Archive for the ‘Refinishing Projects’ Category

Removing Vinyl Flooring and Laying a New Floor – Part 3

The third night, we had just a little bit of the floor left to pull up.  I let my friend do that while I sprayed bleach-water all over the floor and cleaned up the strips of paper.  I took a putty knife and firm-bristled brush to stripped floor and picked off any of the particle board that wasn’t 100% commited to its brothers.  Then, I filled all of the dips with wood filler.  We laid a hair dryer on its side on the floor near the particularly heavy sections.  It had been our intention to lay the floor that evening, but I didn’t think that was wise since the wood filler hadn’t completely hardened in some places.  The package said that it can take 2 to 8 hours to fully dry.  With that knowledge, I went to bed.

I planned to get up early to do the floor before I went to work.  No dice.  We had a thunderstorm and my dog is a sissy.  He started barking and digging at his crate.  (Yes, we crate them overnight for now.  I don’t like it, but the house doesn’t have enough padding to keep their sounds from carrying and it’s hard to make a dog understand what it’s like to get up at 6, work all day, and not get home until 6.  They tend to think you’re rather silly and continue to scratch or bark or walk around or chew or snore or moan.)  So, I will have to finish the floor laying when I get home.  Luckily, I did start it before I left and realized that I was confused.  So, I called the help line and they walked me through it.  New floor tonight?! 🙂


Removing Vinyl Flooring and Laying a New Floor – Part 2

The next evening, I had given up on the whole idea of ironing the floor.  I decided that I would much rather deal with chemical strippers.  After putting the dogs outside, I tried a “green” floor stripper.  We let it sit for a little over an hour and realized that it didn’t do a thing.  It wet the paper backing pretty well, but it really didn’t touch the adhesive.  Back to the iron.  

After revealing the seam where they butted together the sheets of the subfloor, we realized that this floor was not solid wood.  They had used a particle board and the previous floor covering had done some serious damage.  There were huge sections where the top layer of board peeled off with the backing.  Particle board is literally just that.  It is a board made up of wood particles pressed together and held with an adhesive.  They chose to staple the flooring down in several locations and moisture had reached yet other sections.  Again, we had a cross-roads.  Should we stop and replace the subfloor or patch the existing subfloor?  We don’t have the money to replace the subfloor and we need to have a floor in the kitchen.  So, we decided to buy wood filler to patch the spots that had weakened.  I was concerned about mold growth, so we continued removing the backing until we couldn’t see straight anymore and I decided that I would give it one more night to air out before we patch and lay the floor.

Another almost midnight evening and we called it quits.  I did, however, leave the solution on a section of backing that we didn’t pull off  so that we could see what would happen overnight.  The next morning, there was absolutely no difference. 😦

Removing Vinyl Flooring and Laying a New Floor – Part 1

This is a three parter… I thought it would be one night of intense work, but it ended up being almost 4 nights of up-till-midnight-back-breaking-labor.

The one thing in this house that we HAD to change was the flooring in the kitchen.  It was this horrible green sheet of vinyl flooring that was so poorly laid that dog chews, chapstick, vitamins, pencils, dead bugs, almonds, etc were hiding under the flaps that weren’t tucked down.  After we decided to replace it, we came to a crossroads.  We could either lay the new flooring directly on top of the old after triming and properly finishing the old flooring or we could remove the old flooring and lay the new flooring.  The BF and I had a convo and decided that we should remove the old flooring so that we can patch and care for the floor underneath.

For the second week in a row, he left on business.  With our anniversary coming up on Monday, I decided to make the new floor my anniversary gift to him.  Granted, we bought it together, but I knew it would be hard work and doing it for him would be that much less he had to worry about.  Okay… he doesn’t worry.  I worry.  But it would be one last thing for us to try to plan to do.

After much research, these are the events that transpired.

First, remove all thresholds or baseboards that you intend to put the new flooring under.  Score the flooring for easy removal.  I took a straight razor blade and ran it up the length of the room every 12 inches or so.  Using a plastic putty knife, I picked up the edge of the top layer and pulled.  Glorious.  Let me just tell you, it was sooo nice to see that ugly green go away.  I sat back and thought, “Gee!  That was easy!”

Boy was I wrong.

After the top layer comes up, you’re left with the backing.  Every site I looked at told me to use a hair dryer and it would come right up.  Lies.  I tried that on an edge and it did nothing.  About that time, one of my girlfriends came over.  She was going to help me this week so that I could get it done for sure.  Seeing my plight, she said “Well, why don’t you iron it?”  That made sense enough.  So, I got out my iron and a rag and steamed a small section of the floor.  It came right up!  (WARNING:  This will cause your iron to get a nasty funk all over it.  If you have a crafting iron, use that.  If not, you might want to go with a cheap model.  I happened to have a decently cheap model, but it also came off after a little work.  I ended up heating the iron to its highest setting and running it back and forth over a wet towel.)  The room is just under 100 square feet.  About 10 square feet took us almost 2 hours.  By 11 PM, I was EXHAUSTED!  We decided to wrap it up the next night….

