We’re Getting Big Kid Floors!

WARNING – This is a long post where I talk about my feelings.  Also, no photos.

I am so excited to tell you guys that we are finally going to have our hardwood floors re-finished!  They need it man, but since the top two levels of the house are entirely hardwood (except the bathrooms and kitchen, more on that in a minute,) it is an expensive job.  We’ve been saving our pennies for quite some time for both this and the sun room reno and last spring we decided that rather than finish the bar area in the sun room this fall, we would use that money to re-do the floors.  The joke is on us really because it’s fall and we’re no where near ready to install the bar area even if our pockets were full of hundred dolla billz.

Originally, our plan was to just have our existing hardwood floors sanded, stained, and refinished.  Unfortunately, there is no hardwood under the vinyl tiles in the kitchen so whatever we decide to do in the kitchen will require new materials.

When we started planning our sun room renovation.  I envisioned the same tile floor running both in the sun room and in the kitchen.  While they are separated by a door and a step down, I thought it would bring the two rooms together, help make the sun room feel less like an addition, and make the whole ground floor feel bigger.  

Then Mark and I had a come to Jesus where he told me that it wasn’t practical given the state of our sun room’s floor joists and our bank account to tile the sun room floor.  Since tile is out for the sun room, it’s likely we’ll end up with some type of wood out there as well (if we don’t just leave the painted sub floor until the end of time because we love it so much and/or are lazy.)  So since I am already essentially relegated to a wood kitchen floor one way or another, I figure I might as well go with the same oak hardwood that’s on the rest of the level to which the kitchen is open.

I am personally not a huge fan of hardwood in the kitchen.  Not for looks, mind you.  I love the way warm hardwood floors look with light cabinets.  But I don’t think it is as practical a choice as tile for someone who uses their kitchen alot like I do.  My mom had oak hardwood in her kitchen when they first built their house and it didn’t hold up very well to four people and lots of dogs.  She replaced it with a beautiful travertine tile a few years ago and I love the look and the practicality.

But despite my feelings, I’m going to have hardwood in my kitchen because it’s more important to me to have consistent flooring than to have tile in just the kitchen.  Again, it’s not that I don’t like the way hardwood looks in a kitchen, I am just worried about wear and tear and upkeep.  But a big key to making a small house look bigger is not to chop rooms up with different colors and flooring so in the end I think I am making the right choice.

The good news is my kitchen is and will always be 100 sq. ft. so it is not an astronomical expense if the hardwood need a little TLC in a few years or if/when we want to do something besides sub floor in the sun room, we could consider running it into to kitchen if I’m not in love with the hardwoods at that point.

So that’s how we’ve gotten to where we are.  I could go on and on about our “big kid” floors including cost, timeline, stain choices, etc., but I think I’ve poured my heart out to you enough for one day.

One last thing before I go.  Today is my mom’s birthday.  She’s the best mom in the world. Ask anyone, they will tell you that.  Happy Birthday Mom!  

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!