Latest Posts

Flooring Tips that will Bring the Value of your Home up!




Flooring tips to Raise the Value of any Room!

A little history before we start with our recommendations. We have a small dog and a couple of smaller kids. We purchased a newly built home half-a-year before the kids were born. Now, lets fast-forward 4 years and we have some NASTY flooring and even carpets that we need removed.

Project 1

Last spring we decided it was time to replace the carpets with some new laminate flooring to add a nice feel to the home. We strayed away from real hardwood for two reasons - durability & cost - if we didn't have kids, durability wouldn't have been a problem. Unfortunately this isn't the case for us, even though we've used a Hardwood Flooring company in Portland, Oregon before, we decided to stick to our new plan. Our budget was roughly $1200-$1300 to cover our dining room and hallway. The dining room is a really large room - 36' deep x 18' wide. The year prior we decided to break that space up into a family room(couches and TV) and a formal study. We enclosed one part of the room as a foyer - as you can see in the pics. This was all one open room at one time. Anyway, there is some tile in the foyer we created so we didn't have to cover all of it with laminate. Here's a couple of pictures of that prior to going down and a finished product


Life Pro-Tip. We personally dislike the way the laminate sounds when it is walked on or stepped on. One of the quickest and best ways we've found to resolve this is to put roofing felt down on the sub-floors prior to putting your moisture barrier down. It makes a HUGE difference in how it sounds and feels and it takes the tinny sound out of it.


The laminate is very thick and with the roofing felt under it, the feel very much like real hardwood when walked on. We've had many people tell us they loved the hardwood flooring only to have them be utterly surprised when we explain to them that its laminate flooring. The next step is to find a good floor covering for the bedrooms. We decided staining the concrete in only the master bedroom was chosen as our next project. After much research and conversations about whether or not to go with a acid (chemical process) stain or water-based stain, we decided water based due to the reason that water-based is generally more health friendly and our results may be more replicatable throughout the house with the water-based stain than an acid based stain. Furthermore, depending on the lime content of the concrete flooring, it may or may not turn out as well - that is something we did not want to risk at all.

Project 2


Onto the next project - My wife and kids spearheaded the project by pulling out all of the carpet up out of the closet and bedrooms. This is where we get to the most difficult part of the job. Preparing the concrete to be ready for the staining process. Unfortunately, when the painters re-painted the baseboard before they did so after installing it. This then led to a lot of over-spray on the concrete floors and we needed to make sure we cleaned it up before we could start the staining process. Using sharp razorblades and the proper tools REALLY help cleaning any extra over-spray off concrete floors quickly. These tools are extremely helpful; But, nevertheless, it still takes a LOT of elbow grease to get the over-spray removed.

Here's how it looks prior to cleaning the over-spray off the flooring:

The cleaning process took 4-5 more hours more than we anticipated. But it was then ready to put stain down after properly being cleaned. After we cleaned the edges the best we could - We moved onto the largest portion of the room. Home Depot rents out a floor buffers for around $50 dollars a day. We recommend that you Do Not skip this step as this is extremely important for the end result. Buy a mild detergent and use plenty of water to buff the floor. We ended up buffing left to right, then front to back and then left to right, then side to side twice over. I reiterate, this step is a really important and please don't forget to use lots of water because you can ruin the concrete with the buffing pad if you're not careful enough.

Staining the cleaned floors

Now comes the fun part of this whole process. There are many different ways to applying the water-based stain on the concreate floors. At the end of the day we ended up getting on our hands and knees and wiping it on in circular motions with a rag. Think "Wax on/Wax off method. You may be asking yourself: Is the the easiest and most efficient way? The answer is, No. The real question is, Did we like how it turned out? Definitely YES!

After the first coat, we put a second coat of stain on starting on the opposite side of the room working the other direction. The only thing we'd probably do different is the sealer. At this point, its time to let the sealer cure for about 48 hours so you don't end up scaring the sealer while moving all the furniture back in.

Some after thoughts regarding this DIY project

We bought the stain from Sherwin Williams. The Price is around $85 a gallon and they told us that we would need about 2 gallons worth to do our room and closet. We only ended up using a little over 1/2 of 1 gallon for both coats - we are not sure if we did anything wrong, but everything seemed to turn out fine. We are planning to do the kids' bedrooms and possibly pulling up the laminate and doing the dining room/hallway in the future - Having the extra stain is not a big deal since we will use it in a future project.

