Fabulous Facelift – Finding Floors and Walls

This past week I started pulling up carpet to find floors and sanding down rough and poorly textured spots on Cidnie’s bedroom walls.


This carpet was second hand carpet to begin with, and suffice it to say we’re not sad to see it go. It has definitely served it’s purpose. I think I can better appreciate the comments plumbers share about how you’d walk away from what they see every day in drains if you saw it sitting on the street. Some things are best left unseen – or smelled for that matter!

An interesting note about the carpet installation is the need or lack of for glue. The two areas were put down by different installers and the bedroom used no glue under the pad for seams or corners, the other installer used copious amounts. There was no visible advantage to the way the carpet wore or held, the carpet in the bedroom seemed a more professional job to me. In fact, the only notable difference was how hard it was to scrape off all the glue and pad segments stuck to it. Personally, I’m a fan of little to no glue, I figure gravity is already working for you and is the ultimate glue in the universe. Pulling up the carpet wasn’t hard, hauling it up the stairs and out to the trash wasn’t fun, but I have truly scorned the removal of the tack board.

The installer used two different types of nails to install it. The smaller, typical nail is fine but then there are several runs of doubled, mini-railroad spike, type nails (I assume these are concrete nails.) Those are killer to get out and I can’t for the life of me figure out why there was a need for two instead of one in each hole where they are used when the small nails held it down fine. It’s odd to me that they’re not in strategic points too like corners or door jams, just random weirdness. I haven’t started the removal and patching process of those yet. I did them in the back room and it was a lot of work so I’m dreading repeating the process. This time I may enlist the help of stronger arms than mine to pound and pull. I can’t wait to eliminate the carpet factor. Kids, pets and carpets don’t mix not to mention the extra additive of musty and stale air that often accompany the basement. My brown paper floor will be a most welcome change indeed from smell to spills.

I’m growing weary of the “preparation” phases all around me. To ward off discouragement, I’m on a mission to finish one room in this process for motivation, encouragement and morale boost. Our focus late last week and all this week are on the back bedroom that will be Cidnie’s. This was the first room finished in the basement, and it belonged to both my older sister and me. It’s kind of strange to think of my own daughter being a teen in the same room. But I digress. The point of this post is to share the progress being made on these renovation projects. I forgot the before photo with the pink carpet, but I do have one with everything but the carpet.

So here’s a few things to note and things that are undergoing change:

1) The window – too small and not to code any more. Cidnie has always had a fear of being trapped by fire so she wasn’t at all excited about her room having such a tiny and high window. The bigger window will be installed tomorrow. I’ll post more pictures of that process as it occurs.

2) The light – dim and icky. The new light proved to be a real pain in the rear. It took way too long to install because the electrical casing wasn’t level and was too high in the ceiling. We had to build a small base to install the new light on and we played ring around the fuse box trying to find the fuse for the power. I’m happy to report there were no electrocution stories to add to Blake’s already impressive history. The new light looks great and we can actually see in the room now.

3) Paneling – served it’s time not once but twice. The first round was when the room was finished and was a wood color. Dad couldn’t bear the thought of wasting anything so refused to cut the paneling to our desired wainscot height, instead he cut each panel exactly in half and nailed them up – that was much more efficient and therefore better. Whatever, all we cared about at the time was having our room finished! The second round was during the room’s first remodel about 6 or so years ago. It was a rush job per holiday vacation time and again dad couldn’t bear to part with the paneling, but he did concede to cut it down to a lower height and it was painted white to brighten the room a little. I figure he got what he wanted twice, the paneling has served its purpose and time for change has come. I may have secretly grinned while pulling it off the walls and hauling it away.

4) Wall texture – never done right. The contractor, a friend and neighbor who framed in the room and did the sheetrock work traded his services for the kitchen stove dad was replacing. (A story for another day) He did the basic taping and mudding but it was never sanded for finishing. The plan was to cover the walls with wallpaper and panel in place of texture. The problem with both was the original job was never finished so all the seams and mudding lines were always visible under the wallpaper. When we pulled it off for the first remodel, we ended up spraying a small amount of orange peel texture from a can to assist with the poor seaming. Moral of the story is two wrongs don’t make a right, so we’re painfully sanding down the walls the way they should have been done in the beginning. Once I have the walls sanded and patched to satisfaction I’ll spray orange peel texture on with a real texture gun and paint. I hope I can get this to a point I’m happy with, the budget has to hit many other places for this whole transition project so replacing sheetrock really isn’t in the cards right now. I am encouraged after the first round of sanding. It’s a lot of work but I think it’s going work and I think it will be worth it.

5) Outlets and heat – replace and install. You can see in the photo above that the outlets used were dark brown to match the original paneling better. They stand out like sore thumbs now. At least now we know where the fuse box is and we’re hoping for the continued streak of luck without incident for Blake. The room has never had a source of heat. Although we did find a bare wire when we pulled the carpet up. Mom says it was for an electric baseboard heat panel but she’s uncertain if it’s ever been connected to anything or where it would need to be connected. Step one here will be determining if the wire is truly dead (which I seriously hope is the case or we owe a great many thanks to guardian angels for not having a fire before now), then cutting it out. We plan to install a small forced air electric heater in the wall.

6) Doors – install and redo. The main door to the room needs to be shifted to one side by about 6 inches to allow for proper framing. This is thanks to the contractors who installed walls right against the door jams outside the existing two back bedrooms. We want a new door anyway so we’ll be purchasing a pre-hung new door and moving the door framing to allow for a proper finish of the door after install. The closet has never had doors on it and I look forward to putting those up and truly completing the room.

7) New carpet – this one speaks for itself and will be the wonderful last step to a completed room!

This is what the room looks like today after the first round of sanding and additional patching. Note the level of light reflection against the ceiling and that helps balance the window light. Now go back and see how little light reflected off the fluorescent compared to the window – that will give you a better idea of just how dull the old light was.

To appreciate the sanding fun, I’ve captured a few photos. The first is a close up of the existing mudding and texture snafus. The second is the sander I worked for the finer detail. It’s a vibrating sander and I used a finer drywall paper to fine tune the previously sanded problem areas. Blake took the first round of heavy duty sanding with a round electric sander using a coarse sandpaper.


Here we are having fun making the most pervasive, fine dust.


So that’s the most recent installment of our Fabulous Facelift project. In accompanying news, the money has been funded in the account for the new build. We’ve gone back and forth a few times about the best way to do this. Do you convert the existing garage into living space and build a new garage or leave the garage and build a new living space? It’s all come down to dollars and lining up desires according to the budget. At this time we’ve decided to go with the new build apartment. Here’s a rough floor plan the builder is working off of to design the new space:


One comment on “Fabulous Facelift – Finding Floors and Walls

  1. Hooey! And I thought _I_ had a bunch of projects to do! But mine are more of the sort/discard type (like your fruit storage room). You are doing a fabulous job.

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