting our suspicions that it was added after the initial construction. Also, it's oak, rather than the fir that is in the rest of the house - where there is moulding, that is.

The oak was kind of a b!tch to get out, however, and required me to get past my fear of circular saws. I'm a big fan of power tools and that includes most saws, but circular saws kind of freak me out. Nevertheless, I have one that I inherited from my dad and I knew where it was and hot damn, I used that sumgun to tackle that floor!

You may have noticed that the wallpaper has been removed...

After that new challenge the floor went in pretty much like all the others.

There actually was base moulding in the water closet! Another indicator that this was added later. I had to take it out to replace the flooring of course, but it will go back in, just you wait.

I think that the walk-in might be a good place to indulge my interest in round, novelty rugs. We'll see how that goes. So far, the rug shopping has yielded zero rugs. That is probably for the best as the self-leveling products have increased the budget quite a bit. Ahem.

That's right, no base moulding here either. The only space in the master suite that had it is the water closet.

I have to say that after getting the existing subfloor covered with the self-leveling cement product that slight scent that drove this whole project is now gone from all the spaces we removed the carpet from! YES! Two rooms left! The bathroom (not carpeted) and the craft studio/office/auxiliary guest room (carpeted).

Thanks again to Eric for getting down and sweaty to expedite the self-leveling portion of the project! Still, I believe we'll have saved thousands of dollars by installing it ourselves. Well, mostly myself. [wink]

Unforeseen additional steps:

Speaking of budgets getting blown, since I had to pull the 1977 (April 15) toilet to do the floors in the water closet it seemed like the best time to deal with all the other decorative issues in there: wall paper, toilet paper holder, light fixture, etc. Oh yeah, also a new, more practical toilet with lower water use. But this is a post for another time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Adventures in DIY Flooring - Cutting the Rug V

Annnnnnd then the whole kit & kaboodle done all over again in the master bedroom and one of its closets. Priming, caulking, blocking, leveling, finessing the leveling, laying planks. The only difference was for some reason there has never been base moulding in here, so I didn't have to remove it, re-oil it, reinstall it. I would like to get some up, especially since now that the shag isn't disguising the bottom of the drywall and how it isn't painted. But also kind of want to repaint now, so... no moulding for now.

Note that we still don't have a headboard. Why are the king headboards that I like so expensive? Sigh.

I don't know if people still cut costs by not replacing the floors in closets when they do the rest of the rooms, but I am sure glad we forgot that was even an option and just went ahead and budgeted for the whole deal. Even this little cedar closet in the master bedroom that we forget is even there.

Anyway, we've spent quite a bit more than we were initially expecting to level up the floors, so I don't feel compelled to buy what is mostly likely going to be a special order lumber: 1x3 clear fir. Assuming we want to match the rest of the base moulding, that is.

I'm not excited about the base moulding in general in the rest of the house. I mean, it's fine and all, but nothing I'd ever swoon over. So trying to find 1x3 fir just to match the rest of the house isn't inspiring me. I'm not saying that won't be the way we go, but that I won't be going any way at all right away. 

I think I might take a little break from the floors before I tackle the master walk-in closet & W/C, as well as the hall bath, and office/craft studio/sewing room/auxiliary guest room. There are plenty of other projects around here - some that are more reliant on warm weather, like finally taking apart the oddly placed planting beds that we are letting revert to nature. And the similarly oddly placed wine barrel planters that we've also let go. While I really would like the place to look a little tidier, I really would not like to use our limited, potable water on non-edible plants or the limited hours in the day orchestrating such a feat. We didn't move to the woods on the side of a mountain to have a suburban landscape, after all.

I just want to take this space here to say THANK YOU, ERIC for helping with the self-leveling step on this portion of the project! The directions say it's not a one-person job and by gum they are entirely correct. Not only did it go faster, but it went more smoothly... both the process and the result. And thanks also for always helping with moving the furniture over and over for all of the rooms, too, E.

When still wet, it looks like a lake at dusk when the surface is like glass. A cement lake, but still.


Unforeseen additional steps:

Surprise effects downstairs: the self-leveling subfloor material found it's way downstairs in this one spot in the kitchen. Sigh. Luckily, unless you're pouring it over concrete you need a primer to make it adhere well... and I have more of this paint.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Projectum Interuptus

I'm part way through taking a few weeks off from the big project of replacing alllll the flooring upstairs and here are the reasons why:

1. I went to California to visit some beloveds!

2. We hosted Eric's friend, Tex, who joined him in attending MisCon.

Here is where a photo would've been nice, 
but I mistakenly assumed there would've been some from the event. 

3. I worked on some boring maintenance projects around the place like fussing with the hot tub, constantly wiping pine pollen off stuff, making hummingbird nectar, etc.

