Author Topic: Fixing up the House  (Read 14667 times)

AerynLee

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Fixing up the House
« on: December 20, 2015, 08:47:37 AM »
Earlier this year we moved into a townhome that overall we love, but it needs some updates. The carpet is old, kinda gross, and in one area ripped up. The kitchen isn't bad but we're not in love with the cabinets. There's a few places we want to add some ceiling lights. Etcetera. The issue is figuring out how far to go. Some details:

960sqft
2 bed, 1 bath
Galley Kitchen
Formal Dining room
Concrete slab
We paid $80k, an identical house sold a few months later for $87.5k
We only plan on being here about 5 years
We have a 75lbs dog and 2 cats
We don't want to put a ton of money into the place since this area wouldn't pay for high end upgrades.
We're not very handy but are looking at this house as a place to learn some skills

First we're looking at flooring. Currently it's carpet everywhere except the kitchen and bathroom which have cheap, badly laid peel and stick laminate tile. We want to do a hardwood-like flooring everywhere except maybe the bathroom. We talked to a flooring place yesterday and they said our best options are bamboo (~$3/sqft) or vinyl plank (~$2/sqft). Bamboo would have a small extra cost of a vapor barrier ($20/300sqft) plus it shouldn't go in the bathroom so we'd need something different there. Vinyl wouldn't need the vapor barrier but I'm worried about having such a thin layer over cement being hard and uncomfortable plus would vinyl look tacky over the entire house?

Second the kitchen cabinets. Our biggest complaint is that there's a 3.5" divider in the double cabinets. It's only in the front so it's in the way but doesn't cut into the storage area. We have 5 double cabinets total (uppers and lowers). Other than that they're in good shape. I think I just want to paint them and add hardware but DH wants to completely replace them to get rid of the divider. He also wants to put a full height pantry cabinet in an area next to the fridge in place of a 36" length of upper/lower cabinets with counter. I'm not sure about that since there's not a lot of counter space anyway and we don't need the extra storage (though future buyers would probably want more). We haven't priced out cabinets yet but I think it would be way more than we want to spend. Plus if we replace the cabinets I think it would be a waste to put in vinyl flooring instead of bamboo so we might by default spend more of flooring too.

Any thoughts on what we should do?

I'll try to post some pictures of the kitchen so you can have a point of reference

AerynLee

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2015, 08:56:15 AM »
pictures removed
« Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 01:22:40 PM by AerynLee »

reader2580

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2015, 09:09:34 AM »
There are quite a few places that sell RTA (ready to assemble) flat pack cabinets for really good prices.  They are made in China, but they generally have plywood and hardwood construction with no particleboard.  Often they will have self closing drawer slides too.  I paid about $2500 for 11 cabinets a year ago.  You can get already assembled cabinets from Home Depot or Menards for slightly less money, but they will have particle board and the drawer slides will not be as nice.  They also may not have everything in stock.  The place I bought from carries everything in stock.

I would not lose the counter space by the refrigerator personally.

AerynLee

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2015, 09:23:57 AM »
We looked briefly at cabinets at Menards yesterday and they were unfinished, lower quality than what we have now and still had the dividers. I'll have to look other places for RTA ones. I started looking at IKEA but needed the kitchen dimensions to get a good idea of costs and wasn't home at the time.

If we do get rid of the counter space for the pantry we'll put in an over the range microwave so we won't really lose the full amount of counter space.

BTW, like how you can see three different wall colors in the first picture? Yeah, that's getting painted before we do anything else

ETA: Also, while it's not a necessity if we replace the kitchen cabinets I'd like to replace the bathroom cabinet as well. Right now they match and I like the idea of keeping a uniform scheme throughout the house since it's on the smaller side
« Last Edit: December 20, 2015, 09:28:54 AM by AerynLee »

john6221

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2015, 10:11:41 AM »
What you call the "divider" is part of the face frame. If you don't want anything like that, then you'll have to find cabinets with full overlay doors without the center stile. Otherwise, any double door cabinet will have the center stile.

shuffler

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2015, 10:25:50 AM »
Cabinets at Menards ... still had the dividers.

What you call the "divider" is part of the face frame.
I believe the kind of cabinet you're looking for is called "frameless".  Try searching with that term.

reader2580

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2015, 10:26:47 AM »
There are plenty of cabinets with face frames that don't have a center stile.  The Chinese RTA cabinets I bought have a face frame, but no center stile.

I just looked at the Menards website and the Value Choice cabinets they show on the website that are sold in store don't appear to have a center stile/divider.

AerynLee

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2015, 02:42:52 PM »
I did a layout design on IKEA and other RTA cabinet website; which was a major pain in the ass. Neither had an option for a pantry that was 36" wide so in both cases I had to chose 24" pantry instead. $1700-$2k. That's more than I'd like to spend, especially since we'd be installing ourselves and we would still probably need to spend more since that's how remodels work :)

I'm still leaning towards painting the existing cabinets and adding hardware but I'll look more later once I'm less frustrated with kitchen design websites

deborah

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2015, 04:56:38 PM »
I'd leave everything as it is.

If you have animals, your new carpet will get wear and tear, and will not add anything to the value of the place when you leave. If you are leaving in five years, you will not get the personal value out of the carpet.

