Days 8 and 9: Hooray, the floor laying begins! First of all I have to brag about how we got this beautiful flooring. About five years ago, we were at an auction where a company was getting rid of small quantities, over-runs, etc. of flooring. We knew how much square footage we needed, and we found this rustic, alder laminate that I thought was just beautiful. It was lumped together with some other flooring, and we got the whole unit for a song. Later we sold the flooring we didn’t want and covered the original price of the whole unit. What a sweet deal!
The first step to laying the floor was getting a straight line to work with. Big surprise here, the wall was not straight. So, at each end of the room, I measured out a distance slightly less than the width of the flooring. I snapped a chalk line and put large nails about every 8 to 10” along the chalk line. Don’t drive the nails in deep, just enough to push the flooring against - these will come out later.
The flooring sat in the house for three days before installation. Follow the manufacture’s recommendation on this. The wood flooring needs to acclimate to the house temperature and humidity. Since each bundle of wood has several different lengths, I opened each bundle and segregated the pieces by size. All of the flooring was from the same lot, but I mixed pieces from different bundles because of variations in staining.
By this time Little Man was chomping at the bit to help. So he helped with the stacking of the piles. We then labeled each pile: “little,” “medium,” “big” and “biggest.” His homeschool lesson for the day was reading labels and fetching pieces as I asked for them. I’m sure the traditional teachers out there are cringing – but we’re in the middle of a project, and “regular” schooling takes the sidelines.
Because this was a tongue and groove product and it “floats,” the actual laying went really fast. I used blue painter’s tape to tape pieces together so they wouldn’t migrate on me. I could lay the pieces, tap them in place and tape them as fast as Little Man brought them to me. We kept the look random, and followed floor laying protocol by using cut ends from one row to start the next row. If I hadn’t been interrupted by homeschool co-op and lambing, I could have easily done the whole thing in one day.
Day 10: Trim. We salvaged most of the baseboard trim when we took it off. There were a few pieces that got broken, and we had to buy new to fill in where the baseboard heaters came out. And sort of like mechanic-ing, there were pieces left that I really have no idea where they went. But all in all, it went well. The thing I forgot to do, in retrospect, is where two pieces butt together, I should have cut them on a 45⁰ because that makes them fit nicer. The one thing I have left is caulking. Another contractor trick I learned somewhere along the way is to caulk the top edge of the baseboard to fill in the gap between the trim and the wall. It gives it a nice finished look.
Day 11: Cabinet doors installed. This was another job Little Man helped with. He could match doors to holes for me. This time I didn’t have leftover parts – which is good. Whoohoo, all of my junk is covered up now. I ended up doing a little sanding detail along the edge of the doors to give them a rustic look. I think it fits nicely with the character of the house and breaks up the stark white of the walls and cabinets. I painted the front edge of the counter top with my detail color “manzanita,” but it wasn’t enough. Hubby suggested the top drawer be the same color as well. I really like the effect.
Day 12: Pulled tape off the floor – Little Man’s favorite job! Moved the dining room table and hutch out of the living room and back into the dining room, and actually cooked for real in my new kitchen.
The final tally: So all told I spent under $500 on a total kitchen makeover that took about two weeks of work. Which compared to my last kitchen remodel is stupendous. (That was $9,000 and over a year in the making – but there were waaaay bigger issues in that kitchen.) I am completely and totally happy with the look, and it makes me happy to use my mop to swipe up the floor. I’m seriously considering throwing an egg on the floor just to enjoy the ease of cleaning up.