Monday, September 27, 2010

More Farmhouse Remodeling: New Hardwood!

Thank God for Home
--Grace Noll Crowell

I cannot thank Thee, God, enough
For this small plot of ground, this roof,
These lifted walls that close me in
And hold me tenderly, this proof
Of Thy kind care for my great need
Of shelter and of daily bread;
But oh, there are no written words,
There are no words that have been said
That could express my gratitude
For the companionship of love
That shares my simple fare--dear God
A gift I would be worthy of!
And I would thank Thee for the tasks;
A fire to tend, a loaf to bake,
A floor to sweep, a seam to sew,
A clean, white sheeted bed to make,
A lamp to light at evening time--
I thank Thee, God, for all of these;
For home--my home, for every home--
I thank Thee, God, upon my knees.

We've been busy around here. Anytime an old home is involved, you're busy: busier than you ever dreamed you'd be!

Last fall, we finished the very last of the big projects we took on when we bought this place almost twenty years ago.

We were so naive when we bought this old house, thinking certain projects would be done right away, and even more innocently thinking the money would hold out.

We were so wrong --on all points.

What we thought would get done first; got done last. What we thought was imperative, we lived without for fifteen years!

We're finding that since we've lived here almost twenty years, we are now doing things over for a second time. The roof we put on when we moved in needs to be replaced again, and we had flooring to consider...

One big thing on our list that we will be doing for the second time was the roof. When we moved in, we had it torn down to the studs, and layers and layers of shingles (even the original wooden shakes were underneath it all!!) torn off, as well as the underlayment, had it all replaced and our new blue roof was installed.

The weather out here is hard on a roof, we should have been able to get twenty five years out of these shingles, but the wind is horrible here and it's hard to lock those shingles on strong enough to hold for some of the high winds we experience.

Another thing is, when we moved in, there was carpet in the main floor living area. Without thinking much about it, we just replaced it, figuring if there were hardwood, no one would have covered it over with plywood.

So we've discussed it, and since we live debt-free, we know we can afford to do one major project a year. We decided to do the floors in the house first, and pray that the roof will last us one more winter.

One hot September night, we got the rooms emptied (OH. MY. GOSH! The things that accumulate in twenty years!!) and then we were faced with tearing up the carpet and the padding, which was nothing. That was gone in less than an hour.

But, what we thought the new hardwood would be placed over is a plank floor from the old days. We were wrong. There was cheap particle board over the old floors that was dried from age and crumbling into dust. We stopped crying years ago about the surprised an old house can hand you. Now, we just get to work.

So the plywood had to come up, too. The barrier was hundreds of nails and lots of prying and pulling and scraping and sweeping.

So out came the tools and equipment and we all got busy, and sweaty and stinky, and the old house got LOUD.

But we got all the plywood up and all the nails pulled. It took HOURS. Even if we'd wanted to use the original plank flooring, we would have had a heck of a time filling the thousands of holes that all the nails left!

We felt really OLD the next day, and we walked funny.

This is what the floor looked like under the living room carpet after the plywood came off.

It's tar paper, people! Tar paper!

We did one room at a time, so that the installation could be done in one room, and the bigger furniture pieces could be pushed or moved into the finished room while the next room was being done.

The living room floor was done one day (by the installers). Sometimes, you have to know what it's worth to spend your money on.

We had our family room installed first which was done in a room we've added on to the house ourselves just twelve years ago, so we knew what was under the family room carpet.

My husband was home to watch the way it was installed and said there was no way he'd be able to do the labor and have the floor done in this calendar year.

The two-man crew that did the installation has done hundreds of them, and their skill alone in trimming out the floor was something we knew we didn't have. So, we parted with the money.

Buying hardwood isn't expensive: it's the labor to install it that is. So we weighed it out and found that we'd rather pay the labor than drag the installation out and live with all the disruption having rooms torn up for months would cause.

Most old homes were added on to, room by room by room. This shows the old threshold where the dining room was added on to the original part of this old farmhouse. Even with the new floor on, the bump of the unevenness of this addition can be felt underfoot. And that's the way it goes with old homes: quirks, quirks, quirks!

Once the living room was done, we started to tear down the dining room. This lovely 1940's linoleum was under the plywood in that room. Ain't it purty??

I'm thinking that this floor would have driven me completely bonkers if I'd lived here in the forties, but then, they probably thought it was just gorgeous back then!

All ready for the installers to come the next day and start round three of the job.
(Isn't the faux marble border around the edge of the linoleum a nice touch?!)

Installation well under way!

(My joy knew no bounds, people! I was thrilled with how it looked!)