After you have been in the place for a while, you won't notice the stupid dividers as much. Just replacing the cabinets to get rid of the dividers will not add any value to the place, so it could be money down the drain.

Wait another year and decide then what you want to do - you probably haven't been there long enough to have a really good idea of what works and what doesn't.


AerynLee

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2015, 05:35:55 PM »
If you have animals, your new carpet will get wear and tear, and will not add anything to the value of the place when you leave. If you are leaving in five years, you will not get the personal value out of the carpet.

After you have been in the place for a while, you won't notice the stupid dividers as much. Just replacing the cabinets to get rid of the dividers will not add any value to the place, so it could be money down the drain.
Carpet isn't an option. We're either looking at bamboo or vinyl flooring which should still be just fine in 5 years. My dog is big but he's a couch potato and since those are both resilient it should hold up

I agree with you on the cabinets, I don't think it's worth the cost since it doesn't add noticeable value. I need to word it that way to DH. Since I do 90% of the cooking that divider doesn't actually affect him much, though it does make it harder for him to "get used to it" if he's only in there very occasionally

crispy

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2015, 06:14:17 PM »
We just moved into a fixer upper in August (we both posted around the same time about our downsizing experiences).  Our cabinets our 40 years old, but in good shape so we decided to paint them, paint the countertops (they were Harvest Gold), and add new hardware.  We spend about $250 total and it looks great.  We would have loved to gut it, but decided our renovation budget would be better spent on other things. 

We are actually going to have vinyl plank installed in January so I will let you know how it goes.  We wanted hardwood, but we would have to get all new subfloors so decided to go with a floating floor. The reviews for the luxury vinyl plank are excellent so I hope it goes well. 

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2015, 07:35:33 PM »
We're in the midst of a mudroom reno.  It had vinyl.  As much as it pains me to say it, vinyl has a lot of advantages.  It's cheap, it's comfortable, it's resilient, and it's dead easy to install.  And it actually looks pretty decent, at least in our mudroom.  I don't think I'd want it for a huge area, but for places that get water on them like bathrooms and mudrooms, it's hard to beat.

woopwoop

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2015, 07:39:52 PM »
I've heard terrible things about bamboo and pets. Don't let the hardness rating fool you, it scratches easily. I'd do vinyl and expect to replace before you sell again or in ten years when your pets have messed up everything.

I just redid my whole house with engineered hardwood from weshipfloors.com and it was much cheaper than any stores I found locally.

AerynLee

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2015, 07:55:19 AM »
We just moved into a fixer upper in August (we both posted around the same time about our downsizing experiences).  Our cabinets our 40 years old, but in good shape so we decided to paint them, paint the countertops (they were Harvest Gold), and add new hardware.  We spend about $250 total and it looks great.  We would have loved to gut it, but decided our renovation budget would be better spent on other things. 

We are actually going to have vinyl plank installed in January so I will let you know how it goes.  We wanted hardwood, but we would have to get all new subfloors so decided to go with a floating floor. The reviews for the luxury vinyl plank are excellent so I hope it goes well.
How long did it take you to paint the cabinets? I was reading MrSal's kitchen reno and he spent a ton of time painting...makes me worried I'll get tired of it part way through. Especially since we'll be painting the entire house before we do anything else. I pointed out the 3 different paint colors in the first picture, my house has seven wall colors and is small enough that if you remove two doors you can see all seven from one spot

Our flooring place is having a sale through the end of the year. It sounded like if we got a good quote in before then we'd lock in the price but we're going back probably tomorrow to make sure. I'm not sure I'm ready to jump yet but it would save us a couple hundred bucks

We're in the midst of a mudroom reno.  It had vinyl.  As much as it pains me to say it, vinyl has a lot of advantages.  It's cheap, it's comfortable, it's resilient, and it's dead easy to install.  And it actually looks pretty decent, at least in our mudroom.  I don't think I'd want it for a huge area, but for places that get water on them like bathrooms and mudrooms, it's hard to beat.
That's what I'm afraid of with the vinyl. It looks good in the 4'x4' square they have in the show room but would it look good in a 40'x24' house?

I've heard terrible things about bamboo and pets. Don't let the hardness rating fool you, it scratches easily. I'd do vinyl and expect to replace before you sell again or in ten years when your pets have messed up everything.

I just redid my whole house with engineered hardwood from weshipfloors.com and it was much cheaper than any stores I found locally.
I think your overestimating how much damage animals do (if they're well behaved). Our old house has a wood laminate in the kitchen and hallway. Not sure how old they were but we lived there seven years with no damage done and we had our current dog plus another 90lb dog most of the time we lived there

I took a quick look at weshipfloors.com and they seem to be on par with my local flooring place's normal prices

lthenderson

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2015, 07:56:17 AM »
Getting rid of the divider is an easy process. You can simply cut it out. However, you will probably have to make new shelves for the interior out of solid wood to replace the particle board ones in their currently to support the extra span and weight. Once that is done, you will now have a gap between your doors which means you will need to get larger doors and then add magnetic catches to stop them from swinging inward until they hit the shelves. My guess is it will be about impossible to find the correct sized doors off the shelf and you will have to go with something custom.

