Project Log #9 – Floor Finishes

The largest part of the canvas that is your remodeling project, often sharing this position with walls and ceilings, is the flooring. What you use to cover this part of the canvas goes a long way in completing the picture and can either compliment, complete or ruin the finished project.

As with the “Wall Finishes” topic we addressed previously, we cannot begin to discuss the seemingly endless list of materials that are currently available to install as finished flooring. What we can do is enter into a discussion into how to pick the right “type” of flooring for your application.

Carpet

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Carpet In Hall and Bedroom

This doesn’t have to be viewed as the choice of last resort. The pallet of colors, textures, styles and patterns that are available, can be used to compliment any décor. Family Rooms, Living Rooms, Bedrooms, and Basements are prime spaces for carpet. Using its warmth and softness allows for persons to spend time on the floor without worrying about comfort. Carpets have also made strides in offering environmentally friendly and hypoallergenic products that help families live in safer healthier environments.

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Hardwood In The Living Room

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Hardwood In The Kitchen

Hardwood & Laminates

Hardwood has long been a staple in the finished flooring genre. Generations have come to enjoy the warm look and durability that is inherent in a natural product such as oak or cherry. With the introduction of laminate flooring, another choice in this category widens the design possibilities. The laminates expand the range of color and pattern choices as well as taking the installation process to the masses. Laminates are infinitely more durable than hardwood and also offer a level of moisture resistance that hardwood does not. Kitchens, Dining Rooms, Eating Areas, Hallways, and Offices benefit from the richness of hardwood. Even Bathrooms now are being graced with the hardwood look that is available in the laminate lines.

Tile

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Tile In The Bathroom

One of the more luxurious choices for finishing your project, it affords some of the widest range of choices for adding the coup-de-grace to your project. Colors, textures, patterns and materials of all types allow you to create different environments from room to room. Traditionally used in the Kitchen and Bathroom areas of house, tile has been making inroads into other rooms of the house as well. Look for tile installed in Foyers, Sunrooms, Powder Rooms, Basements, Dining Rooms as well as Kitchens and Bathrooms. Under floor heat makes a great Tile floor even better especially for families that enjoy going barefoot around the house.

Others 

For the sake of trying to introduce you to some alternative flooring materials, I will list a few here and you can ask us about them or do further research on your own.

Bamboo

Stamped/Stained Concrete

Cork

Marmoleum

Rubber

Remember that choosing the right flooring is the final step in placing the stamp of completion on your project.  The volume of choices out there can prove to be overwhelming to even the most seasoned client. Don’t be shy about asking for help, our designers are trained in leading you through the process of putting the finishing touches on your project. Give us a call, we would love to talk about your project!

Happy Remodeling!

Next Time… Spring Is Just Around The Corner!   

Q&A&C – Questions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.   

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.

Project Log #8 – Wall Finishes

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Professional Interior Finishes

There are so many possibilities when it comes to the materials for wall finishes that it would be impossible to cover in a blog venue. So I want to give you some general direction and some thoughts to ponder when it comes down to making the decision about painting, wallpapering, etc.

The temptation when getting prices for a remodeling project is to try to save money by doing some of the components yourself. Thoughts of…“I can do the demolition” or “I can clean up everyday” seem harmless to the untrained ear. But inevitably those thoughts often end up with the client saying “and I can do the painting too” or worse yet “my cousin Vinny painted his Garage last year, he can paint the Kitchen for me and all I have to do is feed him.”

Painting, or whatever wall finish you choose, is the final touch on the project and in being such should not be taken lightly. A carpenter can craft a beautiful addition including fine cabinetry and lavish trim work, etc.; however, if corners are cut during the finishing stages, it will never attain the wow factor that it was meant to possess.

Simply put, DO NOT SKIMP ON THE WALL FINISHES!

Top of the line paint with low VOC ratings, wallpaper (from recycled materials of course), faux finishes, tile or whatever you decide to put on your walls, will be the finishing touch to the masterpiece that you worked so hard to create. This is what you and your guests will be faced with every time you walk into the room. You really want the cut-in lines to be straight, bleed over minimized, brush and roller strokes eliminated to be able to say that the finishes add to the beauty of the room, not detract from it.

Don’t get me wrong, wall finishes can certainly be a project that can be done by the DIY’er, but take into consideration what you want the finished product to look like and be. It would be a shame to spend good money to get an addition built; only to have “Cousin Vinny” put his permanent mark on your house for all to see. Think of it as letting a three year old put the finishing touches on the Cistene Chapel, not too smart; nor would it have been quite so impressive, even after all these years.

In closing, if you do want to tackle the finishing of your project, don’t rush it, take your time and do it right, you want it to look good. But more than that, I would encourage you to let the finishing touches up to the professionals, you will never regret it!

Happy Remodeling!

Next Time… Project Log #9 – Floor Finishes

Q&A&CQuestions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.

Project Log #7 – Drywall Installation & Finishing (Part 2)

Some tips on drywall installation… 

1. Check for the presence of nailers prior to installing first sheet of drywall. 

This prevents you having to stop right in the middle of installation to cut and install a nailer in a corner or ceiling. Nailers provide solid backing for the drywall as not to allow the sheet to flex and or the joints to crack easily.

2. When measuring to cut a sheet to length, check top and bottom of sheet. 

Framing can be out of square/plumb, especially in older homes. You want to make sure that your sheet falls as close to the middle of the stud as possible to provide solid nailing for both sheets.

3. Only put out as much adhesive as can be covered by the current sheet. 

You don’t want to waste adhesive by gluing up the entire wall and then not getting to it for some reason. Apply adhesive after the piece has been measured and cut and even dry fit if necessary.

