July 15, 2012
Home Improvement Time – Stage 2

Still no headway on the last piece of trim for the door in the upstairs hallway. Oh well… I’ll just keep trying at Menards until the trim comes in. Also, I haven’t done the painting in the entry way. So it goes… In the mean time…

Saturday morning I dragged the washer, dryer, toilet and vanity out to the garage. Next, I took out the old shelves in the laundry room. Then I cleaned up the floor as best as I could with an ice chipper to scrape the crud off the cement and then used a chisel to even out some of the worst stuff. Then it was time for the real work. I laid out all the tiles, cutting the ones that needed and fitted them all in with spacers. Then I mixed up the mortar (mortar with polymer) and smoothed it out according to the directions and laid the tile. It all went rather well. I even got done in time to go to the Riverside Casino and catch the Joe Walsh concert!

Today, I put up the new shelves, grouted the tile and then trimmed the area where the washer and dryer will go. Tomorrow will be installing the washer, dryer and vanity. I won’t be able to do anything more until the weekend due to other stuff (ain’t it amazing how life gets in the way of home improvement projects?). But at least we’ll be able to do laundry!

Here’s the photos:

The new shelves already up and loaded.

The floor in the laundry room.

Bathroom floor – no trim

The laundry room floor from the bathroom

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July 8, 2012
Home Improvement Time – Stage 1

So one of the four items is completely done and two more are nearly done. Here’s the rundown:

The new floor is completely done. The installer came in and did a beautiful job laying down the new laminate floor. I’m not including any photos of this because I didn’t do the work, but I will acknowledge the great job the installer did. The installer was H&H Construction and I’d recommend them to anyone.

The stairs, I am nearly complete. They are not complete because there is a coat of paint to go on the entire foyer to match the risers on the stairs, Antique White. I took out our old wrought iron handrail and stair rails. Then I took out our old steps and risers as well as the mismatched carpet on them. I had previously purchased oak treads for the stairs (treads are what you step on and risers are the vertical part of the stairs) and cut them to size, sanded them smooth and put three coats of Helmsman urethane. Also, I installed oak handrails and balusters as well as oak stair rails. So while the stairs look great and are usable, there is still some painting to be done.

Lower stairs

Top of the lower stairs

Upper stair rail and handrail

Upper stairs

The upper hallway was necessary also. We have a light colored carpet and it was in a high traffic area. Add to that a dog and you get the idea. We simply couldn’t keep the carpet clean. So I replaced it with laminate flooring. It took one day to finish it, but it isn’t quite finished. There’s one piece of trim that yet needs to be installed. I used all the trim that Menards had on hand and it wasn’t enough. I’m one piece short. Other than that, the hallway is done.

The hallway floor

The hallway floor with the divider to the carpet in the living room

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June 24, 2012
Home Improvement Time

So I’ve taken this week off of work as vacation, or stay-cation as you may call it. I have three upgrades to work on and hope the installer can schedule this week. Here’s the details:

  1. Three weeks ago, we had the hose between the washer and the shut-off valve burst and had water all over the basement. I just put down a laminate wood floor a short time ago, so it was kind of a bummer. We had a crew come in and take up the floor – it was ruined by the water. It took them a half hour to take out the floor while it took me several days to install the floor. Since insurance is covering this, the installer should be here to replace the laminate floor. It shouldn’t take a professional installer more than a day to put in the floor (unlike me!).
  2. I’m working on replacing our stairs from the family room on the lower level to the upper level. Oak treads and off-white risers on the stairs, with the off-white matching the wall color. I currently have all the wood cut out and am putting coats of paint on the risers and coats of urethane on the treads. I should be able to get the new stairs in on Tuesday. I’ll have photos later of before/after. Along with the stairs, I’m replacing the handrails and the railing at the edge of the stairs in our upstairs living room. I should be able to work on this Tuesday and finish it up Wednesday. Again, I’ll have before/after photos.
  3. I’m also going to take up the carpet in the hallway upstairs and replace it with matching laminate flooring. With any luck, I can get most of this done on Monday. I may have to work around a few things to get this done. But it should be done some time this week.
  4. The final project is to replace the flooring in the laundry room and the adjacent bathroom. This was to be the main project for the week, but other things have happened and the “honey-do” list has moved other items up on the list. I have the floor tiles and the thinset to do the floor, I just need to get the washer, dryer, lavatory and stool out of the bathroom in order to put the floor down. I’m also putting up a wall in the bathroom to make it a bit less of a “utility” bathroom. My original plan was to tile the shower, but that may change with me getting a shower surround kit and installing that. Should be less work than tiling.

So much for a fun stay-cation.

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July 10, 2011
Nightstands – Part 5

The final chapter! So I’m done with the nightstands. And the headboard. And they are all in place in our freshly-painted bedroom. And it looks pretty good if I do say so myself. The color of the bedroom is called Almond, and really sets off the headboard and nightstands. Here’s the final pics I’m going to post:

The headboard with the bed attached The nightstand on my side of the bed The night stand on the other side of the bed Nightstand from above

The sealant I used to attach the ceramic tile to the nightstand frame is showing as white, but will dry as clear (according to the instructions on the sealant). I took these pictures at 2:30 this afternoon and now the sealant is almost completely clear. Also, I’ll have to get Casey to get us matching lamps; the ones you see here are just two lamps that we had that will work for now.

I still have to do some touch-up on the paint. Some places didn’t get enough and there are streaks in my current paint job. Also I’m not particularly pleased with the paint job I did on the corner of the wall and ceiling. But I do have some ceiling paint and can touch it up as well. All in all, it’s a pretty good job and (most importantly) Casey is pleased!

