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My desk is a mess, the wall is gone, and the electrical mystery was solved. It turns out that the previous homeowners, or an misinformed contractor, installed an illegal and very dangerous spliced connection lying on the insulation above our new office. They twisted two wires together to daisy chain the power, threw a wire cap on (no electrical tape or junction box), and called it a day. It took a professional electrician a few hours to figure it out, but he eventually got it done. Thanks to Aaron for staying home and making sure everything went smoothly. In this case, I’m glad we decided to hire a professional. He had to crawl up into the attic, deal with a dangerous situation, and I’m not sure I would have known what to do to fix it. Aaron said that the electrician, after fixing everything, said he still didn’t really know what the previous renovators were trying to accomplish.

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We’ve had a lot of issues with this little pup this week. We walk her several times a day, she gets to hang out in the backyard, and yet she is having accidents upstairs. We’ll wake up in the morning, go about our business, run upstairs for something and smell the issue. I’m glad it’s Tabby and not a rodent, but something needs to be done all the same. She’s going to the vet, and we’re going to replace the NASTY carpet with something a little more pet-friendly. Enter our first REALLY big home purchase. You guys, we’re getting hardwoods. We’ve priced it out, and if we do all the work ourselves, I think we’ll be able to swing it. Living here still doesn’t really feel like I own a home. I still feel like I’m renting, mostly because we’ve not really made a huge change yet. Maybe this will make me feel differently. Plus it will be a little more dog, and eventually kid friendly.

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This is what our carpet looks like right now. Eew. Some of those stains were there when we moved in. Some of them are new. I dropped wood stain on the carpet on Aaron’s side of the desk like an idiot, and that is never going to come out, so it’s time to replace it.

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We’ve decided to go with bamboo for it’s durability, ‘green’ factor, and price. We simply can’t afford real hardwoods, but I also don’t want laminate. This particular flooring is beautiful in person – it’s smooth with subtle texture every once in awhile, and looks surprisingly real. We shopped around for a long time, and I feel like I have enough flooring samples to do the entire renovation. We were originally going to tackle this project when my parents came to town next week, but it just isn’t financially possible. However, I don’t want to lose the research, so I’m posting this now. Hopefully we can tackle it later this year! Here’s the biggest price tag – the wood itself.

Total Cost of Bamboo Flooring = $2930.40
860 sqft / 14.85 sqft/box = 58 boxes
+2 boxes for stairs x $48.84/box

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The floorplan above is to scale, and took several hours. The good news is, I think it will be well utilized in the coming decades we hope to own this home. Floorplanner.com is one of the coolest websites I’ve ever come across, and it was pretty easy (except for the angles) to mock our house up. They have no idea I exist, but I have been using them for quite awhile! We have a total of 761 square feet to cover with hardwoods. The tile in the bathroom isn’t that cute white hexagon shape yet, but someday it will be. Hardwoods first. One project at a time, Catherine, one project at a time. DON’T BE LIKE YOUR PARENTS 😉
Blue Hawk Laminate Tapping Block

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Blue Hawk Wood and Laminate Floor Pull Bar

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Tajima CR301JF Chalk-Rite Jam Free Chalk Snap Line Box

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Kobalt 12-in 15-Amp Dual Bevel Sliding Laser Compound Miter Saw

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Blue Hawk 48-Pack Installation Spacers

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Tajima PLC2-B300 Chalk-Rite Ultra-Fine Chalk, Blue

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I don’t know what it is in my brain that tells me to tackle HUGE projects as my first attempts at DIY, but I’m just gonna run with it. It needs done, and with enough research and careful planning, anything is possible. Our installation guide for the bamboo calls for the following tools:

  • Tape measure – check!
  • Tapping block – $8.38 from Lowes
  • Pencil – check!
  • Pry bar or pull bar – $9.99 from Lowes
  • Chalk line – $16.98 for the tool and $8.94 for the chalk
  • Wood or plastic spacers (3/8″) – $8.98 for 48 from Lowe’s
  • Crosscut power saw – $299 from Lowe’s
  • 3M Blue Tape – check!

Total Cost of Tools: $361.37

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We have a particleboard subfloor (boo), but that is listed an an acceptable subfloor type for our particular floating installation. We’re going to put down a 2mm underlayment to help with sound, moisture, and comfort. I’ve read that the folded-type underlayments are easier to use than the rolled up ones, so we’re going to give it a shot.
900 square feet x $39.98/100 square feet = $359.82
We’ll also need 2 threshold transitions, totaling an additional $78.44.

Total Cost of Underlayment & Transitions: $438.26

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This brings me to the last part of our HUGE flooring renovation. The stairs. They are ugly, ugly, ugly. PS: Don’t mind the paint swatches. I picked the WORSE place to do those, I’m aware. This is a huge project in itself, but the house would look SO WEIRD with tile floors on the first floor, carpeted stairs, and nice new bamboo floors upstairs. We have 15 steps, 13 of which are 36″ wide. The two at the bottom are 40″ and 62.5″ wide. Since each of the stair nose pieces are 72″ long, that means we’ll need 7 pieces for the regular steps and 2 more pieces for the weird steps, for a total of 9 pieces. At $53.09 per piece, that’s a lot of money. Who knew the stuff you walk on could be so expensive? Total: $477.81

Total Cost to Refinish Stairs: $477.81

I used www.homewyse.com to calculate the rough cost of doing the floors, and I’m surprised at the differences between the estimate, and what I think it will actually cost. The materials and supplies were pretty spot on, but it’s nice to know we’ll be saving a ton of money on labor – to the tune of almost $4,000. They estimate it will take us 46.1 hours to complete. It’ll be interesting to see what it actually comes out to!

Grand Total with 5% Discount: $3,997.45

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