Terrific Broth

The life of two scientists, creating a small home, in big mountains

Refinishing the Hardwood Floor

IMG_6389

Hi everyone! I am coming with a big update on our ranch house – we refinished the hardwood flooring on the main story!

IMG_6319

The old oak flooring and the decision of hiring out

We have hardwood flooring on most of the main story of the house, including the living room, Slav’s office, and my office/guest room. Fun fact, we only discovered the red oak flooring on the day we closed on house. I am not even sure if the previous owner knew about the hardwood under the carpet…But since we discovered it, you bet the first thing we did was to rip off the carpet and reveal the wood floor.

IMG_6161

IMG_6176

Unfortunately, the wood flooring we inherited were not in good condition. The carpet tack strip left many nail holes:

IMG_6218

Tiles were laid at the front entry, and the thinset left ugly marks on the wood floor underneath.

IMG_6198

The hallway among bedrooms and the main floor bath were badly worn, and there were paint splashes everywhere.

IMG_6214

IMG_6277

IMG_6202

IMG_6205

IMG_6241

Right before the closing day, the previous owner burned the wood floor in the living room, likely with an iron.

IMG_6224

We also patched the flooring with new oak boards when renovating Slav’s office and the closet area of my office. The new boards have a different finish and appear pinker.

IMG_6221

IMG_6253

IMG_6259

IMG_6257

IMG_6258

With all the flaws and imperfection, it makes sense to refinish the floor all at once. We decided to hire professionals for this job, because they can complete the task much quicker and cleaner (more on that later). The goal is to save our time and energy for the finishing work AFTER the floor refinish, such as installing trims and baseboard. Luckily, we found a highly-praised floor contractor who could pencil us before winter weather. So the game is on!

To prepare for the floor refinish…

We spent a whole week to prepare for the floor work, including moving all the furniture out of the house and into the garage, and taping the built-in bookshelves for dust control. Of course the floor crew could have moved the furniture, but it was a great time for us to organize and to purge.

IMG_6278

I removed the built-in drawers to expose the floor underneath the bookshelves. And Slav steam-cleaned the rugs before rolling them up for storage.

IMG_6261

We also packed away all the curtains and blinds on the main floor. The floor crew will use the dust-free method for sanding, but we knew that dust was inevitable and it is better to just wash the curtains now instead of after the floor work.

IMG_6233

While most of the baseboards were removed during carpet removal, there was still some left in closets. Slav pried all baseboards off and cleaned the wall skirt. We would be installing new baseboards throughout the main story after the floor refinish.

IMG_6248

The front door threshold were also removed to prevent potential damage by the sander. So many little details!

IMG_6210

Lastly, the wood planks next the kitchen tiled floor was badly worn. We decided on a whim to replace them with the floor boards left from the office doorway floor patch.

IMG_6212

IMG_6262

Floor sanding and testing the stain color (the 1st day)

Preparing for the floor refinish took us a whole weekend, but all was worth it. The following Tuesday, while Slav and I were at work, the floor crews came in to sand the floors.

IMG_6296

Y.U.M.M.Y! Even the hidden corners under the bookshelves were sanded pretty well. We were very happy with the result.

IMG_6300

IMG_6303

Here are some before and afters. The sander took off the scratch marks, and the floor crew filled the nail holes and gaps. The whole flooring became very smooth and uniform.

Patched spot next to the kitchen:

IMG_6311

The same spot before:

IMG_6266

Inside the pantry closet:

IMG_6305

The same closet before:

IMG_6241

The hallway:

IMG_6308

IMG_6306

The hallway before:

IMG_6182

My office:

IMG_6309

And the murphy bed/winter gear closet area:

IMG_6310

The floor crew also left a few stain and sealer sample. It was a hard decision to make. I want the main story to be light and airy with lots of green plants, so lighter color was a natural choice. But I also did not want anything too trendy such as grey or white wash…So eventually we decided on the lightest color with any grey tone – the natural sealer from BONA (the lower right panel).

IMG_6292

Staining and sealing the floor (the 2nd day)

We confirmed the color choice with the floor contractor in the morning of the second day, then left for work. Around 2pm, Slav texted me and said the floor was done!!! I could not get home fast enough to  see it.

IMG_6315

O.M.G!

IMG_6322

I was so glad to have chosen the natural sealer (without any stain), since three coats of sealer still made the floor slightly darker than just bare wood. I think this is due to the darkening of the wood grain though. The picture above were taken with afternoon light. Without direct sun, the floor looked a bit darker, as shown in the picture below.

IMG_6336

I think the new floor color complements the white wall and dark bookshelves pretty well.

IMG_6334

The crew did a good job refinishing the small corners underneath the bookshelves.

IMG_6343

IMG_6344

And the floor boards we patched in became a lot less noticeable.

IMG_6347

In person, it was actually hard to tell where the floor patch is.