Some tips on Spackling… 

4. Use fresh spackling as much as possible.  

Using the bucket that your father-in-law had left over from 2000 when he did his Kitchen doesn’t save you anything. You will be frustrated by the installation performance of the product. Buy new, use fresh when you can.

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Dry Wall Spackling: 1st Coat

5. Mix spackling prior to using it.

It is always best to thoroughly mix the spackling prior to trying to place it on the wall. This helps to work out any air bubbles as well as giving the material a uniform consistency. You may also add a little water at this point depending on what stage of the process you are in. The first coats can be a little thicker than the last coats. This helps to limit the dry time of the initial coat which tends to be thicker than the last thinner coats.

6.  Use the correct knife to install spackling.

Going from a 4” knife initially, all the way up to a 12”-16” knife for the final coats. Using progressively larger knives spreads out the spackling over a larger area and feathers the edges to blend them seamlessly. Make sure you work your paper into a full bed of spackling as not to have air bubbles or paper pulling away from a dry joint. If this occurs, stop and fix it right away as it will not go away with more coats. It is easier to address it sooner than later.

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Drywall: Finished Spackling; Wide Smooth Joints; Nail Heads Covered

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Drywall: Finished Outside and Inside Corners

7. Avoid sanding as much as possible.

You probably can’t avoid sanding all together, but there are ways to minimize it. Taking your time with each coat and making the spackling as thin as you can, will help to make the joints smooth. You should either lightly sand or use a wet sponge between coats to knock down any high spots or knife marks. Doing this after each coat will make it easier to create a smooth looking wall with no noticeable joints.
8. Last but not least, get your wife involved in spackling.

Studies show that women make better drywall finishers mostly because of their light touch. It might also have to do with the fact that they tend to be a little more patient. And believe me, spackling can try your patience.

Happy Remodeling!

Next Time… Project Log #8 – Wall Finishes   

Q&A&CQuestions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.

Project #6 – Drywall Installation & Finishing (Part 1)

We talked in the previous job log about sizes of drywall sheets. This is important when it comes to installation and finishing. A rule of thumb to apply to drywall installation is “the least amount of joints, the better”. You will come to appreciate this rule when it comes time to apply the spackling or “mud”. Another rule to keep in mind is “misery loves company”. It is always wise to get help when installing drywall, even someone who is inexperienced can help hold sheets in place during installation.Tools for installation should include a hammer, screw gun, chalk line, drywall rasp/shaver, drywall saw and/or Dremel® tool, level, a T-square and a caulking gun.

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Drywall Ceilings Firsts

Ceilings are installed first. You need to make sure that you identify all items that need to be cut out or left protruding through the ceiling. Light fixture and fan boxes, wires, duct openings are just a few examples of what to look for. Sometimes I mark them on the floor below to make sure that I don’t miss them. Mark the ceiling joists on the top plate of wall framing to locate them when you are nailing the sheets up. Prior to installing the first sheet, don’t forget to apply drywall adhesive to the ceiling joists. This product is what holds the drywall tight to the joists. Some folks say that the nails are only there to hold the drywall till the glue dries.

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Drywall Walls Second

The walls are installed next. Somewhat the same process should be followed as was described for the ceilings. Mark the studs on the floor for locating later for nailing not only the drywall, but also the baseboard trim as well. Locate any outlets, switches, wires, windows, access panels, ducts, etc. that need to be found later. Apply drywall adhesive to the studs and any other wall framing, only applying as much as the sheet of drywall will cover. Installing the first row of sheets up against the ceiling will allow you to make any adjustment cuts down at the floor later, keeping them as low and out of the line of sight as possible.

We will talk about some things to look out for and some tips in part two of this topic. Until then…

Happy Remodeling!

Next Time… Project Log #7 – Drywall Installation & Finishing (Part 2)

Q&A&CQuestions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.

 

Project Log #5 – Drywall

After making sure that everything that needs to go inside the walls and ceilings is complete, comes the fun of installing and finishing the drywall. Before you hang one sheet, make sure that all of your rough inspections are completed and compliant. If changes need to be made, it is much easier and cost effective to do them prior to installing the drywall, than after the drywall is hung and spackled.

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Drywall Sizes & Thicknesses – Many To Choose From

Drywall comes in different sized sheets in length (i.e. : 8’-0” thru 16’-0”) and thickness (1/4” thru 3/4”). The most common width is 4’-0”(48”) although 4’-6” (54”) can be found. One consideration in picking the right drywall is its application. If your ceiling joists are two feet on center, you may consider going with a thicker sheet to prevent sagging. If you have a curved wall or soffit to close in, a thinner, perhaps a 1/4” thick sheet, would make the installation easier. You can go with two layers of 1/4” if you desire the extra thickness.

The building codes in your area will also dictate the thickness of the drywall in special area and locations throughout the house. For one example, the code will require thicker drywall (5/8” – 3/4”) to be installed on the common wall between the living space and the Garage. Thicker drywall installation will be required on the ceiling of the Garage should there be living space above. This is commonly referred to as fire code or fire resistant drywall.

Another type of specialty drywall is what is called moisture resistant. This type of drywall comes with a special coating that helps to protect the surface should it be installed in a high moisture content area such as a Bathroom, Laundry or Kitchen. This drywall, even though it is called moisture resistant, is not meant to be left fully exposed to high volumes of water. It needs to be covered and protected in some way, painted in the very least.

It is good to clean up the space and run through the drywall installation in your mind before you order the drywall. You can mix your order up between sizes and thickness to accommodate your install and make your life easier. This clean up and inventory also gives you a chance to check on the framing and make sure you have nailers where necessary and desired. Check your inside and outside corners and wall intersections and make sure you have solid blocking to receive the drywall fasteners.

Happy Remodeling!

Next Time… Project Log #6 – Drywall Installation & Finishing

Q&A&CQuestions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.

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