Laying Carpeting: Part 2 of 2

Here we are, already mid November. I had hoped to finish this room before the end of October. I had to be careful with the carpet, as it required one seam and there is a pattern. I made sure I measured twice and had a sharp blade on my cutting knife.

20140719_13265120141102_111441If you plan to lay your own carpet, this is a really helpful link: http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/how-to-install-carpet/index.html  I was pleased to find out that my plan of laying the padding perpendicular to the orientation of the carpet was spot on. However, I had not thought to staple the pad’s seam, so I am glad that I read this tutorial first.

To cut and lay the actual rug, you measure the room at its longest point and add 3”. Take the carpet to a larger area (if possible) and notch the back at both sides at that length+3” point. With any luck, you will have help with this part. Roll the carpet back up with the backing facing out, and mark the point with the notches. Finish rolling, and take the carpet back inside. Roll it out flat and cut it to fit, again leaving about 3” extra next to the walls. If there are seams, make sure they are straight, put down a piece of seaming tape, heat the tape, and press the carpet seam into the tape. Place heavy objects on the seam as the glue dries. Seams should run parallel to the room’s main light source, with pile for both pieces headed in the same direction.

20141102_11150220140719_132626Now start with one end of the room and attach the carpet to the tack strip. Work one side.  Trim excess with a wall trimmer and then a stair tool to press cut edges under the baseboard trim. Stretch and attach to the strips at the opposite end of the room. Do the same for the two other sides. Sounds easy, looks easy, right? I rolled up my sleeves.

I immediately succeeded in wedging the carpeting in another room and being unable to move it, when I was trying to cut it. I called Andy and he came over the next day to help me with that. Then we took it to the sitting room (new room) and unrolled it. Since it had a repeating design (what was I thinking?!?) we had to make sure it was straight. That took some lifting and shifting. After we had it positioned, I stretched, tacked, and wedged, while Andy laid on the carpet (pressing out the wrinkles) and drank coffee (supervised). What a lucky girl I am! I am glad I had the knee pads, because without them I probably would not be able to walk today.

20141101_165134The seam was tricky, and you are to make sure the nap of the fabric is the same for each piece of carpet, which I didn’t do, because my remnant wasn’t big enough. But I did make sure the carpet was cut at the same part in the pattern both sides of the seam. I did a good job there. I think as soon as I have more money and time, I will replace that small extra piece of carpet with the same vinyl plank flooring I want to put in the bathroom upstairs, so that carpet and its seam will go.

Andy left to take Lucy to hockey while I finished up, while Grace   volunteered at the library. I am going to attach before and after photos of the entire room here so you can oooh and aaah! Next week I will start on what will be my living room. I will remove the carpet and wallpaper, polish the wood floor, strip the wood trim, and paint the upper walls. I will feature the half-mask respirator as well as poly gloves, and ToughChix gloves. I will again be using the paint brush and rollers from Construction Gear.

Laying Padding: Part one of carpeting

20141005_071952So here I am, taking longer on this room than I expected. Finally, I was ready for the carpet and padding! The carpet and padding have been laying in my dining room for a couple weeks.  I had laid carpet only once in my life, and that very poorly. 20141005_071630I had no stretcher or experience. I did, however, have the nail strips laid from my dad and an uncle as amazing as my dad. While I was waiting for delivery of the new rug, I cut the old carpet into the 18” lengths my garbage service requires, and used duct tape to hold the rolls. For this task I used SafetyGirl’s Tough Chix gloves. They were incredible. They weren’t thick or bulky but they protected my hands very well from the abrasive carpet backing. You can see them here, as well as the sticky knee pads. I also removed the old padding, then vacuumed the underlayment thoroughly. Just for good measure, I went over it with a damp rag. I bridged gaps in the plywood with masking tape and laid the padding out carefully. This came in a roll from BigBox and there was plenty for two rooms (re: plenty for me to make mistakes!).

My Uncle had my grandfather’s knee kicker and he lent it to me for when I did my carpet. I stopped out at his house Tuesday to get it, and his wife had her foot in a cast boot. He laughed and said he was going to get her another boot, put a bolt in her neck and a scar on her forehead and she’d be ready for Halloween! Such is the humor in our family.20141030_185019

Thursday night my friend JD wanted to catch up again over coffee, so I took an hour out to do that. He had old high school photos, which were a lot of fun. I wanted Andy to join us but he was waiting for his girls – Lucy was at cross country practice, while Grace was volunteering at the local library.