4. I made a little throw pillow to help break up the brownliness going on in the guest room since replacing the floor in there.

5. I started working on the refab of the screen doors.
    (post coming soon)

6. I did my first two cross stitch projects ever! They are going to be a part of a much bigger project around the house, so I think I'll save posting photos until I start talking about that.

Just before the very first stitch in to second project. That is a great-great auntie's embroidery hoop!

7. We'll be hosting the VME's most frequent guest, Juan, this weekend.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Adventures in DIY Flooring - Cutting the Rug IV

Me: After what seemed like constant setbacks & extra weeks of research and work, I finally got to start installing the planks!
The Imaginary Crowd: NO WAY!
Me: WAY!

Here are the first few rows... the second time I installed them. Ahem.

Friday afternoon, I did a few courses in both areas and quite when I came to where I'd need to do fancy cutting for door jambs.

On Saturday morning around 9:30, I made those tricky cuts done and kept going. Let me say that this stuff is a breeze to cut with the jigsaw fitted with a metal blade.

By around 4:00 on Saturday afternoon, I'd gotten the hall and over half of the guest room done! My feet, knees, and hips were hurting and I was starting to make cutting mistakes, so I called it a day.

Base moulding not yet reinstalled.

YAHOO! And HOT DAMN! And [celebratory, creative cussing]! As of Sunday, the floors are starting to be in. Like in-in. For reals in. I even got all the baseboards back in and then all the furniture in the guest room. In addition to all the additional construction-related expenses, I followed manufacturer best practice and added felt pads to all the feet. I'm not looking forward to the way lint and dog hair clings to those, but that's better than marring these hard-earned floors.

I am so glad I labeled the back of each piece of base moulding when I took it off, because it went back in pretty quickly. Hand nailing it was kind of a hassle, though.

This view makes the room look less colorful than it is, but we definitely need some more color now that there is all that wood tone- probably through some rugs.

New threshold-adjacent piece! I got a deal on a damaged oak threshold, ripped it down to suit, stained, etc.

It was Tuesday by the time I had the base moulding reinstalled and the furniture put back in the hallway. Due to a wow in one of the walls and a rookie mistake in another place, I added a base shoe to the base moulding in the hallway, so that added time for purchasing, finishing, and installing. Plus I kind of needed a break for sanity, comfort, and to work on some other things. With the staining, varnishing, cutting, and live-in-general this wasn't complete until the next Sunday.

The paint color in the hall is far from great, but man does it look worse in these photos!

When i was working in the hallway, I noticed that the cool bear tile that hangs above the guestroom door was in need of a bit of repair, so I took it down before it fell down. I need to get on that and get it back up!

Since the LVP is thinner than carpet + pad, the base mouldings are lower than they were before all this. And since we haven't yet repainted the hallway, I have no way to disguise the evidence of that on the walls, but giving them a scrub helped quite a bit. Anyway, repainting the hallway has moved up on the to-redo list, but of course that means other* projects associated with that have also moved up the list. However, those are probably winter projects.

I used pretty much exactly 14 boxes of planks to do these two rooms. I would say that there are less than two planks' worth of waste to date. That's quite a bit less than the expected waste of 6-10%! However, I am probably being way more attentive to that and moving much more slowly than professional installers on all counts, so it probably makes sense. Some of that waste is being put to use to temporarily hold things in place where the finished floors meet the as-yet-incomplete floors.

Next up: the master bedroom and closets. This whole self-leveling thing which adds a few hours of work and days of wait to the process is really going to mess with my intended schedule which had us able to sleep in there every night of the process. I guess we will not. So, this means that I am going to wait until I get back from a little trip and after MisCon is done. Eric will be on some panels and will be participating as a Pro in the MisCon Writers' Workshop. Also, his friend Tex will be staying with us so we'll do her the kindness of not having our king bed set up in the living room.

* It turns out that a house is a collections of cans-of-worms and working on the house is a series of opening those cans.


More unforeseen additional steps:

Adding felt to the feet of all the furniture.
Learning how to re-install bi-fold closet doors at a different height.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Adventures in DIY Flooring - Cutting the Rug III

It is taking me awhile to get started installing the planks. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, I didn't have written directions specifically for this product. I mean, I understand the gist of the whole thing, but once you start you're stuck or you're wasting product. I just happen to like going in confident with the support of documented methods! Eventually I got some PDF directions that the retailer got from their rep and emailed to me. Second, I had to wait on the stair nose piece because they are generally made-to-order or on some kind of schedule and therefore can't just be rush shipped at extra cost. That took 2 weeks after bringing home the planks  Anyway, Eric and I unloaded all the boxes into the living room in a mostly-out-of-the-way place behind some chairs on the Saturday after I brought them home.

