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Monday, September 17, 2012

Flooring and Painting All That Trim

The electricians came back early last week to do their finish work. They'll have to come back to do a few more things but now we have functioning lights and outlets throughout the apartment. The lighting looks fabulous and everywhere in the place is well lit.

This is my painting production line. 
I'm finishing up priming and painting the trim, doors and stair parts. It won't be long before I'm finished and it gets installed. We are using pine as our trim so I have to put two coats of an oil based primer/sealer so the pine tar doesn't weep through the paint coat and make everything ugly.

Over the weekend we started laying the laminate flooring. Installing the floor is a pretty good do-it-yourself project if you have decent measuring and cutting skills. It also helps to have an artistic eye for making a not overly obvious repeating pattern.

The work isn't physically difficult but it does take a while to accomplish especially if you have to measure, go downstairs to the table saw, cut the piece, walk back up the stairs and then install. We have a bit more to do and then we can install the trim. Once we get the trim and doors installed we call the electrician to finish up and the plumber back for his finish work of installing the baseboard radiators, toilet, sinks and dishwasher.
Starting to put the floor in
A good day's work

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


What's the one thing you always need when you are cleaning or doing a project? Yes, it is a rag. You can buy them, yes, but they often bleed and leave big chunks of lint. And you can ruin a whole load of wash it you happen to throw one of those red shop towels in by mistake.

I was doing a little laundry yesterday and decided it was time to retire two sets of sheets that we had for at least 5 to 10 years. Had them laying in a heap on the floor waiting to be thrown in the trash. Then as I was looking for a rag to do a little varnishing it hit me -- why not make a batch of rags. So I proceeded to notch and tear the two bottom sheets into a variety of sizes. Now I have at least a years worth of nice, soft, lint free rags for no cost other than my time.

What other items make good rags? Just about anything that isn't good enough to donate to a thrift shop.

  • Worn out towels -- just remove the decorative band
  • Dish towels -- leave them whole or tear into the size you need.
  • Dish rags -- for those little projects like polishing silver or wood staining -- tear into four squares
  • Undershirts -- tear the neckband off, tear off the sleeves and make each into 2 small rags, tear up the rest of he shirt into various size pieces
  • Men's knit undies or ladies panties - leave them whole as my Mom loved to use these as dust rags
  • Sheets
  • Shirts
  • Cotton or sport socks are great for dusting and other projects where it is nice to be able to put your hand inside

Always ask yourself before that trip to the dumpster -- is this something someone else can use as it is, something I can repurpose, or does it really, really need to go to the landfill.
Monday, September 10, 2012

Another Productive Weekend

Friday night I did a little repair to the bathroom floor - a couple of tiles shifted in an obvious place. It wasn't as big a problem as I originally thought. I simply popped them out and chipped and scraped the mortar out and re-mortared some leftover tiles back into the space. Left them to set overnight and grouted the next morning. The dry grout was mixed with a polymer liquid to insure water wouldn't penetrate and to eliminate the need to seal with silicone. The grouting and clean up were quick and easy, I think because the grout was a thinner consistency than I have used in the past.

As I was grouting, Todd was working on getting the railing set up for install. Of course as he was testing technique he found that the lag bolts that were to go through the railing, 2x4 board the railing sits on and through the floor and into the framing under the floor weren't long enough.

Yay . . . another trip to the store. Turned OK for him because we decided we wanted to buy a compressed with a nailer (to make the trim installation easier) and stapler (to use for stapling the radiant insulation to the floor joists in the lower garage). So off he went to Hudson to Home Depot while I primed the pine 1x4 boards for the trim work throughout the apartment.

As I was finishing up the priming, Todd returned and we were ready to install the railing. First we aligned the railing on the 2x4 and then marked all the holes. Then we removed the railing and attached the 2x4 to the floor counter sinking the bolts between the markings for the railing. After he pre-drilled the holes for attaching the railing we put the railing back in place and screwed in all the bolts. Now we have a nice strong railing for the living room area.

Next morning I put a coat of paint on the trim and we went on to other tasks such as cleaning and rearranging the garage as well as putting tools and materials we were done using in the apartment away while we waited for it dry. We also ran a test load of towels in the washer we bought used to make sure it worked and didn't leak. And it was a successful test run.

When dry Todd cut and installed the trim for the bathroom with his new finish nailer. Ready for the electricians to come do their finish work. Another productive weekend.

Finish Work Progress

Painting, hanging cabinets, laying bathroom floor. We have been busy.

The long Labor Day weekend gave us a good amount of time to concentrate on painting. We finished the painting the primer on all the new walls and over-sprayed older walls and got all the walls painted except the stairway area. We've decided to finish that after the new stairs and trim are installed. We painted the ceiling and the two walls in the living room light gray and the other walls the darker gray. The gray palette looks fabulous.

Kitchen starts
coming together 
Son Michael was in town for a wedding and when he came to visit spent a couple hours helping hang the upper cabinets. It is good to have two strong men who communicate well carry out this kind of task.

We'll install the lower cabinets after the floor is in and then do a white subway tile with black accents backsplash. Son Matt has volunteered to use his fantastic carpentry skills to make the countertop and come help install. The countertop will be a gray limestone laminate.

Bathroom floor complete
We finished off the weekend by installing the bathroom floor. Remember the 38 SF of mosaic tile I found on Craigslist? We had about a square foot left over. I had laid out the tile in my CAD program to make sure it would fit and then we dry laid the tile before installing.

I love using mosaic because there generally is not a lot of cutting tile. As we finished up I realized we did not have to cut one single tile.

By the time we finished up it was well after 7 pm and we were exhausted and starving. Off to the showers! Quickly dressed and jumped in the car in search of sustenance. We ended up at a supper club not to far up river and a wonderful steak dinner with a good zinfandel.

All in all a very productive weekend.