20141030_183558Before I left for coffee, I got most of the padding laid, which impressed me. I rolled it out horizontally, with three seams across the room, then tacked the edges of each. I used duct tape again to cover the tacks and connecting seams on the padding and called it good. Finally, something that didn’t fight me all the way! Maybe I can actually get the carpet laid myself. I guess we’ll find out together next week.

New Name for an Old Room

20140719_132630I thought the laundry room would be the most disgusting room, but when I moved to the New Room, I saw I was wrong. Apparently the entire house is going to be a surprise like this. My parents had 3 birds and there were peanut shells and bird food under every single piece of furniture I moved in this room.

20140719_132626As I mentioned in the introduction to this year-long project, Daddy enclosed the porch after about 3-5 years and we started calling this the “new room.” It’s been probably 35-40 years being new. Over the years it’s been a TV room, craft room, office. It was the room in which Daddy spent his last month, and died peacefully in his mother’s chair. It’s really not a new room anymore. I plan to move my piano in here, as well as a table that can be used for crafting or surplus guests for a holiday. Would it be a parlour? Does anyone have any suggestions on its new name?

In this room, my tasks are removing the furniture and cleaning the room out, removing two coats of wallpaper that have been on the walls for probably 30 years, painting the wainscoting and chair rail, rag rolling the walls, adding trim, replacing the carpet and padding, and then decorating. I would like to give this room a new name (finally) but I’m not sure what that should be. I would also like to give this room a contemporary and elegant look. The carpet I got as a remnant the other weekend20140719_132651, in a subtle taupe. I need to mottle the walls with a combination of silver, beige, and white, to tie all the colors together. Right now the colors are a tealy-mint green under taped-on industrial grey carpet, and the latest pass of wallpaper is about 15 years old.

I’ve been using the sticky knee pads, gloves, respirator, and coveralls faithfully, and I like the products. But you probably would like to hear about some different ones, so I will dig back into my box of goodies. I’ll use the disposable face mask for patching the walls when I sand them and be sure I have the First Aid Kit on hand.

To get started on this room, I tried to clean it out of furniture. The local AmVets are getting the entertainment system and bookcases that I am getting rid of – unless they are too big to take. If that’s the case, I suppose they are just going to sit in my car port for awhile. I started randomly pulling wallpaper off the wall (and some of it is coming off very well!). I picked up paint chips and a paper tiger at my local BigBox. My dad had a comprehensive collection of railroad lanterns that he kept in this room, so my first task this week is to unscrew all of the old hooks that held his collection and continue cleaning enough so there is room to work and start to methodically use that paper tiger on the walls.

Until we meet again…

The Pack Rat

mess100 years in the same house + 3 generations + the flotsam of life = 3 stories + 3 outbuildings gorged with stuff!  Some is treasure – buried to be sure! Much is trash. The buildings are headed for demolition so two cousins are spending hours and days sorting it out. It’s a nasty job but someone has to do it to retrieve the treasure – silver coins and much more!

Online StoresConstruction Gear, Safety Girl, and Discount Safety Gear can help:        

Hours of kneeling pulling from the piles – CHECK!  We’ve got you covered with knee pads

Disp RespiratorDust, dust, dust – breathe in, breathe out! CHECK! We’ve got you covered with disposable face masks.

Danger – hazardous to clothing – CHECK! We’ve got you covered with disposable coveralls to protect your clothes.

coverallsHeads-up – Hard hats must be standard gear! CHECK! We’ve got you covered with our construction grade hard hats! They even come in snazzy colors for fashionistas!

hard hatSorting, trashing, treasuring, saving – It’s all in a day’s work. No, make that MANY days! You’re on your own! We don’t make house calls!

~AH

I’ll Work On It

So I take a deep breath, look around me, and see possibilities and a ton of work. I am going to update a farmhouse, in real time, myself. I intend to do most everything I can myself, excepting if I add a second bathroom. That will require someone who likes to do plumbing more than I do. I am not even really sure what I want for each room so I will accept all ideas!

