A small change

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope everyone had an excellent weekend- did anybody do some Halloween celebrating?  I was planning on it and then wussed out at the last minute- I’m blaming being almost 37wks pregnant though…good excuse right??

Speaking of that- we are in full blown nesting mode around our house, with 3 weeks left (or less? more?) until baby D’s arrival.  And by “we” I mean both myself and my husband (I think he’s actually nesting more than I am).  This past weekend was one of the only weekends we had completely free in the past couple of months- no childbirth classes, football games, baby showers, agility trials, etc.  Normal people would probably spend it relaxing, because we don’t have many relaxing weekends left.  But not T.  He was a man on a mission this weekend.

The mission?  Replace the laundry room floor.

The laundry is the very last room in our house to have the floor replaced- and I can now say that we have re-done every. single. surface in our house.  Aside from the windows and doors.  Seriously.  You can read more about our flooring adventures here, here, here, here, here and here (whew, that’s a lot of posts about floors). 

Here’s a reminder of what our laundry looked like until recently:

It had the same flooring that our kitchen had in it- cream colored linoleum that had lost its shine and was dirty and scuffed.  Luckily, between the washer/dryer and the runner (which was really just some carpet tiles from T’s work stuck down with tape), you didn’t see most of the floor.  So we just let it be.  And I kind of figured we wouldn’t do anything in this room, until T mentioned wanting to re-do the floor a few months ago.
Luckily, we were able to do this cheaply.  We had some flooring left over from the kitchen/living room re-do.  If you remember, we actually got our money back on this flooring due to it showing scratches from doggy nails.  We figured out that we needed to purchase one extra box of flooring in order to do the laundry room, so we decided to use the same flooring in here.  Yes, I know I just mentioned that this flooring shows scratches- but it’s already in ~50% of our house, most of it was free flooring since we got our money back, and the majority of the floor will be covered up by the washer/dryer.  Also, this floor tends to only show scratches in one direction- usually whatever direction the sun is shining on it.  Seeing as there is no natural light in the laundry room, the amount of actual scratches that show up should be extremely minimal.  
Anyway- blah blah blah.  On to the actual floor!  T prepped everything last week (pulling quarter round, removing the door)- and we both did our laundry during the middle of the week (why yes, T does do his own laundry.  Back off ladies) in preparation of the washer/dryer being out of the room all weekend.  Friday the washer/dryer came out thanks to the help of a friend- and actually by the time I got home from work T was already getting started.  He was a floor laying fool, and by Saturday morning it was completely done, with the exception of the quarter round.  By Sunday (before football started even) the room was completely back together!!  Care to see?
My husband is amazing.  AMAZING.  The only thing I did in here was put the runner down (this room is the main pass through from the garage to the kitchen- and the garage is where the dogs eat/spend most of their day, so some sort of carpet is a necessity otherwise they’ll just slip and fall).  As you can see, I took advantage of the washer/dryer being back to do a load of laundry!
I’m so glad this is finished (with zero nagging on my part- this was 100% T’s project/idea)- and of course it just wouldn’t have been feasible to do after baby D shows up- we’ll be doing laundry ALL THE TIME once he arrives! 
And just in case anyone is interested in the flooring info- it’s Trafficmaster Allure vinyl flooring in “Tradition” from Home Depot.  This type of flooring works really well in places like the laundry room, as any leaks from the washer/hot water heater won’t damage the floor. We have it in the kitchen/living room as well, plus a “tile” version of it in the bathrooms.  While I’m not thrilled with the way it’s held up in the kitchen/living room with regards to the dogs and their nails- the “tile” version has held up fabulously in the bathrooms and still looks awesome (some of it has been installed for over 2 years now).  I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the “tile” to anyone looking for an inexpensive, easy way to re-do a floor.  
Thanks for stopping by!!

Back in action

Hello!!  I’m back!!  Thanks to all of you for hanging in there while I took an unexpected 2 month blogging hiatus- I got held up by a pretty large project we have going on behind the scenes (don’t worry, I’ll share what that is soon) and also a few trips (for work and play) that got in the way of blogging.  But I’m back now, and going to make another effort to resume blogging!

