Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Refinishing hardwood floors

Our 60 year old house has original hardwood floors throughout the mainfloor, but they were badly in need of refinishing.  The job took four days start to finish.  We pulled the house apart on Thursday evening, and put everything back together on Monday evening.

The process...

Step 1: Clear the rooms
We remove absolutely everything from all of the rooms we were refinishing.  Everything was moved out of both bedrooms, the bedroom hall and the front hall and stored in the livingroom.

Step 2: Prep
Next we removed the baseboards, numbering and coding them for easy re-assembly. We also removed all of the doors and heat vent covers.

Step 3: Sanding
I rented an orbital sanding machine from my local home improvement centre.  I sanded the floors with progressively finer grit paper, until the old finish was removed and the floors were smooth.

Step 4: Vacuum
Next step was to vacuum to remove all of the dust.

Step 5: Staining
First tape off the walls to protect them from the stain.  I chose the stain colour very carefully since I was trying to match to the colour of the faux hardwood in the bathroom, and the newly installed engineered hardwood in the kitchen. I took samples of both flooring into the home improvement centre, and had them test several stain colours on a sample of oak hardwood.  The stain looks dramatically different on pine compared to oak, so if you are colour matching, make sure you test on the same wood type and your floors.  I chose Red Oak. I stained the floors using a special applicator on a broom handle.  Only one coat was required, and we let it dry for almost 24hours.

Step 6: Varathane
Varathane is the top protective coating, and you can choose either glossy or satin depending on your personal preference. I chose satin. Applying the varathane is easy, but you need to work fast.  I found that it dried VERY quickly, so I didn't have much of chance to go over an area multiple times to ensure smooth coverage.  I did three coats of varathane, with about 4hours drying and a light 200grit hand sanding in between each coat.

Step 7: Move the stuff back
After about 24 hours drying time from the final coat of varathane, the furniture could be moved back.

Front entry hall
Half sanded

Completely sanded


Bedrooms & Bedroom hall
Guestroom  - before - notice the damage on the floor from the casters of my office chair. 

Guestroom - before

Master - before
Master - before

Guestroom - sanded
Master - sanded

Master - sanded

Master - stained

Master - stained

Master - finished

Guestroom - finished
Check out the colour match from the kitchen hardwood to the hallway.

Check out the colour match between the hallway hardwood and the faux hardwood in the adjacent bathroom (to the left). 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cobblestone walkways

The front and back walkways at our home were poured concete, and badly in need to replacing.  Firstly, they sloped towards the house, causing drainage issues.  They were also very narrow, broken and uneven, and the path was formed in a very linear unattractive design. I patiently checked Craigslist for free chimney bricks, and was finally able to score the amount I needed for the project. I would estimate that I used around 1100 bricks in total for both the front and back walkways.

Front walkway:


Step 1: remove grass & old concrete walkway. Rake to ensure proper grading. Compact with hand tamper.

Step 2: Add gravel and compact with hand tamper.

Step 3: Lay bricks in chosen pattern. Compact with hand tamper.

Step 4: Add sand and work in between the gaps.  Compact with hand tamper.

Step 5: Add soil to new garden area. Plant shrubs and perennials. Add mulch as top layer.

Backyard walkway:


Step 1: remove the grass and old concrete walkway. Rake to ensure proper grading.

Step 2: add gravel & compact.

Step 3: Lay bricks in chosen pattern. Compact.

Step 4: add sand and work into the gaps between the bricks. Compact.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Firewood stacker

With a wood burning fireplace inside, and an outdoor firepit in the backyard, we go through a fair amount of firewood at our house. Without the luxury of a garage for indoor firewood storage, I needed to come up with an alternative solution for covered wood storage.

With very minimal supplies, I built a firewood stacker that has three functions.

  1. It creates a visual barrier to the utility area behind, hiding from view the compost, wheelbarrow and yard trimmings bin.
  2. It helps define the firepit seating area by cozying up the openness of the backyard and creating the firepit zone.
  3. It allows us to neatly stack the firewood under cover, at arms reach to where the wood will be burned.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kitchen renovation





Custom garbage & recycling drawer under the sink

Custom spice pull-out and kick-plate drawer
Design colour board
Design choices:
Cabinets: Ikea TIDAHOLM - painted with Behr - "Silver Leaf" W-F-720
Cabinet hardware: Ikea HEDRA & SMIDD
Countertop: Granite - White River 
Wall paint colour: Benjamin Moore - "Nantucket Gray" - HC-111
Trim paint colour: Behr - "Silver Leaf" - W-F-720
Livingroom feature wall paint colour - Benjamin Moore - "Tate Olive" - HC-112
Appliances: GE Cafe (scratch & dent ; floor models)
Sink: 30" porcelain single basin farmhouse sink  - purchased on Ebay
Faucet: Hansgrohe "Metro" model #06697705
Soap dispenser: Ikea
Flooring: Engineered hardwood - Red Oak - 3 1/4" width
Kitchen island: Ikea STENSTORP
Utility cupboard pull-out rack: Lee Valley Tools 12K12.20
Backsplash: painted beadboard - Behr "Silver Leaf" W-F-720
Utility rail on backsplash: Ikea
Lighting: potlights & vintage schoolhouse fixture above island (antique store)
Baseboards: vintage 7 1/2" high solid wood - purchased for $10 at local salvage yard - stripped and painted