Monday, September 8, 2014

How to create a flawless baseboard...

Today I decided to do an instructional blog post about baseboards.  You know, that bottom part of your wall that you're always trying to hide because dust collects on it.  Oh, that old thing?  That's the one!  Let's give it a little bit of a makeover, shall we?

Since we were starting from scratch at my house, we ripped out all of the old carpet first.  If you want to keep your existing flooring, I'd strongly suggest covering the area you're working on with cardboard or plastic wrap.  Even an old sheet would work!  (Try to avoid using old fitted sheets.  Speaking from experience here...they're a pain because they keep pulling themselves back up into a ball.  VERY entertaining if someone other than yourself is being forced to work with it as a drop cloth.  I know, I'm a bad girl.  Heheheh!)

 This is what the old baseboards looked like after painting.  Pretty uninspiring.
Look at all those cracks and crevices where dust can get into.  Doesn't that just look like a joy to clean time and time again?  No?  I'm with you on that one!  So let's fix it!

 I went around the room and placed some painters tape just above the part where the quarter round (The rounded piece of wood on the top.  Don't feel bad, I only learned what that was when I started this project.  We're learning and growing together!) meets the wall and on top of the quarter round itself just below where it meets the wall.  
Using a caulking gun fitted with a tube of white caulk and armed with a roll of paper towels and a bowl of soapy water, my husband caulked in between the two pieces of tape.  With his finger dipped in the soapy water to keep the caulk from sticking to it, he forced the caulk into the crack thus filling that dust collecting chasm!  Then he wiped the excess caulk on to a paper towel.  (There will be excess.  There's just no way around it.  I've tried being thrifty with it, but you still end up wasting a little no matter how careful you are.)  He also caulked in the corners and any where else where we saw a noticeable crack.
 Once the caulk was laid into place and given a little bit of time to dry, we went around and removed all the tape.  Look, Ma!  No more cracks!

The next day when the caulk was completely dry, (You really only have to wait a few hours, but we did this to all of the rooms.  So we spent one day just caulking.) we repainted the baseboards. The above picture was taken before we painted.  Doesn't it look so much better already, though?

Here's the final product with the new carpet installed!

Not too hard, right?  It's a great weekend project to refresh those neglected baseboards!

Pro tips:
  • Why did you use painter's tape?  Couldn't you have just caulked it without the tape? 
    • Yes, we could have.  If you have a smaller area to caulk, I would say to lose the tape.  Since we chose to caulk all the baseboards throughout the house, we used the tape because it allowed us to make less passes to get all the excess caulk off of the walls.  The excess could be left on the tape to dry rather than having to make so many wiping passes to get it all off of the wall.  It was one swipe and we were onto the next spot, rather than going over and over it again.
  • My tape keeps coming off of the wall!  How did you get yours to stick so well?
    • First of all, make sure that your wall is well dusted.  Bust out that vacuum and use that hose attachment!  Then wipe down your wall with rubbing alcohol.  The alcohol removes any oils from the wall that could be keeping your tape from sticking.  (It's similar to what they do at a nail salon when they prep your nails for a manicure.  They lotion up your hands and nails in the beginning.  Then before they put the new polish on they use nail polish remover on your nails to remove any lotion residue.  Thus giving the polish a nice clean surface to stick to!)  Lastly, always have a clean putty knife handy!  Place the tape against the wall and stick it down.  Then use the putty knife, keeping the edge flat to the wall, and run it along the line of tape.  This secures it down and removes any air bubbles that could have formed beneath the tape.  This is an excellent tip for paint prepping as well!
  • If you already painted, how did you paint just the baseboards?  Won't there be a line between the two paint jobs?
    • Remember to feather out your paint.  Paint the baseboard and then starting from where the baseboard is connected to the wall, lightly pull your brush up the wall.  Most the paint will be near the baseboard and just a very thin coat will be going up the wall.  This is called feathering.  It helps to blend the two paint jobs together so you don't just have one line starring at you as a reminder that you painted it on two separate occasions.
Let me know if you have any questions!  I'd be more than happy to answer them.  Also if you have a pro tip, go ahead and leave it in the comment section.  I love learning new tips and tricks of the trade!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Just call me Construction Barbie...