I thought I’d give y’all an update.  Since the theme of 2012 is “flooring” around here at DavenportDIY (read about it here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here– wow, that’s a lot of posts about floors!) I’m going to talk about…you guessed it…flooring!  ha.

The last bit of flooring we had installed was the Trafficmaster Allure in “Tradition” in the kitchen and living room.  You can see the finished results here and here.  I’m going to try and keep it real here on the blog, so I’ll tell you that we loved it…until the dogs entered the picture.  It became like an ice skating rink for them- and just like skates leave scratches in the ice, the dog nails left scratches in the floor (we keep their nails fairly short, using a dremel to shave them down every couple of weeks, so this was not caused by untrimmed dog nails).  After a month of use, the floor looked like we’d had it for 30 years instead of 30 days.  It broke my heart to see the floor look so beaten up already.  Luckily, we had some floor polish on hand, which, according to the manual that came with our flooring, is recommended for scratch removal.  I applied the polish as instructed- and with a little elbow grease, the scratches were gone!!  Hooray!!

Sadly, that’s not the end of my story, although I wish it were.  As soon as the dogs did their skating trick on the floor, the scratches were back.  Boo.  A quick Google search told me I was not the only person having these troubles with their floor.  A few people mentioned they had filed claims with the company who makes the flooring– and after a lot of foot dragging I decided to go down that road.  I gave them a call and they asked me to send them photos of the damage.  Here’s what I sent (it’s really hard to take a decent photo of a scratch, by the way):

Can you see them??  They are between 4 and 8 inches in length, depending on how far the dog slid. It’s much more noticeable in person- especially when the sun shines on the floor.  Imagine these covering all of the high traffic areas in our house- sigh.

About a week after sending the photos, we received a package in the mail.  A bottle of spray on scratch remover.  Hmmm.  Not quite the response I was hoping for, but I decided to give it a try and see if it would solve our problem.   Here’s what I got, after following the instructions to the letter:

Oh goodie- shiny scratches!!  And a REALLY slippery floor.  All of us about broke our necks on the spot I tried it on, until it finally wore off on our socks/paws.  So I sent the above photos to the company, waited a few days and then called about the claim to see where we stood.  Surprisingly, they offered us a full refund without any hassle.  I was able to go to my local Home Depot and get our money back on the boxes of flooring that we used.

It breaks my heart that we had to go this route- I did a lot of research on this floor before we purchased it and a ton of people said it held up great to dogs.  And we have a similar floor (Trafficmaster Allure in Cordoba) in our bathrooms that we LOVE and looks fabulous, with no scratches in sight.  I also am a huge fan of Home Depot, especially our local store.  We shop there all the time and it hurts me a little to get our money back from them on such a large purchase.  But we’ll definitely be shopping there again in the future.

Do we still have a scratched up floor after all of this?  Yes.  But at least now I won’t cringe every time a dog runs on it or something gets dropped on it, because we were able to get our money back on our purchase.  I hope this post gets found by other people looking for information about Trafficmaster Allure floors, because it’s helpful to know the truth about what you’re buying before you buy it.

One day down the line we’ll probably end up covering them up with something else, but for now we can live with them.  This also frees up some money to do some more flooring in the last part of the house needing new floors- so stay tuned for that post in the near-ish future. 

Thanks for reading and thanks for sticking around!!

Before and after magic

I love before and after photos- so I whipped up a couple for y’all to enjoy!  Sorry it’s taken me SO long to get to this post- getting the area rug from FedEx to our house was a multi-day process (grumble grumble) and it took longer to get everything set up than we expected (of course).  So without further adieu…

The dining room transformation:

The kitchen transformation:

The living room transformation:

Linking up!!

What do you think??
 

