Posts Tagged ‘2nd Floor’

We’ve finished swapping out all of our exterior doors!

Here’s the fogged up sliding door before:

The seal was definitely cracked.

With our friend Jimmy’s help, we swapped out the door… and then did nothing to it. The trim isn’t done, and when this picture was taken, the gaps around the door weren’t even sealed.

The new doors have in-the-glass blinds 😀

We also swapped out the dining room door with a full-pane glass (Energy Star, yay)

For this door, we also swapped the direction that the door opened (no more walking around the door to get from the kitchen to the grill.)

The dining room door was the only door not original to the house. It was good enough to use, just not pretty. So, we replaced the garage door with it:

It still definitely needs a cleaning, but the old door was rusting and had damaged trim, so 100% an improvement.

My favorite door swap is actually in the Master Bedroom.

This door leads to a balcony overlooking our ridge view. I think the new door shows it off much better:

Now we just have to install the new knobs, seal the envelope, and install the trim. Oy vey. I’ll post more details about our sources and costs when we finish installing them.

So that’s what we did last weekend. Oh, and we ripped out most of our deck 😀


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The 2nd floor is finally done!

To remember the good-ole days, here is the 2nd floor when we moved in;

A shot of the awkward half wall during demo;

Here’s a link to what we were aiming for.

We removed a wall, ripped up carpet, dry walled over the paneling, built a $90 built-in, removed the popcorn ceiling texture, switched the ceiling lights, painted, built a railing, covered the concrete in paper-bag flooring, re-installed the crown molding, changed the electrical boxes, and painted some more.

And here it is:

The view from the basement (prior owners’);

And Current;

Here is the cost breakdown for our 280 sq. foot room:

Drywall: $145

Primer: $40

Paint: $60

Paper Bag Flooring: $80

Built-in: $90

Railing: $25

New Ceiling Lights: $75

New electrical: $30

Total: $545 (ouch, how did it add up to that!?)

Covering this room in $2 a sq foot hardwood would cost more than that, so we’re satisfied enough.

Then there was the great furniture shuffle.

For the first time, my books are no longer double-stacked on garage shelves. It’s awesome! It went from two of these…

To legitimate shelves!

Now I have room for more books 🙂

One of my favorite things is how well the Pink Floyd Canvas turned out in the room.

I also love the new view into the basement (better than a wall of paneling!)

There is still work to do, but it will happen later. The windows, interior doors, and 4 of the exterior doors will be replaced after the PMI is dead. That will include the fogged slider door, the garage door, and the window in this room.

Your days are numbered, 70s brown door with no trim :}

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I accomplished absolutely nothing last weekend. I did get to hang out with my little brother on his birthday, so that’s a plus.

Michael, on the other hand, had this done by the time I got home Friday evening.

It’s a subtle difference, but we have baseboards again!

They’ve already had the two coats of primer, one coat of paint treatment. Now all the trim needs to be caulked (75% done, thanks to Michael) and painted one more time.

After that, this room will be done.

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Paper Bag Floor

The 2nd floor’s floor is finished! I wish I could say the entire 2nd floor is finished, but we still need to re-install the baseboards and put a coat of white paint on everything that is currently white. Except the wall outlets. Those are white enough 🙂

We mentioned our crazy-sounding plan to put paper bag flooring down in this post. The method I used came from an excellent tutorial post at LovelyCraftyHome. One difference in my case was my concrete sub floor. I tried a few of the suggestions on LCH’s tutorial. Elmer’s glue worked perfectly for me, but Stain/Polyurethane alone did not; it would not adhere to the concrete.

Another special consideration for concrete sub floor is preparation. We had nail holes every few inches along the border of the room from the carpet tack strip. We patched those and a few low areas with Vinyl concrete patch. (It didn’t want to work very well, but we forced it to.) The paper did not adhere to patches as well as to concrete, but it was sufficient. Then we scraped the floor to remove the ridges in carpet adhesive, old drywall mud, etc. Even after being scraped level, the carpet adhesive on the concrete slab affected the color (slightly) of the paper covering it. Luckily it does not deter from the overall floor.