Let me tell you a bit about myself. I am a middle age woman living in a rural pocket on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, with seven acres of hillside in a dilapidated house that did not have indoor plumbing or a kitchen or bathroom in 1965. My dad bought the house for a few hundred dollars and he and his dad set out to do what our family does best: repurpose and build. His new wife would soon be pregnant for the first time, living in half a duplex. My dad worked all day and went to the house every evening and on weekends to dig out the cellar; add a garage, basement, and bathroom; and turn the cold spring house into a kitchen. Parquet floors were put in downstairs, salvaged from a school gym when it was torn down. Cut glass doorknobs and leaded doors were added to a built-in bookcase when the “new room” was added over 35 years ago. Slate flooring went on the landing, oak from the family barn was added here and there. The piece de resistance, however, is the old glass in the Dutch door, signed by etching pen by everyone who entered our family. My parents did a decent job of maintaining the large house through the years, and in retirement my father added a glorious mancave on the hillside overlooking the valley. There is a shooting range, and a storage barn. There is a chicken coop and playhouse and other outbuildings that should have been demolished decades ago, and over the years my parents became more reluctant to let things go. Add feathered and furry friends to line their now-empty nest, a mother whose heart condition precluded much physical activity, and a dad who was as busy as busy could be inventing his next irrigation system or perfecting a pie recipe. It’s a lot of house to handle.

Fast forward to December 14, 2013. I came home for my MBA class and visit with the folks for the weekend. My husband had filed for divorce earlier in the year and I scheduled a blind date. The as-yet-unknown man insisted we meet at a very public coffeeshop for my comfort. I challenged him to order for me and I would meet him there. Test #1. He gathered opinions, followed clues I left on my Facebook page, and made sure there was food at the coffeeshop (black coffee and raisin bread so I would have something in my stomach but not too much, if I was subject to nerves) and a pub nearby. He passed Test #1. We shook hands and I stood in the rain, watching him drive away in his minivan.

My sister and her family were coming to celebrate the holiday, too, that weekend. I drove my mom to church because she didn’t drive and my dad wasn’t feeling well. Halfway through the service, my cell phone rang. I memorized the message. “Don’t drive like a nut. I’m not dying or anything. I just want to go and have someone check me out.” Maybe I could take him in to the ER. My dad. Coming from a man who never missed a day of work in his life, I drove l like a nut. He felt a bit better by the time we got home, so he called off the trip to the hospital. We celebrated Christmas as a family. I offered to stay the next day and take him to the ER. He was hesitant. He didn’t want to inconvenience anyone. “It’s a lot less inconvenient to do it this way, Daddy, than to drive 2 hours mid-week to come do it.” After his tests, I sat and read Porky Chedwick articles to him while we waited for the doctor to come give him an antacid and send him home. Just when we were bored beyond belief, the doctor came in. Stage 4. Terminal. Pancreatic, lung, liver, lymph. The indestructible man’s head snapped back, then forward to his chest as if he had been hit as he heard the C word. “Ooof.”20140719_132626

Between my sister and I, we started living there 6 days a week, cooking, cleaning, feeding, driving, talking, administering pills, shopping, making phone calls. A month later he was gone.

His wife, the only woman he ever dated, the only woman he ever loved, is moving into an independent living apartment where we don’t need to worry about her heart. She can’t take care of the house on her own. The last six months have taken its toll on it. It hasn’t been scrubbed. Everything was as it was in the fall when my dad got it ready for winter: storm windows, covered landscaping ponds. My sister has stopped coming home for the summer, now that her kids are out of school. Packing my mother’s life into cardboard boxes takes every minute of housework time I have. We are lucky to get our laundry and dishes done.

20140622_091012The house is grimy. Some rooms are classically and tastefully done behind the disarray; others are simply outdated. Having only one bathroom is a problem. How quickly the beautiful English gardens have become overgrown with weeds! The new room – we still call it the “new room” – has never been re-wallpapered or re-carpeted. The paper is peeling and the carpet is beyond stained. The lighting is dim and the walls are scuffed.

So I am moving back into the house to see if I can handle it, financially, physically, and mentally; if not, it will be fresh for the market.

I did the same, on a grander scale, twenty years ago, when I bought my first house – a little hunting cabin with no heater and plaid carpet and velvet wallpaper that became something I loved with a cathedral ceiling and skylights and spiral staircase to loft and exposed fireplace. I wish I could do that here, but I feel my age and I think you would grow bored long before I finished. My goal is to keep each room or area to one month, and only spend $250/room on average to refresh it. I would like to add a bathroom, but I am not sure where yet.

