My Blog usually is a place where I come to wax philosophical or share my heart with the world. Today it will be a news outlet, so I can give an account of our recent remodeling project to all the inquiring minds who have wanted to know. Here it is – in words and pictures – how we got floored in 2016.
Most of you know that we moved into this old house in February of 1986. We had a two-year plan for renovations at the time, but with Mark’s accident and subsequent back injury – not to mention seven kids – we just sort of settled into life as it already existed. We loved our old floors and carpet, because they meant we didn’t have to be cranky about water or mud coming in on the feet of the slip-and-sliders or sandboxers or mud-makers. But they are grown. And we are ready for a grown-up floor – in brown tones that nod to the grandchildren who will continue their parents’ quest to bring the outdoors inside. Here it is: Floored.
Begin with one very old carpet – I know it’s 1950’s vintage, because it’s the same carpet we had in my family home in Emmaus – built in 1952. As you can see, “threadbare” doesn’t even begin to describe the condition.
Over the years, we added area rugs to cover the bald spots and told ourselves that there was no point in changing out the carpet while the kids and their friends still were in full swing.
When I pulled out the carpet steamer before Christmas this year, I told Mark it was the last time I could risk running it. As this picture of the truth shows, with furniture and area rugs gone, we really got our money’s worth out of that old rug. So we began cutting.
From the department of They Sure Don’t Make It Like They Used To, we were really surprised at how well the padding had withstood 60+ years of living – although we did find ourselves coated in a microscopically fine blue dust. I’m really hoping this will eliminate some allergens!
Instead of the sub-flooring we expected to find, we were surprised to uncover some stamped linoleum – backed in burlap.
I’m sure it was quite lovely in its time, and I have to say that I kind of enjoyed spending a few days with it between demo and install.
Room # 2 – the TV room – was exquisitely carpeted in a chunk of green shag (duct-taped around the edge to prevent fraying) that lay over a pad that was the ancient area rug that was in the house when we bought it. The perimeter was done in 1950-vintage linoleum. Just to prove our status as Clampetts and not Drysdales, we inherited the green shag when friends were pulling it out of their family room 20 years ago.
The sub-floor was done in wide plank, tongue and groove fir, which would have been lovely refinished except for the large area by the window that had been patched to cover the former location of a huge fireplace. At least it was sturdy and well-sealed.
Poor Patches seemed more than a little bit bewildered as we removed roll after roll of his favorite scents and hauled them out. He says it will take quite a while to get the house smelling the way he likes it again!
Demo was done. Time to call in the workers. Although there have been many times when I’ve wished our floors were done, I have to say here that a huge benefit in waiting for the kids to grow up is having them show up to do the work. Daniel works as a small contractor, so he took charge of the job. (If you like what you see, hit me up for his business contact information).
Older brother, Dave, was a powerhouse at securing the old floor to the joists below and learning the art of flooring from Dan. (Thanks so much, Dave!)
Mark hopped right in, and one of the best parts for me was watching all my guys work together. Some would say that Patches was underfoot – he would say that his job was to supervise. He was very thorough. In this picture, he is making sure that nobody takes the floor boards before they are secured.
The first row was quite a challenge. Suffice it to say that old stone houses (ours was built in 1792) do NOT have square walls. Dan’s patience in fitting the first boards was rewarded when he ended up with a perfect run on the other side of the room.
Did I mention that we have old radiators? Did I mention that they weigh about a bajillion pounds each (give or take)? How to raise them required creative thinking and only the finest of modern tools. Good thing these guys paid attention in Physics class!
I call this one “Surfin’ USA.” Apparently, Mark’s wife didn’t take into account that if she turned the heat up to stay warm, it would mean that he had to hold onto a hot radiator. She is very sorry that it was hot, but delighted to have this great action shot of her sweetie!
Trying to level the patched area of the floor presented some challenges; but ultimately, the guys were able to add a board below – in the basement – that let them draw down the added ones and get them level.
Before we knew it, Dan was down to the wire…
It’s this kind of fit around the door frame that reminds us why a professional job is different from the one we would do on our own.
Thanks, Dan, for transforming our home into something even better than we could have imagined. You’re still my favorite little redheaded boy in the whole world!