Monthly Archives: March 2017

How To Remove Vinyl Flooring

One of the most frustrating home remodeling tasks is trying to remove an old linoleum or vinyl floor. Even when the linoleum is pulled off, things only get worse. Now you’re faced with gobs of old glue that seem harder than meteorites all over the floor.

One common alternative to removing old linoleum or vinyl floors is to put a new one right over it. If the existing floor is still smooth or can be smoothed with a few patches of FixAll, then the new floor can be laid directly on top of the old.

In some cases, a layer of 1/4-inch plywood is laid over the old floor to provide a smooth base and then the new resilient floor is laid on that. In still another approach, the old floor is floated with a self-leveling concrete that is about 1/8-inch thick when dry. The new floor is put on that.

When adding a new floor, particularly when adding plywood or self-leveling concrete, consider that this process is going to raise your floor noticeably. The most important concern is that it will not connect smoothly with the adjacent floors. This height difference could trip the unwary, particularly guests or the elderly. Also, you will not have the same clearance under the toe kicks and you may have a problem in the future sliding out your dishwasher, refrigerator, or stove.

Removing old linoleum or vinyl is generally quite difficult because wood, a common subfloor, is porous, thus absorbing the adhesives. One reason why the old glues must be thoroughly removed is because some older adhesives had oils in them that chemically react with new vinyl to cause a yellow discoloration. Most warranties on new vinyl do not cover this type of failure.

Another reason the old adhesives must be removed if you’re installing vinyl stripping is because they can eventually become brittle. If old glue breaks loose under new vinyl, it can cause failures in the new floor covering. Moreover, any bumps or cracks in an old floor will soon appear as bumps or cracks in your new linoleum.

Homeowners also need to be aware that asbestos was used in some old linoleum and flooring adhesives, particularly in those made in the 1970s and earlier. Removing this material involves a health risk. If in doubt about your resilient flooring, break a small piece from a corner or behind the refrigerator and take it to an asbestos abatement firm for testing. Wetting the vinyl as you break it off and putting it in a baggie will keep any possible asbestos fibers from flying around. Asbestos abatement firms can be found in the Yellow Pages.

Tips for Retile A Shower

Nothing in the home lasts forever, including tile, and since the bathroom is the most trafficked room in the home, retiling a shower is a project one must consider. Even more so, a shower gets rid of dirt, sweat or any other unwanted growths on your body. As such, it deserves to be as clean as possible.

Existing tile can only be cleaned so much. Many choose to revitalize their bathroom by retiling the shower. It can be a lengthy and sometimes timely project, but those who do bite the bullet almost always agree that it is well worth it.

 

How to Retile A Shower

Retiling a shower consists of completely knocking out the existing tile and installing new tile. For those of you with larger showers, this is by no means a short project. However, before you can get started, you must first choose your existing tile, which I will get to later, and gather all your tools. The tools you will need to retile your shower are:

  • New tile
  • Utility knife, chisel or putty knife
  • Hammer
  • Sander
  • Scrub brush
  • Grout
  • Grout trowel
  • Mortar mix
  • Mortar trowel
  • Paint remover
  • Tile spacers
  • Caulk
  • Goggles
  • Gloves

First, remove the shower head and shower handle. You may need a drill or screwdriver. Then, cover the shower floors to prevent damage from falling tile. You can use multiple towels or cardboard.

Take your hammer and chisel and start from the bottom corner. Gently place chisel on side of tile and use hammer to push the tile out. Start gently. As you move on, you may have to use some real elbow grease to get these tiles out.

Some of the shower tile may chip, but your goal is to get each individual piece off by itself. As you move your way inside the shower, you may have to the use putty knife or flat bar instead of a chisel. Go across one row first and then move your way down. It makes the process much easier.

Once all tile has been removed, chisel off any remaining mortar as well.

Tip: Be very careful with tile along the wall and ceiling. Use your utility knife and make a cut along the top, bottom and side tile along the ceiling, floors and walls. Be very careful with these tiles. You don’t want to ruin the walls, ceilings, or floors.

Tips To Refinish Hardwood Floors

Your hardwood floors are an important investment in your home. However, caring for them can be a challenge. After years of use, your hardwood flooring can become dull and scratched. But, you can make them look like new again without fully replacing them.

If you like to DIY and have time to patiently take care of your floors, this project could be right for you. Here’s how to refinish your hardwood floors.

