We passed our final inspections this week! Guess what that means?!
In honor, I'm posting a before and after shot of the kitchen/dining room. Since we still have A LOT of painting and decorating to do, this is not going to be the end of the journey....more to come!
I normally like to start the blog updates with pictures. But this story needs some explaining before we get to the good stuff. I've mentioned previously that we have a tight budget and so we are doing some things ourselves. One of my bright ideas was to refinish the floors ourselves. I cannot possibly articulate in a blog post how naive this idea was. I thought "How hard can it be?"
Spoiler alert. Really. Fucking. Hard.
About two weeks ago, in a panic, I called my brother and asked him if he would be willing to fly up from Alabama to help us with the floors. Even though it was his birthday, he agreed to help us out. But, he could only come for 2 full days - Thursday and Friday. I wasn't able to take Thursday off of work, but did take Friday off to help. Sometime around Thursday afternoon, I sent him a text to see how it was going. "Slow" was his response. Then sometime around 5:30 on Thursday he texts "There is no way I'm going to be finished sanding by tomorrow". Uh oh
Friday was my own version of torture. We rented a second drum sander so we could both sand at the same time. We started at 8 and by 5 we were both toast. At that point, we had the second floor rough sanded and edged. But the first floor was only rough sanded. Paul and I ended up finishing up on Saturday and Sunday. If you are not familiar with the process of refinishing floors I'm going to break down the steps for you now.
- Rough sand the floors - this involves multiple passes with a drum sander to get the floors flat and the existing finish off. typical floors need 60-80 git sand paper. We had to use 25...so basically beaver teeth to get the finish off
- Edge floor - the drum sander can't get the 6" perimeter so you need to use an edger. The edger is the same weight at a smaller toddler, so like 30lbs. And in order to use it correctly, you have to squat and hold it. I am not joking when I say my max time doing this was about 5-10 min before I needed to take a break.
- Vacuum floors
- Resand floors - this time with 80 grit sandpaper. This step went much faster.
- Vacuum floors
- Tack floors (when you wipe them down with a barely damp cloth)
- Apply sealer - since we were doing clear poly over bare wood, we opted for a sealer.
- Buff floors - This time with 120 grit sand paper
- Vacuum floors AGAIN
- Tack floors AGAIN
- Apply First coat of poly. We used Bona Traffic HD in the Ultra Matte finish
We still have one more buff and poly coat to do which won't be until this weekend. I'm proud to say we did finish the first coat of poly by noon on Sunday. But I needed a 4 hour nap afterwards and I'm still sore. It was probably the hardest thing I've ever done. Like, I would go through childbirth again before refinishing floors - no joke. In hindsight..we should have hired someone to do this for us as it would have been money well spent.
Jake working hard
There have been a couple projects we have taken on ourselves. I woke up one Saturday morning and thought "I think we are going to do the floors in the playroom/laundry room today". It was the last weekend my mom was here to watch the girls all day for us and it seemed like the last project that definitely required two people. The room that connects the barn to the house is really big. It's currently where the laundry is located and we decided not to change the location. Eventually this will be our mudroom, but for the immediate couple of years its going to function as the laundry and playroom. Its right off the kitchen so you can see the kids and there is plenty of room for both. Who knows...maybe we can teach the girls to put in a load of laundry between coloring!
The flooring in this room had asbestos in the glue. Most people here asbestos and have a panic attack, but its not really dangerous if you are not planning on removing it. Removing it in our case was going to be incredibly expensive and not necessary since we can put a floating floor right over it without touching it. We chose this wood veneer flooring from home depot that looks like old barn wood. I love it! And it was so easy to install. We had the whole room almost completed in about 6 hours. We still have to add a piece of trim around the edges, but I want to wait until after we paint so I don't have to be as careful. We also installed new beadboard behind where the washer and dryer are going to match the other panelling in the room. My plan right now is to paint all the existing panelling white and the trim around the windows, but we will see. I might go with a color instead of white.
After the countless hours of removing all of this wall paper in the front hall and upstairs hallway, I thought we would just be able to put up a little spackle and paint. Boy was I wrong. There is not enough spackle in the world that could've made these walls look okay. So we had a painter come out and skim coat the walls. It took him almost 4 days to do this work...but it was worth every penny! Now, with the exception of the den and the two upstairs bedrooms, all of the walls in the house are basically new.
Let me take a minute here and say this was probably the backwards way to do things. In reality, we should have demo'd all the walls and started completely new. And we were advised to do that. But it just wasn't in the budget to demo all the walls in the house. You could make the argument that we spent more money on working with what was there, but I don't believe in the end it would have been less expensive to demo every wall. Also, we would have needed to replace all of the trim in the house...and the trim is beautiful. Its not something that would have been easy or even possible to replicate, so I made the decision that having imperfect walls was better over removing all the trim. Just one of those decisions you have to make and then live with...and I feel like we made the right decision for us in the end.