After "patiently" waiting 15 days I finally got going on Saturday and once I decided where to start and laid a few rows, it went poorly. Why? Well the floor was out of level just enough that to keep the planks from locking together properly. Sigh. As this happened after the local building supply place closed on Saturday (1:00p), it meant a Sunday trip to Missoula to buy all the things it take to apply/install self-leveling underlayment. I could have gone on Saturday afternoon, but I was crestfallen and cranky just couldn't face it.

The First Planks... The First Time. Sigh.

This did not mean I didn't make progress on Saturday afternoon, because there is an issue with the subfloor at the top of the stairs and I started tackling it. Because the lip on the stair nose piece is shallower than the cobbled together edge that was under the carpet there and wouldn't cover them, I had to remove those pieces (one fir and one plywood) and replace it with some oak to blend with the stair riser. Yeah. What would've been perfect is a 4' length of 1x2 oak that I could make into a 5/8" thick piece. What I could get nearby was a 9' length (yes, even the employees were surprised about the 9' length) of 1x4. All but about half of one side will be covered, so it only has to look "pretty" on that one bit. With some creative cutting with my table saw, I have a good start. I need to knuckle down and tackle some creative "nibbling" with the table saw before it's done.

I have no idea what these stairs are finished with and given some stories I have heard about the last owners and how the floors are wearing since we got here, I would say they are finished with something other than professional-level products. Like maybe something seen on a late night infomercial. Ahem. This bit certainly isn't going to get any wear, but this makes matching quite difficult particularly as wood stain stuff is far from my forte. So the goal was to get close and hope it mostly goes unnoticed. It being the top stair means it's at eye-level at some point, but oh well!


So, here is the guest room floor after the self-leveling process. This process... well it didn't go as expected or wished for. I kind of (actually) did it twice. The whole thing got me quite frustrated and temporarily semi-paralyzed, even though I understand that a 42 year old house is just not going to have totally level floors - especially on the 2nd story and it's not any real indication of some historical half-assery. Anyway... I ended up msixxing 6 bags and the whole thing took about 2.5 "extra" hours to apply.. Then I had to level out the "self-leveling underlayment" with a feathering product. I used 1.25-ish boxes and this added about 6 "extra" hours over the 9 times I applied it. All these steps had to cure for 16 hours - each of the nine times time I did part of it.  I hope this means I'll be laying planks on Friday - the second Friday after this all started. Finally!

Leveled! Or close enough to it.

All my research led me to two different brands of self-leveling material. Both of these brands are designed and promoted as ones you can apply flooring over fairly quickly - as soon as 3 hours for tile. I think this worked against me, as I learned later that these really are not one-person jobs. But I am just one person despite my mightiness. For the rest of the rooms, I am going to look for something less quick-setting which might make for better results with a one-person application. And perhaps ultimately it will mean less time between evacuating a room and laying the planks.

During those 16 hour curing windows, I worked on some other time-sensitive crafting projects, so at least there was that bright spot! Of course that is also when we slept, cooked & ate, shopped for more materials, and wrote blog posts. Oh yeah, and I had to buy a saw so I could cut back all the door jambs and some of the door mouldings. I wanted to avoid anything even remotely like this situation we inherited in the upstairs bathroom. Luckily, that will go away when I redo that floor later this year.


More unforeseen additional steps:

Oiling baseboards, since they were already taken out.
Leveling the floors which exceeded the tolerance of the material.
Fashioning & staining a piece of oak to under the stair nose piece.
Cutting back all the door frames and some of the door moulding.

A cool new saw was required, so at least there's some tool-geekery involved.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Taming the Monster in the Closet: I

A project in which the closet itself becomes a monster.

I tell ya', full-on occupying these spaces for almost 6 years means that these rooms and their closets are full-on filled up which is adding complexity to this flooring project in that it takes not a small amount of time to move stuff around repeatedly.

When the room is too narrow to get frame the photo well so you rotate it in Photoshop and then realize that the shelf was level before you rotated so you leave the background weirdness to add to the overall non-fun house effect.

It also means that I am taking this as an opportunity to attack these closets by adding some shelves and getting a fresh coat of paint in there. I had a gallon of paint that was a bad choice for the guest room's neutral, but a fine choice for inside a couple of closets.

What are those cutouts for? Only the left-most is over a stud.

On both ends the closet has room for shelves; on one end they're deeper than is practical for storing clothes, but the only clothes we store in here are costumes and they are hung on hangers. So that means that we need some hanging space for costumes and I want to have some for guests should they want to hang any of their clothes. On the other end where the shelves are shallower, we have an access door to the shower plumbing, so the shelves work around that and will store something easy to unload.

Of course, the doors and base moulding will be reinstalled, but after the new floor goes in.

