Monday, February 22, 2010

Forward Progress

This week started with a holiday. On President’s Day we removed the linen closet in the hallway. We are planning on moving the wall for the bathroom out about a foot and this requires the closet to be removed. It also needed to be removed to prepare for refinishing the hardwood floors.

This weekend we finally made some forward progress – installing new hardwood floor in the kitchen and den. It was also the longest time we’ve spent working on the house at one time – 33 hours from Friday night through Sunday night. Despite being extremely sore and tired, we’re very satisfied with the result.

In order to let the wood acclimate to the house we purchased half of the flooring on Wednesday night and the other half on Friday. Friday night we also started preparing the kitchen subfloor – vacuuming and laying down tar paper.

Saturday morning, after renting the manual floor nailer, we started removing some of the bad flooring in the dining room and all the flooring in the den. Most of the den floor was very badly stained – there were few boards that were worth saving.

Saturday afternoon and evening we started installing the new kitchen floor. The first few rows are the most time consuming because you have to make sure that they are square in the room and you have to face nail them (including recessing each one so that you can sand the area later). We found out quickly that red oak is an extremely hard, dense wood. There are quite a few bent nails in our trash today!

Once we had about 3 rows installed, the nailer was able to fit. Chris did all the nailing while I laid out the wood and cut the end piece of each row. At the end of Saturday evening we had about 1/3 of the kitchen floor complete.

Sunday morning we completed the floor in the kitchen (except for the rows we will need to face nail near the outside door – we’ll complete this later this week). In the afternoon, we prepared the den floor. This included screwing down the subfloor on each joist, vacuuming, and putting down tar paper. The rest of Sunday was spent installing the floor in the den.

We are so excited to finally have something to show for all our hard work. Our next big task is to sand all the floors – that could take awhile!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Our Aching Backs...

Due to more snow this week we were stuck inside. We were able to get over to the house on Tuesday morning to shovel out the driveway and walkway before the next big snowstorm arrived that afternoon. It took us five hours to shovel the 33 inches of snow.

It snowed another 14 inches from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday. We got back over to the house on Friday afternoon to shovel out the additional snow. Below are some pictures of the snow and shoveling work.

Over the weekend, my parents were here to help. We removed the plywood on the kitchen floor to prepare it for installing new hardwood floor. Once it was down to the subfloor we had to re-secure the subfloor to the floor joists.

We are trying to get the house to the point where everything is prepared for the next big tasks we have. One of these tasks is to refinish the hardwood floors. To prepare for this we have removed all of the baseboards and shoe molding. There were also a lot of tacks and staples in the floor from when the bedrooms and stairs had carpeting. Each of these “prep” tasks sound easy and fast but it takes a surprising amount of time and effort to do this in the entire house.

The other big task we are preparing for is painting all the ceilings and walls. This will be the very last thing we do before moving in but we want to get all the dirty work done before we re-do the floors. Over the weekend we continued to apply drywall compound – we needed to add corner beading to the kitchen doorways, needed to straighten the ceiling joint upstairs, and needed to add more compound to the kitchen ceiling where we removed the bulkheads. Also adding drywall compound to all the nicks, holes, and dents in the walls is a job that never seems to be complete.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cabin Fever!

We had a completely unproductive week at the house. The contractor didn’t show up all week and we didn’t have the opportunity to get to the house this weekend. One thing we did accomplish is to get the kitchen cabinets ordered, and they should be arriving mid-March.

Most of you reading this had similar weather to us this past weekend. For us, work closed before 1:00PM on Friday afternoon and the snow started falling shortly after. The snow finally stopped around 6:00PM Saturday evening. The final total snowfall was 33 inches. We probably spent about 5 hours shoveling snow – the hardest part was finding a spot to put all the snow after removing it from our cars, the sidewalk, stairs, and patio. We did have some fun early on Saturday by making a great snow fort – that’s the great part about being a big kid!

Several of the trees nearby are falling or losing branches from the weight of the snow. Our road still has not been plowed. We think it will be a couple more days before they get around to it and by that time we’ll have more snow from the next storm.

The biggest problem with the snow at the house is that we need it all to melt before the contractors can do more work. The next work they have to perform is putting on a new roof and gutters. We just hope that we’re able to get to the house before the week is out.

Below are some of our pictures of the blizzard of 2010.

Monday, February 1, 2010

This N’ That

This week, the contractors (very slowly) continued their work on the sunroom. The framing and supports are complete, but the windows and sliding door have yet to be installed. There was also some work completed on the exterior of the house. The gutters are removed in preparation for the new roof. They must have weighed a ton, because they hadn’t been cleaned out in years. The exterior painting was also done. The doors, trim, soffits, garage doors, and front porch ceiling all look much nicer than they did before. However, the roof will have to wait until the six inches of snow melts.

The most exciting event this week was the removal of the “mudroom” covering the back porch. In the beginning, we were only going to remove the small roof above the porch to make space for the painters. We used the reciprocating saw to cut through the roof, but it was a little sturdier than we expected. After an hour and two saw blades, we decided it would be easier just to remove the whole thing. So, we just kicked out the bottom, where it attached to the concrete, and threw it to the side. The reason why the saw could not easily cut through the roof was the six layers of shingles on top!

Over the weekend we started preparing the kitchen for the remodel. We moved the old appliances, cabinets and countertops downstairs. We removed the ceramic tile in the kitchen which was very tough. Under the ceramic are two layers of old tile. We don’t yet know if these are asbestos but we need to get someone to test them before we try to remove them.

The other work we did was to prepare for refinishing the floors and painting. This included removing all the molding and applying drywall compound to fix small holes in the walls.