Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Doors

As spring is coming on and the Home Renovation Tax Credit ended with January 2010 I have several projects lined up that I am planning to tackle. I finally have the spare room door replaced, it was not is any great shape as you can see. When I moved in this little hole was on the livingroom side of the door. The day I arrived we had to go out and buy some supplies and get lunch so I shut the dogs in the spare room for a couple hours. They made short work of a small hole on the other side of the door.
So I bought a new door and My Amazing Dad came over to install it. He cut the handle hole, chipped out the hinge spaces and we hung it quite easily. More easily than I'd have thought actually. It really is amazing what a difference something new and fresh can make. I think the total replacement cost for this door was about $60. But ... you can't beat the bargain basement price of this next renovation. I discovered partway through December that when I was sitting in the livingroom I could feel a draft. I thought it was coming from under the spare door, that room isn't heated, so I put a draft stopper along the bottom. Still a draft. Thought it was the front door, another draft stopper. Still a draft. The draft was coming from the entrance to the livingroom. I hung a sheet and voila ... no more draft. Well, a sheet isn't very nice and an annoying PIA so I decided that a French door would do the trick. I figured I could shut the dogs behind it if necessary and to stop the cats annoying the crap out of me I'd take out a pane of glass so they could go back and forth without demanding I open the door.

I went French door shopping knowing they cost about $100. I knew I wanted a simple finger-jointed pine door, unpainted and pretty standard. I was perusing the door aisle of our local DIY and came across their 'no returns' section. Always with an eye tuned to a bargain I started looking through the doors. What's this? A 32" finger-jointed pine French door with a DAMAGED - NO RETURN sticker on the side. Well, what is wrong with it? It had one single broken pane. It was $20. I bought it on the spot. I explained to the HI employee that the broken pane was perfect as I intended to remove one anyway from whatever door I bought. He then expressed his concern about removing the pane, "I wonder the best way to get that pane out?" Uh. Break it?

I discovered upon getting the door home that the pane of glass that was broken is actually the second from the top, not the bottom, so I ended up hanging it upside down. I think, unless you actually knew it was upside down, you'd never know. My Amazing Dad, with his circular saw that is literally older than I am (but with a new blade so it still cuts marvelously), cut off some of the bottom/top of the door because it exactly fit the space it needed to be put into and all doors need room to swing.

Last week My Amazing Dad and I spent the day hanging this door - actually My Amazing Dad hung the door, I watched and held various tools and made lunch. It is quite a process. You never realize how important 'square' is until you try to hang a door. The entry to the livingroom was 36" and the door was 32" so we had to make up the space with 1x4 pieces of wood. Here is a terrible photo of the door partially painted and the wood(kinda) inbetween the original frame and the new frame. The handle hole was an absolute bitch when we tried to put the handle in it but we finally manhandled the thing so it would work properly. It does now thank doG. I also moved the desk from the kitchen, where it was increasingly annoying me, into the livingroom where, conveniently I can now surf online and watch TV ... the stuff of dreams. You can see the internet cable strung up and over the door. And now you can't. I painted the cable the same color as the walls and I think it blends beautifully. This is obviously the livingroom side. When this door is shut it takes about 10 minutes for the room to warm comfortably and stay warm. And this is the kitchen side of the door, the bathroom is off to the right and my bedroom is off to the left. The hardwood still needs refinishing but that will wait until warmer weather and I can open all the windows.

But wait! What about that pane of glass that was to be removed? Why ... I did remove it. I had to shove the cats through a few times each to show them where the hole was located and only Ceilidh jumped into the wrong pane once - she leaped into the middle pane, slid down, shook her head, looked to her left at the correct hole and hopped through. Here is Archer demonstrating which pane is missing. Raimi's head does fit but he doesn't like putting his head through and Leeloo refuses to lower herself to such monkeyshines.
In all, this door cost about $90 total including the hardware, casing and paint - a pretty good solution to a cold winter draft! I also expect in the summer, with the monster fan going, that the room will cool down quite nicely too ... can't wait to test it!

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Over Christmas I took a break from renovations so that during the holidays I wasn't dealing with paint and dust and clean up. Now that we are well past the festive season I have no excuse to not work on various outstanding reno projects. This year will see the floors finished, the ceilings painted, screens replaced, the spare door replaced, a french door installed, and I will start replacing the fence with preserved boards.