 

Costs to Refinish Hardwood Floors

Depending on the type of wood used, care and the installation method, hardwood flooring can last up to 25 years or more. Refinishing damaged hardwood floors will ensure that your floors last a lifetime. The average cost to refinish hardwood floors is $1,455. This cost depends on the area that is being refinished and the amount of wear and tear on the wood. Keep in mind, if you’re doing it yourself, you may need to factor the costs of renting a sander and other materials you may not already own.

 

Refinishing Considerations

When taking on this project, it should not be done hastily. There are many decisions to make that can impact the way your floors look and last. Here are a few questions to consider.

How Much Time is Needed?

Refinishing hardwood floors is a time-intensive project. Many of the materials used will take hours to fully dry, making this project longer than a weekend DIY. If there is carpet or vinyl covering the wood, you’ll need to factor in removal time. Additionally, if you plan on changing the stain of your floor, more time should be factored into applying the new stain.

What Kind of Stain & Polyurethane Should Be Used?

Changing the stain color of your floor is possible, but will require a heavier sanding process. The stain you choose when you’re refinishing can drastically change the look of the room and appearance of the wood. Know what kind of wood your flooring is made of before moving forward. Some woods don’t take to stains as well as others. Oak has the most variation of stain options, while harder woods, like walnut and maple, tend to look best left natural.

Polyurethane comes in two varieties; water-based and oil-based. Water-based is quicker to dry and leaves a clear finish, likely best for a wood you want to naturally show off. Oil-based will give the wood an amber color and takes longer to dry. Remember that floor finish is specific to flooring. Furniture finish will not work here.

What’s the Condition of the Floor?

In some cases, wood flooring must be replaced rather than refinished. Refinishing hardwood floors can only be done a few times, so know how many times the floor has been finished before you sand the boards too thin. Any damaged boards should be repaired and floors with water damage should not be refinished.

Additionally, if you have engineered hardwood floors, leave this to the pros, as the layers of wood could be damaged if not done correctly. This DIY project should only be done if you have solid hardwood floors.

Design Around Bad Carpet

Carpet, while soft and cushioned on top, can sometimes wear both on your feet and eyes. When it comes to the touch, there is little you can do to bring it back to its original life. With sight, there is plenty you can do to draw attention away from the carpet that was so vogue 10 years ago.

Despite relatively cheap carpet cleaning prices, many homeowners are finding new ways to design around the carpet they can’t stand. While some ideas below are costly, all of them take the focus away from your dated carpet to a more pleasant design in the room.

 

1. Remove It

The first option you must consider is removing the carpet altogether. Looking at current flooring trends, more and more homeowners are choosing hardwood over carpet and tile. As opposed to carpet, hardwood is easy to clean and offers a wide array of options. Then again, it doesn’t offer that homey feel we all seek in our bedrooms. For a full comparison, please see Carpet & Hardwood Flooring: How They Compare.

 

2. Cover It Up

Going the less drastic route, you could always just cover the carpet with a large area rug. It’s not only the fastest and easiest way to cover a dated carpet, but also the cheapest. Additionally, if your carpet has grown thin over the years, a new rug offers extra cushion as well. Your feet will certainly thank you later.

If you really want to go bold or have to cover a large carpeted area, you can always stich together a few different rugs and lay over your old carpet. It’s not the cleanest of looks, but it will surely take attention away from that carpet you demise.

 

3. Use Your Furniture

Depending on the location of your ugly carpet, you could always use your furniture to cover it up. Smart designers know how to use every inch of the room. They, and well-read homeowners, know how to cover as much carpet as possible.

In the bedroom, add a small dresser, a bookshelf or an extra nightstand to cover up that dated carpet. In the living room, add that side table you always wanted. For a dining room, add a leaf to your table and extend it out.

Finally, if the room has a focal point, such as a gorgeous fireplace, a big screen TV or a fabulous dining room table, create a seating area that makes that feature the focal point of the room. All eyes will be on the feature as opposed to your dated carpet.

 

4. Change Your Wall Color

No matter how unpleasant your carpet may be, the dominant color in most rooms comes from the walls. As such, if you are ready for a bigger change, consider painting the room.

Fortunately, a coat of paint on the interior can help any space look newer, brighter and even a little more spacious. Even better, new paint always takes the attention away from any unsightly views in the room.

Tip: If you do decide to paint the walls, be sure to cover every inch of that carpet. Once paint hits that carpet, it is very hard to remove.