1.30.2012

Sanded Floors Here we Come

The time has finally come: we're starting to refinish the front room floors. Hooray! Despite that excitement, sanding them down has not been fun, I'm just excited that we're mostly done with the sanding because it is very not fun.

First up, clearing the room. We had accumulated a lot of crap in here (ladders, paint containers, etc.) so all that had to go out. Once we were left with just our weight machine Chris and I delicately slid it over to the office entrance and lifted, wiggled, shimmied and grunted it into the office

It came with a slight casualty

But that's nothing a little paint can't cure.

Next up was prepping the room. We set up the zip walls (and you can still see the turquoise paint at the bottom of the right one from our raccoon sacrifice)

We taped up the bookcases

And the light

And then we were ready to start (don't worry, we closed that door to the office)


At first we tried to be lazy and used 60 grit sandpaper on our palm sander to see if we could get away without having to rent a sander (we only had a layer of poly to sand off, not poly and stain)

But it didn't work super great so we quickly relented as we knew it was only $36 to rent it for 4 hours, so it wasn't a huge sacrifice or anything.

We had to decide, however, if we were going to use a drum sander or a finish sander. A drum sander sort of works like a giant belt sander and is a lot more powerful while a finish sander is essentially 4 orbital palm sanders working at a lower RPM, so it's a lot more delicate. Our floors are 5/16 face nailed, so we didn't have too much wiggle room in terms of accidentally sanding off a ton or accidentally chewing up the floors with the more powerful drum sander. Because we only needed to remove a light top layer of poly we didn't want to be too aggressive and accidentally hurt our floors and need to replace a bunch of boards. So we opted for the more delicate finish sander.

After spending 40 minutes at HD waiting to be helped and have our order processed by our least favorite know-it-all-but-really-doesn't-know-anything tool rental employee we returned home with the sander and got to work. Unfortunately for about the first hour I didn't help Chris much as something popped up with work that I had to deal with, but he mosey'd around that floor

He used 80 to start (in hindsight we should have used 60, but again, we were afraid of chewing up the floor)

Pretty quickly we threw it out the window that we'd only have the sander for 4 hours because we realized this process was going to take a lot longer than we thought. The poly that they used in the 20s is apparently amazing and so it was taking a lot to get it off

But we kept at it and Chris went over it and over it and over it with the finish sander and I came in with the palm sander (at 60 grit because I could be more methodical and delicate with the palm sander) and tried to get all the little grooves and other areas the finish sander couldn't quite get everything off of

Slowly but surely it started to look better

But again, not all the poly was off so around and around and around the finish sander went

(and I kept following around and around and around with the palm sander)

After about 5 hours things were looking good enough to break out the 100 grit. About 95% of the poly was off (it's still not perfect over by the picture window), but I hopped on the finish sander with 100 and went over everything again

And here's an idea of just how much sawdust was in the air during this process

Around 5:30 after being exhausted and frustrated (it was taking a long time) we resolved to call it a day. The floors weren't completely sanded and we'll probably give it another go at the area by the picture window with 60 grit and the palm sander to try to get the last poly off, but I think the floors look a lot better (and by better we of course mean completely sanded and bare, minus all the stains. Boo.)

But we were really tired. The finish sander is pretty powerful and heavy so it takes a decent amount of muscle to move it around the room. And my arms were in a perpetual state of vibration from the palm sander and my calf and thigh muscles were twitching from being crouched down for many continuous hours, so I think Chris and I deserved a break.

The area around the bookcases looks pretty bare and doesn't really need any more work

But the area by the picture window isn't looking as good (discoloration and a bit more worn)

We weren't quite sure if the sun had some effect on the wood, if there was more foot traffic over here or maybe we just didn't do as good of a job, but it's definitely something to tackle on Meryl + Chris vs. Sanding the Floors Day 2.

1.29.2012

Ohhhhh. Ahhhhhh.

Alternative title for this post: Meryl Should have Taken Better Notes.

You remember this light we bought a long long time ago?

That I worked on refinishing by spray painting it oil rubbed bronze about 2 months ago?

Well, it is FINALLY up in the front room, yay!!!! But it didn't come without a headache. I thought my brain took detailed notes when I took the light apart, but, I was wrong. One wouldn't necessarily think putting a light together that you had taken apart that didn't have too many parts would be that difficult. But an hour through the light still looked like this

Now, that sort of looks correct, but that stupid pipe thing coming out the top was still too long and so the chain part that attached to the top didn't screw down far enough for all the parts to not move around and wiggle a lot. I was starting to get really pissed off so Chris came in to help. We finally go the light put together semi-correctly (we couldn't figure out what to do with 2 parts, but the light seemed to look fine and was strong enough, so...) But when we tested out hanging it from the ceiling neither of us thought it hung low enough. So we had to take it apart again so Chris could rewire it with longer electrical (or you could splice two wires together, but that would look not so hot)

And then? IT WAS TIME TO HANG IT! As you can tell, I was very excited for this step :) It came with some headaches also (attaching the old escutcheon to the new light and the pitched ceiling was a tad difficult), but we got it up and it looks glorious!

