Tag Archives: Staining

So It Begins

27 Jun

The carpet removal has begun.  On Saturday we ripped off the carpet on the bottom two stairs. I needed to see if there was actually wood under there and if it was salvageable. Check for both!

I wanted to try to sand a step or two to see how long it would take and if it would work. I have a small palm sander that I used and quickly realized it would take me forever to sand everything with it.  The sandpaper kept falling off!

So, my husband loves me and took me to Home Depot and bought me an Orbital Sander. Nothing makes my heart flutter more than power tools. I’m my father’s daughter.

I got the DeWalt 5 inch Random Orbital Sander (This). The sandpaper sticks directly to the pad and makes life a whole lot easier for me. It took me 10 minutes to sand one step, when previously it took me at least 30.

Look how pretty it is.

I took the same stain that is on our floors now and tested a little spot on the stairs.

Big problem with the bottom stair. It stained so much darker than the floors. I put the stain on and wiped it off immediately. It’s still several shades darker and incredibly noticeable.  I’ve read you can water down stain with turpentine. We might do that or pick a lighter shade that is as close of a match as we can get. We’ll see. The rest of the stairs stain exactly like the floor. It’s just the horizontal planks on the bottom step.


No bueno.

Ignore the brown grate. That’s going away. It’s non-functional and dumb.

Because there is something wrong with us and we can’t ever stop at what we had planned for the day – we ripped off the carpet on the landing.

It’s definitely worn. There are definitely a lot of scratches, but nothing was deep. It was all superficial. I love the look of older hardwood too and this has the potential to have the character that I love.

And because I’m an idiot I decided I should sand the whole landing. So I did. For almost 4 hours.

60 grit sandpaper really cuts through the polyurethane.

I was a mess and the house was a mess.  We hung up plastic sheeting to protect the downstairs, but there still was dust all over the place.

And me…

Don’t I look wonderful. Miss America, ladies and gentlemen.

But the floors looked good.


After a lot of vacuuming….

There are still a few places that I need to hit with my Dremel Oscillating Tool. That little guy is great to sand in tough to reach places.

I’m not sure if I’m going to fill the small crack above with stain-able wood putty or not. I’ve heard some not so great things about it so I’m on the fence. That will be a game time decision.

Here’s a good shot of where it was sanded and wasn’t…

I’m going to go over it lightly with 150 grit sandpaper before I stain. Just to make sure everything is smooth.

It’s going to be a crazy weekend.


My fingers hurt…

29 May

We are 97% finished with the backyard makeover.

Even two days later I’m still so sore from digging, planting, carrying 40 pound bags of dirt, etc.  The joints in my fingers will never be the same. BUT it looks beautiful and that’s all that matters.

This is where we left off.

Fence was cleaned and dried.  In between the bouts of rain we were able to stain the back fence Tuesday night.

We gathered our supplies – Olympic Maximum Stain & Sealant in one Toner in Caynon Brown  (buy it here) and two large polyester brushes and went to work.

Here’s after two hours of staining.

We might have continued staining the side fence, but we ran out of stain. The back took an entire gallon.

So we let it dry, bought some more stain, and waited until the rain stopped. Weren’t April showers supposed to bring May flowers? Seems like Sub-Arctic April temperatures are bringing May Monsoons. It won’t stop raining!

The rain stopped Friday night and by Saturday morning everything was dry.

Here’s after the side fence was stained (If it looks a bit uneven – it is. I touched up a few places Sunday to make it more even)

Ignore the arborvitae’s thrown around everywhere. We were trying to figure out placement in very windy conditions!

With that done, off to the local nursery we went to pick up our tree (we put it on hold the day before), some additional shrubs, and flowers for the front and back yards.

Without further ado – here’s the 97% finished project. I’ll explain the unfinished business in a minute.

