Friday, November 28, 2008

Heart Pine (?) Floors

So the next thing on our agenda was to get the floors stripped and refinished. Unfortunately, the camera is on the fritz, so we can't access all of our shots. As such we're going to have to describe the process and pass on what we learned.

We decided that we would do this ourselves, but we wimped out on the drum sander. We settled on that sexy 4 pad random orbital thing from the "Orange Store". I'm going to have to say that the folks at Crescent Springs HD, especially Walt and Janet are really helpful and a font of knowledge. I'm also going to recommend the random orbital sander to any neophyte. It's very hard to screw up, dust is very low, and the whole thing is pretty easy to figure out. The negatives are these: You're going to blow through a lot of pads (which are costly). And, it's going to take quite a bit longer than you think if you've got anything but poly on there to sand. We also settled on Varathane clear satin poly. I don't like super shiny wood floors.

I'm not going to go through the blow by blow because instructions are all over the web, and in addition, there are good resources at HD's rental department (from what I can tell). I do want to pass on a couple lessons, though.

Lesson 1: Chemically strip varnish. Sanding it is a pain and takes for ever. If you use varnish remover, you can just apply and sand immediately. I'll save you hours.

Lesson 2: Paint will come up with a sander, but some spots can be stubborn. If they are, hit them with a chemical remover too. It'll save time.

Lesson 3: Both the wife and I make good ballast for improved sanding effectiveness.

Here are the results.

Note how cool our repairs turned out.

I'm pretty sure we have "heart pine" but I'm utterly surprised by the finished color. After we sanded, the floor was very light yellow with dark brown grain. We decided that we would not stain the floor, yet look at the color. Almost like cherry. It's very pretty, but not what we thought we'd end up with.

I'm not sure if there is anything we could do to lighten it up, even if we had the time anyway.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Seminary Square Holiday Tour

Technically, we're two doors away from Seminary Square, but they're still our neighbors. Check it out. Wonderful homes.

COVINGTON -- Nine homes, one garden and a converted church that is now used as an office building in Covington's Old Seminary Square neighborhood will be open for the second annual Old Seminary Square Christmas Walk, 5-8 p.m. Dec. 7.

The neighborhood features Victorian architecture - from townhouses to sprawling mansions.

Members of the Holmes High School Choir will be performing Christmas carols through the evening.

Tickets, $15, will be sold at the rear of 1018 Russell St., which is at the southeast corner of Robbins and Russell streets.

Parking will be available at John G. Carlisle School, Banklick and Robbins streets, a half-block west of the ticket office.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dry Wall Finishing & Paint

A lot has happened, and I want to update, but I also want a placeholder for pics and tips that will likely come to mind.

So, this is it.

Aldrine finished hanging all the dry wall in pretty short order. There were few problems, save for a missed closet light ("Funny bulge in there Aldrine..." "Huh? Oops!) and an under-counter light wire that got drywalled over a stud creating a funny high spot. Aldrine just thought we were REALLY bad framers.

While he ought to know (he made our framing looks REALLY good), we aren't THAT bad. The repair was seamless and invisible.

The end result was beautiful.

There are three tips that I want to pass on:

1) Pay attention to your furring lumber. Just discard racked boards. Later in the process you'll know to do this, but we screwed up our finish because of some boards we put up early and didn't catch until after drywall was up and finished. Most folks won't notice but some will. So, when the lumber comes in, look at every 1X4 down its length. If it twists or is warped badly, pull it. You can cut it into short blocks where the twist or warp won't matter.

2) If your ceiling joists are really uneven, run 1x3's at 90' at 16" intervals all the way across them. We screwed them but you can nail them. You can then adjust them by getting your head up very high s you can look down each run and lower the boards in places where the joists are higher. This creates a nice reasonably level, wide nailing area for your dry wallers. Your ceilings will look MUCH better. We're told that a rolling scaffold works very well, but we managed with just 2 6' ladders.

3) Aldrine insisted upon 5/8" board for the ceilings. He just said, "It's better". I agree. As much work as we did smoothing out the ceiling joists with 1x3's, they weren't perfect. 5/8" hides the imperfections and lays much more smoothly. It looks great.

3.5) Aldrine insisted upon "Straight Flex" to deal with the funky angles up in the attic. If you're a DIYer, try that stuff. He also wanted Durabond 20 for some of the finishing, which he's great with, but he's fast and professional. It does NOT leave you with much time to get it up. They have a slower drying compound that's better for amateurs.

Hopefully, we have some close ups to show.

Once done with Dry Wall, we ran on to paint.

Normally, one primes dry wall, then paints. We were told that if we're in a huge hurry to get in, just spray it with 2 coats of primer (it would pass inspection) and worry about paint later. All well and good.

So we went to ICI and asked about primer. We were told that there's primer and there's primer and then there's paint and better paint. We were told that if we're doing two coats of primer, it'll be OK, but it won't look great and we'll have to paint anyway. Two coats of self-priming good quality paint and we're DONE for not much more.

Both of us hate "half a$$ed" solutions, so we picked a nice neutral high quality latex that we could get lots of 5 gallon buckets of and took that tack. The trick here is we used a standard color. Why? We wanted to buy what we thought we needed and a bit more. If we had 5 gallons left, we could return it--not a custom color.

Next up, get a paint sprayer. We thought about buying one. You can get them fairly cheaply. Alas, they are fairly cheap in outcome. You can also rent a good one. For something like $79 a day, you can rent a serious paint sprayer. Folks, in 9 man hours you can easily paint 2000 square feet with two coats. DONE. Including clean up. How long does it take you to roll out a room?

Painting tips:

Take your time and mask everything off before you get the sprayer. It takes time. Paint before flooring goes in unless you want to have drop cloths.

Make sure you get your walls clean--damp mop off the dust that doesn't vacuum or blow off. It has be recommended that one open up one end of the house and then get a leaf blower and a mask and just blow all the dust out. I have no experience with that, but it sounds fun and ought to work. We used a compressor with a blower fitting. If your compressor is large enough, it should work well. If not (our wasn't) definitely follow up with a damp mop.

Cover up. Wear goggles. I was wiping latex OUT of my eyes by the end. Gross. A mask is a very good idea. Preferably a P-100 respirator.

This is a two man job. Get a helper and make sure that they have a roller. There will be drips unless you are very good. Someone needs to get them immediately and roll them out. Also, the sprayer is heavy, as are the 5 gallon buckets of paint. You don't want to hurt your back changing out your paint. A helper, um, helps.

If you have time, get your trim in first (we didn't). That way, the paint seals it in and saves you a lot of detail work later.

REMOVE (don't just mask or use the "shower caps" that come with) your smoke detectors. Modern smoke detectors are VERY sensitive and they are also all connected so that if one goes off, they ALL go off. Killing the fuse doesn't do anything either. There is nothing like being half way through a paint job at 8:00 at night and suddenly having the din of 7 alarms going off. Why? Because the FUMES set one of the alarms off.

We put a fan on the offending smoke detector, and after a couple minutes, it stopped. We set the fan down and it went off again. Fine. We turned the fan up, and set it on a paint bucket. All quiet. The next morning (with the windows open all night) we turned off the fan and WEEET, WEEET, WEEET!. Take it from me. REMOVE the smoke detectors until all paint vapors have cleared the house.

The outcome on painting with a sprayer is very nice, and very uniform. What paint you do get on you actually washes off more easily, though it gets into every nook and cranny. I figure that the paint sprayer saved about 30 man hours, if not more and could have saved more than that had we had time to get everything in place.

More coming soon and we'll also come back and add some pics shortly.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

They're In!!

They are IN!

Call Madison's Market down at Findlay for more info or to order some.

Very affordable (as luxury items go) and a special experience.

Truffled Capon Recipe

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Big Shout Out

I've been positive on our spray foam insulation guys, as readers know, but you'd think that after a couple months, we'd be over it.

Nope. I was going over issues with the NKAPC and asked them about the open-cell spray foam on the decking in the attic storage area. See, it's uncovered. There was a concern about the fire and smoke ratings. Rather than rely on hope, I called Priority 1 and asked them. Turns out, we're fine. Open-cell doesn't need to be covered (in most cases) but closed cell probably does.

Now, what does Priority 1 do? Well, Larry jumps in his truck and immediately DRIVES TO THE SITE to hand deliver the spec. sheet so I can show the building inspector if he's got an issue. That's service. I highly recommend not only the product but this outfit.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Any Time Now

I was speaking with someone about insulation and somehow the subject got around to food. Go figure.

Then to truffles. It's almost time, folks.

Soon. Madison's Market is checking on them. I'm hoping for another decent season.

Last year's was something else.

For those who are interested, here's the article and recipes

More house stuff soon. We're very busy and a lot has happened on site.