Hangin’ in there

Thanks for sticking with me everyone!  I STILL don’t have any photos of the finished living room/kitchen/dining room, partially because I was out of town last week for work and partially because things aren’t finished yet!  Ha!  My extremely hard working husband took on the daunting task of caring for 5 animals and laying quarter round while I was out of town (on top of a full time job).  Yesterday I did some touch up painting on the baseboard and quarter round, and today, a new area rug arrives which means we can FINALLY put everything back together!  I hope to have photos of the final lay out by the end of the week, but we’ll see how that goes.  In the mean time- here’s some photos of other things to tide you over!

The rug we chose- 10’x13′- it’s huge, but should fill the space better than our old rug did, which we sold on Craigslist
The next few pictures are from the Savannah area, where I was for work:
 

And to be really random- a photo of my dog at an agility trial!  We went to a trial in Savannah after work was done for the week- she didn’t place or even qualify in any of the events she was entered in unfortunately, but we got some good photos out of it at least!
Ellie, my little stinker-pants
That’s all the random I have for everyone- hope y’all had a great weekend!!

Realities…

Home renovation projects are always exciting to me, no matter how big or small.  I think that’s one of my most favorite things to read about in people’s blogs.  And through the magic of the internet, it always looks so easy- here’s the before, here’s the after- tada!!!  But what you don’t see is all the behind the scenes craziness.  Take our last few flooring projects for example- betcha didn’t know we’ve been living with our house in some state of un-finishedness (is that a word??  it is now!) for the past 6 weeks!!   Installing the bathroom floor happened in a day- but the quarter round was out of there at least a week before the flooring went it.  And after it all got put back together, the transition strip in the doorway was missing until we got the new carpet, which meant we were constantly watching our feet when walking through the doorway so we wouldn’t trip on the carpet.

Getting new carpet wasn’t as simple as ripping out the old and putting in the new.  ALL the furniture had to be moved out, and we wanted to do some paint touch-ups in the room before the carpet went in.  Then we had to touch up all the baseboards after the carpet was installed.  We’ve had the new carpet in for 2 weeks now and the upstairs just went back to normal over the weekend!!

Then we had the downstairs re-floored last week, and our stove and fridge lived in the garage for almost a week.  Most of our living room furniture is still (as of today) residing in our front bedroom while T works to put down quarter round.  Don’t worry though- there is a chair in there for one person and the dogs have their beds, so at least some of the family can be comfy!!  See:

Break time!

My point in writing all of this is not to complain- I am SO grateful for the ability to make these improvements to our house.  This is more of a reminder to myself and others out there that DIY (and even not so DIY projects) always cause disturbance- and for some reason, I’m surprised at how much disturbance.  Every. Single. Time.  You’d think I’d have it figured out by now!!

Sneak peek!

Because I can’t wait until it’s all put back together to show it off…I’m gonna let the pictures do the talking again here:

About half way there!

You can see the dining room is done- the flooring looks very orange in this picture- it’s not.

A close up of the new carpet (on the stairs) and the new floor- this gives you a good idea of the flooring color

A shot of the kitchen- again, the flooring color is off in this picture.  It’s actually very similar to the cabinet color, both have a lot of color variation to them
Done done and done!!

Lookin’ good!  I even have a hard time believing it’s vinyl honestly…

Now we just need to put down a ton of quarter round and touch up the trim paint and move all the furniture back in!  Easy right?  Ha!  We spent most of last night cleaning and polishing the floor- it’s recommended to strip off the original wax finish with a vinyl cleaner and then put down a couple thin coats of polish to protect the floor.  The polish removed any scuffs that were made in the original finish by the installers- and if we get new scuffs/scratches in the finish (dog nails!) we just apply a tiny bit of the polish with a sponge to remove them.

Can’t wait to move things back in- although our living room feels HUGE right now! 

