The Last Floor Post (Probably)

The floor in the sun room has been installed.  Behold!

Final Floor

File this job under easy but not super fast.  It took Mark a good 8 hours over 2 days to complete the installation. I helped with the underlayment and our neighbor helped with the laminate.  The process is pretty straightforward.   Here are the basics.

Since we had already installed baseboards, we had to pull those up before we started.  We installed the baseboards back in September when we thought we were going to paint the subfloor so it kinda sucked to have to do this step twice, but it’s part of the journey.

We selected this underlayment by FloorMuffler.  It is 2mm thick and helps to both insulate and reduce noise.  It comes in a roll that you stretch out over your floor and cut to the proper length.

Underlayement 1

See the white edge?  That is actually thin plastic that you peel back from the underlayment.

underlayment 0

This is so the sheets can be attached right next to each other like so.

Underlayment 3

As you can see, you attach the next sheet to the white plastic of the previous one by removing the covering over the strip of adhesive.  It is a pretty easy process, but it does help to have two sets of hands to help keep things smooth.

After the underlayment was in place, it was time to start laying the floor.  The thing to consider before starting to set the boards is pattern, or for us, a lack thereof.  We felt that the floor would look best if it did not have a repeating pattern, but rather if the boards were random lengths.  To accomplish this, Mark first laid a full length board along the wall that connects the sun room to the kitchen right up against the barn board.  From there he cut five boards at random lengths and attached them one to the other moving away from the house towards the back yard.  Then he went back to the kitchen wall and started adding full-size boards out into the room off of each of the five cut boards.  This created a random pattern across the room.


Once he added 1-2 boards to each of the first five rows, he went back to the barn board wall and added one full-size board and then five randomly cut boards to keep the non-pattern pattern going.  Rinse and repeat until the whole room is done.

To lock and set the boards into place, Mark used a cut piece of laminate and a rubber mallet to knock the boards tightly together.

underlayment 4

Around the steps, Mark cut the laminate to fit using his circular saw and multi-tool.

Around the door

Once the laminate was all in place, Mark put back the baseboards and even plugged the grooves of the wall under the windows with small bits of insulation to help keep the cold air out.


Now all that was left to do was move the furniture back in and enjoy!

Sun Room Current

Obviously we still need things like rugs and a few more pieces of furniture in the sitting area (not to mention doing something about those mismatched chairs!) but we had dinner out there with friends on Sunday night and it was awesome!

We are so relieved to be done with the floor and super happy with our choice.  We think it looks terrific and should be both durable and low-maintenance.  The next step will be painting the steps from the house, installing curtains and rods, and getting the chairs reupholstered.  While we do these smaller projects we are also starting to think about the bar area.

We are in the home stretch of this monster project and are itching to reach the finish line.  I hope you’ll stay with us and cheer us on!

Getting on Base(board)

After hosting family over the long weekend, Mark was back at it last week sanding and installing baseboard.  First he sanded each of the ceiling beams.  It took him three hours.  I honestly have no idea how he sanded (over his head, mind you) for three hours, he’s my hero.  At this point, we’re just about done sanding, we’ve hit all the trim, the beams, and even some spots on the ceiling that we missed the first time.  We’ll do one last look-over before we start to prime for anything we’ve missed, but we’re getting close to being done with the sanding of the walls and ceiling.  Of course, we still have to sand the floor, but that’s another issue for another day.

Let’s move on to baseboard, shall we?  We are using 4 1/4″ baseboard from Home Depot. It’s already primed so we can just paint it when we get to that step.

Since the room is longer than any one piece of baseboard, the best thing to do is to cut the end of the boards at a 45 degree angle so that they can be joined together with a flush seam.                                                                                                       Image


This technique also works for the corner as well.Image

Once the board is in place, Mark simply nailed it to the bead board using brad nails and his nail gun.                                                                                                      IMG_0685

But the bead board is only on two of the walls, the other two walls are brick.  So on these walls, Mark glued the board to the brick using liquid nails and then used some rarely never used hand weights to apply pressure to the boards while they were drying.Image

Here’s what the window wall looks like with the baseboard.IMG_0687

IMG_0689            After all the baseboard had been nail/glued down, it was time to caulk.  Mark caulked around each piece of window trim, using this kind of caulk.                                                    IMG_0697                  The key to this job is a steady stream of sealant and keeping the tip up against the corner of the trim so that you get a nice, neat line.  Once the line has been drawn, you dip your finger in a little bit of water….                                                                                             IMG_0698                                                             And then drag your finger along the line of caulk to flatten and smooth it out.IMG_0699                                                                    Repeat this process with every seam to ensure a water tight room.

