Preparing for the new wood flooring

For some time we’ve been wanting to replace the flooring in three rooms: the entry, the front formal living room, and the dining room. Total square foot (Dining, Living, Entry) = 410

Originally we were going to go with the natural Bruce engineered wood, flooring product we bought from Lowes to do the upstairs hallway. It has proven durable and it is priced very reasonably. However we were put on hold with the project due to money and while time past we re-thought this and wanted to go with a darker wood floor. My only concern is in a dark room the dark floor would suck in light.

BTW before picking out a wood floor you have to realize that it’s the substrate that determines the type of floor you can install. Whether it is concrete (which needs a vapor test before proceeding) or plywood, does decide what type of wood flooring (i.e laminate, engineered hardwood etc…) you can install.

So the money is here, the floor materials (Lumber Liquidators, Bamboo flooring) bought and held for two weeks indoors to acclimate, and the project is now underway… Let’s follow along shall we?

Out with the old – the flooring and it’s plywood substrate is pulled out with a crowbar, revealing the cement foundation. Our kids jumped in for the money and got it all pulled out. It’s now boxed or wrapped in bundles and awaiting tomorrow’s garbage collection. Wow! I am getting way excited to see this new floor in! It’s only taken two years!!

removing_wooden_floor
removing_wooden_floor2
removing_wooden_floor3

Project: Cornice of Crown moulding over door

I posted about some overhead door moulding cornices that we saw on the Parade of Homes and that we already did a large moulding Cornice on the inside, over the front door. I’ve had a lot of hits on those pages and since there is so much interest, here is a DIY Tutorial on how we did it.

First, we sketched out what we were going to do, along with planning measurements for the moulding’s height and width and calculations for lumber. For two door cornices (one above the pantry door in the kitchen, and the other, the under-stair closet in the front entry hall) we needed 6′ of trim moulding and 8′ of Crown, and all the lumber came out to be about $36.

 

Using your level, mark the moulding pieces where you will take it off:

Use a mat knife to cut the paint/caulking seal around the top piece of door moulding. This makes it easier to remove.

Level the top of the vertical moulding pieces with a small hand saw such as a Coping Saw.

Once all the top trim is removed, pull out any leftover nails and measure the width (left to right form the outside of each vertical moulding) for a total width.

To do this project you need three types of wood – crown moulding, base or trim moulding, and a board that fits the size of your project’s height.

Cut a horizontal board the width you measured earlier. Sand or rasp smooth the ends and any rough edges.

Cut the small, bottom trim. This is a 45 degree cut using a radial arm saw. You can also use a miter box but it is a bit more time consuming and you need a steady hand. Do the front piece first, then the two, smaller side pieces.

These pieces are assembled at what will become the bottom of your horizontal board. Wood glue is applied to the end pieces, and they are nailed in using a finishing nail. Tip: if not using a finishing nail gun with a compressor, pre-drill a smaller diameter hole (i.e. pilot hole) for your nail to use as a guide.

The middle section also gets some wood glue and is nailed into place with finishing nails (through pilot holes) onto the large horizontal board.

Repeat with the Crown Moulding. Crown Moulding is also cut at a 45 degree angle but takes some special handling which I will cover in a later post. If this is your first time working with Crown Moulding be sure to research some videos to show you how – it’s not impossible but does take some careful planning and know how.

Again, glue, attach and nail the Crown at the ends first. Ends are attached using smaller finishing nails (or brads) as the Crown moulding is too thin for the larger finishing nails.

The corners need to be attached to each other for support (nail shows diagonal nail path, but we used a smaller nail then shown).

It takes a little extra time, but drilling a pilot hole let’s nails easily go in.

Finishing nails are recessed using a nail-setter.

After the Crown moulding was nailed into place, the corners were taped with painters tape and it was left to dry for a few hours. After glue is set, use wood putty applied with your finger into the recessed nail holes and the joining corners of moulding.

…and after it dries, it’s sanded smooth.

It’s painted first with a brush to get into all the lines of the moulding. Because this is bare wood, the paint is soaked up quickly; if you prefer you could use primer at this stage. Two additional coats are applied with a 4″ cabinet foam roller; generally, I give a light sanding between coats for a very smooth finish.

Tip: it’s much easier to paint before it goes up!

Now you are ready to get your Cornice up on the door. First, drill pilot holes and push in your finishing nails so they are aligned correctly. There generally is a stud running the same direction as the side moulding so be sure to attach along the side for extra, holding strength.

Construction Adhesive on the back is helpful.

Set on top of the door and make sure it is centered. Finish hammering in the nails, recess the nail heads, fill with wood putty, let dry, sand smooth and give it all one last paint coat. A line of interior caulking on the inside bottom of the door gives a clean look.

Pantry door with new overhead moulding – the paint on the left is allen + roth Rock ar720, the paint on the right is the old color. We are waiting on some drywall repair and then that side will also be painted with the new color (just couldnt’ wait though!). View through the formal dining room doorway to the pantry door:

View from kitchen to the entry hall, showing closet door on left, and front door on right.

Entry door with a larger, overhead Cornice moulding (the moulding in the middle covers a seam) which was about $125 due to the height of the board used and the size of the crown moulding used..

LOVE IT! And only $18 each for the smaller Cornices! Well worth the money investment especially if you have higher ceilings; the cornices draw your eye right up, enhancing the height of the room.

