Thursday, July 25, 2013

Refinished Hardwood Floors

A couple of months ago I mentioned that we were planning on getting the hardwood floors in our master and guest bedrooms refinished.  Well we did, a long time ago.  But I keep putting off posting about it.  I guess, since we paid someone to do it instead of doing it ourselves, I just haven't been as eager to blog about it.  I am very happy that we didn't attempt to do it ourselves though because it was a pretty involved process that is probably best left up to the professionals.  The company we hired was California Hardwood Floors in Signal Hill.

To refresh your memory, here is what the floor of the guest bedroom looked like after we pulled up the berber carpet that was pee stained and shredded by the cats.  Some previous owners had decided to use the original hardwood floors as a drop cloth when spray painting the walls and then just covered them in carpet.  In the guest bedroom we took up the tack strips and all the staples in the floor as well as the carpet.

Since the master bedroom is where we sleep, we didn't pull up the carpet in that room until the weekend before the floor refinishers came.  The floors in this room were in about the same shape as the ones in the guest bedroom.  We didn't end up taking the tack strips out in this room because California Hardwood Floors said they would take them out for no extra charge.  Good thing, because, just like the tack strips in the guest bedroom, they were attached with 2 1/2" long staples which were really hard to get out.  

After taking out the carpet and pulling up the staples in the center of the floor, we moved our mattress back into the bedroom so we could sleep in our own bedroom for a couple of more nights.  During the actual refinishing process, which took three days plus three more days of drying, we slept on our mattress in the middle of the living room.  It was so bright in there!

Day one involved lots and lots of sanding.  I locked the cats in my office and put Kieta outside.  I was planning to hang out in my office and work but the sanding was insanely loud.  I ended up taking my computer into the barn to work and leaving the poor cats to deal with the loud noises themselves.  They pretty much just hid, huddled together, under my desk the whole time.

After they finished sanding I got to pick out the stain.  We were trying to sort of match the hardwoods in the rest of the house.  They have more of a red tone.  The original hardwoods are white oak which apparently is really hard to make look reddish.  I think the stain I picked was the one on the far right.  I wasn't too worried about it looking exactly the same because they would never match since they are a different type of wood and a different with of board, but I wanted it to somewhat flow.

So the first day they sanded, stained and put the first layer of water based polyurethane on.  That night while I was talking to Nate on the phone explaining what the floors looked like I opened the door to look at the floor and Flynn ran in and walked on the wet floor.  I managed to chase him out of there with a swifter without actually walking on the floor myself or touching the swifter to the ground.  But it did leave a few little cat foot prints.  It ended up being ok though because they buff inbetween each layer of poly and that managed to get rid of the cat foot prints.  

Above is what it looked like when wet after a couple layers of poly.  I didn't want it to be too shiny and after it dried it wasn't nearly as shiny as this.

Since the hardwood floors in the rest of the house are about 1/2" higher than the original hardwoods (because they were laid over the top of the original hardwoods) we had them put in a transition strip that slopes down.  Above you can see the transition strip as well as the fact that the floors don't match, but don't look too weird together.

After it was all finished I repainted base boards and we managed to get the furniture all put back into both rooms before Nate's parents came to visit.  Here are the floors with everything moved back in.

Overall I think it turned out really nice.  There were a few deep stains that didn't come out even with all the sanding, but I think that is to be expected with 60 year old hardwood floors.  It looks much better than carpet and so so much better than their previous sad paint splattered state.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Trellis for the Cucumbers

When we bought the house, there was a small space between the barn and the back planter box.  It seemed like wasted space to me.  And even though you would think it would be pretty shady, since it it crammed in between the wall of the back planter box and the barn, since it is south facing, it always seemed to get a lot of sunlight.  So last year, Nate and I built a small narrow planter box back there.  Here is the first blog post where I mention it.  Last year we grew corn it it.  The corn did ok in there.  It got pretty tall and ended up producing a few ears of corn, but I decided corn is just not worth growing.  It is so cheep at the store when in season and just as tasty.  And getting only an ear or two per plant just seems like too much biomass to produce to get a tiny bit to eat.  

In some issue of Sunset this winter or spring (I can't find it anymore and can't find any reference to the project on the sunset webpage) they had a tiny blurb about using steel remesh, like the stuff used in concrete slabs, to attach a sturdy trellis to a wooden fence.  I thought it would be perfect to attach to the side of the barn to let vining plants (like cucumbers) grow in that weird little planter box.  I told Nate about it and I added it to the list of projects to get to at some point.  

As a side note, the barn had a pretty good termite infestation in the door and earlier this summer we ended up getting the whole barn tented and fumigated.  When they did that the tarp ended up covering up the weird little planter box.  The vicane definitely killed all the plants that were left in the planter box, which at the time was just parsley that had seeded itself there.  I was worried that it probably also killed any earthworms and anything other good stuff living in the soil and I didn't know how well stuff would end up growing in there.  

I had started a few cucumber seeds earlier in the late spring and was eager to get the plants in the ground.  So we went to Lowes and bought two 4' by 7' wire remesh panels.  With a little bending, they barely fit  in Nate's Ford Focus with the back door tied down.  We also got screw in hooks to attach them to the side of the barn.  We ended up having to cut down the remesh a little bit.  They attached to the barn pretty easily and make a nice sturdy and attractive trellis.  I put lots of compost in the planter box to make sure the soil was healthy and planted the cucumbers.  They are now finally blooming and getting tall enough to climb up the trellis.  Hopefully, I can actually get enough cucumbers to pickle a few this year.