Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bathroom Flooring Part Two

I moved on to installing flooring in the master bath today. I started by cleaning the existing vinyl, which was disgusting. I cleaned the other bathroom's floor, but it wasn't nearly as dirty. Just like anything else, the floor looked a lot better once it was clean. The cleaner I used worked great, but it was toxic. Despite being late November in Indiana, I opened the window for air. 

Laying the floor was even quicker than yesterday. I was done in a couple of hours. All that's left is quarter round and doorway transitions.

Even though knew the toilet in the master bath would be hard to move, I uninstalled it by myself. I figured that not needing to lift it into a tub would make the task manageable. I would have been correct if the bolt wasn't rusted on. 

After a big mess in the shower and a lot of WD40, the bolt was freed. Harder than that was reinstalling the toilet. I made another mess but got it back on. It flushes fine, but Aaron and I will probably keep an eye on it. The hall bath toilet is still in the tub waiting for Aaron's next day off.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bathroom Flooring Part One

We bought vinyl plank flooring the for the upstairs bathrooms at Home Depot on Black Friday. I'm not crazy about the color or wood grain, but it was half off and we aren't picky. I installed it in the hallway bathroom today. I made a bit of a mess in the process, but got it done pretty quick.

I moved the toilet by myself, which was ill-advised and very difficult. I'm not confident I can it back out of the tub on my own. We installed a stick-down vinyl plank for my grandmother a few weeks ago. It was easy, but the glue got an over our hands and the seams did not get as tight as I would have liked. That floor was only 99¢/sq ft, so it's a great option for cheap and fast update. However, that is also what we paid for these floors on Friday.

The box says "easiest floor ever" and I just might agree. Overlapping flaps stick to adjacent planks, making it a floating floor. It was a lot easier to put down than click-together flooring, especially around the door frame. My fingers often hurt after installing tongue-and-groove or click-together floors from trying to pull the seams tight. The planks could be repositioned after placement as long as I didn't push down too hard. To cut the floors, you score the front with a utility knife & snap it. This works for curves too, making the cut around the toilet drain a cinch.

Even though I don't love the pattern on the floor, it looks good finished. I'm now more motivated to get the vanity painted; its basically the same color as the new floors.

Monday, November 19, 2012

After party

The housewarming party was the first time we had more than 10 people over. We had around 40 this weekend. It didn't go exactly as I planned, but I think I'm the only one who knew. I was rather stressed about the whole thing, because my home is my workplace, and the improvements are my job. Therefore, the party was like inviting all my friends and family to my job, then compelling them to examine my work. Additionally, Aaron worked overtime this week, and wasn't able to help prepare as much as he anticipated. 

I would insert some pictures of the party here, but I was so busy I didn't take any. I made most of the food, which was a brand new challenge for me. In the end, it wasn't too difficult, just stressful. I also don't think I'll do that again. I had never cooked for more than 4 people. The hardest part was estimating how much 40 people would eat. The answer is a lot. 40 people eat a lot. As much as two people 20 times over,or a couple weeks worth of meals for Aaron & I.

We had a couple friends come late, which gave us a great way to unwind after the chaos of the party. We played board games and grazed on party leftovers. During the party I spent most of my time watching over the kitchen, so it was nice to finally relax. We don't anticipate throwing a housewarming party ever again, since we intend to move somewhat often. Overall, this one-time party was a success. 

Now that the party is over, its time to start the winter projects: cabinet refinishing, new countertops, bathroom flooring, and final painting. It's only been a couple months, but time is moving fast. Our realtor has already found a new house he thinks we would like. The thought another house is a little exhausting right now. I would rather him find a buyer for this house first.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Enviro-tec Lite

Our bar has been a multi-year project, starting when Aaron was still in an apartment and almost finished now, in our second house. We finally coated the top of the bar with Enviro-tec Lite, an epoxy resin. It is fantastic. I want to stress that one more time: it is FANTASTIC. It did not go perfectly, but it did go so well that I feel I will be using enviro-tec lite often in the future. I imagine that on a smaller project, it would be a breeze.

It was difficult to try to keep it dust free while we worked (spoiler - we failed a little) but it still looks great. This is what we rigged to allow it to cure undisturbed: a coffee table on top of a dining table, wrapped in drop cloths.