Personally, the large majority of cabinets out there that wide have a center divider and two doors. I would learn to love it. A simply 'upgrade' to the look of your cabinets is to paint them and add new hardware. I did my entire kitchen a couple years back for a couple hundred dollars in paint, handles and hinges. It takes time to do a good job but is definitely an easy project for just about anyone. Best of all, you can do it while continuing to use the kitchen the entire time where as buying new cabinets puts your kitchen out of commission for the length of the project. I think this is especially the way I go since it doesn't sound like you will get  your money back if you sink a lot of money into redoing the kitchen which is the most expensive room in the house to redo. I think the bigger bang for your buck would be to redo the countertop/backsplash to something more contemporary and paint the cabinets.

lthenderson

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2015, 08:02:49 AM »
How long did it take you to paint the cabinets? I was reading MrSal's kitchen reno and he spent a ton of time painting...makes me worried I'll get tired of it part way through. Especially since we'll be painting the entire house before we do anything else. I pointed out the 3 different paint colors in the first picture, my house has seven wall colors and is small enough that if you remove two doors you can see all seven from one spot.

Day 1:
To do a good job, the first thing I would do it remove all the doors and hinges. Out in the garage, I would take a palm sander and lightly sand the doors to get off any grime, grease and such. You need to get down to new wood but I'm guessing those doors have just veneer covering particle board so you don't want to sand through the veneer. You also need to same the front edges of the carcasses which include the dividers you were referring too. Wipe all the dust off the doors and frames and then get a good primer and prime one side of the doors and the face frame of the cabinets.  When the primer dries on one side of the door, flip them over and do the other side.

Day 2:
Paint everything using a good quality paint.

Day 3:
Repeat with a second coat.

Day 4:
Install the hardware and doors.

AerynLee

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2015, 01:04:50 PM »
lthenderson - Thanks for the timeline on repainting cabinets. And you're correct, they are laminate.

I was planning on doing a tile backsplash already, in fact I'm signed up for a free Home Depot class on doing tile backsplashes next month.

I hadn't put much thought into the counters yet assuming they'd be more expensive but a quick look at Menards shows maybe $150 for the two pieces I'd need to replace it all so we might go that route. It turns out though that I hate how most countertops look so I might have problems paying anything if I dislike anything they have

paddedhat

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2015, 03:36:41 PM »
Getting rid of the divider is an easy process. You can simply cut it out. However, you will probably have to make new shelves for the interior out of solid wood to replace the particle board ones in their currently to support the extra span and weight.

What?  Sure getting rid of the divider is easy. The next step is watching the very low end, builder grade cabinet fall apart. Given the existence of the center support, and the particle board shelves, I'm pretty sure that the overall "box" isn't built to anything but the lowest standards and materials possible, including being held together with not much more than staples and hot glue. "Cutting the divider" will do one of two things. The cabinet will either fail entirely, literally falling apart with the bottom blowing out, or it will just sag and deform over time. 

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2015, 04:43:22 PM »
I am going to start this post with a disclaimer: I am not endorsing this practice, every cabinet might be different, what worked for others may not work for you, and I am not the actor that I am about to post about so I cannot comment to long terms issues that may arise.

I have known one individual with the annoying "divider" you have who took a fine blade saw and removed the divider from the face frame, stained the ends to match, sealed the ends to match, and attached the divider to the back of one door. It made it so you always had to open and close the doors in a certain order (to open the door with the divider attached they had to open both doors), but when both doors were open there was no divider.

As I disclaimed, I know nothing about whether this is an intelligent thing to do to an existing cabinet. I have one cabinet in my kitchen that was built this way and in place of the divider a thinner board was used (but when closed has the same appearance).

crispy

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2015, 04:45:58 PM »
We just moved into a fixer upper in August (we both posted around the same time about our downsizing experiences).  Our cabinets our 40 years old, but in good shape so we decided to paint them, paint the countertops (they were Harvest Gold), and add new hardware.  We spend about $250 total and it looks great.  We would have loved to gut it, but decided our renovation budget would be better spent on other things. 

We are actually going to have vinyl plank installed in January so I will let you know how it goes.  We wanted hardwood, but we would have to get all new subfloors so decided to go with a floating floor. The reviews for the luxury vinyl plank are excellent so I hope it goes well.
How long did it take you to paint the cabinets? I was reading MrSal's kitchen reno and he spent a ton of time painting...makes me worried I'll get tired of it part way through. Especially since we'll be painting the entire house before we do anything else. I pointed out the 3 different paint colors in the first picture, my house has seven wall colors and is small enough that if you remove two doors you can see all seven from one spot

Our flooring place is having a sale through the end of the year. It sounded like if we got a good quote in before then we'd lock in the price but we're going back probably tomorrow to make sure. I'm not sure I'm ready to jump yet but it would save us a couple hundred bucks

We're in the midst of a mudroom reno.  It had vinyl.  As much as it pains me to say it, vinyl has a lot of advantages.  It's cheap, it's comfortable, it's resilient, and it's dead easy to install.  And it actually looks pretty decent, at least in our mudroom.  I don't think I'd want it for a huge area, but for places that get water on them like bathrooms and mudrooms, it's hard to beat.
That's what I'm afraid of with the vinyl. It looks good in the 4'x4' square they have in the show room but would it look good in a 40'x24' house?