Good things come to those who wait…

Oh it’s SO hard to be patient!  These boxes have been taunting me since last Wednesday:

The flooring guys came today and started their tear/out install, but they didn’t make it to the actual installation process (insert huge sad face here). That’s because around noon today, our living room floor looked like this:

No, that’s not some weird modern area rug- that’s thin set to help level out our subfloor.  This whole room was covered with carpet before, and carpet hides a lot of imperfections in the subfloor.  Solid surface flooring does not (although vinyl is more forgiving than laminate or hardwood)- and a lot of the plywood subfloor pieces formed ridges where they met, so the installers poured thin set over the top to gradually decrease the ridge.  That has to dry all day, so after they poured it, they left for the day.  They’ll be back tomorrow to actually install the floor.  I have to work, so T is staying home with the installers, which means when I get home, there should be a pretty new floor waiting for me!!  Let’s just say, I can’t wait!  Here’s a close up of what I’ve been dealing with since we bought the house almost two years ago:

Apologies for the terrible cell phone picture.  The weird black dots to the right are where someone left a vacuum cleaner running and the beater bar ripped small holes in the floor.  The floor also never looks clean- even after I mop it- so I just gave up awhile ago because it actually makes me angry whenever I mop our floor.  See what I mean- this is freshly mopped:

Barf.  It’s especially dirty where the quarter round was.  When we bought the house we scrubbed and scrubbed this floor and it never got better.  I just used a lot of area rugs to cover up the particularly nasty spots.  So I’m looking forward to a clean and shiny new floor- soon!!  I promise an update with lots of pictures once it’s all done!

Inspiration

I’m sure y’all are getting sick of hearing me talk about…you guessed it…flooring!  But I’m not quite done yet.  We have round two of flooring installations happening on Monday!!  The lucky rooms receiving the treatment this time are the living room, kitchen and dining room.  When deciding on flooring (there’s SO many options choose from) I pulled from some Pinterest inspiration:

Via

Via
Via

Can you tell by my inspiration photos which way we’re planning on going?  Yup- all wood tones.  Our kitchen cabinets were a big selling feature for us, so we’re planning on leaving them the medium wood tone that they are.  I didn’t want do tile (or the Allure vinyl “tile” that we did in the bathrooms).  My goal, since all three rooms are somewhat connected, is to try and make them more of a cohesive  space- right now the kitchen and dining room have a really awful old dirty looking linoleum and the living room is carpet.  So we’re doing wood floors.  Well- “wood” floors actually.  The budget doesn’t allow for real wood- and we don’t want to do laminate because of the water issue- we have an ice maker and then the dishwasher, plus a door that gets a lot of traffic from the dogs.  I’ve read some really bad things about laminate and water and it just sounds like a terrible combination.  So we’re doing more vinyl.  I know- it sounds weird and something that might not be great for resale.  But Allure makes a really realistic looking vinyl plank- and it’s gotten some amazing reviews.  Jen at IheartOrganizing used it in her entire basement after it flooded- it’s beautiful!  It’s supposed to hold up really well to water, foot traffic and dogs.  We’ll see because in it goes on Monday! 

Based on my inspirations and the amount of natural light we get in our house, I knew I didn’t want a dark wood.  I’ve also heard the darker wood colors show every single speck of dirt and dust.  I wanted to choose something either very similar in color to our cabinets or slightly lighter.  So we brought home a ton of samples and held them up to the cabinets, furniture, walls, trim, etc.  Here’s the winner:

It’s called “Tradition” and looks a tiny bit on the rustic side, but not enough to look like a cabin floor.  It’s very similar to our kitchen cabinet color, and light enough so it won’t make our house look like a cave.  And there are currently 27 boxes of it sitting in the office!

I’ll be back with photos of the install soon- have a great weekend everyone!!

MORE flooring!!

I wanted to come up with a catchier title than that…but I’m drawing a blank.  Oh well.

Like I said, 2012 is a flooring year for us!  We kicked things off with the upstairs bathroom floor.  That was a fairly simple DIY project.  This next project is not a DIY, unfortunately- carpet!!!  New carpet is NOT something we wanted to DIY ourselves- so we’re leaving it to the pros.  There are too many things that can go wrong with installing carpet yourself- and mistakes can add up quickly ($$$).

