Our First Offical New House DIY Project!

I promised a post about our flooring installation, so here it is.  It’s been a little slow going because we can only go to the house in the evenings after work, but we’ve made pretty darn good progress in just 3 days.  The first night we rented a drum sander from Home Depot and sanded all of the subfloor joints and any spots that had high spots from other portions of construction.  Of course, prep work begets prep work and before we could start sanding we had to cut off the excess plastic sheathing installed on the exterior walls as part of the energy efficiency, which you saw in this post.

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This stuff was applied with a super sticky and gooey tar-like substance that has been very annoying to clean and work around at the base of the walls.  We could have laid the flooring over top of the portion on the floor, but with all the paint, mud and texture residue on the plastic it just wasn’t a good idea, especially since the flooring warranty could be voided if there is any under layment.

Next up was sweeping all of the dust and debris to be vacuumed with the shop vac.  There was a LOT of dust and a good bit of debris…

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Once the floor was vacuumed, the hubs started sanding.  At first he did the whole area but we soon realized that wasn’t necessary so he focused on the seams of the subflooring and anything that had a high spot.

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We started installing the next evening. Each piece has a tongue and groove edge so that it locks into the piece next it on either side without use of any adhesive.  And without need for an underlayment, it can be installed right over the subfloor, as we did.

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It took us a while to find a ‘system’ with the material, but once we did it went fairly smoothly.  The hardest part was getting those first few rows down so there was something locking the other pieces into place.  There’s been a slight learning curve and a few ‘dang it’ moments, over all we’ve not had any major hang ups. Here’s what things looked like near the end of the first night of installation.

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We had the dogs with us while on site and were pleased that they stayed out of the way for the most part.  Granted that’s likely because they’d been to Doggie Day Camp and the groomer that day, and were just plain tuckered out.  Sangria decided she’d hide out in the pantry since it was the one area we weren’t walking through.

Sangria

A nearby lot was recently purchased and they have begun clearing for construction.  As we left that evening, I was stunned to see that they not only burned the trees cleared rather than grinding them back into the dirt like our builder did, but they left the smouldering pile glowing unattended!  I have a sneaking suspicion I’m not going to be crazy about this neighboring project, but I’m trying to reserve judgment until I meet actual people…

Fire

The hubs had a light schedule at work today, so he left early to go work on the flooring without me and spent most of the day there.  He made pretty good progress, including some difficult ‘tight spot’ pieces that took extra time to cut.  Here’s what it looks like now (sorry for the phone pics, but it’s all he had with him, since the ‘photographer’ wasn’t around).

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Dining room done into the laundry room and the edge of the kitchen.
Heading into the kitchen.
Heading into the kitchen.
Laundry room, almost complete.
Laundry room, almost complete.
Great room fireplace wall done.
Great room fireplace wall done.

Unfortunately we got a call from the flooring store saying there was some ‘mix up in Seattle’ and the other half of our flooring wasn’t shipped until TODAY!  It was supposed to already be here, so this is quite a set back.  It’s now supposed to arrive Monday or Tuesday and then has to sit on site for at least 1 day before it can be installed.  We’re not sure yet how the will impact the overall completion schedule, but we’ll continue working with what we do have until we run out in an effort to keep things as on time as possible.

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Flooring Update

Unfortunately, the Traffic Master Allure Ultra flooring I described in this post came in a little more over budget than we were willing to stretch so we decided to keep looking at options.  Good thing we did because we soon learned that Traffic Master isn’t the only company with a product toting these features.  Apparently Shaw Flooring has a ‘luxury vinyl plank’ that is essentially the same product with the same installation and guarantees, but at a price that comes in right AT our budgeted allowance!

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Source

And even better is that the flooring vendor our builder likes to go through carries the product in-stock.  Granted he will have to place an order to provide enough material for our whole house, but he said that wouldn’t be a problem with enough advance notice and since we’re still at the framing stage I think we’ve got a little leeway still.

We chose the Northampton Cascade Acadia which has a variety of tones that will play well off our darker cabinets and leather furniture.  It’s a little different than the Allure Ultra we picked out, both in color and texture, but I like that it looks more like real wood than the Allure does and less texture means less hiding places for dirt and dust which trigger my allergies.

FloorOf course I had to prove to myself that I wouldn’t change my mind later, so we brought home a few sample planks (thanks to the very nice salesman at the flooring store!) and I laid them on the floor in our living room next to the rug and couch.  I also placed the Allure flooring next to it for comparison.  A week later, I’m sure I like the Shaw flooring better and I haven’t seen a single sign of the dogs constant scampering across it!  Although the pieces have migrated across the floor a few times thanks to furry fliers heading for the door when you say we’re going on a walk or for a ride! LOL

Here’s a closer shot to give a better feel of how it will look installed.  The light glare makes it look a little darker than it is in person.  The previous picture does a better job of showing the real colors, but I still think it will look great with the rest of our decor.  Don’t ya love when you find something you like better than the original item you found that was over budget?  I sure do! 🙂

Floor1

 

Water-Proof, Scratch-Resistant and Just Plain Pretty

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Sawcut Arizona Allure Ultra Flooring (Source: The Home Depot)

As promised, here’s a little run down of the flooring we plan to use throughout the whole house.  I knew I wanted wood floors because not only do I love the way they look, but they are easy to clean and should be better for my allergies than carpet.  The hubby had laminate floors in previous homes and was adamant that we would not use a laminate because of the issues he’s had with them, so we started looking at hardwood and engineered hardwood products.

We found several that we loved the look of, but were completely beyond our budgeted allowance with the builder and just wouldn’t stand up to our rough and tumble dogs.  Plus they wouldn’t work in areas like the kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms, which meant we’d have flooring transitions – something we were trying to avoid whenever possible.

During one of our ‘research’ trips to Home Depot I spotted a new tile product made to look like wood floors and asked an associate about its durability.  When I explained what we wanted he asked if I’d see the new Traffic Master Allure Ultra Flooring.  We hadn’t, so he took us to the display and explained how easy it was to install (click & lock with no under layment necessary) and how resilient it was – water proof and scratch proof.  Click here to view a video about the product, describing all of it’s attributes and installation.

The store associate also mentioned that he was about to install it in his own home and that his manager had also used it in his home with great results.  That made us even more interested, so we took a couple of samples to see which we liked best and test them out under doggie feet.

Because both samples held up perfectly to the dogs’ attacks, the hubs decided to give it a little extra testing and actually took a key to the sample we liked best trying his hardest to get it to scratch.  When that didn’t produce any real visible result he moved on to testing with a very sharp knife, which finally did have a result, albeit minimal.  The scratch was minor that you probably wouldn’t see it from a standing height when it was on the floor.

That was the critical selling point for us.  Adding in that it was comparably priced to the end cost of a laminate or tile once you factor in the extra materials needed for installation sealed the deal.  Then we learned that because we would be installing it in a residential home there was a 25 year warranty.  Plus because we plan to use it throughout the whole house there will be no transitions!  I don’t think we could have asked for a better product.

Of course the true test will come once we install it and move in, but based on our testing I don’t anticipate having any issues once we are living on it.  We’ve chosen the Sawcut Arizona style for its rustic look and variety of colors.  I wasn’t crazy about it when I saw the small sample but when I pieced several together and set them on the floor I was sure I liked that style better than the other we tried out.  It’s going to look fabulous with our dark cabinets and light counter tops – which will be featured later once we pick out the exact ones. 🙂