I've heard terrible things about bamboo and pets. Don't let the hardness rating fool you, it scratches easily. I'd do vinyl and expect to replace before you sell again or in ten years when your pets have messed up everything.

I just redid my whole house with engineered hardwood from weshipfloors.com and it was much cheaper than any stores I found locally.
I think your overestimating how much damage animals do (if they're well behaved). Our old house has a wood laminate in the kitchen and hallway. Not sure how old they were but we lived there seven years with no damage done and we had our current dog plus another 90lb dog most of the time we lived there

I took a quick look at weshipfloors.com and they seem to be on par with my local flooring place's normal prices

Not gonna lie - painting the cabinets was labor intensive and a bit of pain in the rear.  Here's a quote from another post that gives some detail:

Quote
We spent probably three days total doing prep work - filling in holes with wood filler, cleaning thoroughly with TSP to remove any grease and residue (these were 40 year old cabinets so they were kind of gross), taping, removing hardware, etc.  I also demolished a set of upper cabinets so we had to patch and repair the nail holes and drywall.

We both had 5 days off over Thanksgiving, and we spent those days doing the actually priming and painting of the cabinet boxes and doors.  We used oil based primer so it needed 8 to 10 hours between coats.  We used Benjamin Moore Advance paint which is specifically for cabinets.  This stuff is awesome!  It is self-leveling so the surface ended up being very smooth.  We did three coats of paint and then let them sit for close to a week before hanging to give then a chance to cure a bit.  Putting the doors back on and adding the hardware took another several hours.  We re-used the hinges that we had (spray painted to match the new hardware) so we didn't have to repair those holes or do any extra drilling).  If you are changing out the hinges, you may need to do account for that also.

It was worth the work to save them because we wanted to spend our reno budget on other things and because they were solid wood and in really good shape overall.  If you do decide to paint, make sure to get paint and primer that will work with laminate.  Hope this helps!

AerynLee

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2015, 05:30:06 PM »
BudgetSlasher - No offense but that sounds horrible! In my old house there was about 1/4" overlay in the cabinets and that drove me crazy.

To all that have mentioned removing the divider, that's not a viable option for many reasons including the large gap between doors and the fact the dividers have supports for the shelves and it's needed (found out last weekend one shelf was sagging because the support was in the wrong spot)

Hope this helps!
Thanks, it did. And until you said something about the hinges I had it in my head they were like the handles where there are some different sizes but they're pretty standard so I'll have to watch that. Since mine are laminate I'd like to avoid having holes to patch

AerynLee

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2015, 05:38:27 PM »
I reserve the right to change my mind but right now I'm leaning towards the vinyl plank and repainting the cabinets. Now I have to figure out the order of operations. DH and I prefer to do things in the most appropriate order so I'm thinking:

Remove popcorn ceiling (that's been painted, yipee)
Remove trim
Paint walls and ceilings
Paint cabinets
Rip out old floor
Lay new flooring
Re-place or replace trim (depending on if we can salvage the original)
Tile backsplash

If we decide to replace the countertop I think it would go after painting the cabinets

Josiecat

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #22 on: December 21, 2015, 06:09:01 PM »
I think it is possible to replace just the front door of the cabinets.  Essentially you're giving it a 'face lift' and you keep the existing cabinet in place. 

crispy

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #23 on: December 21, 2015, 07:38:00 PM »
I reserve the right to change my mind but right now I'm leaning towards the vinyl plank and repainting the cabinets. Now I have to figure out the order of operations. DH and I prefer to do things in the most appropriate order so I'm thinking:

Remove popcorn ceiling (that's been painted, yipee)
Remove trim
Paint walls and ceilings
Paint cabinets
Rip out old floor
Lay new flooring
Re-place or replace trim (depending on if we can salvage the original)
Tile backsplash

If we decide to replace the countertop I think it would go after painting the cabinets

We painted our countertops, too.  It was cheap (we used a Giani granite kit that cost $80) and really super easy to do.  We will eventually replace them, but the estimates to replace with laminate was $1700 and we didn't feel up to attempting to replace themselves.  The look really nice and everyone who has seen them have no idea they are painted. They are holding up great after three months.

Blatant

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #24 on: December 21, 2015, 07:48:44 PM »
Yes, you can replace just the cabinet fronts and not the boxes.

We painted our janky builder-grade cabinets a few years back. Still holding up pretty good, but it was a significant amount of detail work. I wouldn't be inclined to do it again anytime soon.

We did wood-plank laminate flooring in the guest bedroom half of our house. It's strikingly sturdy. We have two 100-pound dogs that are decently active. Not a single scratch on it so far and it's been down about a year.

Prairie Gal

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #25 on: December 21, 2015, 09:09:19 PM »
I recently did a bit of renovating in my house. I went with the vinyl plank flooring. Get the kind that clicks together, not the peel and stick. It's much easier to deal with. Also, we did the kitchen first and went with a dark brown wood look. It shows dust, crumbs, etc. very easily. So in the bathrooms and entryway I went with a grey wood look. I love it. If I had it to do over I would go with the grey throughout.