We used 15 ounces of Elmer’s glue for every 2.3 cups of water. You could thin the glue/water ratio down more. I do recommend using a food scale instead of a measuring cup. You just put the bowl you’re using on the scale, tare it to zero, and pour the glue straight into the container it will be used in.

Per LCH’s tutorial, I ripped the paper into pieces (I aimed for 5×7 inch rectangles), wadded them up into balls, and separated the straight edges to use along walls.

We started around the border of the room with the straight-edge pieces. Immediately after we placed the pieces, they wrinkled up. I optimistically ignored it, and luckily for me, almost everything flattened out after drying.

Some other concerns for me during this step were that you would be able to tell that I worked left-to-right around the border (can’t tell at all), that the hazy glue mess on top of everything would still be visible after drying (nope), and that my left knee would never be the same (it made it!).

See how hideous and wrinkly that mess is? It worked out pretty well in the end. I would estimate this step took 40 hours. Luckily, there were 5 of us, so we got it done in one day.

Once the glue dried (overnight), it looked like this: (Sorry for the poor picture, I only have pictures of the huge gaps at this step)

I was happy with the floor at that point, but I 100% wanted it darker.  We patched the larger gaps, let the glue dry, and then spent about an hour staining the floor (2 people). We used Stain/Poly mix and ripped-up t-shirt rags. I felt exactly like Cinderella. The rags worked great. I’m still not sure about the Stain/Poly.

Everywhere that we overlapped layers of stain, there is a visible transition. In other areas, the stain looks smeared on; you can see the pattern in the floor where the rag was pushed.

My theory for the smeared areas is simply an over-soaked rag in those places; it was some of the last areas done and I was getting sloppy. As far as the overlaps; learn from my lesson. Do not overlap the stain at all. My instinct is that the stain/poly blend is less forgiving than stain when it comes to overlaps.

There were also little gaps all over the floor. The brown sharpie was too red, and the black sharpie was way off… So, I filled them in with a brown sharpie, and then put a few lines of black sharpie over the brown, and then smeared it in with my finger.

Anywhere there was a wrinkle on the edge of the paper, stain seeped under and turned it significantly darker. Note to the next person; if you don’t want sporadic darker patches, smash those wrinkles after the glue dries the first time, and glue them down again.

We tried some gel paint stripper and a toothbrush in a few of those areas to lighten up the floor.

The floor dried for 5 days after this step, mainly because we didn’t want to polyurethane the floor after work 🙂 We used a 6″ cabinet/foam roller on a broom stick to apply the floor polyurethane (Worked like a charm). We just followed the directions on the polyurethane.

The floor dried in the sunlight much quicker during the glue step, and we wanted to avoid that during the poly. We just so happened to have some contractor paper lying around :), so we covered the sliding door while the poly dried.

The instructions specified 4+ hours to dry between coats, but it was 9 hours before the floor lost it’s tackiness for each coat we did. We got 4 coats out of the gallon of poly with some leftover for patches as needed. The polyurethane step took about 3 hours spread over 2 days.

It’s been 3 days since then, and we’re still not really walking on it. It still smells though 🙂

For the transition between the floor and the railing wood trim, I taped off the wood, and glued the paper right up to the wood itself. Once the poly dried, I took a  razor knife and cut the paper along the joint.

For a 280 sq foot room, I used

  • (most of) a 450 sq foot roll of Contractor paper ($10.98)
  • 1.25 gallons of Elmer’s All purpose glue ($12.33 ea.)
  • (most of) 1 qt Mini-wax Polyshades  in “Mission Oak Gloss” ($11.85)
  • 1 gallon of oil-based floor poly ($37.50)

We got everything from Lowe’s.

I also used the help of 3 family members (priceless) and 1 spouse (conscripted service).

That’s about $80; $.29 a square foot installed. Less than vinyl tile 🙂

So far, it’s a floor. You could call it faux cork floor. It’s warmer and less gritty than bare concrete. You can feel the texture of the floor through socks. I’ll post back with how it handles our 50 pound puppy. (Update; after four months, our hyperactive 50 pound dog hasn’t been able to scratch the finish on this floor. It still looks brand new.)

