Updated: Monday, November 20, 2017
DIY Solutions To Your Flooring Problems
True story. The wood in our living room is scratched and worn, the dark tile in the kitchen imparts a sort of cave-like feel, and theres unfinished concrete in several of the bedrooms thanks to foundation repair that was done shortly after we bought the house. We could have had the four burly men that peeled away the 10-year-old carpet to jackhammer into the floor lay it back down, but, instead, we took that opportunity to rid ourselves of the it and thanked the guys for sparing us the cost of a dumpster. The idea was to get new floors in soon after, and, well, three years laterhellip;here we are. Still considering our options.
Add to that picture a couple of bathrooms that were tiled in 2004 when textured beige-y brown tiles were popular they were, right?, and we are facing multiple rooms that need new floors. The entire first floor needs new floors, if were being honest.
And while we have examined many, many really, it seems like hundreds of options over the last couple of years, nothing has stuck well enough to actually get to it. Part of the issue is that we dont want to hand over the installation to someone else. While that would probably be the most practical option, its not the most economical, and we tend to like to do things by ourselves. You, too? Then come with us on this journey to find the best DIY solution to our and your flooring dilemmas.
Frankly, anything that starts with "Sand surface" is an immediate turnoff. If they ever made a National Lampoons Renovation Vacation movie, there would undoubtedly be a scene where Chevy Chases Rusty Griswold lost control of the electric sander and major havoc ensued. Thats pretty much what we envision happening around here if a big, hulking sander is involved. That notwithstanding, painted wood floors do look pretty cool.
SF Gate has a good tutorial for painting heavily trafficked wood floors that involves really good preparation so if youre a step-skipper, maybe not for you and high-quality primer, but, honestly, were skeptical about smooth floors that look like the above.
But, were loving the rustic beachy-ness of this look. Our shabby floors are already part of the way there, and if the dogs scratch the surface, it just adds more texture, right?
We first saw blogger Remington Avenues tutorial for painted floors in 2015, which should tell you how long weve been tossing around ideas for our floors. She crafted a stunning painted tile floor using chalk paint and a stencil that created a trendy Moroccan cement tile look.
Stencils have become more readily available and in greater variety since then, and her new tutorial is even more interesting because she used luster epoxy paint, like you would use to paint a garage floor. That spells greater durability, and since multiple children and multiple dogs live in this house, finishes that cant endure kid feet and dog paws are a NO GO.
Should we do it? This would be a jackpot for that cave-like kitchen floor and beige-y brown bathroom tile floors that look just like her "before" floors, ironically.
First, lets get This Old Houses take: "Its hard to imagine a house being cozy without the warmth of wood flooring. The quickest way to get new wood underfoot is to install a floating floor. Unlike traditional solid-wood strips, a floating floor isnt nailed down. Instead, the planks are either glued or snapped together. The planks go down fast, over virtually any material - concrete, plywood, sheet vinyl, even ceramic tile. They have a complete tutorial here.
Now, our thoughts: The advantage to using a floating floor is that its definitely DIY-friendly in comparison to numerous other options because it requires no demolition under than removing baseboards - something we wouldnt have to do if we were painting the existing surfaces, BTW. We would have to put down plywood on the concrete surfaces to make everything flush, but thats not a big deal. The continuity that would be created by laying down one surface throughout the first floor of the house would be a dream given how broken up it currently is. The downside: its a pricier solution than paint, and the price, not surprisingly, goes up with the quality. Whether you are looking at using luxury vinyl planks, laminate, or engineered wood, its an investment.
We just havent been able to get rid of the idea of a soft, cushy carpeted surface in the bedrooms, but were not about to try to put in wall-to-wall carpet on our own. "I wouldnt recommend any homeowner try to install their own wall-to-wall carpeting," said Popular Mechanics. "First, just getting the carpeting into the room is a huge job. Second, precisely cutting it to size takes experience - one wrong cut can ruin the entire piece."
The potential answer: carpet tiles. Oh, we know. We say "carpet tiles," you say "ugly office building," right? Fortunately, carpet tiles have come a long way in terms of design. The carpet tiles below from Flor and these that are are our favorite newer >
The best part: theyre super easy to install. "One 3-inch-diameter dot is placed at each corner of a carpet square, with the sticky side up," they said. "The next square is set in place tight against the first square, and then its pressed down onto the adhesive dots. In the end, the result is a floating floor of carpet squares all stuck together at the corners by adhesive dots."
Actually, this may be the best part: Remember those previously mentioned kids and dogs? They make stains. Lots of stains. If one area of your wall-to-wall carpet gets stained beyond repair, youre out of luck. If the same thing happens to a carpet tile, you rip it up and set another one down. Tempting. Very tempting.
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Holiday Splurges And Saves To Make Hosting Easier
If youre hosting for the holidays, there is undoubtedly a lot to do and a lot to buy. You probably have a budget youre looking to stick to, but then you make the mistake of wandering in to Williams Sonomaand there goes your bottom line There are places to save a few bucks so you can make a few worthy splurges. Heres a guide that will help.
Splurge: Good cookware
The quality of your cookware can have a big impact on the quality of your food. If your pots and pans have seen better days, its a good time to splurge on a few high-end items, like this Swiss Diamond 10-piece set, made of cast aluminum with a PFOA-free nonstick coating. Consumer Reports rated the set the "best pots and pans for your holiday feasts."