AerynLee

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #26 on: December 22, 2015, 02:53:20 PM »
I think it is possible to replace just the front door of the cabinets.  Essentially you're giving it a 'face lift' and you keep the existing cabinet in place.
Since there's so much exposed cabinet face behind the doors and quite a few sides showing we'd have to pain the bases anyway so new doors wouldn't save us much work unfortunately

We painted our countertops, too.  It was cheap (we used a Giani granite kit that cost $80) and really super easy to do.  We will eventually replace them, but the estimates to replace with laminate was $1700 and we didn't feel up to attempting to replace themselves.  The look really nice and everyone who has seen them have no idea they are painted. They are holding up great after three months.
Putting in laminate counters doesn't look too hard and we'd just have to buy two lengths of it to do all our counters for ~$130 combined

We did wood-plank laminate flooring in the guest bedroom half of our house. It's strikingly sturdy. We have two 100-pound dogs that are decently active. Not a single scratch on it so far and it's been down about a year.
Good to know that it's holding up after a year especially since your dogs are bigger and probably more active than mine is

I recently did a bit of renovating in my house. I went with the vinyl plank flooring. Get the kind that clicks together, not the peel and stick. It's much easier to deal with. Also, we did the kitchen first and went with a dark brown wood look. It shows dust, crumbs, etc. very easily. So in the bathrooms and entryway I went with a grey wood look. I love it. If I had it to do over I would go with the grey throughout.
Yup, definitely looking at the click type. As for colors...DH and I both prefer darker wood colors but our house is a 24'x40' townhome with the shared wall on the 40' side so I want to go lighter to avoid the cave-like look plus we've already learned with our dark couch that fluffball (pictured left) leaves very noticeable, long, white hairs on dark surfaces. DH still wants to go with darker floors *sigh*. We've semi-agreed on a medium dark color

leighb

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #27 on: December 22, 2015, 06:45:00 PM »
Your house sounds a lot like mine. Started out beige inside and out. Cheap beige carpet, beige paint, 960 sq feet of beige...

We went with bamboo in the main room. It sucks! Completely scratched up. I'm not saying the carpet was any better. If I could do it again, I would go with the hardwoods.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2015, 12:57:30 PM »
Put the $ into good flooring!!  and paint the cabinets and replace hardware. The divider that bugs you might not bug the next buyer. I also agree it would cause structural problems.  Paint the walls and call it a day. That be my approach.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #29 on: December 23, 2015, 05:47:39 PM »
BudgetSlasher - No offense but that sounds horrible! In my old house there was about 1/4" overlay in the cabinets and that drove me crazy.

No offense taken, like I said the conversion was not in my house and I thought it was kind of odd at the time. When I moved into my current house there were 3 cabinets (under the sink and over the microwave and refrigerator) that deleted the center piece and had the faux with with overlay in its place. I actually agree with you that it is annoying, they are the cabinets we are stuck with for now (they were built by the original owner of the house) and we will live with them until it is time for our kitchen remodel . . . roughly scheduled to begin in 12 -18 months.

AerynLee

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #30 on: December 26, 2015, 10:08:51 AM »
Started on the first step of house renovation today. I've been spending the morning scraping off the popcorn ceilings in the bathroom. It's not hard, just tiresome. I'd probably be faster at it if I had more upper body strength, I have to stop about every 20 minutes an take a break once I can't hold my arms above my head any more. I haven't taken before pictures of anything besides the kitchen yet, I should do that so we show off our work if we like the end result :)

One other thing we've been talking about is putting in a pocket door for the bathroom. I'll take a picture in a bit if I can, but you have the shut the bathroom door to open the bifold doors for the laundry area in the bathroom which is just awkward. That won't be a DIY judging by some youtube videos but very worth it for functionality.

3okirb

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #31 on: December 26, 2015, 10:38:19 AM »
I would paint the cabinets and add hardware and then look at your nearest Costco to see prices for bamboo and laminate flooring.  If you don't have a membership, just ask if you can look around and compare prices.  They go on sale every other month and are REALLY good prices for what you're looking for when on sale.  Replacing those cabinets would be a waste of money.  Even refacing them with new doors, etc. is a better idea in my opinion.

AerynLee

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #32 on: December 26, 2015, 02:32:40 PM »
It's hard to really show the awkwardness in a small room but here's the bathroom door from the outside. The door would pocket to the right where you can kinda see the candle holder
pictures removed
« Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 01:22:20 PM by AerynLee »

AerynLee

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #33 on: January 11, 2016, 10:54:47 AM »
Update:

The ceiling ended up needing an entire skim coating...which I haven't done. I can't seem to find a product that is supposed to be used for skimming, they all specifically say NOT for skimming. And the idea of having to skim coat 960sqft of ceiling makes me not want to scrap the rest of the damn popcorn off. So I'm calling that one a failure. I did paint the ceiling with a primer made for bathrooms so I'm not risking damaging the ceiling by showering.

