Life of Megan

Monday, October 23, 2006

One room painted, many lessons learned

We painted our guest bedroom this weekend. It is now "heirloom lace," which means it's a sort of creamy off-white that I can't really describe. I think it looks pretty nice. We have some touching-up to do, and we have to figure out how to clean the floors, but it's looking nice.

We learned that fake TSP (the phosphate is illegal here because of environmental legislation) takes the finish right off our floors (or at least cleans them really well). Hooray for drip marks. We also learned that paint can go through a heavy canvas drop cloth pretty quickly. I really wish we had the huge and scary drop cloths my dad has. Ah, well. Live and learn. Next time, the plastic tarp will go down first. Most of the floors need to be refinished anyhow. I think I'm going to find out how much getting all the remaining floors sanded would cost. Staining and protecting are not a big deal. There's also the option of chemically resurfacing--we just need to get a bunch of chemicals, go into the closet, and figure out what protectant is on the floors now. This is something we need to do anyhow for the purposes of cleaning the floors.

Raking is hard work. I learned that yesterday too.

All right. Back to work.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Bathroom Floor Is Done!!!

When we moved in to our house, there was truly awful carpet covering the bathroom floor. I don't think this picture adequately conveys how gross the carpet was, but it's the only thing I have:

We decided to find out what was beneath the carpet. The original plan was to install ceramic tile. Well, under the carpet, we found the most glorious linoleum either of us had ever encountered. It was Clemson orange with multi-colored speckles throughout. This was the kind of linoleum that took your breath away. This was linoleum perfectly designed to meet the needs of hard-partying college kids. With this sort of surprise discovered by simply pulling up a corner of the carpet, we had to find out whether we'd discover a similar shocker under the linoleum. And we did--original hardwood flooring, just like the rest of the house.

Needless to say, the linoleum had to go. And go it did, thanks to our dads' efforts in the days before our wedding.

Now we were left with thick patches of black, tarry, linoleum glue with glints of wood peaking through here and there. You know what they don't tell you about linoleum glue? It's tough stuff to remove. We scraped for a while before giving up and buying a heat gun. It turns out that melting linoleum glue smells awful, gives you headaches, and makes you cough a lot. We became the proud owners of a very fancy all-purpose face mask with carbon (and some additional) filters. Yep, it's the kind of mask you'd use if you had to go and clear out 90+ cats from some crazy old man's house.

Eventually, all visible traces of the linoleum glue were gone. Next up, sanding away remaining glue and floor protection. We bought a medium-duty random-orbit sander, a sanding block, and a ton of 60-grit sandpaper. I was nervous about renting a machine because the bathroom isn't huge, and I figured big machines have a bigger chance of causing damage through inexperienced user error than small ones. Random-orbit sanders are foolproof. This turned out to be a huge tactical error on my part, but we plowed through.

Or rather, we sanded through. I don't know how many hours the entire sanding job took, but it was far more than a reasonable amount of time. Even considering how slowly sanding goes for small projects. Random-orbit sanders are so soothing that I couldn't use it without struggling to stay awake within minutes, so I hand sanded edges, corners, and inaccessible areas while Jud worked away on the rest of the floor. My shoulder is still sore.

Finally, we removed all the dust. This also took forever. Pledge dry dusting wipes are an awesome invention, but we're still disappointed we didn't think to try rubbing alcohol. Staining and applying polyurethane turned out to be easy tasks. We had a lot of luck with the water-based polyurethane we bought. It went on smoothly and bubble-free, and we can't find brush marks anywhere.

Although there are a few areas where you can see stain overlap (it's just tough to avoid with such), they're hardly noticeable. Over all, we're really proud of how the floor turned out, and are highly hesitant to do such an intense and annoying project any time soon. Next week, we start painting. Woohoo!