Their lab kitchen evaluated "cooking evenness and how well nonstick surfaces >The Swiss Diamond set includes 8-inch and 9-inch frypans, 1.4-quart and 2.2- quart saucepans, 3.2-quart saute pan, 8.5-quart stockpot, and glass lids.
Save: Good cookware
The Consumer Reports article shows how, with a little research, you can find high-quality products without spending high dollars. Their top choice for nonstick frying pans? This 100 Zwilling J.A. Henckels version in stainless steel with an aluminum core. But in second place: A 20 Red Copper nonstick pan from Amazon.
Splurge: Amazon Prime
This is a splurge thats really a save, if you think about it. The service that costs 99 for a year ends up saving you money on all those last-minute gifts and things you forgot to buy and dont have time to get to the store for because there are rooms to set up and closets to clean out and food to prepare. Amazon Prime also includes free two-day shipping on more than 50 million items, plus you get access to tons of movies, TV shows, songs, and Kindle e-books.
Save: A trip to Costco
Yes, its going to be crazy. Yes, youre going to have to wait in line. But the stuff you cant find elsewhere or at least all in one place will be worth it. Top of our list: Masterpiece plastic plates and Reflections Silverware. Theyre nicer than your average disposable stuff and youll be grateful when you dont have to do dishes 12 times a day. And dont forget to buy lots of toilet paper, paper towels, and Chunky Artichoke parmesan Dip seriously, youll be happy you did.
Splurge: A cleaning crew
It may feel like an extravagance to hire a cleaning crew to come before your guests arrive or after they leave - or, who are we kidding: both But its an extravagance that will save you time and peace of mind, which is always important, and especially so when family is in town
Save: Your kids
The children may think holiday breaks are for catching up on sleep or TV, but you know better, right? Homes that have to be prepared for holiday guests needs lots of hands to clean out closets and organize pantries.
Splurge: A good set of knives
Or at least one good multipurpose knife. With all that cutting and chopping youre about to do between now and the New Year, its time to get a real knife. Food and Wines best knife is this MAC MTH-80 Professional Series 8-inch Chefs Knife with Dimples, which is 145 on Amazon. They praise its "hard, super-sharp blade" and "simple wooden handle thats extremely comfortable and feels secure in the hand." Their best value knife is the Mercer Culinary Renaissance 8-Inch Forged Chefs Knife, 38 on Amazon, if youre only looking for a mini-splurge.
Save: Cutting board
Yes, it would be lovely to have a giant two-inch-thick butcher board and it would make for nice Instagram pics. But you dont have to spend gobs of money - this Walnut cutting board from Williams Sonoma is 155399 depending on size - to get the function you need. The Spruce broke down the best cutting boards of 2017 and found this 10.5" by 14.5" inch OXO Plastic board to be its best overall choice. The price: 15 at Amazon.
This plastic board from OXO "is a true workhorse," they said. "It is just the right sizea bit larger than a piece of letter size paper - so its ideal for most chopping tasks. The soft, tapered handles on two edges make it easy to grip and carry from your counter to the stove, and because it can go in the dishwasher its ideal for cutting up raw meat and fish." If youd rather have wood, they have several options listed, including a 36 butcher block.
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House Hunting? How Good Manners Can Help Get The Home You Want
As most people know, the real estate market shifts between a buyers or sellers market, depending on supply and demand. However, regardless of which market were currently in, buyer etiquette can help you get the home you want with the least amount of stress.
It may sound odd to some, especially first-time homebuyers, but manners matter when it comes to the real estate transaction. Im not talking about "Please" and "Thank you." So, what exactly does this mean?
Buyer etiquette is not only about doing the things that are vital to helping sales go through but its also about general manners like being on time for your viewing of a home, being prepared with your financial documents, and being responsive when requests for documents, signatures, or answers are needed from your real estate professionals.
This isnt about lecturing buyers about minding their manners; rather, think of this as the inside tips to helping land the home you really want. For instance, sometimes, being late for a viewing of a listing could cause you to lose that particular home. In a really hot real estate market, if youre late or you dont show up for the listing, you might not get a second chance - the home could be sold.
Another consideration is to be aware of how much time you need to view a home. If you try to see too many homes in one day, chances are youre not going to treat each home with the same respect. The first homes might get lots of attention by you in terms of time and what you notice. However, by the time youre on, say, 15th home of the day, you might be so tired that you blaze through it ba>
One of the most important etiquette tips is to make sure that youve been pre-approved and are a serious buyer, ready to take action should you find the right home. Shopping for homes is serious business. Its likely the largest monetary transaction youll make; being financially and emotionally prepared is good etiquette and will help expedite the process.
When viewing a home, if the sellers are present sometimes this happens, dont share your likes or dislikes about the home with them. Be courteous and keep the conversation to a minimum with the sellers. You want to make sure you leave the negotiation process to your experienced real estate agent. If you have questions about the home, be sure to take good notes and consult with your agent. Your agent is the liaison for good reason. The agent is experienced and knows how to find out the information you need without undermining your bargaining position. Polite conversation with the sellers is appropriate if the opportunity occurs. And, if the house isnt right for you from the moment you set foot in it, at least give it a quick walk-through, just to be absolutely certain.
Good manners when house hunting is about more than just having people like you. It could be the potential development of a successful real estate transaction. Good will during that process helps keep things moving along at a steady pace and possibly with a better outcome than if the sellers were selling to a buyer they really didnt like.
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