So that’s where we are with the sun room.  We’re pretty much ready for paint, but we’re at a halt again with more family in town the rest of this week.


We’re In No Danger of Being Called Matchy-Matchy

Remember when I told you that we had to install new doors in the sun room a little earlier than planned?  Well as Mark was leaving for Home Depot to buy said doors, I asked if he needed me to come along.  He said no because we had already discussed what door we were going to buy.  A few minutes later my cell phone rang and it was Mark.  He was in the hardware aisle because apparently (and this is a real pro tip, you guys) when you buy a door, you also need to buy a door knob.  I’ll wait a minute while you let this sink in.

So while we had discussed the type of door we wanted, we had not considered AT ALL what type of door knob.  Don’t be like us.

You’d think that even though we hadn’t thought the knob through, this wouldn’t be a big deal because obviously we have other door knobs in the house, so we would obviously just get the same kind as we have elsewhere. Done and done.

Well here’s the thing.  While the other door knobs in the house are all the same shape (round knobs) they are not all the same finish.  There’s that sad trombone again.

Some of the door knobs are brass, however the ones on the kitchen and bathrooms are bright shiny chrome.  I would guess that originally the brass ones were bright and shiny as well, but over the years they have developed a patina from use so they are now pretty much each their own color.  Here are a few examples.      


This is the inside of the front door.  This knob is still pretty brassy because if the people who lived here before us were anything like us, they didn’t use the front door very much.                                                                              Image

This one is a bit more weathered.  This is the door that takes you from the sun room into the living room and dining room.                          


And this is the door that takes you from the sun room into the kitchen.  Also a nice patina, no?  So it’s settled then, we’ll go with a hand worn brass 1948 knob!  They don’t sell those?  Really?  Well what’s the next best thing?


Wow.  Do you have anything a little less brass?


Okay, that’s ok.  But in person since they are new, they don’t really match as well as one would hope.  *Sigh.

Decisions like this are hard for me.  I actually tend to be a little “matchy-matchy” so it bothers me when things don’t exactly match.  My theory is that if they aren’t doing to be a complete match, I don’t want them to be close.  I would rather go a different direction entirely.  And that’s how I wound up eyeing this guy.


Although we don’t have any other oil rubbed bronze door knobs in the house, we do have a couple of lights/lamps with that finish in the living/dining room and we anticipate that we will have some in the sun room as well.

So, after more thought than one should really put into this type of decision, we decided to go with oil rubbed bronze knobs on the two new sun room doors.  Here’s what they look like up close.    


And here’s what they look like on the whole door.Image

So as the title of this post implies, the full range of door knobs in our house is anything but “matchy-matchy.”  At least all of the knobs are the same rounded style. We actually like that the variance in metal tones conveys the age and “character” of the house. Perhaps before we try and sell it we will look into trying to unify the knobs, but for now our mis-mash suits us just fine. And I am glad to have that big decision behind me!

Hope you have a good weekend you guys.  We’ll be in the sun room trimming and sanding.  Feel free to stop by!

Completely Floored

Today we’re back to sun room updates.  When last we left off we were here.Image

With the concrete removed, we were ready to add the floor joists to that empty area and then put down the sub floor.  This meant first adding a band of 2×6 around the walls.Image

To do this, Mark used these sleeve anchors.  That are made specifically for brick and concrete.


These guys act similar to drywall anchors in that when they are driven into the wall they spring out and latch into the brick.Image

Once the band was installed, it was time to add the floor joists.  These guys get screwed into the 2×6’s to hold the joists.Image

I wasn’t around for the next step, so there are no photos, but the floor joist gets set down inside these brackets and screwed in.  This next picture is more of Mark cutting the sub floor, but you can see the new floor joists in the background.Image

So now that the floor joists run the length of the room, it was finally time to lay sub floor.  I was up the street canning with Natalie and Julia on Saturday when this was going down (pun intended), so I left the camera with Mark and his brother.  They weren’t the best at taking pictures, so I only have a few, but they report that it went down without a hitch and it seems as though they are telling the truth because it feels super firm and supportive underfoot.