I hope you will travel with me on this journey. You will meet my family and friends as we go. I will be highlighting some of the great products from Online Stores, Inc.’s three construction sites: SafetyGirlConstruction Gear, and Discount Safety Gear. I welcome your questions, advice, and comments.20140629_101530

First up will be the small bathroom. I want to give it a facelift and brighten it up, with the hopes of it becoming the second bathroom eventually. I will review our tool belt and disposable coveralls while I restore the cabinets, paint the floor (yes!!) and swap out hardware and accessories. The additional gear from our stores that I will be using for the bathroom will be a respiratorgloves, and safety glasses.

20140719_132838Please stop by often and let’s see what we can do!

Meet SafetyGirl

I20140719_094724n anticipation of restoring my new-to-me home, I brought some Safety GirlDiscount Safety Gear, and Construction Gear products home last week. Happily, I got a Friday commute text from my boyfriend that his daughter had decided to rip up her bedroom carpet, that I should stop over, and he was otherwise speechless (him speechless is as close to a medical emergency as you can get). Upon entering the house I could barely make my way to the voices coming from some random crevice upstairs – furniture lined the hallways and sat in the middle of every room. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hello?
He: Up here! Can you squeeze through? Or did you have chocolate today?
Me: I think I got it. How did all the heavy wood furniture get downstairs?
He: Lucy carried it.
Me: By herself!?
He: Yes.
Me: I’m impressed.

There he stood, delegating and watching like a good dad. The old carpet was up already, showing beautiful bare hardwood. Engrossed in her work, Lucy pried tacks and staples out of the floorboards. I vaulted back downstairs to get the glovesdisposable knee pads, and tool belt that were already in my car. “Hey! Try some of this stuff out!” I threw her my bag of new goodies. She was a good sport, especially since I wasn’t sure whether to put the knee pads on horizontally or vertically. I let her do her thing. They protected her knees from stray nails for sure, but one helpful bit of information: don’t put them on bare skin. I think I lost points for that one and she won’t have to shave her knees for a month. Needless to say, adhesion with these knee pads is top-notch. If you put them on coveralls or pants as they are intended, they will last through the job or until you wash the clothing. Note to self: read the instructions before using the product.20140719_094745-MOTION

The gloves fit her like, well, a glove, and kept her hands safe from the sharp tacks, as well as blisters from the pliers when she pulled up the staples.

The story has a happy ending: Lucy finished most of the impromptu bedroom makeover before her sister Grace got home from almost a month abroad (another story for another day). There is some finishing work to be done, but with both girls working together, it will get done quickly. And with products from SafetyGirlConstruction Gear, and Discount Safety Gear, it will get done safely – except for that knee thing.

Afterward: Because Lucy and Grace are under age, I changed their names and forwarded this to my BF for approval. He suggested his alias be something along the lines of movie-star worthy, with authoritative muscle and a heart of gold. He will be known as Mutt. Simply because I can. But he shared that after Lucy removed the knee pads, he put them on himself and said he loved them. They were convenient, easy, and didn’t hurt a bit when he removed them.

Knee Pads

If you have a job where you work on your knees, you know how important knee padding and protection is. At Discount Safety Gear’s online store, we have a huge selection of high-quality knee pads that are perfect for any rough job. Check out a few of these great products available at unbeatable prices.

The Large Cap, Non-Marking, Cradle Technology Knee Pads offer superior comfort and protection when you’re working. These knee pads include exclusive Cradle Technology that conforms to your knee to provide the best stability and decreased rollover. This technology combines with Biometric ErgoGel for the ultimate in comfort. The knee pads also feature a non-marking design making them ideal for the workplace, as well as large bolsters, a large cap, and hook and loop closure. Order these great knee pads today for just $25.50, a savings of $8 off the list price.

The Black Gel Knee Pads are another excellent choice for workplace knee protection. These knee pads are made from Occunomix and feature a heavy-duty, oversized, abrasion resistant design that adjusts to the size of your knee. These knee pads are high quality: the gel insert will not compress over time, and the knee pads also contain a 1/2 inch of foam padding on top of that. A flat kneeling surface also allows for greater stability while on the job. The knee pads include hook and loop closure and a neoprene split strap. Order a pair of these great knee pads today for just $23.96.

The All-Terrain Knee Pads with Layered Gel by DeWalt are yet another great option for knee pads. These knee pads feature a Layered Gel design with air cushion chambers for protection on even the hardest surfaces. The knee pads also feature an accordion-style upper knee so your knee movement won’t be restricted during wear. These great knee pads are available at Construction Gear’s online store for just $27.69, a savings of almost $10 off the list price. Order yours today!