Fun with Flooring

We’re doing lots of home improvement projects in anticipation of our daughter’s wedding. Mostly it’s a lot of refinishing walls that sometimes includes either stripping poorly hung wallpaper or painting over oil-based paint. The home was built in 1989 — who uses oil-based paint INSIDE in the modern era?! Having finished most of the walls that we want to change, we’re now fixing the floors.

New carpet on the porch. Finally!

First up was the saga of the indoor/outdoor carpeting on the screened in porch. It’s a lovely porch, 14′ 7″ square with a real subfloor and a half wall all the way around. We went to [insert certain big box home improvement store here] and found some carpeting we liked. It was $0.86/sf. We asked what the installation costs were and when they could come out and measure. The guy put our information into the computer and asked where the carpet was going (“screened in porch”). He said we’d hear from the installer in 24-48 hours, but he couldn’t tell us what the installation cost was because he had only been working in flooring for a month. (A month? You don’t know by then??!!) Perhaps the installer could tell us.

The installer called us the next day and could come out that afternoon. I asked about the installation charges and was politely told that he’s a subcontractor and isn’t given those details. I called back BigBoxStore and even the manager couldn’t tell me. However, he wasn’t sure they actually even installed the carpet outside. Outside? It’s under a roof…a permanent roof with walls and a subfloor. Well, is it climate-controlled? Of course the climate controls what it feels like on the SCREENED IN PORCH. Well, he said that would be outside, and they may not do that. But while he finds out, let the contractor come out and do the measurements. OK. The contractor was a wonderful guy and quickly and efficiently measured. Several days later, I finally called BigBoxStore only to find out that they don’t install indoor/outdoor carpet outdoors.

In Googling how to install indoor/outdoor carpet with the thought that perhaps we could install it ourselves, we came across a number of local carpet places. So we went to one. They had a large selection in many price ranges that were so much nicer than what we had seen! We found some that were $1.78/sf and they said it was only $3.95/yd to install — around $500ish for nice carpeting. The nice lady came out on Wednesday to measure, we picked out a color, and awaited her call the next day. By Monday of next week, we called her to find out that we need 40 yards (40? It was 30 when she was here!), and with installation, freight, and other incidental charges, it’d be over $800. No thanks. So much for their “never any hidden feeds, the cost of the carpet and installation is all you’ll ever pay” recording while on hold. Right.

We’ve wasted two weeks on this. But the third time’s a charm, right? Another local place was able to get us the same carpeting for $500, installed! Finally, it’s installed. It looks great.

Much better! Natural white oak with Bona finish applied.

Hardwood foyer “before” picture: the pickled finish has seen better days.

For months (OK, years), we’ve needed to do something with the pickled hardwood in the foyer. Not only was it a dated finish, it was also very worn. We had been told that to refinish it we’d have to stay off of it for three days. That would be hard, because the hardwood abuts the front door and the garage door, limiting access to the house. One also must cross the floor to get to all bedrooms and bathrooms. To move out for three days…not a pleasant idea right now. But we could put laminate or engineered flooring over it (but what to do with the transitions?). Or we could do refinish it ourselves. After seeing a neighbor’s floor he had done himself, we decided to let professionals do it. (The neighbor’s floor looked great, except the drum sander did turn it into a hand-scraped looked which we didn’t quite want — and neither did the neighbor.)

We found a wonderful vendor who was able to quickly accommodate us and we only needed to be off the floor for two business days — we could use the floor in the evening. They finished yesterday, and our floor looks so good! And their dust containment system workedvery, very well. This went so much more smoothly than the indoor/outdoor carpet!

But then our laundry room, who can see the new, gorgeous foyer, got a little jealous. The brand new, 138 load jug of laundry detergent was on the front loading washer. When it got to the spin cycle, the floor convinced the jug to jump. We heard what sounded like a small book fall and didn’t think anything of it. Until I heard the dryer finish its cycle and went to get the clothes. And I saw this:

Now, this hallway between the laundry room and the new, hardwood floor is full of everything that hasn’t yet been put back on in the foyer and some stuff that is from the patio. That doesn’t even begin to figure the laundry that just came home with the two kids from college! I figured out a novel way to clean this up: I found a number of washcloths and soaked up the liquid. I placed them in a plastic shoebox. I got most of it up this way, followed by paper towels to get up the rest of the residue, then mopped (and got SUDS!). However, I now can do a number of loads of laundry just by tossing in a single, soaked washcloth (or shorts, or sock, as shown in the picture above!).

Yes, flooring has been fun!

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