Costs including Tools

Project 1 - Total cost: $1200 or so. Project 2 - Total cost: $500 - About 1/2 of the total cost was the 3 gallons of stain and sealer we purchased from Sherwin Williams. The other half was purchasing random tools that won't be required when we decide to do the rest of the house. We also bought many different types of chemicals to get the flooring clean. At the end of the day it's really all about elbow grease.

We estimate that our house value as gone up by about $5,000 to $7,000 dollars now that we have refinished our Flooring. That is a nice Return on investment considering the amount of work and materials we had to put in.

Read More

Home Renovation Tips - Best Home improvement tricks




Top 10 Renovation tips that will help you finish your project Quickly and Cheap!

Usually... when renovating a home, there is a black and white line between the right way and a wrong way of doing the job. The constant problem with having a Q&A-like thing is that there are many other underlying circumstances to address before anyone can actually recommended what to do and what not to do.

More often then not, the job is more complex than initially thought. Let's take improving home insulation for example (what I'm working on today..). It's easy, Right? Just go get a roll of insulation from your local home supply store or blow more in the attic, just like the big box stores tell you. I think I know how to unroll things without falling through my attic! The thing is though - it's more complex than a prescriptive 'More is Better'. In many cases, (counter-intuitively) ventilation and air-sealing are really more important, maybe even before adding more Insulation. This tasks actually takes considerably more thinking, reading, investigating, probing, and crawling around than anyone at a big box store will lead you to believe with their quick sales pitches. If you aren't doing those things and you don't do it for a living, you probably are making some serious mistakes.

It makes sense that homes might be built differently in say Oregon, than say in Miami. It makes sense that insulation techniques might be different for a flat roof than for a vented pitched roof or a cathedral roof. This has a huge effect on what 'prescription' one might take when considering adding more insulation to seal the cracks and crannies in your house.

For house stuff, I find skimming youtube videos to be extremely helpful. If you are looking for a trusted voice, this old house has been around for a long time. If you feel like you need a Professional contractor to help you with your project, local Home Improvement General Contractors are everywhere - a quick search yielded many Fencing, Decking and Siding Specialist in Portland, Oregon and their reviews are great! Searching local businesses in your area will help find the most affordable contractor who has the Home Improvement services your looking for.

I really enjoy the videos of older men or professionals who are 9-5er's, in-the-trenches everyday. These are the people who have seen the horrors of things gone awry and are so passionate about what they do, that they are willing to film it and share it with the whole world so that others dont get in the same mess that they have see.

Fundamentals vs DIY - Take your pick.

Are you looking to learn the fundamentals of DIY construction? I mean you have to crawl before you can Walk, you should know how to hammer a nail or drive a screw safely before you can build a house that someone may eventually live in. One should complete many small-scale, small-scope projects which, all the while are small investments into the DIY bank. Start off by building a dog house or bird house and figure out how to nail shingles onto a roof and how to frame a wall correctly to the right spec's for local code. Make the project Small and Simple enough that if it does fail, you can learn what went wrong, then throw it away and try again or try something new that you may find interesting. Don't let your failures become a big stumbling block mentally; it's an integral part of learning. (just make sure it fails in safe ways and doesn't hurt anyone!)

Time Management "Secret" - 80% of any project is CLEANING.

I promise, most of life is this: "I have this thing that isn't working. So I started by examining it and found residue and crap smeared all over it. I looked up some guides and DIY videos online and found out it shouldn't have anything on it. I cleaned it off as per Google said so and now it works fine." If you look at refinishing tables, remodeling, any of that stuff, so much is just elbow grease cleaning. Have you ever seen a Renovation job without a shop-vac or a broom around? Contractors are continually cleaning and consistently making sure the area is clean to avoid any hazards that may show up!

In Conclusion

Circling back around to our original thought, many of the larger scale systems require a broad overview of the problem domain. Water in the house could be from a leaky or in-properly repaired Roof, a burst or leaking pipe, excessive humidity, or a busted appliance. Without a broad overview of all the systems installed, climate, region, etc and some then some additional recon, it would be really hard to make useful definitive statements in a working document. Our suggestions - If the project is to large and you are not at least 90% confident that you can remotely attempt fixing it or repairing it, Call a Local professional; otherwise give it a shot. Check Youtube and Google for guides and DIY videos; Dont just read or watch 1, look at many to get a feel of what those professionals are doing and find correlations and similarities that each guide or video has. That will show you that they are actually doing it correctly! Til next time, SEE YOU!

Read More