What follows is the long path, riddled with obstacles, that lead to this unremarkable closet:

I reused what I could from the closet as it was when we moved it; parts of the closet rod and shelf, as well as the drywall-textured and painted-over rod/shelf brackets. The condition of the brackets really bothered me, but the idea of wasting them bothered me more. I decided to soak them in a Simple Green & water solution, scrap/rub off the paint and texture, then spray paint them to protect them from rusting, then reuse two of the three. I also drilled holes in the rod holder parts, so I could keep the rod stationary when sliding all the contents to one end.

I'm sure I'm not alone in that when I am remodeling and find something... er, unusual... I wonder about the history of the processes that went into the existing situation. I had always assumed that the knock-down/brocade drywall texture had been added sometime after 1976 when the house was built, but when I removed the base moulding, I saw that it covered all of the drywall. However, apparently they had installed the closet hardware before texturing the drywall. Curiouser & curiouser. And it seems that they had an issue with the plumbing in the shower at one point and cut through this drywall to deal with it.  Fair enough, but when they patched the wall that wasn't the access door, they didn't remove the shelf that was on top of these brackets. Funny thing is: the shelf was not attached to the brackets. Just resting on there. The whole thing is even more puzzling since they aren't installed level.

Black was not what I was imagining, but it is what I already had on hand that wasn't a just-plain-wrong color or a color that might be better saved for more visible projects.
I used scrap moulding from the front door project to make a support for the rod/shelf part in the center of the closet. Despite all the extra steps in getting the brackets cleaned up and adding these supports, the was the easiest and most direct part of this project.

Just to get every inch out of that closet rod, I put some stops on the ends. I used some funky cabinet knob escutcheons that came off the upstairs bathroom vanity. They're definitely weird and probably gauche, but I think they're funny and... they work! So at least this section of the closet is no-cost... except the screws. GEEZ!

The access door to the plumbing for the shower on the other side of that wall is oddly fancy with it's angled trim and it's not-just-a plywood-square door. It also has a way more secure latch than did any of the three screen doors when we moved in.

I used this as an opportunity to take a whole mess of stuff we've removed from the house or that was left here to Home ReSource in Missoula for donation. I was hoping to get materials for building the shelves there, too, but they had none of what I was looking for. It would have felt good to use something that might have otherwise ended up in the landfill and to nurture my inner cheapskate by not paying full price. At least I was able to keep 6 light fixtures, a ceiling fan, a stainless steel kitchen sink and faucet, 3 curtain rods, some curtains, a couple-few dozen switch and outlet covers, and various other bits of hardware and some paint/stain out of the landfill with our donation.

[I had intended to take a photo of the stuff all loaded up, but forgot. It would've gone here] 

I decided to at least use what I could from our scrap wood stash to make the shelf cleats. Most of this is what was left from building the wood shed. I tried to buy 3/4" plywood from the local lumber yards. Yard I doesn't have a way to rip a 4x8 sheet into two 2x8 pieces so I can actually haul it. Also, the "new" guy there is almost-subtly patronizing and a blatant mansplainer... he once actually mansplained to me how I should feel about the weather. So yeah. Yard II simply didn't have any 3/4" plywood. I didn't have the heart to further inquire about the smoothness of the 3/4" that usually carry and to ask again if they could cut it - the poor trainee seemed to be really struggling with the phone call already. Well, dammit! I tried to do good, but had to drive back into Missoula to a big box supplier.

Dumb mistake: I had the audacity to assume a wall that is longer wider than 16" would have a stud somewhere between the two ends. This is not the case for the shorter front walls of this closet. Of course, I didn't check until I had 3/4 of the cleats cut... from a 2x4 ripped into thirds. What a waste of time and materials! Maybe at least some of these very specifically cut lumber will be suitable for the studio/office/sewing room/auxiliary guest room close when I get to that?

Sigh. And so. Thinking about what we had already:
-Standards and brackets, but what sizes and in what quantity are out there? And were exactly are they out there? Not the right sizes. In the two places I thought they were.
-What is there that would not be best used in another place, sitting unused for even more time until then? All of it would be best used elsewhere, unfortunately.
-What about all those wooden brackets removed from the master bedroom way back when? Nope. Too small.

You can see that I haven't yet gotten the top shelf installed. That's because I'll need to get more 1/4" AC plywood, so next time I'm in Missoula and near Lowe's I'll get it. Then I'll already have materials for the next closet!

Anyway, that's the deal with the pine-board brackets; they're screwed to the corner studs and to the cleat on the back wall. The shelf is screwed to the brackets. I added a piece of screen moulding to the front for a tiny bit of added stability and to cover the plies.

Something similar will happen in the studio/office/sewing room/auxiliary guest room when I tackle the floors in there later this year, but hopefully it will go much more smoothly, quickly, and unembarrassingly.