I think after finishing this first area, if we do it again (like those carpeted stairs, perhaps? I hate the carpet stairs) we’ll be better at it. We’ll know to crush any ridges after the glue dries, and to be very cautious with the stain.

The 2nd floor is still pending the baseboards, and another coat of white paint on all the trim. The we can finally put stuff back in here. It’s starting to look  like the mood board I was aiming for months ago 🙂

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The rail and built in top are stained and installed. We sanded the surfaces down, rounded some corners, and put one coat of Minwax Early American stain on it.

Here is the lumber looking all patriotic. Michael followed the stain up with three coats of satin finish polyurethane. We’re 100% foam brush people when it comes to stain, btw.

We were then finally ready to assemble the railing and the built-in.

Here is the rail top in all it’s glory;

And the built-in, with it’s new top and a sample of drywall dust. It was attached to the bookshelves and the small half-walls to each side with pocket-screws.

We fit-tested the wood a few weeks ago, so we knew it was capable of fitting (with a tiny 1/16 inch clearance on each side). All we had to do was line the board up exactly parallel to the window wall (several feet out, where the wall cut-out is), and slide each side of the 12.5 foot long 2 by 12 into place; perfectly synchronized. However, since then we’ve installed 1/2″  trim in the way around the wall cut-out. Whoops. We wedged them in there eventually 🙂

Below is the (finally) assembled half-wall.

Here’s what that view looked like when the previous owners were here. I like ours better :}

I also put the second coat of the blue paint up. The pic below is the current room. Look how symmetrical the former tetris wall is ! It even has Ethernet and power ports. Fanciest $90 built-in I’ve seen 🙂

Now I need to get back to painting things white. The built-in shelves and most of the trim are still just primer. We’re getting there 🙂

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We picked out the stain color for our built-in top and rail. We wanted to use one of the several stains we already have.

In our box of stain stuff, we  also have a wood stain paint chip to keep up with what they all look like.

We’re going to use Early American this time, the same color as the coat rack upstairs (which I luurvve).

We also finished painting the air vents for the 2nd floor. They match fairly well after three coats. Painting them instead of installing new white ones is saving us $16.62. I’ll take it 🙂

Next up: sanding and staining the built-in top and rail.

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Time for another update! Last weekend the 2nd floor looked overpoweringly white, like so;

Michael patched the ceiling and door trim, and so I primed the door trim, the crown molding, and the built in. Then I primed them again. I’m still not done; I have to actually paint them all (twice).

During my white painting streak, I tried out Sherwin Williams’ “Brilliance” ceiling paint. Pretty bombastic name for a flat white latex paint. Two coats went up, and it turns out to be… pretty standard ceiling paint. It was only $20.57 after a 25% off coupon, so I would buy it again at that price. I’m so glad I’m done with that ceiling. I put 4 coats of white on that ceiling. I’m done. Stupid ceiling.

Then (finally) Michael was able to install our new lights, which I love.

The old ceiling lights were 2-bulb brass things:

We replaced them with the Maxim MX 2681 from lighting direct. They are both 3-bulb lights, and I got them for $38 each after a coupon. I couldn’t get a good picture of them, but Lighting Direct was able to…

After adding 6 bulbs and coat after coat of white paint, this room was blinding.

At this point, I should have painted the trim, built in, and railing lumber white twice (then I wouldn’t have to aim while painting trim, because mistakes would end up on wall primer). Should have. However, I was tired of painting things white over and over again, so instead I did this.

It took me about an hour and a half, and I was giddily happy the whole time. I probably asked Michael “Doesn’t it look Awesome!?” about 20 times. This paint is a huge color change from the white, so a second coat is 100% needed. I used 3/4 of a gallon so far.

You can see how much progress Michael made on the railing this weekend in this picture.

The wood top is going to be stained darker, close to a walnut.

The old air conditioning vents (the gaping holes near the ceiling) were brown, so we bought two bright white vents to replace them. Then I saw this photo on Pinterest.

I like how the vent blends into the wall color, it’s much less abrupt than a white box up there. So we’re going to attempt to paint the old (free) brown ones. First coat is done.

We’ll see how it goes. Now I get to paint the room blue again, and then back to white-on-white-on-white painting.

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