Working from the outside in we have two large green arborvitae’s on the ends (approx. 5 feet tall), with two fuchsia rhododendron,  two smaller arborvitae’s, then two golden euonymus.  The middle is our autumn cherry tree. She’s a beauty and we were lucky to get it since it was the only one left!

We added the rhododendron and golden euonymus for a nice bit of color and I think it turned out really pretty.

We lined the side fence with itty bitty aborvitae’s.  It ties in the larger ones on the back wall and makes everything look put together.

(Taken the day before. Notice the uncut grass and lack of bird bath)

I gave the bird bath a fresh coat of paint and it makes that back corner nice and bright.

That’s a bright blue bunny beside the bird bath. I am trigger happy when it comes to spray paint and I’ve never met a ceramic animal I didn’t love.

My husband’s pride and joy – his garden.

In no particular order he planted sweet corn, basil, cucumber, spaghetti squash, green peppers, carrots, broccoli, lettuce (two types), tomatoes (big boy, roma, and cherry), sweet potatoes, and zucchini.  We are hoping to live off that during the summer.

This is where the unfinished 3% comes in. My hydrangeas.

We dug out the flower beds (there were none before) and realized it looks better with a stone surround. We only had enough to finish one bed (while stealing one block from the border) so we measured, planted, and figured we need 10 more block to complete it. Another trip to Lowe’s is in the near future.

So after we level the blocks on the left, and lay the ones on the right this backyard will be DONE! (Oh yeah and lay mulch on everything)

Both beds have two Nikko Blue hydrangeas on the edges and one Incrediball Smooth Hydrangea in the middle. I’m excited about those. They bloom white and almost twice the size of your hand. I can’t wait. (Seriously – look)

So it’s a pretty dramatic makeover but we are really happy with how it came out.  I pulled out the patio furniture Monday night and cleaned it. All we need to do it strap on the cushions and finally enjoy the backyard.

Not too shabby.

My Everest

9 May

These stairs. These carpeted awful stairs.

They kind of make me barfy just looking at them. I’ve slipped and fell down them.  The cat uses them as a scratching post.  They’ve been puked on, peed on, and lord knows what else thanks to our lovely animals.  The carpet is OLD! It was old when we moved in a few years ago.

It’s stained from the previous owners.

We’ve scrubbed, rented steam cleaners, and the stains and smells won’t come out – so the only choice in my eyes is that the carpet is coming out!


The landing is the same. Carpeted and stained.

The husband and I have ripped up corners to see what we have to work with.  It’s finished hardwood! Beautiful hardwood flooring has been hiding under that disgusting beige-y carpet for years! Now that I know that, I’m showing as much restraint as I can to not just rip it all off.  I need a plan. Plus, I need a bit of confidence that I can refinish the landing and stairs myself.

Summer Stair Beautification 2013 will be in two parts.

Part 1 – Board and Batten

I love the idea of board and batten up a stairway.  It looks so crisp and bright.  So I’ll pull out the nail gun and miter saw and (hopefully) get it to look a little something like the photos below.

Some chair rail, MDF, molding, and a lot of white paint should get me this look easily.

Step 2: Remove Carpet, Refinish Wood, Add Runner.

This step is going to take a bit longer.  The carpet removal with be quick and make me extremely excited.  The sanding, staining, and polyurethane will take a lot more time. I’m thinking over the course of a few nights I can stain my way into bed so to speak.  Work backwards up the stairs and then leave it to dry overnight.  We’ll just have to live with that smell. UGH, that stain & poly smell is the worst.

After that, all I have to do is install a runner. The hunt has been on for months to find one I like.  I’m thinking something gray-ish with a bold pattern.  Neutral but fun.

Here’s a bit of inspiration.

So pretty. I’m thinking a bit grayer (and lighter) but it’s gorgeous as is too! Our floors are not as espresso as the photos above, but they are still dark so I think it will look great with a true gray runner.

I can’t wait to get started. Hopefully soon!

BYE BYE ugly carpeted stairs….

You won’t be missed…

This view will be so much nicer in just a few short months…..