Rest of the house: We're going to order flooring tonight. We picked a wood grain vinyl that will hopefully look good over a large area. We're getting it tonight because it will be $500 cheaper than if we wait until after tomorrow. We haven't done any painting yet so we're also getting some paint samples tonight to figure out what color we'll want. I'll have a half day Thursday and a three day weekend so hopefully I can knock out a lot of priming/painting before next week.

We're not positive what we're going to do with the trim yet. We don't really want to replace all the trim but we both hate quarter round. So we're going to carefully pull off the existing trim and try to salvage it. We're thinking about painting it white (walls will probably be a grey color). If we can salvage it we just need to figure out what to do about the door frames since the side pieces will be a tad short.

I realized the pocket door idea for the bathroom probably won't work because that wall has the light switch for the bathroom and I don't think there's room for both in that wall. I may go back to my old idea of just taking the bi-fold doors off the laundry area and having it open, maybe with a curtain

So yeah, that's my update even though nothing has actually changed....

Astreja

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #34 on: January 11, 2016, 11:16:14 AM »
One of the nicest trims I've done in my house is in my bedroom, where I took cheap pine trim and gave it a couple of coats of barely-shiny white enamel (somewhere between a satin and a semi-gloss).  If the old trim is in decent shape but painted or varnished, give it a quick wash with a fairly strong solution of trisodium phosphate (wear gloves!) and rinse twice to get rid of any TSP residue.  That should give you enough of a surface tack to get new paint to adhere, especially if you go with a paint/primer combo.

I have a popcorn ceiling in my living room, but am leaving it alone for now.  If ever I do decide to redo it (only about 120 s/f, not 960), odds are that I'll just clear the room out and tear down the whole ceiling, then reinstall fresh drywall.

bzzzt

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #35 on: January 17, 2016, 02:14:23 PM »
Not to laugh, but that's the joke in the trades as far as popcorn ceiling or a "knock down" wall finish. "Can't do it right? Sell them a textured look..."

Not sure how handy you are at patching/skimming, but I have heard it suggested before that if you're going to do a skim coat to get a truly smooth wall, that you can thin out regular drywall compound with water and then roll it on like paint. Remove extra as if you were taping new joints (8-10" knife).



lthenderson

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #36 on: January 18, 2016, 07:44:42 AM »
Update:

The ceiling ended up needing an entire skim coating...which I haven't done. I can't seem to find a product that is supposed to be used for skimming, they all specifically say NOT for skimming. And the idea of having to skim coat 960sqft of ceiling makes me not want to scrap the rest of the damn popcorn off. So I'm calling that one a failure. I did paint the ceiling with a primer made for bathrooms so I'm not risking damaging the ceiling by showering.

It's probably too late for you but my trick for removing popcorn ceilings is to cover the floor with plastic and fill a 3 gallon pressurize lawn sprayer things that you can get at any home improvement store with warm water. I spray a section of ceiling with the warm water and let it set for a couple minutes and then come back with a 12 inch flat drywall taping knife and scrape it. The popcorn comes off like butter down to the drywall. The only trick is to not gouge into the drywall with the corners of your taping knife or you will have dings to patch. Generally I can do around 200 square feet in about an hour or less this way.

For wall texturing, I thin down drywall compound with water and roll it onto the walls/ceiling using a roller sponge instead of the disposable napped covers that you get for your paint roller brushes. It works really well, an easy DIY and cheap to do.

EAL

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #37 on: January 19, 2016, 01:21:22 PM »
We looked briefly at cabinets at Menards yesterday and they were unfinished, lower quality than what we have now and still had the dividers. I'll have to look other places for RTA ones. I started looking at IKEA but needed the kitchen dimensions to get a good idea of costs and wasn't home at the time.

If we do get rid of the counter space for the pantry we'll put in an over the range microwave so we won't really lose the full amount of counter space.

BTW, like how you can see three different wall colors in the first picture? Yeah, that's getting painted before we do anything else

ETA: Also, while it's not a necessity if we replace the kitchen cabinets I'd like to replace the bathroom cabinet as well. Right now they match and I like the idea of keeping a uniform scheme throughout the house since it's on the smaller side

Try www.thertastore.com. I am in the process from buying from them right now. They offer free design assistance and help with the layout. They have great customer service and an awesome BBB rating.

AerynLee

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #38 on: January 25, 2016, 07:24:08 AM »
Thanks everyone for the comments on the ceiling. We had a friend do a first round of skim coating in the bathroom which made it look much nicer, but when I tried to do another coat in an area that needed more I failed to make it look any better.

