Our New Old House

1918 Bungalow

Flower

Archive for the ‘contractors’ Category

Hardwood Floors: To Sand or Not to Sand?

A lot of deliberation went into my decision to sand the finish off the hardwood floors.

Once I got the carpet padding up, I got some help from a couple of experts in identifying what issues I’d have to consider. I knew that the floor had been refinished at least once and had been sanded very aggressively. When I removed the quarter-round trim from the baseboards I could see the original surface of the floor as it had been installed under the baseboard. There seemed to be a drastic difference between the original surface of the floor and the present surface. Whatever the actual measurement was, it made me worry that there would not be much left to sand before getting down to the tongue and groove between the boards.

I wasn’t able to get a very good picture illustrating this but if you look closely you can see a dark line just under the baseboard. That’s the original surface of the floor.

IMG_5818 Zoomed In

One expert took a razor blade and placed it between the boards at several points around the living room and dining room to see how far it would go in before hitting the tongue of the next board. In some places there was about a sixteenth of an inch, in some places more or less. It was very inconsistent. That led this expert to be very wary about the prospect of sanding the floor with a belt sander. He said that whoever sanded it so aggressively in the past probably did it to even out some “cupping” which means curving of the boards to make a wavy texture across the floor. They took off a lot of wood and didn’t leave us much to work with. He suggested removing the varnish using chemicals and only doing a light sanding before staining. He gave me a bid on what he would charge to do the chemical stripping and refinishing. I don’t remember how much the bid was but it was quite a bit more than I was hoping to pay, since it’s a very labor intensive process.

Since I have the skill to do it myself I thought about how long it might take me to do that but since I am only working on these things after my day job I decided I wouldn’t have the time to get the whole thing done if I did it myself.

Next I spoke to someone who is an expert at running a belt sander. I wanted to know how much the belt sander actually takes off if the floor doesn’t need leveling or anything. I hoped that just sanding enough to take the finish off and prepare it for staining would be possible with the amount of wood we had to work with. He took a look at the floor with me and assured me that with the right grade of sandpaper we could do what we needed in just two passes. One to take the finish off and one to smooth it for the stain. It would require a bit more detailed sanding by hand using a handheld orbital sander to get into areas that had cupped, but since cupping wasn’t a big problem, that wasn’t too daunting.

I rented the belt sander from Des Moines Rental and it came with an edge sander. They sold me a bunch of belts and pads for both sanders and promised to buy back whatever I didn’t use.

Over the next two days, our expert, Brian Smith, ran the belt sander while K.O. and I ran the edger and a handheld orbital sander. We did one pass with 80 grit sandpaper to get the finish off and then one pass with 100 grit sandpaper to prepare the floor for stain and sealant.

Untitled

20121029_221614

20121029_221735

Untitled

Because Brian went so easy with the belt sander, there were lots of spots where the floor had cupped a little where I needed to use the handheld orbital sander to get the rest of the varnish off. I did that detail work while K.O. did the edges and the corners and in three days or so we had the whole floor sanded and ready to be cleaned and stained.

Next post: “Andronicus, stain not thy floors with blood.”

My Bathroom: The Rest of the Story

Some people said they wanted to see more pictures of my crazy bathroom in its recent stages of transformation. I am nothing if not obliging. Here, you dirty voyeurs! Feast your eyes on the nitty gritty recesses of my bathroom.

You may recall that when we decided to put up wainscoting, I allowed Brandon, my cousins, sister, sister’s boyfriend, and myself to draw on the bathroom walls.

IMG_3551

Then we put up some shelf paper because we weren’t able to tackle the job of putting up the wainscoting for a while and we needed it to look nice and be easier to clean in the meantime.

IMG_5062

THEN! We took the shelf paper off in anticipation of the wainscoting installation. That didn’t go so well.

IMG_7139

BUT THEN! The carpenters from Loki’s Garden put up the wainscoting and our bathroom began to look beautiful.

IMG_7212

Next up: patching a few plaster flaws near the ceiling, some fresh and lovely blue paint, and a fresh coat of primer and paint for the woodwork. Also, the tub will get paint. And shiny shiny feet.

Hooray for shiny feet.

One Step Closer To the Bathroom Of My Dreams

Remember a while back when I showed you a picture of some lovely bungalow’s bathroom and jumped around hollering, “This one! This is the one! I’m going to make my bathroom look like that!” It looked like this:

Dreams for my bathroom

Well, I got one step closer this month as the fine folks from Loki’s Garden installed wainscoting on the walls!

IMG_7214

A Step Up

Remember the front steps on Our New Old House?

IMG_0963

They sagged, cracking the brick piers.

So earlier this summer I had Atlas Masonry rebuild them.

20120508_073436

Looks great, huh?

Flooring Finished! (Nearly.)

Our kitchen floor is finished! Doesn’t it look great?

IMG_3871

IMG_3870

The contractor didn’t bring enough tile to completely finish the bathroom, but he did the areas under the tub and toilet. The rest will go in on Monday.

IMG_3873

Things are finally coming back together.

[tags]clawfoot tub, contractors, photos, flooring, bathroom, kitchen[/tags]

You are currently browsing the archives for the contractors category.