Kitchen Renovation- Day 28

Well, it's been exactly one month since the start of our kitchen renovation.  A lot of progress has been made from day 15 until now.  As you can see, Mike installed our cabinets.  We purchased them from Home Depot, the brand is American Woodmark.  I'm really happy with the quality of these cabinets, they are hardwood construction and have soft close drawers and doors.  I'll be even happier once our granite countertop gets installed so we can start using the kitchen.  

Of course, it seems that in every step of the way we have a snag in the renovation process.  One of the cabinets arrived damaged, so the company had to reship a new cabinet to us.  Thankfully that did not take long and didn't seem to delay us.  Another issue was they sent us the wrong size of filler {notice the gap to the left of the short wall cabinet}, but that can be cut down to size.  When our appliances were delivered on Saturday Feb 1, they told us our outlet for the overhead microwave is in the wrong place, it needs to be moved into the overhead cabinet.  Doh!  

Those few snags weren't too upsetting, but the one that almost had me breakdown was the refinishing of our hardwood floors.  On Sat Jan 25th, Mike and his friend Charles, moved all the furniture from our living room, dining room, and office into a POD parked in our driveway.  Next, Mike and I began tearing out the carpet .  We planned to remove the carpet from the living room, dining room, hallway, and office that day.  The carpet removal in the living room and dining room went pretty well; it took us about two hours to pull out the carpet and foam padding, remove thousands of staples, and stubborn tack strips.  Once the hardwood was revealed we noticed some boards had old termite damage and there was two poorly patched areas between the two rooms.  After lunch, we moved onto the hallway.  Since there isn't much room in our hallway, Mike was going to pull out the nail tack strips first then I was going to pull out the staples.  After few minutes, I heard Mike say "ouch" and noticed blood dripping on the floor.  He hit his left ring finger knuckle with the crowbar!  He ran it under water immediately and I grabbed a towel so he could apply compression to it.  We made an executive decision to forgo the emergency room and decided to clean the wound and then seal it with superglue.  He promised me his tetanus shot is still effective.  Wow, that brought back memories of the night we got engage, but we waited over 2 hours in the ER before the hospital glued my cut foot.   

Needless to say, that derailed our work for that day.  We were able to finish removing the carpet in the rest of the house next day.  On Monday Jan 27th, Heritage Hardwood Floors arrived to start the refinishing of the floors.  Since we had wood damage and repairs in the living room, dining room, and hallway they were doubtful that the floors would be done in one day as initially hoped.  At the end of the day on Monday, I got a call to look at the sample of color on the floor {Jacobean by Duraseal}.  It was a pretty espresso coffee color.  Unfortunately, we had a miscommunication, I thought the color was going to stay true to the sample, but it didn't, and I didn't find that out until Wednesday*.  What I wasn't aware of at that time was the technique they use when applying the color stain, i.e. wipe on, wipe off.  I had chosen a water-based product due to it's lower volatile fumes and quicker drying time {3 hrs for water based stain vs 12 hrs with a oil polyurethane}, but it wasn't communicated to me when I made that choice a month prior to the actual work, that water based products don't produce the deep color I was looking for, unless they use a "water popping" technique {I found this out Wed, after they stained my floors}.  Water popping basically means they saturate the stripped hardwood with copious amounts of water which allows the wood pores to open and allows the stain to penetrate deeper into the wood.  On the Minwax website they stated you could also apply 2 coats of stain prior to sealing.  That would have been the better option to what was done.  

Backing up for a moment, Mike and I stayed at my mom's Tuesday night because the stain/sealer was still wet.  When I came home Wednesday* morning and saw the floors for the first time, I was so disappointed.  I kept thinking, " I can't believe we just spent that much money on floors and I don't even like them".  I also noticed tiny bubbling along wall lines and uneven splattering of sealer in the hallway.  I placed a phone call to the owner of Heritage Hardwood Floors, and he said he would be happy to come out and fix it.  He wanted me to love the floors.  So, the quickest fix and the option we chose was to apply an oil-base polyurethane top coat that would be tinted to darken the floor color.  The other option was to sand the floors, restain, perhaps 2 coats or more coats, then 2 coats of sealer; that would have meant 2 more days out of the house and run the risk of the floors not being dry when the appliances were to arrive.  Mike and I are really happy with the floor color now, but I knew there was a reason I wanted a water based product; our house smelled for 5 days after the oil stain was applied.  The smell even seeped into our clothes!  Thanks again mom for letting us stay with you for a couple of days!

Some helpful tips to keep in mind if you decide to get your hardwood floors refinished:

  • Ask in great detail the difference between water and oil based products.  Yes, water based finishes are environmentally friendly and result in a quick dry time, but will they produce the floor color you want?  If you want to use water based color, will they apply extra coats or water pop your floors to achieve the dark color? 
  • Find pictures of floors you like and share them to the hardwood restorer.  Again, ask about the process to achieve this color.
  • Ask about their care (or in my case lack of) to exposed surfaces i.e. base quarter-round and molding.  Will they replace stained molding?
  • While getting bids, ask about unforeseen costs of board replacement.  
  • Ask if they use dust-free equipment.
  • Finally, ask about caring for your hardwood floors. 

Friday Jan 31st, the floors were dry enough to walk on and not get a sticky dark residue on my socks, so I painted the kitchen that day.  I know in my last post I was leaning towards one of three colors, but I changed my mind.  I painted the kitchen Grand Teton White (AC-42) by Benjamin Moore, a light yellowish-beige color.  On Super Bowl Sunday, I painted Mike's office (Bunny Gray  2124-50 by Benjamin Moore).  The plan was to paint the hallway, office, and living/dining room all the same color.  I was wanting a gray color with a touch of blue, but instead it looks blue with a touch a gray.  Mike likes it, so I won't change the office color, but now I have to continue my search for the perfect gray.  

Sorry if this post jumped around, but I've felt out of sorts this past week.  But, I'm so happy to have the furniture back indoors, the POD is removed so we can park in the driveway, and a HUGE refrigerator in the kitchen!  I can't remember, but I believe our previous fridge was 18 cu ft so bumping up to nearly 25 cu ft is a big difference.  So far, we are only using half of it.    

The "to-do" list for this week: granite installers come on Friday Feb 7th to make a template, we need to reposition the microwave outlet, buy and install hardware/handles on cabinet drawers/doors, and find the perfect gray paint (not too blue or beige).

On a side note, Mike started a new job on Monday Feb 3rd.  Keep him in your prayers as we finish up the kitchen and he starts a new career path.  Without God, things could get very stressful!  

I'm looking forward to cooking good food again, and ever glad for God's goodness!