To install the sub floor the boys first measured the room.  The part where the kitchen used to be was about an inch wider than the rest of it because it didn’t have the bead board around the bottom like the rest of the room did.

The sub floor boards are 48″ wide. So they measured in 48″ from the exterior wall where the kitchen used to be and made a mark on the floor joist.  Then they measured 47″ from the exterior wall where the bead board is to account for the 1″ reduction in width.   Then they ran a chalk line across to create a straight line to work off of.  It’s important to work off of a measured straight line and not a wall or a corner because those are not always plum. Here’s diagram to show what they did.


They started on the opposite side of the room from the former kitchen along the exterior wall.  They cut off 1″ from these sub floor boards to account for the bead board along this section of the wall. 

To install the boards, they put sub floor glue on each floor joist and then carefully laid each board in place before screwing it down with sub floor screws in each corner and a few in the middle, about 10 screws per board. Once the first row was installed, they marked on the sub floor where the floor joists were so that they can screw the second row of board into them.


For the second row of board, they cut the first board in half length-wise so that the seams would be offset from the first row.  They didn’t need to measure again because they knew that they first row is plum, so the just locked in the next set of boards.  For the third row, they kept board’s length in tact to match the first row, but had to cut the width down to only about 2′ since that’s all the width left in the room.  They also had to cut in around the steps into the house.  Here’s how it looked after it had all been laid.


Since Mark had marked on the sub floor board where the floor joists were beneath it, he was able to go back once it was all laid and add one additional screw every one foot of floor joist to give the floor further reinforcement.  This added about 45 screws to every sheet of sub floor.  Reinforcement indeed.

So that’s the deal on the sub floor.  We can’t wait to sand and paint it, but before we do that, we’re going to install the windows.  As you can see in the picture above, we’ve already started, and having those old jalousie windows out of there is amazing.

I will be back later this week with a whole post about installing the windows and the doors. You guys, it’s starting to come together!

Much Ado About Flooring

Warning: This post is long, however, there are no dusty pictures of torn up floor. Bonus? Perhaps.


For the most part, decisions about the “bones” of this room have been pretty straight forward.  We want to raise and pitch the ceiling, we want either casement or double hung windows (we went with double hung), and we want a bar area with lots of storage.  We’re all good in the hood sun room, right?  Well what about the floors?

From the day we bought it, the sun room has easily been the biggest eye sore in the house.  We’ve always planned to renovate it as soon as our pocketbooks would let us. That’s given us 2.5 years to come to a consensus on what to do out there.  And yet, here we are, in the middle of our reno, and we still don’t know what to do with the floors.

We’ve talked tile, bamboo, cork, cement, vinyl, hardwoods, laminate, the list goes on. Each option has it’s pros and cons and we’ve discussed them at length.  Now that the outdoor kitchen is officially a thing of the past, it’s decision time.

And our decision is….

…to put the decision off.  Kind of.

Anyone who knows me will not be surprised and my hesitation to make a commitment. Mark really wants hardwood, specifically something reclaimed.  I’m not fully on board with this because I don’t want it to look like the wood in the rest of the house for fear that it will look like we were trying (unsuccessfully) to match the wood it.  I also don’t think wood is very low maintenance in a sun room and as the chief house cleaner, I am not looking to drum up more work.  I am also worried about the wear and tear with the sun room being the route in and out of the house for these two yahoos.


I really wanted tile (specifically slate tile) as I thought it would go with the period of the house, be easy to take care of, and be resistance to doggie wear and tear.  Mark said that going with tile would mean having to do alot more reinforcements to the floor joists and sub floor.  It’s also quite expensive.

So with no clear choice and no large budget, we’re taking a page from our neighbors in Congress and kicking the can down the road a bit.  We’re going to install plywood sub floor and then paint it.  Yes, you can do this.  For some, it’s a temporary solution and for others they love the look so much, they have no plans to change it.  We’re not sure which category we fall into yet, but we figure we’ll try it for at least a couple of years and see how we like it/it holds up.

Here’s a couple of pictures of others who have done this in their homes.