Chris and I love love love it. The light actually went up about 3 weeks ago (seriously, no lie), but one of the bulbs didn't work straight out of the packaging (LAME) and so I didn't want to post pictures of it until we had gone back to HD to get more bulbs so it was lit in all its gloriousness :) But we kept forgetting the bulbs, and then I kept forgetting to actually screw them in, and then I kept forgetting to take pictures of it... BUT, now it's all working and it's amazing!

I'm really really happy that Chris likes it a lot too because he wasn't too keen on the idea of replacing the old one and getting a new one. I totally understood his reasoning, but the old light I didn't think fit the room as well (plus, we'll reuse it in the nook later when we refinish that room because an ugly ceiling fan is in there now). Chris gave me props for the light choice and I gave him props for waiting it out to see how it turned out and we gave props to the awesome light for lighting the room so well

As you can tell, we like it a lot :)

And now this room is really well lit, and that's a super great development because the old lighting wasn't very good. 4 new recessed cans (well, 5 if you count the $25 baby can in the relief area), 2 sconces and the center light all make for great lighting and a great front room :)

Now it's just time to finally get to those damn floors.

1.26.2012

Our Sandpaper is Organized, Super Nerdy?

I am a total big fat nerd because I like to file things. That's right, I ENJOY filing. Getting things alphabetized, color coded, binder tabs, labels, EEE!!! It just whips my heart into a frenzy. When we were shopping around on Black Friday this past November we hit up Sears because they always have awesome deals. They did in fact have one cool one that Chris and I caved for: A filing sleeve of sandpaper for under $10, and it came with TONS of sandpaper. Score!

And yes, you heard right that we purchased it 2 months ago. And you know what? It's been sitting on the work bench in the garage for all that time. Finally, on Sunday between chair coats while we were cleaning up and putting things away in the garage I decided it might be time to finally organize the sandpaper file.

I grabbed all our sandpaper sheets from the sandpaper drawer

The file had labels for 40 grit, 60, 100, 150 and 220

We had additional paper at 80 grit, 320 and 400

So I relabeled a couple sections (I made 40-60, 80, 100, 150, 200 and >220), and then I shoved all the sandpaper inside

Am I a total nerd because this folder just makes me so excited?

Look at that sandpaper drawer!

I may have to get some folders for the palm sander paper because that file folder just makes me too excited to not go on a sandpaper filing frenzy :)

1.25.2012

How Successful is the Patio?

I'm all about being honest when projects work and don't (because they certainly all don't go according to plan and sometimes you really fuck up), when Chris and I don't get along on projects (because I don't know any couple who has not thought about throwing a screwdriver at their partner during some project), and how much things cost (because I'm always curious how much projects or things that people buy or work on are). So, with that in mind, let's look at the patio.

I absolutely 100% consider this patio an amazing success

I love it. We play basketball on it. We hang out on it. Our friends who have kids have loved it (and their kids go running around playing on it which is totally fun to see). And it just looks awesome :)

However, there is one thing that isn't as successful: we have a low spot over by the garage

It's been raining a lot lately and so we've been able to see just how flat and level we were able to make things. When we started, the old patio was TOTALLY out of level: holes, divets, cracked concrete, you name it. We worked really really really hard to try and make things as level as possible throughout the whole process. And if we look everywhere else we were pretty successful, especially considering this was a project we'd never done and had no experience: we've got no other standing water


Because we're total goobers, when we saw the standing water Chris and I were both a little disappointed in ourselves and sad that we had this low spot

But we've got to really keep it in perspective: we started with a disastrous patio, we had never done a project like this, and there are no other low spots anywhere else over all 950 sq. ft. But I'm not going to lie, when we see that standing water it irks us a little bit. Oh well.

From Back Bathroom to Spray Station

When we sprayed the cabinet for my dad and Wendy we got 3 chairs primed. 2 more still needed to get primed (we have 6 chairs total, but one was already painted). I brought them into my art room and got them all primed and ready

Getting the wicker painted was a little tricky. I needed enough paint on the brush to really get in all the cracks, but not too much that it dripped everywhere

The second chair was a lot easier (we still need to attach the arm rest)

And after about an hour or an hour and a half all the chairs were ready to get painted

We had planned to spray all the chairs on Sunday before the 49er game, but alas our plans were nearly thwarted when it started raining all day long (it was only supposed to rain in the late afternoon so we had figured we could get it done in the morning). Naturally we didn't decide not to spray, we just made a spray station out of our still gutted back bathroom. Duh.


We set up a plastic zip wall to protect the laundry room from getting any overspray on the walls, windows, washer/dryer, etc. And once we got it all set up Chris hopped inside and got to spraying while I stayed outside to make sure the plastic held tight and shuffled the chairs in and out to him


Getting the chairs painted wasn't too hard, though we had a to wait a while in between each coat (we put two on those babies) because it was kinda cold so the drying time took longer.

After all the spraying there were still some areas here and there that needed some touching up. Because most of the chairs have little tiny crevices on the arms, legs and backs and getting them painted with the sprayer was a little difficult, I touched them up by hand



And now, they're sitting pretty ready for me to re-install the butts! (which still means cutting a butt for two of them out of plywood)

Meanwhile, the gutted back bathroom/spray station looks like a fucking turquoise bomb went off in it

Maybe I should write a note to a future homeowner who may possibly re-gut the bathroom in 50 or so years that we used this room as a spray station and not to sacrifice some turquoise blooded raccoon?