The same day we were installing our floor, I had a guy come out and measure our whole house!  At some point all of our house is going to need to be re-floored in some material or another- we *think* the carpet is original to the house (although I have some doubts about that, because that would make it 23 years old and I don’t know if carpet can be that old) and is starting to slowly disintegrate- I vacuum up a little bit more of it every time I vacuum.  It still looks in decent shape for the most part (at first glance anyway), but there are stains and places where cats have decided to use it as a scratching post (or, in the case of the prior owners, a bathroom- yuck).  We had to pull the carpet back when we put in the bathroom floor and remove the transition strip.  When we did the downstairs bathroom, we just had a carpet installer come in (as a side job) and re-stretch it and re-install the transition strips, as new carpeting was not in the budget at that time.  We could have done that again this time around, but instead we opted to re-carpet!

We just ordered the carpet the other day, and it’s a special order item, so unfortunately I don’t have any ta-da, it’s finished! pictures yet.  But I can show you what we picked!!  I was highly influenced by Katie’s (at Bower Power) choice in carpet for her house- I loved the look (go check it out).  So off I went to look at it in person- no, not at Katie’s house- I wish!  (She is in Georgia though- hey Katie, can I come to your house and see your carpet in person??? ha!)  At Home Depot** (my most favorite store in the world, aside from the garden store down the street from us).  It’s Martha Stewart’s Winterthur:

See?  Pretty!!  In person I liked it even more- the middles of the diamonds are a berber-type carpet, which I like for it’s low profile and durability, and the cross-hatches are hook and loop carpet (I think that’s what it’s called).  The diamonds are only an inch in size so the pattern isn’t too loud.  And it’s oh so very soft.  And kind of fancy looking.  I showed it to the husband, and he said looks good.  Actually, he said “whatever you want is fine with me…”- don’t you love it when they say things like that?!?

Another couple of things I like about the carpet- it’s made from 25% recycled nylon- they call it cradle to cradle.  Which is awesome. And the recommended carpet pad (which we chose)?  Also recycled!!  It’s made by Nike, of all companies, and it’s called StepAhead and it’s made from recycled running shoe rubber!!  How fitting- maybe that will motivate me to get my butt out the door to run more often (I’ve been a running slacker lately)??

We brought home the entire range of colors they offer in this carpet- at first I settled on Potter’s Clay, which was a pretty, neutral “greige”

But the more I squinted at it, the more I realized it looked a lot like the carpet color we already had, and my husband wanted something darker.  So we settled on this color:

Perfect right?  Our dogs are black, why not black carpet to hide all that fur??

HAHAHA- just kidding.  No way!!!  Although it would hide the fur, that’s for sure!  We actually settled on the first picture I showed you- Wild Turkey:

It’s in the same color family as Potter’s Clay, but a darker “greige”.  Maybe a little boring to some, I know, but I think it’ll be really pretty with all the different wall colors we have going on.

We currently have 4 rooms and 13 stairs that need carpet.  We want to switch the living room from carpet to a solid surface, and continue that surface to the dining room and kitchen.  We would LOVE to do all the rooms all at once, but can’t because- 1. We’d essentially have to move out of our house to do that.  2.  We’re not made of money (although I’m still working on growing that money tree in the backyard!!).  So we’re planning to do this in stages- first, the upstairs, which is around 600 square feet.  Then, the downstairs hard surface (another 600ish square feet), and finally the two downstairs carpeted rooms (about 400 square feet).

I really, really, REALLY want to do the stairs in wood.  I drool over all the hardwood stairs on Pinterest (just look at how many wooden stairs I’ve pinned).  And I really want to do it ourselves.  BUT- the husband talked me out of it, and into keeping the carpeted stairs (with new carpet of course!), for a few reasons.  1.  We have fairly steep stairs and a 13 year old dog.  That combo makes for some dangerous trips up and down- visions of the dog (or human) falling and breaking a hip have run through our heads more than once.  We could put a carpeted runner down, but then most of the wood would get covered up- so what’s the point of doing all the work if you don’t see it.  2.  Our stairs are currently carpet and it would take A LOT of work (and money) to make them look decent.  Also A LOT of time- and there’s no good way to keep animals off the stairs while working on them.  3.  This house most likely isn’t our forever home- if it were, we might consider making the stairs hardwood.  So…sigh…looks like the stairs will be carpet.  I can’t win all the battles…but I can continue to dream about hardwood stairs!

