Thursday, April 5, 2012

Crash course in home beautification

I think some people work better under pressure. That would be us. About a week and a half ago I told Sean "wouldn't it be nice if the house looked awesome when your folks get here for Easter?" He said ok and thus started the daunting task of revamping a crumbled, cracked and all around crappy slab floor. Let me back up in case you've missed the not so exciting story of our house and its "issues". We bought the house back in 2004 as a repossession. It was built in 1985 so it's not that old. Not old enough to be having the problems it's having. It passed house inspection.....somehow. Almost immediately after moving in we noticed the terra cotta tiles in the dining room cracking along the entire length of the room. Over the next few years the crack got worse and the corner of the room started sinking at an alarming rate. Fast forward to fall of 2006. We hired a company to come out and place piers all over exterior of the back of the house and inside under the slab (house is part slab and the rest is a basement). They jacked it up until it looked normal again, gave us an extravagant bill and a warranty. After a few months it started cracking again. Knowing this was going to be an ongoing problem we chose not to put any floor covering down over the slab. Winter of 2009 the company came back out and readjusted the outside piers and jack hammered holes in the slab inside once again to reposition the floor. Ok, so there is the ugly history on this house.

It's been a mess. The floor has been torn up for years now. The kids have been running around on concrete and tile grout tearing up their knees when they fall. We were living in a construction zone and it was time for a change. So hubby took a week off last week and I rented a concrete grinder. All day Sunday he ground down the concrete and removed the last of the grout. Nobody warned us what a mess that would be! Although I'm pretty sure no one thought we'd be using it indoors. We decided to use water to keep the dust down which was a good idea, but what resulted was a concrete sludge that resembled snot. It was three inches deep in places and had to be scooped up with a shovel. But it worked! That floor was smooth (minus the crack that still had good depth to it). Now on to the leveling compound.

Dining room grinding in process. Day1.

Grinding away.

Nasty mess, had to mop it up before it dried.

Still smiling.

All mopped and ready for leveler. Cracks in sheet rock getting patched. Day 2.

We got eight bags of leveling compound and started mixing it up. The key was to have two buckets going. Hubby would mix it up and I would trowel it around making sure it got everywhere. We were a good team and had that room knocked out in no time. We poured the dining room and our bedroom, along with the seam where the slab meets up with the basement foundation.

We learned many lessons during this week long project. First one was to seal the cracks. We poured leveling compound and it literally just flow down the cracks. It sucks watching $35 dollar compound pour under the house. So we had to come back with cement patch and fill in the dips.

Leveling the big crack.

Leveler flowing down the cracks. Doh.

They call me the trowel girl.

All leveled and patched and sanded smooth. Walls with a fresh coat of paint. Day 4.

Then came the stairs. Whoever decided to carpet the walls is an idiot. Nothing screams 80's like carpet on the walls. So we stripped the carpet and wood trim from the stairs. They also had a wood runner on the tips of each step which had to come off. The screws had to be drilled out, then the wood hammered off and the remaining screws had to be cut off with a reciprocating saw. Nothing can be simple. The carpet was pulled from the walls (it had been glued on) leaving the sheet rock torn up and in need of pasting. I am not a fan of taping and pasting but I pulled up my sleeves and went to work (sure beat concrete grinding, glad I didn't have to do that). Four coats of paste later and more sanding than I'd ever like to do again, it is finished. We were able to find some carpet at a local carpet store that was in stock and almost exactly what we were looking for. They were able to get it installed yesterday and it looks fabulous! We carpeted everything, even upstairs. I can't be more happy with the end results. It's like we have a new house. There is so much living space that can now be utilized and it's heartwarming seeing your kids running around with glee on nice new carpet. No more bloody knees in the house!

Old stairs. Carpet on walls = 1980's (in my humble opinion).

Removal of wood on steps.

Stairs and wall all ready for carpet.

End result! Love it (and that cute naked kid).

Wall to wall carpet. We just need to put down new trim and it's done! Day 9.

Master bedroom. So happy with the outcome. What a week!


Hoofprints said...

that is officially one ginormous house you have. Now that it's 100% usable. :) It's stunning. I have carpet envy. lol.

Little Man's blog said...

Wow! Looks great. I won't recognize it when I'm there next. I've never seen it finished!!!
PS-our new kitchen window is in, trimmed out and awesome!

The Menagerie Momma said...

Thanks guys! We are super excited to have it done. You should come see it Betz, you are welcome anytime.

Granny Randi said...

You both did a great job...I will carry Hilde pee guilt with me for a long time!