many…hours…later… (flooring day two)

Sunset

Day two of flooring install is done! It was a LONG day full of somewhat frustrating experiences, but we learned a ton. Hopefully us sharing out oops moments and trials can help someone else that is crazy enough to try to DIY 900 square feet of flooring while 4 months pregnant that is installing new floors. Here were a few problems that we ran into:

  • Our baseboards are abnormally hard to remove
  • Our baseboards aren’t actually baseboards but instead door moulding
  • The wall we are starting on has two obstacles (a door and a corner)

We did this all on Saturday, and it was nice to be able to devote an entire day to it. I haven’t had a day off because of my crazy work schedule in a few months (not even weekends) and so when a day off finally came, it felt super productive to be able to work on our many projects. We only got 7 rows laid, but solved TONS of problems!

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So..problem #1 – our baseboards are abnormally hard to remove. We cut the caulk, bought the correct tools, read every blog entry on the internet, watched every YouTube video, and we STILL could not get the dang things off. The baseboards in the nursery are splintered because we pulled on them so hard trying to take them off. We are now the proud owners of a completely destroyed and torn apart baseboard-less office, and certainly learned a few things along the way!

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After much frustration, I did what any self-respecting 24 year old homeowner would do. I called my parents.

My dad had the awesome idea of using a multi-tool to get the baseboards cut away from the wall. The caulk on our trim is REAL THICK YA’LL. Like…utility knives cannot cut through it. X-ACTO knives cannot cut through it. Super sharp carpet cutting tools cannot cut through it. Superman himself came to our house, tried, and failed.

img_3409But as always, Dad saves the day. He had the awesome idea of using a multi-tool to get the baseboards cut away from the wall. Here’s a non-affiliate link to the one we use. Aaron started separating the baseboards from the wall, cutting through the especially thick caulk we were blessed with, and voila! About 10 minutes later, he had pried off the first piece. Hallelujah!

Problem #2 – our baseboards aren’t really baseboards. It’s so interesting when you buy a house, you don’t notice all the little things. I fell in love with this place without seeing all of it’s (very visible in hindsight) quirks. I wonder if that only happens the first time you buy a house when you are just excited to get out of your dang apartment, or if everybody gets ‘this is the one’ eyes when they fall in love with a place and don’t notice that a lot of little things are wrong.

Anyway, ll of the trim in the non-renovated rooms is the same. That means that door trim is the same as the baseboards. Which makes total sense, from a money saving aspect. But it makes for some dorky, short looking baseboards. I’ve wanted to upgrade them since we bought the house, but haven’t had the tools, nor the time to get it done. Somehow, painting all the gold trim and hideous walls took precedence.

After realizing that we were going to have to do SOMETHING about the trim, I remembered seeing this pin on Pinterest months (maybe years) ago, and thinking what a good idea it was!

RapidFit Example

That particular picture is from a blog called Pewter+Sage, but there’s another blog that has talked about the product as well at A Stroll Thru Life, in case you guys are interested. What they bought is a product called RapidFit moulding, which you can buy from Lowe’s. So here’s where those blogs and I go on separate paths.

They were replacing a small amount for and upgraded look, with already installed floors. I’m replacing roughly 300 linear feat of moulding, and also installing floors at the same time. Aaron and I were originally thinking that we would be using RapidFit so we didn’t have to rip out the impossible to remove baseboards, but with such a huge expense difference between RapidFit and putting in new moulding all-together, it was a no-brainer.

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We’re installing some nice, thick trim once the floors are done. Here’s a link in case you’re interested! The bonus is, we get to choose how thick the bottom of the new trim is, since we’ll be replacing all of the baseboards upstairs. I’ve always liked the look of floors without any quarter round or shoe moulding, and since we’re replacing the baseboards, we’ll be able to get it! Since we can choose a thicker moulding, that means it will cover the expansion gaps at the edges of the floor, and no quarter round! YAY!

On to problem #3 – obstacles. The wall we started our project on is in the biggest room, with the biggest continuous stretch of flooring that we could find in our entire upstairs. Our house has some angles ya’ll. The fun part of that is that we have two obstacles in the first row of flooring. As you can imagine, the first row is the most important, and it takes the longest. Add that to working around a door and a kick out corner, and you’ve got a pretty frustrating first row.

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Here’s the door we’re talking about (the actual door is taken off, so we could more easily work around it). What we think happened when the previous owners were preparing to sell this house was they converted an entertainment/bonus room (common in our price point and in our neighborhood that is typically full of kiddos) into a 5th bedroom to up the sale value. Part of converting that bedroom was adding a closet, which brings us to the weird, different leveled, but large closet that you see above. I only really took a picture of the transition, since that’s what we’re worried about in this post. We have big plans on adding some built in closet storage systems for toys for the little one currently cooking, but that’s down the road.

The door to this wonderful space is actually on the VERY. FIRST. PLANK. that we laid. So that meant not even one plank into this project, we were already working around obstacles. Oh how I love home improvement 😉 Oh well – we cut around the door jamb, made sure we had the required 1/2″ expansion gap, and called it done.

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Next up was the wonderful corner that jets out into our first row that becomes the railing for the overlook into the foyer. For this dilemma, I had to go all the way over to the top of the stairs. Since we’re doing the whole top floor of our house, as well as the actual stairs themselves, we wanted to make sure that we would end up with a sliver of a piece anywhere. So over to the top of the stairs I went, marking where each and every board would fall, just to double check. I eventually made it over to the first wall, and we decided that we needed to rip about an inch and a half off of the first row to make it fit evenly across the whole space. I don’t want to spend more on tools than absolutely necessary for this project (we already bought a miter saw and stand), so I did this with a jigsaw. It isn’t the world’s straightest cut, but it’s fine since we’ll be covering it up with fancy new moulding.

Since we ripped the first board, it actually solved an issue I was somewhat worried about at the kick-out. We were going to have a VERY slim piece right next to the railing, and with all the cute photo opportunities looking down into the foyer has, I didn’t want to always look at the flooring and wish I had done it differently. I think it turned out ok!

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Don’t mind the dust – I actually swept before these pictures were taken, but I know that everyone knows construction is dirty work. I can’t wait to get the rest of the flooring laid, the new trim in, and Swiffer to my little heart’s content!

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