Try www.thertastore.com. I am in the process from buying from them right now. They offer free design assistance and help with the layout. They have great customer service and an awesome BBB rating.
I looked at them before and it was still more than I'd like to spend. Unfortunately with this house there's a very fine line between making improvements and overspending

Kitsune

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #39 on: January 25, 2016, 07:37:11 AM »
Re: the vinyl flooring: we have that in our entire basement (about 700st), and it looks great. At a quick glance, it looks close enough to wood to fool the eye (and it cleans easily, and won't wreck if there's a water spill or something). It's also the flooring that's at the medical clinic I work at, and if they haven't managed to wreck it in 5 years, yours will still look pretty great. :)

For the kitchen cupboards: if you really hate them, a trend these days is open shelving in kitchens. I'm personally not a huge fan (less storage, and it has to be kept tidy), but if it works for your lifestyle, it might be a decent option for you. A few years ago, the bloggers on Young House Love basically refinished a kitchen themselves (that looked kinda like yours to start with), and did the painting/tiling/etc, in long posts with detailed instructions. Finding those might be helpful for you if that's the road you're going down. :)

AerynLee

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #40 on: January 25, 2016, 07:46:02 AM »
Actual progress on the house

We got the living room painted last week and this weekend we replaced the floor. Pulling carpet tack strips out of a concrete slab is easier than I expected, except when they are also glued down. Around three of the walls in the living room there were two rows of tack strips: an older one that was just nailed down but was more likely to break apart and a newer one inside that was nailed and glued. The third wall only had one row that looked newer but wasn't glued and what I could see into the dining room was the same so I'm hoping the rest of the house will be like that.

Flooring went down nicely and looks much better than I was afraid of. I wasn't completely sure the wood plank vinyl would look good over a large area but it actually looks fine. I didn't take before pictures but I'll try to get a couple of after pictures tonight. We bought an area rug yesterday that we haven't laid out yet, I'd like to get a picture with and without the rug

We haven't put the trim back on yet, I'm not sure when we'll deal with that. In the living room at least the door trim did go all the way to the concrete so they're not short like I assumed so hopefully we can keep what we have. At some point we'll lean it back up against the wall to see how the current color looks with the new paint and floors. If it doesn't match we'll try painting it white. We will have to replace what was around the windows. The prior owner had replaced all the windows and the trim around them but used four inch brad nails to put them in and smaller ones put into the metal window frames, and of course all of them pulled through the trim instead of coming out nicely.

We're also going to try to get a quote on new kitchen counters sometime this week. I'm guessing it will be more than we want to spend but I just want to know for sure instead of always wondering. We currently have laminate ones with the 3-4 inch "backsplash". We don't love or hate the counters but we want to do a tile back splash and think it wouldn't look right with the one attached to the counters.

AerynLee

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #41 on: January 25, 2016, 07:50:37 AM »
Re: the vinyl flooring: we have that in our entire basement (about 700st), and it looks great. At a quick glance, it looks close enough to wood to fool the eye (and it cleans easily, and won't wreck if there's a water spill or something). It's also the flooring that's at the medical clinic I work at, and if they haven't managed to wreck it in 5 years, yours will still look pretty great. :)

For the kitchen cupboards: if you really hate them, a trend these days is open shelving in kitchens. I'm personally not a huge fan (less storage, and it has to be kept tidy), but if it works for your lifestyle, it might be a decent option for you. A few years ago, the bloggers on Young House Love basically refinished a kitchen themselves (that looked kinda like yours to start with), and did the painting/tiling/etc, in long posts with detailed instructions. Finding those might be helpful for you if that's the road you're going down. :)
You posted while I was typing. The vinyl is looking good. Nice to hear you're having the same experience and in such a large space

I've seen the open shelving and I'm not a fan either and DH hates it. I also think it would be a bad idea in this house for resale since storage is at such a premium anyway.

I'll have to check out Young House Love, I haven't seen that one yet.

AerynLee

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #42 on: January 25, 2016, 07:57:07 AM »
Multiple posts FTW

One other thing we realized while working on the living room; we knew our front door was leaking air but weren't sure where from. We were contemplating buying a new door but didn't really want to spend the money. After we got the trim off and were working on the flooring around it we noticed that the air is leaking between the door and the frame, not between the frame and the walls. With the trim off there's a noticeable draft in a couple of spots. We looked at the current seal and it's definitely old and brittle. Replacing it looks to be an easy fix and will save us money on utilities. We think the door to the garage will be the same. As mentioned before the windows are all new and seem to be well sealed so we don't have to worry about them.

AerynLee

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #43 on: February 08, 2016, 01:35:44 PM »
One bad thing about doing a remodel on a house that is small, cheap, and that we only plan on living in for five years is that it makes what should be easy decisions much harder. We finally got a quote for counters this weekend. We picked four different options for the quote but DH and I both much preferred the same one, and it was the cheapest! Sounds like a winner right? But it was still $2k and if we put in these counters we might want to replace the builder grade cabinets for at least another $2k. That's not even including the back splash or sink. Home Depot's online tool showed $600 for their cheapest option for counters

When we started we agreed that $5k was a reasonable amount to spend on the remodel considering what we paid and what we could potentially sell it for. Flooring took up $2500 of that.

Anyway, we need to figure this out soon because we have to do the floor in the kitchen next and I don't want to do the floor until we've painted and I don't want to paint until I know what we're doing with the counters/cabinets. I have a three day weekend coming up that I might be able to add a fourth day to and I'd like to be able to do a lot of work then so hopefully DH and I will make some decisions tonight

Kitsune

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #44 on: February 08, 2016, 01:42:00 PM »
One bad thing about doing a remodel on a house that is small, cheap, and that we only plan on living in for five years is that it makes what should be easy decisions much harder. We finally got a quote for counters this weekend. We picked four different options for the quote but DH and I both much preferred the same one, and it was the cheapest! Sounds like a winner right? But it was still $2k and if we put in these counters we might want to replace the builder grade cabinets for at least another $2k. That's not even including the back splash or sink. Home Depot's online tool showed $600 for their cheapest option for counters

When we started we agreed that $5k was a reasonable amount to spend on the remodel considering what we paid and what we could potentially sell it for. Flooring took up $2500 of that.