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November 21, 2010
One Day Side Project

So yeah, I’m still in the middle of working on the family room floor. I’m in a bit of a stopping point right now. Nothing serious, I just have a few other things to get done. Today, we got some throw rugs at Menards; non-skid throw rugs, that is. Placed them in front of our couches and they look pretty good. Also got three other non-skid throw rugs for the base of the stairs, the entry from the garage and the entry from the patio. However, KC decided she wanted the landing done with the same laminate wood flooring that I’m using in the basement. Well, we call it the “landing”; we live in a split foyer which from the entry to the house you can go upstairs or downstairs – you enter to the “landing”.

Well, I *THOUGHT* I could get it done in a day. I definitely underestimated the work to do here, but have like 95% of it done. The worst part of the whole thing was there were two, yes *TWO* layers of linoleum under the carpet that I had laid there. The carpet had some stains so it definitely needed to be replaced and the laminate wood flooring is a good choice. So I started mid-morning. Forgot the “before” pictures, so here’s the early pictures with the linoleum up. One side has the sound deadener down.

Down to the wood  Sound deadener underlayment

So after a few hours of work (and lunch and dinner in there as well!!) here’s the result:

Wood is good!  Just a little bit left

As you can see, I have one piece of quarter-round and the “cap” at the edge of the stairs to put down yet. I want to paint at least 2 more coats of black paint on the edge of the stair tread, so it won’t be until tomorrow afternoon that I’m completely done, but HEY! I’ll be done with that!

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November 13, 2010
Family Room Floor – Day 2

So yeah, it’s been a while. I’ve been doing a lot of little things. Since my computer desk is actually attached to the wall, I removed the legs and put in angle support braces. I also cleaned up the cables and set up cable management ties and such under the computer desk. Now there’s a lot of foot room under there, even with my server and the under-desk file cabinets:

Under desk to the right  Under desk in the center corner nbsp;Under desk to the left

I also got more of the floor done today. Zach came over and helped me out, which was great@! We got the rest of the main area of the family room done, as well as one of the closets. Of course, Zach brought Laura over! Zach also had an ulterior motive: he wanted to see how the laminate wood flooring went together and learn the secrets of how it went together and how to clean up small errors, and he accomplished that!

Floor south east corner  floor_20101113_2.jpeg

So I’ve got one closet left, and it poses a problem because I’ve got some support wood directly on the existing carpet. I’ll need to redo that, hopefully without having to empty the closet. And I also have the computer room to do. Of course, it’s only about 10’x10′ so it should go pretty quick, once I move the five drawer lateral file in there. And then, of course, the baseboard trim and the door casing trim.

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November 4, 2010
Family Room Floor

Well, I just *HAD* to do it! I’ve started another project at home. About 15 years ago, I put carpet down in our family room downstairs. It was a light carpet and a great change from the dark carpet that we had. I had also drywalled the family room – it had walnut paneling and was very dark overall. Well, the carpet has been spilled on, peed on by our dog, tracked on by anyone and in general just got very dirty. Even our steam cleaner couldn’t clean it any more. I have thought about this for several months and I’ve decided to go with laminate flooring. The stuff that interlocks and floats. There was a great deal at Menard’s so I ponied up and got the flooring. It was only 69 cents per square foot. So I bought 24 packages, which will cover 480 square feet (I hope it’s enough). One of my biggest dilemmas was that I don’t have the space in the house to move everything out and put down the new floor, so I have to do it in sections. I’m working from west to east, which means the longest runs are first. Now, on to the pictures.

Here is how the carpet looks. It’s supposed to be a uniform color, but as you can see, it isn’t.

Southwest corner  Northwest corner  North end by the closet

I started in on this on Sunday. First thing was to rip up the carpet. I had glued it down 15 years ago, but the actual carpet came up fine. I was not looking forward to scraping up the excess glue and pad, but then Tim at work said he had a good tool for this. As it turned out he was wrong – it wasn’t a good tool for scraping up this gunk…. it was the PERFECT tool! Here’s the floor with the carpet, pad and glue removed.

Southwest corner  Northwest corner

So after taking up the carpet, I laid down the vapor barrier and noise deadening pad. Then I laid out the planks.

Southwest corner  Northwest corner

Well, I had my brother Al over to help me lay out the planks. If you notice in the pictures, I had them attached to make one long plank. Well, after a lot of finagling I finally figured out this didn’t work. Al and my wife will both say I was very frustrated. I was short and snippy with them during this process. Well, after viewing some You Tube videos from Lowes and some other flooring companies I found I was doing it wrong. So I went out to Menard’s and got the tapping block and end bar tools to actually do the job right. And I went about taking apart the work Al, Casey and I did to re-do it right. And now it looks *MUCH* better!

Southwest corner  Northwest corner

More progress pictures to come!

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September 6, 2010
Bathroom Remodel – Day 6

Got a lot done today. The bathroom is now completely usable. There are little things to do but for all intents and purposes, the bathroom is done. I’ve got a small piece of chair rail to put up, some base molding to install and clean up some excess silicone. Also, I have the linen cabinet doors to finish and put up (just a coat of paint). Because of this, I probably won’t post any more updates to the bathroom remodel. Here’s the final pics:

Stool with a nicely finished corner  Granite vanity top with silicone to be cleaned up  Towel rack, complete with towels!

Curtains and shower curtain - REAL busy!  Chair rail and cabinet doors not done yet  New shower neck spout

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