Because of the differences in depth between the grout and the bottle caps, the epoxy isn't completely smooth on top. There are some spots where it didn't completely cover the caps, and some random hairs and rough bubbles. We may coat it again, but the coating being a bit shallow gives a nice effect. It feels smooth to the touch, but in reflected light you can see the outlines of all the bottle caps in the slightly uneven coating. It keeps a little of the texture of the uncoated bar, which we liked but was not very durable. We also think it is a nice way of getting a tile look without a tile texture. 

Party Prep

Today is the last day before our Housewarming Party. This will be our one and only Houeswarming Party, since we intend to move rather often. We never had one at the last house because we got married around the time we moved in, and felt it a bit redundant.
We decided to make the food ourselves, which still mostly seems like a good idea. We don't know how many people are really coming, and we invited quite a few. There's going to be at least 35, but we think it might get closer to 55 when everything is said and done.

We're making BBQ chicken and a ground beef chili, both in slow cookers. In addition we have lots of sides and salads, as well as chips and snacks. If we don't have quite enough, we are sure there will still be enough for everyone to snack on. If we have way too much, well... it's food so we'll just eat it ourselves.

This is the first party of this scale we have ever had, so it's more work than I expected and a bit intimidating.

Garage Shelving

There's been a lot of shelving in our lives lately. These were a birthday gift from my Grandma. A strange gift, I know, but I told her and my parents that what I really wanted for my birthday was the ability to park in the garage before it got too cold. My parents bought me a garage door opener which took weeks to get installed. After a few trips to Goodwill and one to the dump, we finally parked both of our cars in the garage last night.

But back to the shelving: these two sets came from Home Depot, for about 60 dollars a set. The uprights have lots of holes so you can make the shelves whatever height you'd like. The bars that hold the shelves have metal tacks attached, so you just slide them into the holes at the correct height, and voila: super sturdy shelves. What we like best about these is they required no tools or hardware to assemble, which means they will be easy to move, and we can assemble them quickly in a storage unit to hold boxes.I may buy two more sets, and forgo a work bench for more storage.

The Little Things

Lately we have been accomplishing a lot of little things that have made a big difference in the house being complete. One of those things was vent covers. The ones we had were dirty and smelled like smoke, and would have taken forever to clean. When we decided to return the new vent fans for the bathrooms, we bought new covers for the rest of the duct work in the house instead. They were more expensive than I would have liked. Its a simple thing, but we are more excited about it than much bigger projects. It's little things like this that no one will appreciate as much as we do.

Time Marches On

We have worked on small projects while continuing to unpack and find a place for everything. We bought replacement vent fans for the bathroom, but after trying to install one we decided it just wasn't worth it. We were unaware that they were attached to the rafters, and since changing them was a style choice anyway, we're just going to clean and possibly paint the ones we have. We may still need to replace the one in the downstairs bathroom. I asked Aaron if he kept the fan he took down, and though he said yes it is nowhere to be found. The bathroom has no need for a fan anyways, so I'm not sure if we will replace that one or not.

We've planned a housewarming party , so we have divided our project list into pre- and post-party.

Caulk and sand downstairs molding
Install floor transitions downstairs
Finish organizing garage
Move in futon
Finish unpacking/organizing/donating
Re-attach door frames and kitchen cabinet

Post Party
Refinish cabinets in kitchen
Refinish cabinets in bathrooms
Paint bathrooms
Replace gutters
Repair siding
Lay new flooring in upstairs bathrooms

As much as I would like for that to be the complete list, I'm sure there are projects I'm forgetting.

Game Room Shelves

They aren't anything fancy, but I've finished hanging shelves in the game room. I used black double slot track shelving with black supports and shelves, all of which came from Menards. The back wall in total cost $70.

Originally I thought I would do something more custom, but these were functional, modular, cheap, and easy. From start to finish it took only an hour, whereas building something myself would have taken an entire day, if not a weekend. I intended to have two shelves running all the way across, but due to some quick and incorrect math, the shelves were each about an inch too long for the wall. With Aaron's help, I rearranged the shelves so I wouldn't have to cut them. I like it more than the original concept. 

I still have a little bit of adjusting to do before this room is complete, but it's good enough for now. Its a small room, about 9'x8', and it is somewhat intimidatingly filled with gaming stuff. Have I mentioned Aaron doesn't play games at all? Seeing it all in one small room allows be to fully realize the truth about my gaming habit: It's excessive. But as I told Aaron: "I'd be ashamed if I wasn't so proud."