Home (Improvement) for the Holidays

| | Comments (3)

Sorry I've been so scarce around here for the past couple of weeks. First there was the celebration of Christmas (and the preparation work THAT took, both at home and at church). All that came to grand and glorious fruition on the 24th and 25th. What a wonderful time!

Then, just when I thought I'd be back, happily posting away, it happened. PapaC and I are fortunate to be in the place where there is just not much material stuff that we want or need any more. So coming up with something to give each other at Christmas is sometimes hard. Of course there are books, books, and more books. And perfume. Well, at least for ME anyway. And for PapaC there is always some new computer game (which leads to trouble later--don't ask).

But this year we looked around the house, and saw a LOT of home improvement projects that needed to be tackled. Projects that we've put off because other more important ways to spend the money always managed to appear, just at them time that we were about to put down a new floor, or whatever. You don't get new vinyl flooring for the kitchen when your water heater breaks and floods your house. You also don't get it when you have to replace the cast iron pipes under your house. And to hear THOSE sad stories, you'd only have to read through our archives.

So we crossed our fingers and decided to do a home improvement project during the holidays. PapaC had vacation time left. Nothing major had broken. The omens looked propitious.

There were three options on the table: 1. New gutters. 2. New flooring for the kitchen and baths. 3. A french door to replace our hateful sliding glass door out to the patio.

Who wants gutters for Christmas? Not me. When I point out our Christmas project, I don't want to say--"See those lovely gutters? Aren't they just BEAUTIFUL?" No. I want something people will see. And be impressed by.

So, I gave PapaC the choice: Floors or French door. Mattered not to me. Poor guy. He picked the floors.

Well, we thought we would be smart. We started in the hall bathroom. Small space, good practice. We'll see what it takes to hack up the linoleum (not in good enough shape anywhere to just lay the peel and stick tiles on top--like they always do on HGTV!). Then we'll clean up, lay the new tiles, put the potty back in place. Home and dry.


You don't live in a 40+ year old house and find ANYTHING that is as you would do it. There had been a seeping leak around the potty, apparently since the last linoleum installation. Sigh. We had to hack up all the fiberboard subflooring, get down the the base floor (we have a pier and beam house--no cement slab), replace it with new plywood flooring. THEN, and only then, start putting down the tiles that started the whole thing. In the process, the lid to the old potty got broken, so McKid's mama treated us to a new potty--after finding out what kind of potty would be best for us old people! During potty installation, we found that none of the pipes were standard sizes, so PapaC had to break out the torch and solder and put together new piping for the valves.

Ah. Four days later, a new bathroom. And not one thing finished on the kitchen.

Never believe it if anyone tells you that taking up old vinyl flooring is a "piece of cake." It is not. It is a piece of, a piece of, a piece of...... well, something.

Oh, the vinyl comes up all right. Leaving the paper backing behind. Paper backing which has to come up before you can peel and stick. Oh, and what you have to do to get it up? Ruins the next layer of linoleum so that once again you are faced with scraping for hours on end to get the old linoleum off. Linoleum that either pops right off (which is why you can't lay peel and stick down on it) or is stuck like cement to the fiberboard subflooring. The worst of both worlds. When we finally got the second layer of linoleum off, leaving its paper backing behind, we made the 57 millionth trip to Home Depot (and God bless Bill at Home Depot for not running when he saw us coming in the door). For that layer, you can't soak off the backing, because that would ruin the fiberboard beneath the paper.

You've got 2 choices: remove the fiberboard in the kitchen, a la the bathroom, but in a 12 x 25 area, and then put down plywood flooring or lay the thinnest layer of plywood available over the existing fiberboard and hope for the best. We opted for #2. So, a trip to Lowes, hours and hours of cutting plywood and hammering it down (I am Wonder Woman with a hammer, ya'll), we had a floor ready to tile. After nearly 2 weeks of work. Sigh.

We have almost finished the tiling. PapaC has one threshold thingie to figure out before we can stick down the last 4 tiles. We have to put down the quarter-round in the old laundry room, soon to be pantry. Then I intend to crack open a bottle of wine, and drink it.

I might even let PapaC have a glass.



I'll have to say I'm proud of you. Need to do the same thing to my kitchen, but everytime I look at it, it gets put off to another day.

I have so many projects to tackle that I don't even know where to start. But at least I have a dishwasher again.

In somewhat similar circumstances (the kitchen floor came up, leaving the bottom layer all gummy underneath) I bought dirt-cheap ugly mismatched vinyl remnants from Home Depot and glued them down over the old adhesive residue. That gave me a beautifully clean fresh surface onto which to stick the tiles. It worked perfectly.



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by MamaT published on January 10, 2006 4:16 PM.

An interesting concept... was the previous entry in this blog.

A very smart friend of mine writes: is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.