Photo from


Photo from


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I am thinking about doing stripes like in the first photo.  I want to do white and light grey.  I plan to run the stripes the opposite direction of the ceiling boards (i.e. from the house wall to the window wall) in an effort to make the room feel wider.  Like this.Image

Home Depot sells plywood tongue and groove sub floor, which we were excited to discover as the tongue and groove feature that will allow the floor to have the same flex and give as hardwood.  However, it will only cost us about $410.00 to cover the 330 sq. ft. of floor which works out to $1.23/sq. ft. That’s about as cheap as you can go when it comes to flooring.

Now I have read on the Interwebs that the fine state of Virginia has issues with uncovered sub floor.  Apparently any room with uncovered sub floor cannot be counted as finished square footage and you may not be able to get the house financed because of it.  I am glad that I found out about this before I took the plunge, but since we’re not planning on selling in the near future, I’m not deterred.  But if you’re looking into doing this in your home, you might want to check your local codes beforehand.

So that’s where we’re at.  We’re hoping to get the floor joists in and the sub floor laid this weekend.  If that happens, we will be really close to being ready to install our new windows. YAY!

Have a great weekend everyone, I hope you all have a project you’re looking forward to doing!

Removing Concrete

The concrete patio/floor is no more!  It was actually easier that we anticipated, taking less than a day to remove.  Mark rented a concrete saw for about $90 for the day and it did a great job of cutting the concrete into removable chunks.  Here’s what the saw looked like.


Originally the plan was just to cut the concrete down below the floor joists and then spread new concrete over top to level it off with the height of the wood joists, but ultimately Mark decided it would be easier, more cost-effective, and better for the over all performance of the floor, if he removed the concrete entirely and ran wooden floor joists the length of the space.

So to do that, Mark ran the saw as deep as it would go into the concrete slab about every 6-8″, working from the door of the kitchen to the door outside.


Then he ran the saw as deep as it would go about half way across the width of the slab.


From there, he used a sledge hammer to bust the middle two pieces completely apart, allowing access to the other sections.


Now Mark could use both the wedge and the sledge hammer to rip out the other pieces of concrete.  We don’t have pictures of him doing this as he was the only one home at the time, but here’s what it looks like once most of the pieces had been pulled up.


Mark’s brother and sister-in-law were nice enough to come over and help him haul and the concrete pieces and debris to his truck.  He took it to the dump at a cost of $30.  It still stings to have to pay to throw stuff away, but we didn’t have any alternative with these big blocks.

So now the entire area where the old kitchen and patio used to be is completely gone.


This means we will have to run floor joists all the way to the back wall, but that will ultimately make the floor more solid under foot.

You might be wondering what are plans for the floor are.  Tomorrow I’ll give the you inside scoop.  See you then!

Burying the Evidence

The outdoor kitchen is gone y’all.  Image

It took a long time and a lot of work on Mark’s part, but we finally demolished all the brick as well as the stone tile that was in front of it.


Unfortunately, it didn’t go all the way to where the other floor started.  There’s a slab of concrete (probably the original outdoor patio) in between the two.Image

Unfortunately, the concrete is a little bit higher than the rest of the floor.  We noticed this even before we took up the carpet and tiles as you can tell when you open the door to the backyard and the door scraped the floor a little bit.  We want a completely level floor out there so Mark plans to rent a concrete saw so that he can cut down the concrete patio so that it’s lower that the floor joists.  Then he will have to pour new concrete so that’s its level and flush with the rest of the floor.  I’ll have a more detailed post explaining this step once we get started.  As seems to be par for the course with this reno, it’s not going to be an easy job, so who knows how long it will take to complete.

But back to what we have already accomplished.  I mentioned in the last post the we needed to shore up some of the floor joists.  To do that, Mark simply placed a piece of wood under the beams that had too much flex or give in them, like this.Image

This, of course, will make the whole floor more stable and secure and prevent dips and creaks.  We also had a small area where the wood had rotted so we replaced those beams with new ones.


Once the joists were shored up and the rotted wood replaced, we could start filling in with debris from the kitchen.  As I mentioned here, after our first trip to the dump cost us over $40, we decided we could simply “bury” the broken brick, etc. under the floor where the “storage” is free.


So now we’ll grind up the concrete and get to work on laying the sub floor.  Turns out that there’s a few different sub floor options we can go with and we’re still deciding what will work best.  We’ll let you know where we land.