Anyway, we need to figure this out soon because we have to do the floor in the kitchen next and I don't want to do the floor until we've painted and I don't want to paint until I know what we're doing with the counters/cabinets. I have a three day weekend coming up that I might be able to add a fourth day to and I'd like to be able to do a lot of work then so hopefully DH and I will make some decisions tonight

Depending on the size of your kitchen and your location, have you considered Ikea kitchens with oiled butcher block countertops? That's what we've got, and the whole kitchen (12x15; not small!) cost less than 7KCAD, so about 5KUS. I'm assuming you're not looking at 2x15 feet worth of cupboards, plus an extra 12 feet of bottom cupboards and sink, so it may be significantly cheaper for you and may come close to your budget number...


AerynLee

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #45 on: February 08, 2016, 01:57:49 PM »
One bad thing about doing a remodel on a house that is small, cheap, and that we only plan on living in for five years is that it makes what should be easy decisions much harder. We finally got a quote for counters this weekend. We picked four different options for the quote but DH and I both much preferred the same one, and it was the cheapest! Sounds like a winner right? But it was still $2k and if we put in these counters we might want to replace the builder grade cabinets for at least another $2k. That's not even including the back splash or sink. Home Depot's online tool showed $600 for their cheapest option for counters

When we started we agreed that $5k was a reasonable amount to spend on the remodel considering what we paid and what we could potentially sell it for. Flooring took up $2500 of that.

Anyway, we need to figure this out soon because we have to do the floor in the kitchen next and I don't want to do the floor until we've painted and I don't want to paint until I know what we're doing with the counters/cabinets. I have a three day weekend coming up that I might be able to add a fourth day to and I'd like to be able to do a lot of work then so hopefully DH and I will make some decisions tonight

Depending on the size of your kitchen and your location, have you considered Ikea kitchens with oiled butcher block countertops? That's what we've got, and the whole kitchen (12x15; not small!) cost less than 7KCAD, so about 5KUS. I'm assuming you're not looking at 2x15 feet worth of cupboards, plus an extra 12 feet of bottom cupboards and sink, so it may be significantly cheaper for you and may come close to your budget number...
The kitchen is pretty small but not tiny (there are pictures earlier). There are three sections of counters, 95"x25", 20.25"x25", and 36.5"x25". Bottom cabinets are under all of that minus a spot for a dishwasher. Upper cabinets are above most of that except for where the window is (maybe 35") plus the small cabinets above the oven and fridge
I did a quote for cabinets on IKEA's website, I don't remember how much it was but at least $2-3k (that was the cheapest of the quotes I got from a few websites for RTA cabinets), and we're not close to an IKEA. DH hates butcher block and while I love the look I wouldn't want it for my counters.
This would be a no brainer if we wanted to stay here at least 10 years but since we're looking at 5-7 years it's a much harder decision

index

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #46 on: February 08, 2016, 09:34:16 PM »
Your cabinets aren't bad actually.  You won't get the money out of it if you  replace them.  Your best bang for the buck will be a DIY tile back splash, and replacing that countertop with builder grade stone or solid surface. You can get a reminant for under a grand in a kitchen that size. If you don't want to spend that much, you can pick up some better looking formica for $300. Go with the bamboo floors throughout. Drop  some field tIle in the bathroom and call it a day.

dilinger

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #47 on: February 08, 2016, 11:10:05 PM »
I skim coated a bunch of popcorn ceiling a while back.  Unless you're a professional, just get a Magic Trowel and use that.  It's so much easier.  Do the paint roller thing.

I use quick-setting (90 min) joint compound.  It says not to use for skim coating, but it works just fine.  I back it with a fiberglass mesh screen to give it support.  Without the mesh, you can actually peel the finished product off afterwards or accidentally knock it down (don't ask me how I know..).

dilinger

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #48 on: February 08, 2016, 11:38:43 PM »
Also, the house we moved from had old wood cabinets.  They had some issues (some of the wood was broken - we were renting, so we weren't going to fix them up), but overall they're okay.

The house we moved into has newer ikea cabinets, installed in 2009.  They're MDF or something similar.  The cabinet in the bathroom is delaminating from humidity.  I've noticed the cabinet over where we keep our electric kettle is also starting to fall apart from the steam.  Overall, I'm unimpressed and wish they'd just kept the original wood cabinets.

The drawers are a different issue.  Old wood drawers are constantly getting stuck, while ikea drawers slide nice and smooth.  Plus, they have that nice no-slam feature.. I'm happy with the drawers (and no steam down there to worry about).

Oh_Wrd

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Re: Fixing up the House
« Reply #49 on: February 09, 2016, 09:12:30 AM »
for the bathroom door, you can use double doors.  If you leave them opening the same way, you'd only have to close one side to access the full laundry.  Or have them open swinging out and no worries.  Another option is to use a solid folding door that opens away from that area.