New Floors: The Prep Work

As you saw in the photos of our desk makeover yesterday, we owe you major updates on how the new floors have been coming along.  After finally having a chance to catch our breath this weekend, we’re ready to share from the beginning.

Even though we decided not to install our wood floors ourselves, it still took an amazing amount of work to get the house ready for installation.  Before we did anything, the rooms had to be cleared.  I also took the opportunity to snap some photos of our old floors in all their glory.

The lovely 80s entryway tile and painted concrete hallway:

Entry Tile Hallway Floor

The shaggy living room carpet:

Living Room Carpet

Three types of flooring in one shot – entryway, hallway, and kitchen:

Entry Intersection

Shaggy bedroom carpet peeking out of doorways:


And lovely light laminate with a strip missing between the kitchen and dining room:

Dining Floor

We were not sad to see those floors go!

I already mentioned how our friend Casey helped us move all our furniture into 3 rooms – the garage, our bedroom, and the guest room (the only rooms not getting wood floors).  She was a total lifesaver, but let me tell you, those 3 rooms are PACKED!  I had no idea we had so much furniture!

We spent all of that weekend ripping out old flooring.  The installers took care of the entryway tile and living room carpet for us, but Stephen still had to pull out the laminate in the kitchen and dining room.

Removing Laminate

Then, as you saw in this post, we had to address the sneaky linoleum hiding out in the kitchen.

Kitchen Linoleum Discovered

My mom’s first question when she saw that photo was, “Do you think the previous owners had that kitchen linoleum and the entryway tile in the house at the same time?”

Yes, yes, I think they did.

Ugly attracts ugly

Stephen removed all the laminate in time for the flooring guys to drop off the wood the next day and start removing the entryway tile.

Dining Room Empty

When I got home from school the next afternoon, this is what I was greeted with!  Bare concrete never looked so good. 🙂

Looking towards hallway Entry Tile Out

And neither did a stack of cardboard boxes!

Flooring Pile

I snapped this shot so you could see just how empty our house was.  That weekend, we pulled down all the art and mantel decor so it wouldn’t get broken during the installation.

3 Room Demo

On Saturday, Stephen started removing the linoleum while I painted baseboards.  The installers had given him a long-handled tool to use (basically a razorblade on a stick).  He started by scraping off the top layer of linoleum first.

Scraping Linoleum

Once he’d removed all the linoleum, which took several hours, it was time to tackle the glue and paper that was still stuck to the concrete.  You can see in this photo how most of the floor is still white – he hadn’t scraped all the way to the concrete yet in those parts.

Making Progress

Our installers recommended spraying the glue with a solution of water and dish soap, letting it soak in for awhile, and then scraping.  We quickly discovered that the spray bottle didn’t do much and resorted to pouring the solution onto the floors and brushing it around with a broom.

Spraying Glue

We had to be careful not to get the concrete too soaked because it needed to be completely dry by Monday when they started gluing down the wood.

Spreading Water

The paper and glue came up a little easier once it was wet, but it was still a bear to remove.  Stephen got maybe a quarter of the paper and glue removed by the end of the day Saturday.

Scraping Glue

During all this time, I was in the living room, painting our new baseboards – about 300 feet of them.  Since the old wood baseboards were dingy, dinged, and way too small for the size of our rooms, we opted to replace them all when the new floors were installed.

These are the 4-1/4″ baseboards we selected for the main living areas.  The bedrooms are all getting standard 3-1/4″ trim.  We wanted taller baseboards in our living room especially since smaller ones would have been dwarfed by the size of the room, but let me tell you, it was a fight to get them from start to finish!

Painting Baseboards

You wouldn’t believe how much of a pain it was to find wood, primed, 4-1/4″ baseboards for a reasonable price.  We started the hunt well in advance.  A couple weeks before the installation, we ordered 16′ long trim boards from our local Meek’s Lumber, thinking we’d have plenty of time to paint them in time for installation.  They were 81 cents a foot, which was the best price we’d seen on 4-1/4″ trim.  When the pieces were delivered, however, they were raw wood (not primed) and were the most ridiculously ugly, curvy pieces of trim I’d ever seen.

The salesman tried to fix the problem, but they didn’t have enough length of the trim we wanted in stock.  At that point we were mere days from installation so we couldn’t wait a week or more for new boards to be shipped in.

In the end we drove to Lowe’s and picked up 12′ boards (meaning we’d have a seam or two along the longer walls in our living room) for about twice the amount we’d wanted to spend ($1.51 per foot instead of 81 cents!).  What a frustrating ordeal.  Who would have thought buying baseboards would turn out to be such a pain??

I finished painting Sunday and then started helping Stephen move appliances and finish scraping in the kitchen.  We moved the fridge to discover they’d tiled over the linoleum under the fridge – to give it a more stable surface to sit on, maybe?

Removing Fridge Tile

In the end, we spent probably 12 hours scraping the kitchen floor on Sunday to get it looking like this.  By no means did we do a perfect job, but when your back and arms are aching and your eyes are crossing, at some point you call the job “good enough!”

Kitchen Scraped

These photos were taken at 11:00 that night, and you’d better believe we were completely exhausted the next day!

Ready for Installation

Things usually look worse before they look better, though, and good things started happening from here on out.  The installers showed up bright and early Monday morning and actually made a lot of progress that first day.  We’ll be back tomorrow to share much prettier pictures from the experience!

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