Monday, January 15, 2018

The Fantastic Floor

It's been a while since our last update, because honestly it's been a while since we got anything done around the house. Between the holidays, travel, new jobs, and spending a month trying to find an electrician who isn't booked until April 2030, progress has been slow. It's been nice to experience what a weekend feels like for people who aren't constantly running behind and covered in dust.A little taste of the future to come for us! (Eventually. Probably. Maybe.) Who am I kidding, as soon as we finish one project we'll decide to start another.

But new year, new motivation... and we're back on track in a big way! Because we have FINISHED THE UPSTAIRS FLOOR. Folks, this one has been years in the making. We knew right when we bought the house we'd need to re-do this floor. It was gross old wall-to-wall carpet full of cat hair, aka Audrey Kryptonite. Ripping that out was literally the first thing we did, the same day we bought the house. We purchased the heated floor mats and all the wood not long after. (The boxes for the flooring are stamped "made in 2013", which made my soul die a little bit yesterday.)

And then it sat.

Until last weekend.

We did lay out the heated floor mats about a month ago, but we had to wait for an electrician to do the final hookup. That took a whole lot of phone calls and waiting. Our original electrician doesn't work on small projects anymore, so he just refused to come back and finish the project he'd started. The new electrician didn't like some of what the first guy had done, so we had to rip out some drywall (again), replace conduit, etc. Sigh. Plus he did such a sloppy job of laying out the lead wires that we had to spend a weekend reorganizing everything. But he did what we absolutely needed him to do, and we were able to work around the rest and get it done.

Heating mats and floor pad laid out, plus a giant stack of flooring and trim in the corner. We're going to have to figure out where that goes soon...
Then it was time to lay the flooring! It's click-and-lock floating floor, which we've installed once before in this house. I was dreading it because the mudroom floor took a lot of brute force to shove into place tightly, and this is a lot more area to cover. But happily, this particular product works a little bit differently, and it goes together easily. This was a good two-person project. We got into a nice rhythm - usually Brett measuring and me cutting, or when there were two different areas to work on, each of us taking a side.

So once we got cooking, it started to go pretty quickly. That means that we also pretty quickly ran into the stuff we'd been keeping on the subfloor - the boxes of unused flooring, the saws, the built-ins that were temporarily pulled out of the closet. So as we worked, we kept having to pause and move our tools onto the finished floor behind us. If you like both jigsaw puzzles and manual labor, this project is for you!


Floor in progress. Note that all the crap has moved to the other side of the room. Not pictured: giant bottle of Advil.
 We definitely made things a little harder on ourselves because of the way we chose to lay out the boards. It's a funky-shaped room in a funky-shaped house, so there probably wasn't really an easy way anyway.


Not standard.
To me, this is the hard part of doing your own flooring. The actual installation isn't really difficult. It's thinking through all the details to minimize your waste and weird-sized corners before you even put down your first board. Once you've laid a couple of rows, you've set the pattern that you'll have to follow come hell or high water for the rest of the room. I'm not a great spatial thinker - I'm your girl if you want an essay, but I hereby issue a heartfelt apology to anyone who has ever tried to follow me somewhere in a car -  so thankfully Brett has this department covered for us.

We decided to start at the top of the stairs - the first thing you see when you enter the room, and also the most complicated area because of the transitions between multiple rooms and corners.

Brett says: "This is my art! Someday I will show this photograph to my grandchildren."
We are going to have some really bored grandchildren.

Two weekends and two extremely sore backs later, the floor is in! And it heats up! Now please excuse me while I go lay down on the lovely new warm floor and moan.

I think she likes it! It took her 9.2 seconds to locate the warmest, sunniest spot and plunk herself down.