Friday, September 4, 2015

NEW SOAPSTONE COUNTERS FOR THE KITCHEN...WELL SORTA...

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone...a nice LONG weekend...YAY!!!

So, while waiting for the hardwood floors to cure this week, we decided to tackle a project we have been wanting to do in the kitchen...replace our ugly old formica countertops.  The formica would not stay glued down and the trim edge kept falling off, even after gluing AND nailing it on a million times. UGH!!




We had initially thought a long time ago to just put new formica, that looked like granite, on them. However that stuff is a little pricey ($90 a sheet) and extremely hard to work with.  We were also afraid that it too would not glue down properly onto the old wood and that it would be a complete and utter waste of time and money.

Ultimately we figured we were just going to have to replace whole counter.  I wanted soapstone...



































Gorgeous, right?

However, ANY kind of counter that would go with our home, whether it be granite, marble, soapstone, etc. were all very pricey too. Not to mention we would have to pay someone to remove our 600 lb. farmhouse sink (yes, it really weighs 600 lbs.), to install the counter and then put the sink back in place. That wasn't in the budget for sure. Not now or later...but we needed to find some kind of remedy...and fast. The reason being...well, it's a secret for now, but I will spill the beans in a few weeks...Anyway after looking to Google and Pinterest we came up with this...

FAUX SOAPSTONE COUNTERS...


Via
The lady had the same kind of nasty, ugly formica counters that my kitchen sports and did a little DIY magic on them to make them look like soapstone...GENIOUS!!  I ran the idea by the hubs and he was all for it. So I came home from work Monday to this...







Ewwww!!  Yes, all the formica was ripped off the counter. I guess that meant we were actually going to do this thing...WHEW...that's a pretty scary venture!!!  What if it didn't turn out...then what?

Anyway, I gave the wood (with all that old glue on it) a quick sanding to knock down some of the roughness but still left enough texture there to make it resemble natural stone. Then, I taped everything off and gave it two coats of chalkboard paint and let it dry...









Don't look at my messy, nasty floor...we are in the middle of some nasty jobs around here and I just haven't had the time to mop.  Hehe!!

Anyway, I didn't like the flat, stark black look so once it was dry I added a light coat of leftover SW Mindful Gray (from Bubs' room) and then wiped off the excess before it dried so that the black would show through. Doing that added some depth of color and you could see more of the texture also.  I also added some "veining" so it would look more like real stone...






Ahhh yes, it's looking good!!

I gave it all three good coats of polyurethane to seal it.









I think it turned out great.  What do you think?

Of course, this is a temporary fix but I think they look pretty good if I do say so myself!!  Pretty close to real soapstone...Hmmm, who would've thought? Hahaha.  I have a little caulking and paint touch ups left to do and then it will all be finished up...and not a moment too soon either...because the floors are cured and we will be moving back into the house over the long weekend.  YAY!!

Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!!! Ciao



Monday, August 31, 2015

FLOORS ARE DONE, NOW WE WAIT...

Hallelujah, the floors are DONE!!!  Now we just have to wait for 5 days for them to cure before we can move back in.  We finished up Saturday night at around midnight. I can definitely tell you this project was a true LABOR of love.  It was VERY laborious and our bodies are feeling it for sure but I am so glad to finally have them done.  We do have to buff them out yet but we have to wait for them to cure first.  We figure we will be moving the furniture back in over the long weekend coming up.  I can't wait!

Now I will tell you before I show you a few (not very good) pictures that they are not perfect by any means.  We were dealing with 76 year old wood that had a LOT of imperfections and stains to begin with; so, keeping that in mind, I think they turned out really good. I'm sure they would have turned out much better had we hired the professionals to come in and do them but we saved ourselves thousands of dollars by doing them ourselves. Our philosophy was why waste money on the professionals if the floors weren't going to end up perfect anyway.

So without further ado...and pay no mind to my lousy photography skills...here are a couple shots of how the living and dining rooms look right now...keep in mind they still have to be buffed...








They look GREAT don't they?  Like I said, they're not perfect but I am truly happy with them. At least all the floors in the house match now.  There's no more patchwork quilt wood floors going on here. YAY!!!



Thursday, August 27, 2015

PROGRESS ON EBONIZING THE HARDWOOD FLOORS...

Hey!  How's y'alls week been going?  Mine, good but I'm ooooh so very SORE.  We've been stripping and sanding 1300 sq. ft. of hardwood floors and cleaning up dust for the past three days but I'm glad to say we are now DONE with the hard part.  Though I feel like I have been beaten twice with a big lead pipe and ran over by a Mack truck too, I am thrilled with the progress we have made and how everything is turning out.

Another thing I am glad about is that we now have matching floors throughout the entire house. Before they were kind of a hodge podge patchwork.  The bedrooms were all an orangey color, the living room and dining room were a darker walnuty color and the area in front of the main floor bathroom (which you could see from the living room and the front door) was painted with brown porch and floor paint. Needless to say it was not pretty!!

This shows you a few images of the floors before...















 Besides all the different colors and finishes, they all had stains, watermarks, and bare and rough patches that desperately needed attention...









Those stains and watermarks are the reason we decided to ebonize the floors with a vinegar and steelwool (iron oxide) solution.







Recipe:  1 gallon white distilled vinegar and 5 #0000 grade steelwool pads, washed and dried, steeped in a 1 gallon glass pitcher for 3-4 days.  Strain with cheesecloth before use.



Watermarks in wood will not stain over with a colored stain no matter how dark the color because they cannot soak up the stain.  The wood in those spots is pretty much petrified and will not accept any liquid.  I figured ebonizing the floors with the natural Iron oxide solution will help everything to blend and the spots not be noticed as much. You know, black stains and black floors. Make sense?

Anyway, the stripping and sanding went really good for the most part.  We did have some trouble with the rooms on the main floor though.  We just couldn't get all the finish off in some places as you can see by the spots here...





I guess the floors on the main level had been refinished more often throughout their 76 years of life than the others and there was a super strong build up of varnish on them.  We sanded them over and over again with the harshest grit paper we could get and I even palm sanded each and every plank but that finish was just not going to budge. In the end we decided to just leave it be.

I knew the ebonizing solution would not work on those areas but since ebonizing leaves a variegated finish anyway, I didn't figure it would be too big a problem so we moved forward with applying the solution....








Once the solution is applied the floor continues to darken until the solution reacts with all the tannins in the wood. So, the lighter areas in the above picture where the solution was just mopped on turned a deep rich black to match the rest of the floor you see there in just a few minutes. The other beauty of working with the iron oxide solution instead of stain is that there is never a danger of having any overlapping issues.  You can overlap the iron oxide as many times as you want and it will not get any darker than there are tannins. It was the perfect solution for our stained up 76 year old hardwoods.

It only took about an hour to ebonize the floors throughout the entire house....Super FAST and EASY!!




If only all of it was that easy. Hehehe.  

Now all we have left to do is lightly sand everything smooth to close the grain, tack it all to remove any dust and then apply 3-4 layers of sealer. After about a week of letting everything dry and cure we will be ready to move back in. YAY!!!

I will be so relieved to finally be able to put this job behind us.  It's one we have been seriously dreading and have put off for nearly five years but it feels really good to be nearing the finish line.  I can't wait!

See you soon (in a week or so, hopefully) with the big reveal.



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