The first step to getting back on the wagon is to get back on the wagon.  So this is me officially getting back on the blogging wagon.

It's hard to believe that I haven't blogged in over 2 years.  It's embarrassing really.  I think about blogging all the time and even come up with posts in my head, but never actually sit down to write them.  (No, not just post ideas, but full on posts.  With edits!  I know, I'm a little crazy, but that's what you all love about me, right?)

So what have I been doing in the last 2 years?  You know I haven't just been sitting around doing nothing.  I'm the proverbial Jack-of-all-trades!  Well, maybe the first year I was kind of just sitting around and living life... But the second year!  Wait for it....

My husband and I bought a house!

It's small, and old, and needs a ton of work, but it's ours!  This is where things really start to get interesting.  Did I mention it was old?  Like really old...

 Are those original cabinets?  Why yes they are!  They were made back before drawer slides were invented.  So you get a great workout every time you need a utensil!
 The view of the kitchen from the dining room.
 Yes, that's a washer in my kitchen.  That was the first thing to go.  It just didn't make sense to me there.  Eventually I'd like a laundry room, but for now its home is in the garage.
 And there is the lonely refrigerator.  In, what I think, is the worst place you could ever put a refrigerator.  The door opens and bangs against the island and it is so far away from the stove.  You do get cardio points from that placement though, as you will be walking back and forth more times than you could possibly imagine while cooking a meal.

Let's just say it was updated never since it was built.  Which is both good and bad.  Good because it's pretty much a blank canvas.  Anything I want to do to it, I can!  Bad because with no updating means you have things like old weird wiring (Why is the light switch for this room smack dab in the middle of the wall rather than near the door?  Probably because back in the day people liked a challenge!  Yeah, you might trip over a bunch of stuff and die, but hey, you're out there living life on the edge.  Or...the easiest way to run the wire was to the middle of the room rather than to the door...hahaha.).  Pretty much anything you can think of I'll probably have to eventually fix.  Don't get me wrong, the house has good 'bones'.  So it's mostly superficial. 

I think this shower is too small for me. :/
 The kitchen, bathrooms, and one bedroom were the only rooms in the house that had ever been painted.  Here's the hubs getting ready to paint the whole house.
 Here's my father-in-law a couple hours in.  I guess I should have bought him a ski mask....oops...  He's been helping us with all of our remodeling.  He's awesome and doesn't ever tell me that any of my bright ideas (ie. my farmer's sink or my waterfall counter top.  Hey, I have a lot of design ideas.) are not possible.  He rolls with every curve ball that I throw at him and I love him for it!  He is the ultimate "make it work" guy.
Here's the hallway and dining room after being primed and painted.  Sooooooo much better!  Oh yeah and there are just a few rolls of the super old carpet that we had to remove.  Old carpet is really heavy!  Please, don't tell me why.  I can only imagine all the dust bunnies, skin particles....and that's enough of that.

Me, the girliest of girls, has really gotten into the whole DIY spirit.  I'm actually out there demoing, sanding, painting, laying tile, building cabinets.  Hey you name it, I've probably done it or at least stood there while my husband did the scary parts!  (Confession time: The nail gun scares me.  I don't want to touch it or go near it.  It's loud, huge, and just all around scary.  It's my husband's main goal in life right now to get me to fire it.  So far he's losing.  He did however get me a jack hammer and I'm pretty good at using that.  Now he fires nails and I jack hammer out tile.  So I guess on some levels he did win...hahaha.)

We've done a lot of updating already.  The kitchen is almost done!  (Yes, I have pictures, but you'll have to wait until the next post to see them.  I can't give everything away in my first post back!  If you really must see them right now or you'll explode from excitement, then you can check them out on my instagram @lb_dub77.)  Next to go is that hideous avocado green tile and matching green tub in the picture above.  We're smashing that to bits with a sledge hammer this weekend.  And you know what?  I can't wait!