I can’t wait to feel squishy new carpet under my toes, probably in another couple of weeks!!!  I will post pictures once that process gets started!

**Disclosure:  I was not paid or compensated by this company- we just shop there A LOT, and have had great experiences with our local store.

New flooring!

Look!  Another post!  See, I’m trying!

2012 is going to be the flooring year for us, I can already tell.  Up to this point, we’ve only touched the flooring in the downstairs bathroom, and that was out of necessity- a rotten subfloor meant the linoleum had to come up.  Ooof.  That was an eye-opener, 4 months into home ownership and we’re tearing out floors!!  But we survived, and the floor looks great.  Here’s a reminder of that process (and you can read more about it here):

Allure Trafficmaster vinyl plank flooring in “Cordoba“, mid bathroom re-do

 We’ve been holding onto an almost full box of this flooring for about a year and half, and I’ve been DYING to do the upstairs bathroom floor.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that floor (thank goodness!) aside from looking a little dated- but hey, we had some of the flooring already!  So I begged asked my husband nicely to help me install the flooring- I even said it could wait until after football was over- and he said sure.  He even got the DIY bug and we installed it over the weekend! 

Here’s a look at the bathroom when we bought the house:

And here’s what it looked like before the weekend:

Looks good- but it just needed that extra ooohmf from new flooring!

We choose the Allure Trafficmaster flooring (from Home Depot**) because of price and ease of install.  It’s around $50 per box, which covers about 25 square feet.  Three boxes was plenty to do the upstairs bathroom, with room for mistakes, and we only used a little over 2 boxes in the downstairs bathroom, so it’s a pretty inexpensive adventure.  It’s also waterproof, has a 25yr warranty and is scratch resistant- love all of that.

This flooring is installed as a floating floor, over the existing flooring or subfloor, with 3 tiles “combined” together in a plank (with fake grout in-between the tiles).  The planks get stuck together with overlapping sticky strips- it’s hard to describe but they stick together very well (although if you make a mistake you’re stuck- literally).  It’s kind of like click and lock flooring, but click and stick instead.  The best part is, it’s vinyl and you can cut it with a box cutter!  No saws involved- just score and snap.  Well, score several times and then snap- it’s not quite as simple as they make it sound, but it’s certainly easier than using a saw, that’s for sure.

Here’s an up-close photo of the “tiles” so you can get a better idea of the sticky strips:

The tiles are nice and thick (0.15 inches)- not flimsy at all- and each strip of tiles weighs almost 5 pounds- it’s pretty heavy duty.

Here’s a mid-install picture:

Why yes, yes we did use a rolling pin in this process- that’s to seal the seams after you stick the tiles together.  You can also rent a 100lb floor roller to press the seams, but the company actually recommends walking on it- the more you walk on it, the better the seal.  I wouldn’t walk on it until you get it all stuck together, since it is a floating floor.  Walking on it mid-process can make the whole thing slide around a little and throw your alignment off, which is key, especially around doorways.

Flooring a bathroom can be tricky-  you barely get one run of tiles laid out before you encounter a doorway or something you have to cut around, which can be a bit of a brain puzzle.  For that reason it took us about 8 hours from start to finish to get this done.  I’d imagine if we were doing a living room that was basically a rectangle, things would go a lot faster.  That’s what I’m trying to convince my husband anyway- Trafficmaster makes a wood version of this, and I want to install it in our living room/dining room/kitchen!  Which will be a lot of work, I know!  But I still think we can do it ourselves.

Ok, I know you’re dying for the finished product, so I won’t disappoint!

 
I LOVE it.  Love.  I can’t believe we waited so long to do it.

Just for fun- another photo, with the room all put back together:

Oooooooooh.  Ahhhhhhh. 

What do you think?

**Disclosure:  I was not paid or compensated by this company for my opinion- we just shop there A LOT, and have had good experiences with our local store