My first project of the new year was the lino for the laundry floor. With the layers and layers of plywood and vinyl pulled up it was simply a matter of smashing the nails in a bit more, levelling the dips and holes with a patching agent and laying down the flooring. I had a day in mind to do the whole thing in one go, went to pick up my supplies and discovered they were out of flooring adhesive. So I bought what I could but didn't get the lino as I didn't want to be stepping over it for the week it would take to get the adhesive in.

Once the adhesive arrived I went to pick up the lino. I decided that since the space I needed to fill was 8x11 feet and the end rolls sold pre-wrapped were 8x12, what better solution than to just choose one of those? So I get the roll home and it sits for a couple days before I have time to get it laid out. While still in it's wrap I slid it into the laundry area by the back door. Huh. That's odd, did I mis-measure? It's 2 inches too short. Nope, *my* measurements are correct, the lino, however, is too short. So the day I was going to spend doing the lino turns into yet another day of not.

I take it back and have the guy measure the other rolls to see if any are actually 8 feet as it says on the package. Nope. None of them. So there is a sale on, thank gawd, of a lino I like and I say, gimme 8 feet of that(they are 12 feet wide). It gets rolled, jammed into my truck and off we go.

I prepared the area by vacuuming as much dog hair, cat hair, dust, and whatnot as I could. Around the back door I ran into a little problem. Obviously the back door has been leaking at the bottom and soaking into the plywood, this caused it to rot a bit. I used a screwdriver to scrape up as much of the wet wood as I could and lo and behold, now there are holes down into the crawl space through the floor. Fabulous. I vacuumed up the excess wood bits and left it overnight to dry out. Now I need to go back to the hardware store and get some spray foam insulation to fill the holes.
I mixed a little of the plasti-patch and get started. It was a relatively easy process to fill all the little nail holes, screw holes, and level up some less than exact plywood. While it was drying I headed to Home Hardware to pick up the spray foam, stuffed the holes full of that miracle substance and then did another layer of Plasti-patch. There was a section where the difference in height was about a quarter inch so I had to smooth that into a little ramp so the lino wouldn't get ruined in that spot. Once all that was dry I swept again and the real ordeal began. I forgot to ask, and still don't know, whether a person is supposed to cut the lino to fit before or after you glue it down. I cut it before. I am thinking now that was a mistake but ... I digress. I had the lino rolled up at one end of the floor and the lino adhesive out with a trowel ready for action. I smeared a bunch of glue down and fought with the lino to get it into the space I needed it, namely the corner under the window. Alone, this was not easy. I then accidentally dropped the loaded trowel onto the floor where I didn't want adhesive so that while I was fighting with the roll, half unrolled into one corner, it was sliding across and sticking to the adhesive where I'd dropped the trowel.

Then I dropped the trowel handle-first into the adhesive. Take a moment to imagine how that went.

I then stuck the other corner down and realized, too late, that is was not lining up properly, it was curled at the corner a bit which meant the whole roll was about a quarter inch crooked. Since it was taking so long to get the roll down the first corner was mostly dried and there was no moving it. I just sat for a moment and despaired, then carried on with a shrug and WTH.

I spent the next 45 minutes spackling down adhesive, unsticking my hand from the trowel, unrolling the lino, spackling down more adhesive, unsticking my hand from the trowel, and unrolling the lino. At about the three-quarters-done mark I dropped the trowel handle-first into the adhesive a second time. I was almost beyond sanity.

Eventually, I won the battle and managed to get the whole sheet stuck down to the floor. I put cans of paint along a couple edges to get them to lay flat to dry, gave the whole ordeal a sticky finger and went to bed.

The next morning things looked a lot better. Although I intend to refinish the kitchen floor I put down the threshold so that the edges of the lino don't curl up and get ruined.

I also put in the threshold, at last, across the dining door. The next project to finish off the laundry area and back door is to put in the baseboard. That will mean the entire area is relatively complete. I put a piece of plywood under the expen because I don't want it to mark up the flooring - especially after what I when through to install it. I hope one day to build an actual laundry room, which there clearly used to be, but for now this will have to do. The dogs give it their stamp of approval anyway.