Now, what's so weird about this old house is that there was hardwood in the bedroom areas and the kitchen of the main floor, so strange. The drawback to installing hardwood instead of carpet is that we have a patchwork of hardwoods: new hardwood isn't even made the same as old, so the look of it is smoother, we matched color as best we could, and made sure that all the floors faced east-west like our already-existing hardwood floors.

Unless I pointed it out to a visitor, they may not notice that the floors differ much, and they might step over thresholds without noticing, but these little sticking points don't take away one bit of my enjoyment over having the whole main floor done in hardwood now!

Soon, I hope to be able to show you a bit of a makeover I did in the three rooms we had switched over to hardwood. It might not make sense to you, but I think a hardwood floor is like adding a fifth wall and the decorating has to be different in some ways. I'm working all that out right now.

The plus side of this whole month-long mess has been all the "fall cleaning" I've done associated with moving complete rooms of furniture around and cleaning up all the dust that came out because of ripping up twenty-year-old carpet and destroying fifty year-old plywood....

I've decided that I really kind of like the feeling of the cleaning being done in the fall before the holidays: it may become a tradition that when school starts, I get down to business and deep clean.

The reasoning for that is it would stay done all winter for the most part, and in the spring when we can finally stop being cooped up inside like cavemen, I can be outside when everything is greening and beautiful with NO GUILT.

I'm all for fall-cleaning and for hardwood floors, how 'bout you?


Mom of 3 Girleighs said...

gorgeous floors!!! Im sooo jealous!

Laura said...

Beautiful floors! And, I love your wood trim. As the wife of a woodworker, I've learned to notice such things.
We live in an over-50 year old house (built by my in-laws) and have found some interesting choices for flooring and wallpaper underneath what we have peeled off in the past twenty years.
We are in year (winter) three of working on our kitchen. My husband spent two winters re-doing all of our cupboards and cabinets(in his not so spare time). We were hoping to do the floor and/or countertops this winter, but there's that issue of cash (or lack thereof :))!

Donna said...

HOORAY! It all looks gorgeous! Hardwood floors are so worth it! When we built our new home, we didn't put in one square yard of carpet. Hardwood is much cheaper in the long run and cleaner too!

Deanna said...

Gorgeous floors!!!
Inspiration to me out here in blogland.
Our house is a very slow work in progress and I needed a boost. Sometimes it gets to me.
Lots of prayers.

Liked your post,

Carol said...

The new floors are wonderful! and your original trim is so beautiful, too!
I love the hardwood and I do love getting cleaning out the way. Bring on the fall cleaning, I say!

from my front porch... said...

Awesome, Joni! We have the original hardwoods in all rooms in this 112 year old home! I love them!!
I know how excited you are to have floors your home will love, too!
xo, misha

Kelle said...

Your floors are beautiful! I too love hardwood floors. We were blessed with #1 maple floors in our old farm house, under the linoleum( which PTL was NOT glues down), only tacked around the edges, using trim. They are unfinished and there is some boards that need replacing and the "plan" is to get them replaced and finished professionally next summer. Our stairs and entire upstairs is all wide plank ash or pine and currently is painted but I am working little by little stripping the stairs and we'll rent a drum sander to do the floors upstairs, someday!
Enjoy thise floors, your home is so beautiful!

Aspiemom said...

First of all, I have to say I'm proud of you for living debt-free! We started with that goal, but with our mounting health issues and medical/ins. costs we've really missed the boat.

Your floors look so beautiful and I'm sure you are just loving the change. I prefer wood-laminate, myself. We had that in our other house and no one could tell the difference and they held up much better than the hardwood we have now.

Enjoy your clean rooms!

Mac n' Janet said...

Your floors look beautiful. We put in wooden floors in our bedroom, the rest of the lower level already had wood. It was so much work. And boy are you right about the trim.

Brenda E. said...

The wood trim around the windows is just gorgous and the floors are also. Once it's all done you will be so proud and I can't wait to see it. I just love that poem too. There is a lot said in that little bit of poetry and I love it - thanks for sharing.

Kerin said...

The floors turned out fantastic!
We live in an old house too, and have encountered many, many quirks! But, that's ok by us. We love the warm spirit of old houses!
We are on to new adventures for a while.....but, one day, we will live in an old house again :)
Have a great time decorating the
5th wall!

gailsgarden said...

Wish I had been around to get that linoleum! There are so many neat things you can do with it: birdhouse roofs, for one! I do rug hooking and I think the old linoleum patterns would be wonderful to hook. We selvaged a piece from our old house which we tore down. I plan to put it in our new dining area. I also have a few small pieces that I hope to at least frame. We love the idea of having pieces of the old 1920s house which could not be saved.

Your hardwood floors are beautiful!

Lori said...

Don't you love all the treasures and mysteries an old house holds? Your new hardwood looks wonderful and the trim on your windows is amazing!

Carmen said...

Looks beautiful!