The one with the new floor

by DaniGirl on November 30, 2009 · 13 comments

in Happy @ home, Life, the Universe and Everything

W are in the midst of getting laminate installed on the main floor of our house. This has caused considerable, in the words of Sir Topham Hat, Chaos and Disruption.

The decision to even have the horrendously ugly sky-blue-faded-to-murky-grey carpets replaced with laminate was itself fraught with peril. The current home reno tax credit helped push us along, as did the unmistakable smell of doggy feet that seems to emanate from the carpet when the house has been closed up for a while. After three boys with serious reflux issues, the carpet is could likely be classified as some sort of bio-hazzard, in fact. So really, tearing up the carpet is long overdue. But the idea of living for a week or two while transitioning from carpet to laminate — the transition period — was almost more than I could handle. Where would we put half a household worth of stuff? What would we do with the kids when we couldn’t live on the main floor? How would I coordinate it with work, and how could I ask the nanny to work within the inherent chaos? Like so many things in my life, though, the worrying was largely for naught and we’ve muddled through to the half-way point of the project without incident.

As much as I’d like to think we are the type of people who can easily tackle a project like installing laminate ourselves, there are two realities that shatter my idyllic illusion of Beloved and I working side by side, thumping Groove A into Slot B to create a beautiful new floor of our own doing. The first reality is the fact that much as I like to consider myself handy around the house, we have trouble installing picture frames and curtain rods without the anchors pulling out six-inch chunks of the wall. The second reality is the fact that on a given day it takes two and a half adults to wrangle the kids. Since we’re already half a man down, there are simply no spare arms to dedicate to this kind of task.

Besides, my mother has taught me well: there are those who do, and those who are smart enough to contract it out to those who will do it better.

When the first estimate came in for the purchase and installation of the laminate, though, we balked. The first quote we got, sitting in Home Depot one Saturday afternoon back in September, was in the neighbourhood of $2000. Not bad for two large rooms, but still a huge expense. But by the time they came in and measured and evaluated the space and padded where they could, the revised, final and actual estimate was closer to $3000, a 50 per cent increase that I just could not justify. So Beloved and I agreed to shave off about half of the increase by doing some of the work ourselves. We would move all the furniture (to where was a good question) and tear up the carpet and underpad. The best of both worlds, right? Professionals to do the fussy bits, and our own hard labour to do the messy bits.

Honestly, I had no idea how messy it would be. Tearing up 15 year old carpet that has been barfed on, pooped on, and spilled on more times than I can count? Gross. Really, it was so bad that now I want to tear up the carpet throughout the upstairs, too, just so I can get a fresh start. I can barely walk on it, thinking of the dust that we tore up with the underpad.

The actual removal of the carpet and underpad was easier than I expected, though, and only took us one extended afternoon nap on Lucas’s part instead of the two days we were anticipating. Moving all the furniture was more troublesome than I expected. We now have stacks of boxes and books in every room of the house, and the installers won’t even arrive until Wednesday. Because we simply must use the main floor of the house (how you people do six-month renos of your houses is beyond me!) we’ve torn up the underpad, pulled out all the staples and carpet tack, and relaid the carpet back down again so we’re not walking on bare plywood.

You can imagine how much fun this is with Mr Curious, the not-quite-two-year old.

With any luck, by Thursday we’ll have a shiny new laminate floor in, if I remember correctly, “apple wood” which steals heavily from the look of knotty pine. And of course, now that we’ve moved all the furniture and left the rooms bare, all I can see are the flaws in the paint that I now feel the need to touch up. And the TV stand is going to look a little shoddy next to that fancy new floor, we might need a new one of those soon. And because the boys spend the vast amount of their time on the living room floor instead of on the furniture, we’re going to have to invest in an area rug of some sort. And the computer table may not survive the trip back down the stairs. I didn’t realize how close to falling apart it is.

Funny, when we first started talking about getting laminate, I was worried about the boys and the dog slipping on the shiny surface. Turns out there was an entirely different slippery slope I should have been worrying about!


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 suze November 30, 2009 at 10:08 am

Yep – home renovation will do that to you. It’s never just the new floor – it’s new paint, new furniture. It’s fun though, but it drives you batty in the process. We’re half way through a re-wiring of our “new” 90-year-old house and the chaos is making me squirrelly…

2 Roz November 30, 2009 at 10:15 am

i know exactly how you feel about living IN a renovation – just this weekend we ripped up OUR carpet and linoleum on the main level. Our hardwood is being installed this weekend – yipee!!

3 Judy November 30, 2009 at 10:55 am

Ack! This is a scary read. We are most likely going to try and upgrade from the condo townhouse we are to a large, most likely older (ie in need of renos) home in the new year.

The thought of the work needed to prep the condo is enough to make us squirrelly with the 15 month old around, like pulling out the fridge and stove to paint the kitchen. Repainting all the baseboards, and caulking the bathrooms. Again.

I admire the people who can live in a reno. More patient than us that’s for sure!

4 Marla November 30, 2009 at 11:15 am

As a friend said to me (okay, commented on a Facebook status update – geesh) when I painted my bathroom last year “…and it all ends with a brand-new car in your freshly paved driveway.”

5 Annika November 30, 2009 at 1:22 pm

You’ll never regret it. As long as you don’t have to go into debt, a few little projects to spruce up your digs will make everyone feel better. I’m sure you will LOVE your floors, and they’ll make your rooms look bigger and brighter. You work hard and have great jobs…so glad to see you and Beloved doing something for yourselves and your home! I hear ya, though, I do not know how people do the long-term renos and survive!

6 smothermother November 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm

We used face masks when we pulled up the green shag carpet that was on our beautiful wood floors. The underpading was so old it had gone to powder. We had to sand a lot of it off. It was a blessing that we had a month overlap with the apartment and the house. Otherwise I don’t know how we would have done it. I don’t know what we will do when we finally get around to doing the kitchen!

7 Amber November 30, 2009 at 4:26 pm

I pay others to do this stuff for me every time. Because, as it turns out, it’s way cheaper to just hire them in the first place than to pay to have your mistakes fixed PLUS get the work done.

Enjoy the new flooring!

8 Jen November 30, 2009 at 8:38 pm

Oh, I feel your pain! We just got through a two month reno that covered the house in drywall dust, etc. But I can tell you it’s all worth it 🙂 Enjoy your new floors!

9 Hilary December 1, 2009 at 6:48 am

My mother calls this phenomenon “moving the eyesore”. As soon as one project is tackled, it immediately highlights the next thing that needs work. It’s pretty much a never-ending cycle!

10 Mary December 1, 2009 at 11:30 am

I like to say that the cost of hiring someone is cheaper than a divorce, if that gives you an idea of how those kind of projects go around here….

Captcha – bungled 500 (sounds about right)

11 Mac and Cheese December 1, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Oh I know that slope! Once I painted the front hall, I couldn’t stand the chandelier. Once I changed the chandelier, I couldn’t stand the banister. I still can’t stand the banister, but it’s next on my list.

12 BeachMama December 1, 2009 at 2:13 pm

It always starts with one thing and snowballs from there. We are close to finishing the painting in our house, only to realize we need to start all over again. Ahh… the never ending house projects.

13 Chantal December 3, 2009 at 9:27 am

I so much want to do our floors, and I think we have the exact same carpet, same colour, similar age 🙂

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