If You Want Something Done Right, You Have To Do It Right

Ahh… moving.  Unless you move into a place specifically built for you and fresh as a daisy, you have NO idea what’s in store for you.  Sure, you go through all the right steps.  You get the appraisal.  You get the inspections.  You walk through it as many times as you have to be 100% that this is the home for you.  The truth is, though, until you get in there and start looking at every inch of the home in all its nakedness, you can’t possibly grasp what you have waiting for you.

So, I made sure to get my boyfriend and I in there EARLY to try to get this stuff cleaned up.  I’m a huge believer in starting with a clean canvas.  A house is only as good as the foundation.  If you take shortcuts to get things done, you wind up doing the work all over again to fix it.

After tackling the floors (pictures to come along with a how-to), we decided to attempt to find white grout in the bathrooms.  We both decided on the bleach and water method.  In an old spray bottle, we mixed bleach and water until it smelled like bleach and sprayed it all over the walls and floor in both bathrooms.  First of all… ouch.  We both walked away with a tad bit of a chemical burn in our sinus passages.  But that’s okay if we get white tiles, right?  Well, that would have been nice.  No dice.  We left the house for about 2 hours while we ate some brunch and shopped for additional supplies.  When we came home, the tile was just as black as it was before.  I bought some cleaning products before and decided to break out the Softscrub with bleach and a scrub brush I had bought ages ago but never used.  VOILA!  We tried it on the floor in the main bath and it was ridiculous how fast it cleaned up.  It just goes to show you that you can’t shortcut cleaning.  If you want something cleaned well, you have to get in there and do it.  We’re only half done with one bathroom, but I can’t wait to finish it.  We bought grout sealant so we can try to protect the grout when we’re all finished.  I PROMISE there will be pics.  The bf goes out of town tomorrow morning so I will have the house to myself… and actually be able to accomplish something.  I will take pictures of our current progress and update you on the surprises that I planned for this week!  Thanks for hanging in there with me!!!

Coffee at 7 PM + Closing Day jitters = Glorious Accomplishments

So, it’s the night before closing and I just keep going over and over it in my head.  As of tomorrow morning at about 10 AM, my boyfriend and I will be homeowners.  We will no longer be renting… ever.  We don’t have to ask permission to paint the kitchen cabinets purple with orange polkadots or beg maintenance to fix our screen door.  If it’s broken, we can fix it or hire someone who knows what they’re doing to fix it.  It’s a double-edged sword, though.  If we break it, there is noone else to blame.  My stomach has been tied in knots all day and I finally had to take it out on a project.

About a week ago, I went to the Goodwill near my office and found the most glorious lamp.

Beautiful lamp

Unfortunately, as it is with most lamps at thrift stores, there was only one like it.  At least that’s what I thought…  Next to it was another lamp identical in shape.  It was black, though.


“Oh well,” I thought, “I can find a home for this one at least.”

Just like that, the pretty one was mine and I left the black one to live with someone else.  A couple days went by, though, and I kept thinking about my lamp’s cousin.  Surely I could find a home for it in my new house.  So, I went back… sure that all was lost and I would walk out empty-handed.  To my surprise, there was Lamp 1’s cousin still on the shelf!  I snatched him up and took it to check out.  Oh, but wait… there were paint flecks on it.  😦  I guess I could touch that up with magic mar-… oh, no!  It was not Lamp 1’s cousin; it was Lamp 1’s long lost twin!!!  Fate had brought them together again.  It was my job to return this lamp to it’s original luster.

Starting with the very scratched part, I began to uncover the lamp beneath.

the start

I gathered together cotton pads, non-acetone fingernail polish remover (because my artist friend came back with a resounding “I don’t know” when I asked her if acetone would damage glaze), cardboard to protect my floor, a nail brush to scrub off the yuckies, and sexy dish gloves (because one must protect her manicure at all times).


Now, if there is anything that I am, I’m lazy.  And, after about 5 minutes of scrubbing with fingernail polish remover with little success, I gave up.  I emptied a bottle of window cleaner that I had never much liked anyway and poured in one bottle of polish remover.

remover in a bottle

Miracle of miracles!  A little spray went a loooong way!  The paint began to bubble and peel.  See?  I have the most glorious hunk of paint in my hand ever.

exciting bubbles!glorious paint!

Oh, and the results were worth all the paint peeling and wiping and a tad bit of scrubbing.

sisters reunited!

Whomever painted over the beauty of this lamp should be flogged with a wet noodle.  About ten nanoseconds after finishing the project, I called my friend and told her the great news.  With her toothbrush in her mouth, she seemed excited enough.  Haha… Well, anyway, I’m glad that my work paid off.  I can’t wait to post pics of how these look in the bedroom.   Any idea on shades?  I thought a nice cylinder shade would look good, but it has to be plain no matter what shape.  I worked too hard to not let the coolness of these lamps take centerstage!

Now, time to bake cookies (yes, it’s 1 AM), and head to bed. 🙂

EDIT: Do not leave fingernail polish remover in a plastic container overnight… you will end up with a very floppy container.  Thank goodness it was thick plastic to begin with!  haha…