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August 8, 2006.  My flooring project is "finally" done!  The quote marks are necessary, because there is still a lot of work to do, even though I've been working on it every day since the actual installation was completed on July 31.  Just hooking up that dang home-theatre system took several hours, even though I had mapped out all the connections before I took it apart.

The floors look great just have a look at the photos below.

You may have noticed some obvious things that still need doing:  rugs in living room and dining room, DVD/tape collection, books.  Some of the less obvious things include caulking and touching up the trim, getting my basement back to a usable state, sealing the grout, etc.  (Believe me, that's not an empty "etc.")

As a result of this project, my whole first floor is 3/4" higher than it used to be.  I knew this would happen, but some of the consequences didn't occur to me until I moved in:

  • Front door barely clears the floor.  No space there for a welcome mat.  Can't shave down the door either it's metal.
  • Gas range is 3/4" higher than it used to be, and so is no longer flush with the counter.  Should I now replace the rest of the kitchen?  (Answer:  NFW)
  • Last step up from downstairs is 3/4" higher than it used to be.  I hope no one trips on it.
  • First step to upstairs is 3/4" lower than it used to be.  Makes it a little easier to get to bed at night.

Other things I learned:

  • Replace the baseboard when you get new floors!  The guy who estimated the work offered that I could do it either way.  If I wanted to use the old baseboard, the installers would be very careful when they removed it.  I liked this idea because it seemed like I wouldn't have to paint the baseboard.  Wrong!  That old baseboard took abuse as it was coming off the walls (and had already suffered 25 years of abuse while on the walls).  It quickly became clear that it would need to be repaired and repainted.  For a day or two I worked on repairing the baseboard.  Then, the last pieces of baseboard taken off the walls suffered irreparable damage.  By this time, I had already painted the quarter round and fixed up a lot of the old baseboard.  Still, I made the command decision to throw out all that repair work and put in new baseboard.  No regrets about this choice.  The new baseboard looks great.  But if I had made this choice upfront, I would have saved a lot of time, and may have chosen a different paint color.  Oh well.
  • Materials estimates can be wrong!  Estimators intentionally add an extra 10% for the tile and wood installation the installation process can't make perfectly efficient use of the material.  Some of the leftover material was unusable, but I was able to return a carload of it to Lowes for a $300 credit.  (You don't want to know the total cost of this project.)  Unfortunately, they grossly overestimated the amount of trim needed.  They were off by eight pieces of 16' baseboard and 15 pieces of 8' quarter round!  And I was unable to return it because I had already painted it.  That's a loss of over $150 of material and uncounted hours of effort.  Oh well!

Despite all the inevitable glitches, I'm happy with the way the floors turned out.

(See work-in-progress photos here.)





2003-2011 Peter McManus