Sunday, February 19, 2012

It Goes On and On and On.

Today involved 10 hours with 3 adults and 2 kids in one house...and no running water. The good news is that our plumbing in the bath tub and shower is all hooked up with no leaks and we're ready for the next phase of bathroom renovations. The bad news is, the next phase is more like 100 little phases.

While Darrick spent almost an entire day sitting in the bath tub cutting and sweating copper pipes and making so many visits to Home Depot that they all know him by name, I did some of this:

And some of this:

And some of this:

But before I talk about all of that, I also have to make note of how much of this I got done:

Oh yes. A mere 7 months after installing our laminate floors, we finally got around to putting in baseboards. Originally, I'd planned on reusing the old baseboards to save some money and natural resources and all those good things, but in the end that didn't work. The old baseboards were pretty well beat up, had caulking and other varieties of disgustingness all over them, and needed about 56 coats of paint sanded off them in order to be salvageable. When my mother in law came over with an offer to help put baseboards back in place, I immediately accepted. But when I showed her the pile of old baseboards I planned to refinish, she talked some sense into me. And thank goodness for that.

We bought baseboards in the same style that are everywhere else in the house and painted them Behr's Ultra Pure White. My mother in law did the first 2 pieces, showing me how to use her fancy table saw. I went ahead of her, caulking the gap between the laminates (when you install them, you leave a small gap so they have room to expand and contract as needed), the foundation, and the drywall. I'm not so worried about moisture, but I did want to keep that area sealed tight because we live in Arizona and scorpions are a very real concern. Anything we can do to minimize the opportunity for them to sneak into our house I am all over. My mother in law, for the record, didn't approve of this step and argued it would make it harder to properly install the baseboards. Luckily, it didn't create the problems she feared.

Once she got me started, I was able to keep it going. Some of the sections were easier than others, but the basic steps were easy enough. I just laid the baseboard out along the wall where it needed to be installed and used a washable marker to mark the cuts I needed to make. On a few, I had to go back to the saw more than twice, but once they were properly cut I just hammered them in with finishing nails, then caulked the top edge with clear DAP caulk and let it dry. We went over them with an additional coat of white paint, and once it's all done we'll go back again and touch up any of the wall paint that got messed up in the process.

There were a few areas that needed some extra love before we could put baseboards up. The transition between the kitchen and great room was designed with a gap between laminates. Laminate installation sometimes calls for gaps between rooms to make the boards flow correctly and to break up the floor so there's another form of support there. I brought home some t-molding to fill that space and hopefully assist with some of the transitions in doorways. It was easy enough to install. I cut it to size so it would fit snugly but not bow, and used Liquid Nails on the foundation and the edges of the surrounding laminates to affix it. Per the directions, I put weights on top of each strip which will stay there for 24 hours just to make sure they adhere well.

I love how you can hardly even notice the molding in that space, and I'm optimstic it will be as seamless as possible once it's dry.

I had to do something similar around the french doors, since there's a gap there as well, but the t-modling wouldn't fit properly. Instead, I used a 1/4 round in a finish to match the floors. I cut it to size and glued it, but thanks it it's curved top a weight wouldn't stay on top of it. Instead, I put 4 finishing nails through it and into the laminate below. In all honesty, this was the most difficult part of the day because the angle was awkward, the 1/4 round was difficult to nail through, and the finishing nails are fine. I bent at least 3 nails at each spot before successfully getting one all the way through.

While all this was drying, I revisited my cabinets. The doors and drawer fronts I stained weeks ago were mostly looking good, but a few needed some more love. For those that needed it, I buffed again with sanpaper and/or steel wool, wiped them down, and used stain and clear poly. I was not only concerned with some bubbles and streaks on a few of the pieces, but also with getting them all as close as possible to the same saturation level.

And, at long last, we started the long-awaited addition to the cabinets. I've mentioned before how we planned to build the cabinets up to make them taller, and we finally got that project started. Originally, we were going to leave the cabinets in place in the bathroom and add a riser to the top, below the counter. Instead, we removed the cabinets to stain them and decided to build the riser at the bottom. We kept it simple, creating a frame from 2" x 4"s and staining them to match the cabinet color.

 As soon as we're ready to place them, these beauties will be affixed to the cabinets with Liquid Nails. What you're seeing here is the backside of the risers, so while I did stain them with 1 coat of stain, I did not do a second coat or a clear coat. In the end, only the front and 1 side of each will show, so there was no need for stressing over perfection.

Oh, and we also started this:

The shower head has been raised about 6" to acommodate my husband's height (6'5") and to improve the final appearance of the shower, and Hardiebacker installation has begun!

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