IMG_6348

Here is the living room! I could not tell where the burn spot was anymore.

IMG_6314

Here is more or less the prints of the hot iron was. can you spot it?

IMG_6358

And of course, getting all these white paint marks off the floor made it look ten times better.

IMG_6321

Although all the nail holes were filled, you can still see where they were because the damage they have caused. But the flooring there is actually very smooth. We will be installing baseboard trims soon and many of these nail holes will be covered.

IMG_6313

There was two places we saw the biggest improvement, and one of them is the front entry. The thinset marks were completely sanded off and it looked like that there were never tiles here.

IMG_6356

The only give-away are the nail holes from the carpet next to the tile. But they will be easily covered by an entryway rug.

IMG_6354

The second area of big improvement is the hallway. Look at the new hallway!

IMG_6362

The floor in my office was the best of the entire house. And now it looked even better. The floor in the closet and murphy bed area was nicely refinished too.

IMG_6385

IMG_6380

 

IMG_6383

You can no longer see the floor patch here anymore.

IMG_6364

Like these boards were always together…

IMG_6365

 

IMG_6366

The floor patch at the door of the closet was well blended in too:

IMG_6373

We loved it!

Overall we were very happy with the “new” floor! The choice of hiring professionals was a great call – it would have taken us days if not weeks to complete this task. Plus, as DIYers we could not rent the dust-free machine they used that vacuums majorities of the dust away while sanding. We hardly experienced any dust or odor during the two work days or afterwards, and the cleanup was minimal before moving the furniture back. We were also impressed by how much the sanding improved the look of the flooring – almost all the scratches and dark spots were taken care of. Although there are still visible nail marks, they are a lot less noticeable. In general, the floor is no longer an eyesore of the house!

IMG_6407

Now looking back, we really could have gotten this done when we first moved in, right after all the carpet was removed. Lessons learned! But hey, late is better than never, right?

So, what is next? We will be moving onto baseboard installation right away and hope to have the furniture back in a couple weeks. At the mean time, I am contemplating a new layout for the living room that should bring more identity and style to the space. So stay tuned, friends! I will be back with an update soon!

A Back Fence Upgrade

This week, we continue making small upgrades to our house and garden. Since having completed the main floor guest bathroom, our focus has been fine-toning the details inside and outside the house. We patched holes and touch-painted, refreshed the hidden portion under the roof, fixed broken pickets on the fence, re-potted all the indoor plants, and filled dead spots in our lawn. These tasks are rather keep-ups and do not make into the blog, but they are necessary for preserving the hard work we put in initially.

Over the last two weeks, we started to see some cool weather, which made working outside a lot more pleasant. And it was the time I decided to give the back fence a face lift:

01

Ranch house - 2

Above pictures showed how the back fence looked like when we moved in. As you can see, the fence was finished with two different types of pickets, which aged into different colors. Shortly after we moved in, Slav gave the fence a good wash with our pressure washer:

05

07

The washing effort made the fence look great for a while. But over time, the different types of wood started turning into different colors again.

IMG_5946

IMG_5944

Challenges and decisions

The problem is that the older fence pickets are cedar, which age into a smoke grey, whereas the newer panels are treated wood, which maintain a much lighter and yellow color. The aging process of the cedar pickets happens very quickly – within a couple weeks, which makes it difficult to keep the fence look uniformed.

IMG_5947

We considered to rebuild the fence to match the horizontal fencing on the other side of the yard, but the current high lumber price puts our plan on halt. Besides, the back fence is actually pretty steady and functional, so it fees like a waste to rebuild just for a different look.

IMG_5943

We debated and discussed many times, and finally reached the conclusion to upgrade the look of the fence with minimal effort, before we have to rebuild for structure reasons. The rebuild will not need to happen until years down the road, and by that time, the lumber price should come down as well.

Painting the treated wood panels

To make the back fence look better, we first needed to stain/paint the lighter color panels to match the darker ones. It happened that we had some exterior paint left over from painting the gable, which are a dark grey color.

IMG_5953

I watered it down just a little bit to make the color a better match, and got onto painting:

IMG_5958

The painted pickets are a bit darker but over time, I think it will look similar to the naturally aged cedar pickets. Here is the same section of the fence before and after being painted:

IMG_5945

IMG_5957

IMG_5954

IMG_5955

Close enough!

Installing the cattle panel

Next, I wanted to train the climbing rose up to the fence. We planted some climbing roses along the back fence in 2018. I did not train it up as I should have, due to our indecision of what to do with the back fence. now we have decided to keep the original fence for a while, I can finally lift the roses off the ground!