BTW if you want something simpler, Lowes is now selling a kit (called Archetype Over Door and Window Moulding) found in the moulding section of the store. It’s not as fancy but would be easier for those who don’t want to do all the work shown above.

Project: Secretary Desk ~ country to classic

A few years into our marriage, I had redone the secretary desk that was from my parents home. Originally, it had been stained a dark color by my dad in the 1970’s. In the late 1980’s, I redid it in colors of green and orange. Now, I’m ready for a new incarnation.

before

After doing a lot of looking online at various photos of different colored hutches, I decided to go wtih black. If you want a piece in a traditional color choose black, white/cream, or gray. These are the “neutrals” of painted furniture and will last a long time and work with a wide variety of decorating styles.

drawers repaired with Bondo (pink)

Since this piece doesn’t have a protective topcoat, I just cleaned any dust and grime off with a slighty damp cloth. I don’t want the pine knots to show this time so spray-primed knot areas with B-I-N (an oil based spray primer) to prevent bleed through.

spray primer to cover pine knots

I painted the entire unit with one coat of gray primer (Valspar Latex Enamel Undercoat) I had on hand. I mostly used a 4″  foam roller to apply the primer; a brush was used to work primer into the curves and recesses.

After it dried overnight, the first coat of color, Black Onyx (Glidden, Home Depot), was applied with a 4″ foam roller. The first coat should be thin. There were a total of 3 coats and between the 2nd and 3rd I did one light sanding by hand with a 220 sanding block. This was enough because the surface was very smooth already.

Valspar Waverly Classics – Gull W38006A was used to color the hutch interior and desk area of the Secretary. This was leftover from the bathroom project.

I removed the old backing to the hutch area and replaced it with fabric (Hancocks upholstery fabric, two yards on sale for $15). Replacing the backing is an easy fix, especially if it is warped, damage or obviously stained or peeling. I personally like a hutch or shelf unit backing that is a contrast to the main body of the furniture.

Nowadays, stencils or wallpaper are trendy for the back decoration.  Stencils do best on large flat areas such as drawer fronts, table tops, or the sides of a hutch or dresser. Stencils were in, then out, and now seem to be coming back in.  JMO but stencils went out due to overuse and people using multi-colors (i.e. think grapes with green leaves and purple fruit) so keep it simple.

A very dry 4″ foam roller was brushed over the stencil to achieve the effect. The damask stencil is from Michaels, though Hobby Lobby had a similar, but larger pattern.

The only tricky thing about stencils is lining them up and making sure they are truly centered. You’ll need to use a ruler and painters tape to mark out the alignment.

Use a tacky adhesive to get them to stay put during the process and make sure you press any curlicues or cut edges down carefully as they often pop back up when the paint is applied, making a smear. When using an adhesive be aware that it will pick up any dust and dirt, so put a piece of tape on the end and hang it to the side (not the floor!) with paint side out to keep it clean.

Distressing: I considered it, but decided not to with this piece. It’s not a high quality piece and the drawer fronts are thin boards of pine that would be easily damaged by a heavy hand.

After stenciling, I let it dry overnight before I gave the entire piece two coats of wipe-on, water based poly (fine for dark colors but not for white/light). This works fine as this piece is not a table (wipe on poly is not durable enough for table tops JMO). Later, I’ll put on some clear wax, which gives a nice soft glow

NOTE! An oil based poly cannot be used on top of latex paint; it will also yellow over time.

Hardware: The drawer knobs are from Hobby Lobby; the lower drawers were the original just spraypainted light gray (Ace Premium Enamel spraypaint).

Still thinking on what I’ll put in it – simple white pottery, some silver, and books or …. With the busier backing I don’t want to put in a lot of patterned pieces on the shelves. It also has door fronts that I’m still working on which will be with an open grillwork of some sort.

Project: Entry Door with Crown Moulding

When we built the house we opted out of a lot of windows that would have framed the door. We are still glad we did for privacy sake, but it does leave the front entry looking a bit drab.

After the Parade of Homes tour when we saw alot of moulding over the doorways (i.e. Cornice), we decided to build our own. Husband did it and I didn’t get any shots during the process – he also picked out a massive bit of Crown Moulding for the project – so big it didn’t fit into the saw!

He built it in three pieces – the bottom horizontal piece under the window had two lines of moulding; a half moon cut out that fitted behind the moulding of the first, base piece; and the top piece with the crown. A piece of moulding over the half circle window hides the joinery of the top and middle piece.

I painted it twice before it went up. Afterwards, finishing nails were recessed, filled with wood putty, sanded and it was painted again. Price was about $125 for materials.

Wow! It makes a huge difference and says, “hey look! here’s a door!”

front doorway with overhead crown moulding

crown moulding over entry door

Smaller, but similar, moulding projects will be done over the closet (entry hall) and the pantry (kitchen). See the DIY, step by step tutorial on this type of over door, moulding project!

Want to see more about moulding projects? There’s more on the blog right here

Tip: update your brass lighting fixtures

Nothing says outdated right now then brass lighting fixtures. They are just so 80’s and 90’s and it is these little things that will quickly date your house. Since we are looking to sell in a year or two, and don’t want to sink money into new light fixtures, I did a quick fix with spraypaint.

While there was only a brass rim to paint some Krylon Brushed Nickel spraypaint from Ace Hardware still makes that brass go away. All for about $5!

Brass light fixture before
Brushed Nickel by Krylon