Saturday, November 28, 2009

It Was the Month Before Christmas ...

I fought the Christmas lights earlier this week and won. It was a close call though. This is my cute little blue house with my cute blue decorations. I'm so proud. The lights around the door are lit but they didn't show up very well. That lattice on the ground in the garden is to stop the neighbour's cat from using it as a toilet. I won't go into detail what will happen to the cat if I catch it but it won't handled with much Christmas spirit. I hope Santa ignores the 'Caution: Ridgebacks' sign. Now my Christmas tree is up, the dog and cat stockings are hung by my electric fireplace and the house is ready for Santa. That's my new 4 foot pre-lit tree, it's on a box and I expect it to hit the floor at least once this holiday. This coming week I'll be taking photos of the dogs in their Christmas torture devices! Can't wait!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

No Wonder They Call It Hard

As suspected underneath layers and layers of old flooring was hardwood. The entire floor of the original house looks to have been hardwood that was installed even before the walls went up. First removal, of course, was the hack job installed laminate. The laminate was easy to remove and present no problem except being grossed out by the amount of dirt underneath it. Remember the layer photo? So there is hardwood, plywood, two layers of lino, a laminate cushion and then laminate. While the laminate was easy to remove the lino ... not so much. Ignorance is bliss as I did not know what was coming. The two layers of lino for the most part peeled up quite easily, it was a sheet of lino with tiles stuck to it, but handling it was a huge pain in the ass since it's awkward and heavy. I stopped at the laundry area because I was reasonably sure that is where the hardwood ended and I just wanted to expose the hardwood. I suspected there was just plywood under the laundry floor. The lino, once up, exposed the plywood. The plywood, I didn't realize, was secured to the hardwood by screws. Hundreds of screws. My Dad came to help and show me how each piece of plywood was secured to the floor by screws set in every 8 inches or so in a grid pattern. Over a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood ... that's a lot of screws. And not only that, each screw was hidden by a levelling compound to prevent the lino on it from showing the screw over time. What color was the compound? Why, the same color as the plywood of course. We had to find, dig out each screw and then remove it. Fortunately the first sheet was small and came up pretty easily. Ta da! Hardwood. Dirty, covered in paint splatter, screw holes and drywall dust but there it is. It had some sort of coating on it and when I washed it I realized it was ...newspaper. I couldn't read any dates but using newspaper as a sound insulator or just insulation hasn't been in practice in quite a few decades. This hardwood hasn't seen light probably since before I was born ... 29 years ago(cough). You could only see the newsprint when it was wet like so ... So, buoyed by the success of the first sheet I set to the second one on my own and managed it fairly well without too much trouble. I discovered that there must have been a leak under the sink at some point because the hardwood behind the stove is in pretty bad shape. I don't think it's unsalvagable but it will need considerable sanding and filling to fix. I don't mind too much since it's under the stove and once it's sanded it should come out okay. It looks worse than it is really. That's Ceilidh - she's my helper. After this sheet I ran into a problem. The other two sheets were under the laminate running into the laundry. I either needed to rip up all the laundry laminate as well or cut along the plywood to remove it. The W/D and the hot water tank are difficult to remove so I opted to leave them where they were for now and just remove the rest of the laminate. My Dad cut along in front of them and I removed the laminate in the laundry area. Problem. Once the laminate and lino were removed I spent some time on my own trying to remove the plywood. Thus ... I killed my drill. Or thought I had. Dad to the rescue. Again. He came over one day and we spent several hours cutting, swearing, sweating, drilling, undrilling and finally just forcing some of that plywood up. Apparently the first two sheets of easily removed plywood were put there to lull me into a false sense of security of 'this will be eeeaaasy'. Ya right. It was a dirty frustrating job and I don't recommend it. Turns out I didn't kill my drill - I just don't know how to use it properly - there it is sitting on the floor.
So here is the kitchen. Finally. My Dad spent ages trying to get the plywood cut from underneath the cabinets. It was brutal. The plywood goes all the way under the cabinets so he had to cut along the kick plate to get it out. Once that was completed we had all hardwood in the kitchen. It doesn't look so hot now but once I sand off the years off neglect it will look pretty sharp. The laundry did end up being plywood so I will carry on the barnboard lino strips from the dining room into the laundry. Right now it's a hodge podge of plywood and laminate pieces to keep out drafts and bugs. There are holes drilled into the plywood right in the middle of the laundry and they lead directly to the crawl space under the house. We suspect there used to be a wall leading across from the left side of the the kitchen to about where that single piece of laminate is screwed down and then to the back wall. This is something I think I want to reinstall at some point to make an enclosed laundry room.

And so ... we are halfway done the floors. I have to sand, fill, sand again, lacquer and also put in the balance of the lino in the laundry. Should be a good long winter project ... anything to avoid painting the ceilings.