IMG_5975

The poor roses, they have been gobbled up by the pumpkins this year:

IMG_5948

IMG_5951

I decided to train the climbing roses up onto the fence using cattle panel. I had done it with the front yard climbing rose with success, and I loved how steady these cattle panels are. In fact, we used them to create bean tunnels in the vegetable garden this year, and they look great with vine crops climbing on them:

IMG_5988

We got four 50″ x 16′ panels from Tractor Supply, my new favorite garden store! They have great seeds and soil, plus all the gardening/farming supplies you can think of. The best? They have little chicks year around in the stores. I love playing with the chicks every time I have an excuse to go inside.

IMG_5967

Slav secured the panels onto the fence pickets using metal staples.

IMG_5974

And they look nice! Plus I think they actually made the fence stronger.

IMG_5969

With the cattle panel secured to the fence, I can simply tie the branches of the roses onto the panel instead of trying to secure them onto the fence. It is a much easier way to train climbing roses, and once we are ready to replace the back fence, I can simply stake the panel up with T-posts and keep the roses in place.

IMG_5964

Training climbing rose

I spent an afternoon training the roses up. The most challenging part was separating them from the pumpkin vines and lifting them up. Even with long sleeves, long pants, and garden gloves, I got scratched all over my arms and legs! The awakening rose is famous for the strong thorns and I can tell you, they are no joke!

IMG_5980

But nonetheless, they are ON.

IMG_5976

IMG_5977

IMG_5983

The upgraded look of the back fence

Here is the upgraded look of our back fence, all in dark, covered by cattle panels, aligned with fruit trees and blackberry bushes, and soon with pink rose blooming all over! Do you like it?

IMG_5985

Painting the Exterior of the House

IMG_5941

Our neighborhood was built in the 60s and early 70s. Most of the houses still maintain their original brick exterior and colors. It feels like a time capsule driving in the neighborhood. However, we have made a lot of changes on the exterior since moving in. We demoed the metal awing in the front of the house, got rid of the cracked concrete patio next to the foundation, removed the foundation planting, and installed a brand new storm door. These steps were taken to address the water issue around the foundation, but of course, these projects improved the curb appeal tremendously.

The front of the house, summer 2017, shortly after we moved in

IMG_6495

The front of the house, summer 2019

IMG_9098

The front of the house today:

IMG_8842

When the roof was replaced, we painted the soffit, the fascia, and the front door to a darker color to match the new gutter, which gave the house an entirely new look and feel. Many neighbors stopped on their tracks and told us how much they loved the new look of the house. Some even said that they enjoyed watching us make decisions during the renovation process. “It is like watching a HGTV show in weekly episodes!” They said and we laughed together. Our neighbors’ praises certainly confirmed our choices of the trim color, and the front of the house looked really good!

But somehow, the house still looked a little strange. For the longest time, I could not pinpoint what was off about the house, until Slav suggested that we should have painted the gable.

IMG_5478

A gable is the triangular part of a wall under the roof, especially between the edges of intersecting roof pitches. Our house is side-gabled, meaning that the gable portion faces the side of the house. Although not in the direct view of the street, one can still catch a glimpse of the gable when passing by.

IMG_5475

Generally speaking, the gable color does not need to be the same as the roof, or the fascia, or the soffit. More often than not, the gable color actually contrasts the roof color, and accompanies the siding of the house. Our house has yellow brick siding. After careful consideration, we decided to paint the gable the same color we used on the fascia and soffit – bronze.

IMG_5479

We used bronze on the soffit and fascia to match the bronze gutter, and really liked how it looks. The original gable color appealed very yellow next to bronze, which made the gable portion look very dated.

IMG_5477

To repaint the gable portion, we first had to clean the surface to get the dust, wasp nests, and spider nets off:

IMG_5487

Then we needed to use the sander to take off the peeling old paint and rough the surface to receive new paint.

IMG_5486

We also needed to patch and caulk the gaps and holes:

IMG_5485

IMG_5484

I spend a whole weekend cleaning and sanding. Then Slav patched all the holes with sealant/outdoor caulking.

IMG_5492

The gable on the garage side is relatively lower to the ground. I was able to reach all surfaces with a tall ladder. But the west side gable is a different story. With sloped land underneath the gable is very high up. Slav had to climb up for most of the work.

IMG_5490

After letting the sealant dry, I lightly sanded everything again, cleaned the dust off, and it was time to paint!

IMG_5934

The new paint reads a bit blue in the picture above, almost black in low lighting, but it actually looks lighter and warmer in person. I think it made an amazing difference from the old color:

IMG_5491

 

IMG_5926

Here is the west gable before:

IMG_5489

And now:

IMG_5937

Definitely more seamless and better!

IMG_5939

At sunset, the bronze color reads warm. I love it.

IMG_5942

Painting the gable looked like a small upgrade, but it actually took us two whole weekends and many evenings. It provided a big visual impact, and the house finally looks “right”. 🙂 The best part of this project? When I painted the gable on the tall ladder, this girl was watching me closely from the below.

IMG_5495

What do you think? Do you like the looks of our newly painted gable?

Page 1 of 85

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén