5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job

Recently I have been working with my uncle a lot who owns Custer’s Renovations & Paint. He does any kind of finishing work you can think of, and I have been learning a ton about painting. So today I’d like to share with you 5 tips on how to achieve a professional paint job on your own. Specifically, I’ll show you how I implemented what I learned when I painted my own bathroom.

Scrape, Repair, & Caulk

One of the first steps to achieving a professional paint job is doing the appropriate prep work. If there are any bumpy areas left from a previous paint job make sure to scrape them away. Fill in any holes and areas that have been dinged. If there are any gaps in the trim make sure to caulk them with paintable latex caulk.

When my bathroom was painted previously there were a bunch of areas where paint splattered off of the roller and left tiny little bumps everywhere. Scraping these away ensured my paint job would be as smooth as possible. The window was painted quite poorly before so it made it difficult to get everything scraped off. However, what I did manage to scrape off and fix made a big difference. There were also huge gaps around the window that made the room look unfinished and overall kind of dingy.

5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job

5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job

 

5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job
Before

5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job

5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job
After

Sand & Dust

After your repairs dry, make sure to sand the patches and ideally, sand all of the walls with a fine grit sandpaper. Sanding the entire wall ensures you didn’t miss any little bumps and the finish will be smooth. Before painting, take a rag and dust the walls and trim.

It’s also a really good practice to sand in between coats and to do at least two coats.

Lighting

One of the most interesting tips my uncle showed me is how he uses lighting. In his opinion, lighting is one of the biggest factors in catching imperfections. By shining a big, bright light across the wall, you see any flaws such as bumps or drips because the light will create shadows across these areas. Without the light, you might not catch these because natural light doesn’t have the same effect. You might not notice some imperfections when you’re painting but will catch them later on because the lighting has changed. By using a light right off the bat you’re more likely to catch the mistakes.

Details

Another major factor in achieving a professional paint job is paying very close attention to detail. Wipe up any drips you spot or anywhere you painted “outside the lines”. By paying attention to detail throughout the process you will avoid fixing mistakes later on, which is often more difficult than fixing mistakes as they happen.

You want to roll on a decently thick coat of paint, but there is a fine line because you really want to avoid drips. It takes a bit of practice to get used to the feel of the perfect amount of paint and it can also depend on the type of paint you’re using. Some paints, such as Behr, are runnier than others.

One thing I noticed that makes a huge difference in the quality of my own painting is not taping things off. It takes me a lot of time to tape trim off and I can never seem to get the tape sealed right. I actually end up getting more paint on the trim when I tape than if I don’t tape and paint carefully. The key here is to keep a damp rag near you so you can wipe up any little spots where you go outside the lines. The more you practice the less you’ll have to wipe anything up. My uncle is a very skilled professional who is a lot faster, and better, at taping than I am so he’ll tape things here and there.

Stipple

Last but not least, stipple your brush as you’re cutting in. By this I mean dab your brush on the wall instead of dragging it down the wall. This helps match the texture of the roller so you don’t end up seeing brush marks. Typically I drag my brush down the wall to get the right amount of paint on. Then, I go back and stipple it.

These techniques are easy to do and don’t take much time on top of the amount of time it already takes to paint. In the long run, it’s well worth it in order to achieve a professional paint job.

And, of course, I have to show you the before and after pictures ūüôā

5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job 5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job 5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job 5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job

The walls are painted with Sherwin Williams Svelte Sage, and the ceiling is painted with Devoe Paint Simplicity Stone.

What’s your favorite tip for a professional paint job?

If you liked this post, feel free to share it ūüôā

See You Around!

Lauren <3

Spray Painted Counter Update – Almost 2 Years Later

I wanted to share an update since it’s been almost 2 years since¬†my post about how I updated my counter tops with spray paint!¬†When I researched doing my counters, my main concern was how well spray paint would hold up.¬†If it tells you anything about how they’re holding up, I can’t believe it’s been almost 2 years since I did this project!

If you want to see what materials I used and the how-to for this project, check out this post.

My biggest concern was next to the sink where we put our dishes to dry. We have a drying rack but most of the time all the dishes won’t fit in that. So, Chris lays a dish towel down and lays dishes on that. As you can imagine this gets a lot of moisture on the counters, and it discolors. I went back and added another layer of poly because I was concerned it was hurting the counter, but so far it hasn’t done any damage. (It still discolors when wet, but like only when it’s really wet).

Spray Painted Counter Update - Almost 2 Years Later

We usually clean down the counters with a Clorox disinfecting wipe or just with a sponge and soap. Initially¬†I didn’t think the Clorox wipes had any effect but I did notice a little bubbling of the poly.

Spray Painted Counter Update - Almost 2 Years Later

I’m not 100% sure that this is from using Clorox wipes but I’m pretty sure because I don’t really use them on either side of the sink and those areas don’t have any bubbling.

Spray Painted Counter Update - Almost 2 Years Later

I’m not sure what it’s from, but there’s also this area that looks a little gummy. It’s not very noticeable and the only difference is that it’s not slippery smooth like the rest of the counter.

There’s also a tiny little scrape or two on the edge of the counter where the white is peaking through. I thought maybe it was a flake of white paint because that’s the case in other areas but I think this is a little ding. When I scratched at it though it didn’t make it any worse.

Overall I’m really happy with how they’ve held up and I’m surprised considering we’re not as gentle on them as I thought we should be.

Here’s a full picture of the counters now:

Spray Painted Counter Update - Almost 2 Years Later

And here’s the before and after from when I originally did the project:

Spray Painted Counter Update - Almost 2 Years Later

Spray Painted Counter Update - Almost 2 Years Later

You might also notice that we have a tile backsplash and we removed the upper cabinet doors. If you want to read more about the backsplash check out this post about doing the tile, and this post about prepping the wall.

For the time and money this project takes it’s a perfect solution to fixing up counters before a complete overhaul. This could even be a permanent solution for areas like a laundry room.

So there you have it! My counters are holding up great and I’m really glad I decided to spray paint them. My ongoing struggle now is to make our open cabinets look a little prettier.

See You Around!

Lauren <3

DIY Staircase Update

About a month ago I texted my landlord about ripping up the carpet on the entry stairs and replacing it with some vinyl. It took her about a week to respond, so I figured the answer would be no as it usually is.

Quite the contrary, she texted back and said sure! That surprised me. Having permission to sporadically change things in the house is very exciting.

I started ripping the carpet up within half an hour of getting her text.

DIY Staircase Update

Here’s what we started with. The big rug is usually in the kitchen, but it’s been up there a while because spring tracks a lot of mud in, and it’s annoying having to vacuum the landing all the time.

DIY Staircase Update

We also track in a lot of pine needles which hurt like a SOB to step on when they’re stuck in the carpet.

Since I had permission from the landlord and was raring to go, I didn’t bother telling Chris before I started destroying the carpet. I was so sick of it and wasn’t going to wait any longer.

DIY Staircase Update

The first thing I found was the landing is made of plywood and covered in that black stuff. I think the black stuff is some sort of non-slip sand adhesive. Then I kept pulling up the carpet and got this piece of joy.

DIY Staircase Update

Nice pine steps and risers! Yay.

After ripping the carpet and padding off I pulled out all the tack strips and staples from the stairs. I didn’t pull all the staples from the landing because I’m going to cover it with vinyl, and the stairs will be painted and stained with General Finishes Java Gel. Instead, I pulled all the padding out of the staples¬†and hammered them down.

One issue that I ran into with the tack strips is that I don’t own a crowbar. Instead, I just used a hammer and flathead screwdriver. Just wedge the screwdriver under the strip where the nail is and use the hammer to wiggle it under further. Then use the leverage and pull up on the strip (by pushing down on the screwdriver). It’s kind of a pain in the butt on some of them, but it works.

After getting all the staples off the steps they were ready to be sanded in preparation for stain. The picture below is before sanding.

DIY Staircase Update

I took my Ridgid random orbital sander to the steps with an 80 grit sanding pad. Since I have an orbital sander (which is round) I couldn’t get all the way to the edges of the stairs very well which left some paint. I went back by hand to try to get as much off as I could, but it wasn’t very efficient.

The picture below is after sanding. It’s a little hard to compare because of the opposite angles, but they’re a lot cleaner with fewer paint splatters.

DIY Staircase Update

Next, I cleaned the steps off with a shop towel and some mineral spirits. Then I applied mineral spirits to each step right before I stained. General finishes recommends this to help the stain go on smoothly.

Make sure to apply stain to every other step so that the stairs are still usable while the stain dries (6-8 hours).
DIY Staircase Update
And then here’s a picture of them all stained.
DIY Staircase Update

After the stain dried, I taped the stairs off to paint the risers.
DIY Staircase Update
I also used paper so I wouldn’t get paint on the steps. As you can see in the picture, I didn’t tape off the risers when I stained. I figured it would be easy to paint over. It seemed that it actually was easier to cover the paint with gel stain than the other way around.

Before priming I sanded the risers by hand with 80 grit sandpaper.
DIY Staircase Update
After the first coat of primer I went back and filled in the holes with spackle. Then I sanded lightly and did another coat. I like to wait until I prime to fill in the holes because it makes them a lot more visible.
DIY Staircase Update
After two coats of primer I applied two coats of paint.

I also sanded and repainted the trim by the landing to make sure it looks crisp before installing the vinyl
 imageDIY Staircase Update

I’ve repainted this trim probably twice already, but it gets dingy pretty quickly and the new floor will be lower than the carpet.

Before putting in the new vinyl I also wanted to stain the threshold of the front door to match the steps.
DIY Staircase Update DIY Staircase Update

Since the stairs are going to be a different color than the vinyl on the landing, I wanted to make sure the entry looks as cohesive as possible.

And of course, since stairs are high traffic I added a coat of General Finishes Gel Topcoat.

And after several days of putting it off, we finally got around to laying the vinyl on the landing! It’s really easy to do, and I was going to attempt doing it myself. Chris wanted me to wait until he would be around to help me though, which honestly was a good idea. Laying the floor and cutting the boards isn’t too bad when it’s just straight cuts, but having to work around the trim pieces was really frustrating for me. I explain in this post how we laid the floor in our bathroom, and what exactly we used if you’re interested ūüėÄ

DIY Staircase Update

Chris did up until this point on the landing, and I got to do the rest until the trim on the other side of the door. I didn’t get to do much cutting when we did the bathroom floor, so I’m glad I got to try it out.

DIY Staircase Update DIY Staircase Update

DIY Staircase Update DIY Staircase Update

I am so obsessed with how¬†this project¬†turned out. The entry is so much brighter and spacious now that the carpet is gone. And it’s going to ¬†be way easier to keep it clean. No more lugging the vacuum all the way up the steps!

DIY Staircase Update DIY Staircase Update

If you like this post let me know, and feel free to pass it along!

See You Around!

Lauren <3

 

Punch List for A Rent Ready Home

I contacted my landlord with questions about the house which means I am one step closer to buying it. With all of the questions I asked her I should be able to run the numbers, make an offer, and work out a deal. Considering I can’t know how much longer we have until it’s time to get renters I compiled a punch list of things left to do.

In order to have the lower unit rent ready, these are the things that I must have completed

  • Remove the door in T’s bedroom
  • Paint the last wall in T’s bedroom
  • Paint the trim in T’s bedroom

Punch List for A Rent Ready Home

These first three tasks are the leftovers from when I painted the paneling in this room and the fact that the trim is in desperate need of a fresh coat

  • Touch up paint around the house
  • Finish Painting Inside Cabinets
  • Paint Outside Cabinets
  • Seal the grout on the new backsplash

Punch List for A Rent Ready Home

  • Check that the heater is clean and running smoothly
  • Check the smoke detector
  • Fix the run in the carpet
  • Install a fan in the bathroom
  • Fix the overhead light in the bathroom
  • Clean everything

On the other hand, there are also things I would like to have done before we get tenants. Time and money permitting

  • Replace carpet with new carpet in bedrooms/living room
  • Replace carpet with laminate in kitchen/dining area

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I’m thinking of going with a laminate similar to¬†this (maybe even this one), and a beige brown carpet

  • Stain stair treads, paint the risers.

These last three wants all have to do with flooring. The only spot in our unit that doesn’t have¬†carpet is the bathroom. Even in the places that it makes sense to have carpet, the carpet isn’t so great even after a good cleaning. Mostly the idea with replacing the flooring is we would likely get a better deal if we bought the same flooring for upstairs and downstairs all at once. One of the first things I would like to do once (if) we get the house is replace all the flooring upstairs even before moving in.

I’m planning on knocking out some of the items on the must-do list over my spring break (in one week). It’s probably a good thing that we just got bombarded with snow here in Michigan, otherwise I might be tempted to do some yard work.

What’s on your punch list?

See You Around!

Lauren <3

 

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

I’m moving quite slowly on progress with the house, so this weekend I finally painted little T’s bedroom!

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

Here is the panorama of this crazy room before its kick ass makeover. Hello again weird door midway up the wall. Glad you decided to make another appearance on the blog.

The post title suggests there is literally no more paneling in my house, but I mean the paneling is painted. Then again that’s not entirely true because I’m not going to paint the closet wall until we take out the weird door and drywall it. When that happens I’ll fill in the cracks in the paneling on just that wall so it doesn’t look super mish moshy. But anyway, PROGRESS. and that is why we are gathered here today.

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

First I filled the crib up with toys, shoved it to the middle of the room, took stuff out of the room, put things in the closet, and decapitated the iron man sticker.

To prep I filled in all the holes with spackle, covered the stuff left in the room with a plastic drop cloth, and took off all the outlet covers. I then went through and sanded all the walls with 220 grit sandpaper. I was going to use my new electric sander, but I figured that would be a bit excessive for just needing to scuff the walls up a bit.

Please please do not skip the sanding step. When Chris and I painted our bedroom paneling we didn’t sand and it was a big mistake. If we nick the walls¬†the paint scrapes right off and you can see the paneling. At the very least rough the surface up a bit even if you don’t sand the crap out of it.

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

Before I started painting I wiped all the sanding dust off the walls along with any cobwebs in the corners. I also vacuumed the carpet and along the trim to make sure no dust would get into my paint.

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

When I was cutting in I got¬†all of the cracks because a roller doesn’t do a very good job of that. At this point I also filled in any more holes that I didn’t notice the first time around.

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

After priming I saw areas where either the paneling color was showing through or it was discoloration from nicotine. In the end I decided to do one coat since that is what we did in the bedroom, and that paneling was even darker.

 

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

Even when I cut in with the paint I filled in all the cracks. When I started brushing on the paint I remembered how much I love this color. It’s called winter sky gray. It seems rather blue to me though which was a surprise when we first painted our bedroom. I guess it makes sense though since skys are usually blue to some extent.

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

Slightly above the electrical outlet near the door you will notice some flaws in the gaps. These parts were pulling away from the wall which obviously wouldn’t look good when painted. Chris’s genius solution was to staple gun them down, and it actually worked like a gem.

I love this picture because even though I haven’t repainted the trim you can see the crisp difference between the bluish gray wall and the white trim. Just beautiful. (excuse the splotches, the wall wasn’t done drying yet).

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

Final product with the “accent wall”. still hadn’t put the room back together yet. I love how much the painted room draws attention to the window. It’s a reminder of how much brighter the room is.

Also notice how high the top of the door goes, and that the area up there is painted. I was using a chair to paint, but couldn’t reach high enough so I asked Chris if he could reach. He just decided to open up the door and stand on the stairs landing. It’s a good thing we’re close friends with the upstairs neighbors and we keep that door unlocked. (it is set up though so both sides can be locked and not one unit has control over the door). Either way it needs to go. Sayonara door!!

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

Another view and a way for me to imagine that there is absolutely no more paneling. ūüėÄ I’m in love.

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

And of course some views of the room put back together/rearranged (minus the still decapitated Iron Man)

Before painting my paneling I also got some really useful information in this blog post about what to use on different types of paneling, and some tools that make it a lot easier.

Chris and I worked on this project for about a day and a half. My body was definitely sore from constantly kneeling, standing, and getting up on a chair. Maybe I’m just weak but that stuff is taxing!

I’m glad to have this project done as it’s really going to propel me into finishing my other projects and working on my time management.

What are your motivating factors?

If you want to see how I finished the white dresser, check out this post.

See You Around!

Lauren <3

 

 

 

DIY Ceramic Tile Backsplash

Today is the day I share with you our brand new tile backsplash, and the steps it took to install it. Our kitchen is yet another step closer to being awesome, and it almost doesn’t visually suck anymore.

We were very lucky to get most of our materials free. Below are the list of materials you would need. The only things we had to buy are the items I indicated with a price. Clicking the material links will take you to sources of where to purchase/ where I did purchase the items.

Materials:

My Project Cost:  $37.50 (Accounting for selling the joint compound leftovers and not accounting for sales tax)

Project Value/Potential Cost: $251.53

NOW. The cost will vary depending on the type of materials you buy, and what tools you already own. I just wanted to see with the almost exact products I used, including their sizes, how much this project could have cost me.

If you missed my post of how I prepped my walls check that out here.

I mentioned I was going to explain how we filled in the hole in our backsplash wall, but I can’t really do that because Chris did it without me. Not complaining, but he didn’t take pictures and he didn’t really explain it to me very well. But, I’m assuming most people don’t have that issue and it’s mostly a case by case thing anyway.

DIY Ceramic Tile Backsplash

The next thing I did was lay out several tiles in my pattern on the counter. This way after we put the mastic on the wall we wouldn’t have to scramble¬†to get tiles up, and it would help us engrave the pattern into our brain.

DIY Ceramic Tile Backsplash

DIY Ceramic Tile Backsplash

As we went along we used 1/8″ spacers in most places to keep everything even. In some places we didn’t use them because the tile cuts weren’t 100% even so it looked a little weird using a spacer, or the spacer wouldn’t stay put.

You can see in the picture above that we just tiled around the outlets. This is because we didn’t have the proper tools to make the types of cuts we needed. This can sometimes be avoided by laying out a pattern in a way that doesn’t have weird cuts.

We left all the spots around the outlets without tile, and took tiles to Chris’s brother’s house to have him cut them (since he had the right tools). Afterwards we then reapplied some mastic on the wall and to the tiles.

DIY Ceramic Tile Backsplash

Here is what the tile looked like from a distance once we put it all up.

Then we¬†let it sit for longer than the recommended amount of time before we grouted. We definitely did not choose the best timing to decide to grout. It was around 11:00 PM when we started. We would’ve done it during the day but Chris had Little T over night and we had to wait until he went to bed. 2 year old boys are not very good at entertaining themselves when house work is going on.

Another problem we ran into was rock hard grout. We had to chisel away at the chunk to get usable grout which ended up having little chunky pieces even after we mixed it with water.

If we had started doing this during the day we would have said screw it and just went to buy a new bag of grout but we were tired, wanted to get it done, and it was so late so nowhere close was open. This made it a pain in the behind to apply, but overall didn’t really hinder the way the grout looked.

DIY Ceramic Tile Backsplash

Here’s the grout right after we applied it and before we wiped anything off. Do you like our light strategy? We had to be super quiet because our house only has one heat source and¬†we couldn’t shut Little T’s door all the way because it would get too cold in his room. So instead of turning the kitchen light on and risking waking him up, we just used this and moved it around.

DIY Ceramic Tile Backsplash

This picture is after I wiped everything down with a damp cloth to clean the grout lines up, but not necessarily to get the tile perfectly clean (I have yet to do that).

DIY Ceramic Tile Backsplash

Here is a close up of an area that I got pretty clean.

I really liked the light look of the tile without the grout, and I was a little nervous about what the tile would look like with the dark grout. However, I really like the way it turned out! I think it goes quite nicely with the counter tops and the tile doesn’t stick out as being too modern.

DIY Ceramic Tile Backsplash

As a reminder that is what the kitchen looked like originally.

DIY Ceramic Tile Backsplash

This is what it looks like now. It’s a little discombobulated, but with some new flooring and painted white cabinets it will look prim and proper.

My main suggestion would be to make sure your materials aren’t going to cause you any headache. I’m all about reusing materials so they don’t go to waste but I think I much rather would have bought new grout. Cutting the tiles wasn’t a bad choice, but it was a little nerve wracking that everything wasn’t completely straight as this was my first time doing tile.

The most frustrating part was trying to find the right time to do the project, and I could have benefited from slightly better planning. Overall, I’m satisfied and this was a much needed update.

Have a good holiday, and see you around!

Lauren <3

 

Winter Projects

Seeing as it is already winter and I have a break and new semester coming up I figure I should create a list of winter¬†projects to accomplish before spring. I also think hope I’m going to have a lot of exterior work to do when the weather gets nice, and I don’t want to be stuck inside.

First things first: kitchen backsplash. The walls are prepped and the hole is filled. I’m going home and should be starting the tile tonight! As a refresher here is what the layout will look like except not so tall.

Winter Projects

I would also like to replace the carpet in the kitchen with the same plank vinyl we used in the bathroom. The catch with this is we are going to tell our landlords we’ll only do it if we can paint the cabinets white, which I also want to complete before spring. The only way it would backfire is if they say no to both. Honestly I wouldn’t be surprised by that at this point. Just imagine this floor:

Winter Projects

In this kitchen:

Winter Projects

Also imagine the new spray painted countertops, ceramic backsplash, and white cabinets. I know, it’s a stretch.

I am currently in the process of scraping the peeling paint out of the old cabinets and repainting the insides. This takes forever but I’m at least hoping to have the upper cabinets done by spring. Here is a crisply painted cabinet innard for your viewing pleasure:

Winter Projects

Another project I’ve had on my mind is ripping the carpet off the entry way landing and replacing it with vinyl. If the stairs have good wood underneath I might stain them instead. Think something like this:

Winter Projects
Source: To Simply Inspire

There is a huge run in our carpet outside of the bathroom and I would like to get the carpet stretched so that problem is fixed. Chris’s dad installs¬†flooring and I think we¬†could convince him to fix¬†it for us. You can see the run in the picture below. I think it’s worse now than it was then. (This is from when I cleaned my carpet)

Winter Projects

Maybe this one is adding too many to the pile but I would love to build shelves the whole height of our small entry closet. Currently it has one shelf and that’s really not doing us any good. At the least I want to add in a couple more shelves. This is the hot mess I’m dealing with currently:

Winter Projects

I had Chris send me that picture so sorry for the quality and also sorry for the fall wreath that’s still hanging out. whoops… I should probably take that down.

Honestly the amount of major projects left in the apartment is becoming minimal. Chris and I are getting a little more serious about looking at buying the place,¬† especially since I will be living there full time starting in May. Our expenses will be smaller and we’ll have extra money to invest. So far it seems like a good idea but we need to look into the details.

I can just imagine the hilarity of showing you the before pictures of the upstairs. It’s a million times worse than what we started with in our unit. Although I think I might like the layout better.

What are your plans for the winter?

See You Around!

Lauren <3

Prepping Walls for Backsplash

A project I am currently working on is prepping walls for backsplash in the kitchen. This means that soon we will have beautiful tile in our kitchen. yeeee.

Prepping Walls for Backsplash

Here is what the backsplash looked like after spray painting my counters. I knew I would be tearing off the laminate backsplash and replacing it with tile eventually, so I didn’t bother avoiding overspray. It seems likes I’ve lived with this ombre look for ages now.

One night I just decided to start ripping tell Chris to start ripping.
Prepping Walls for Backsplash
I unscrewed the outlet covers, and Chris pried away. This section came off in a couple pieces then I had to peel off some of the paper glue backing (the orangey yellow stuff)
Prepping Walls for Backsplash
I tried to get most of the excess backing off to try to help get the wall a little flatter but I didn’t worry about it too much since I also put joint compound on it to smooth it out even better. This was way easier than peeling and sanding until my brain went dead.

Before I applied the joint compound I used a box cutter to cut away all the caulk from the counter.
Prepping Walls for Backsplash
First I taped off the counter as well as where the backsplash and painted wall met because these surfaces are already the way I want them.

To apply the joint compound I used a putty knife and went to town. I tried applying thin layers and only using what I needed to even everything out, but still have everything coated.
Prepping Walls for Backsplash
Here’s what the wall looks like after the new layer. Once the compound dried I sanded it lightly to get rid of any ridges. You can kind of see the ridges in the photo below.

Prepping Walls for Backsplash

You might have noticed in the pictures in the right hand side there is a broken piece of backsplash hanging out. Behind it there isn’t any wall there and it is an access to the outside water spigot. We figure we don’t need it so we will be putting a board up there and patching the hole up. I’ll explain in detail that process when I post about the actual tile job.

Here is the other section of the backsplash which was done at a different time. Chris also had to pull out a piece of the window trim in order to get the laminate out.
Prepping Walls for Backsplash Prepping Walls for Backsplash
It’s amazing how much cleaner and brighter it all looks. I don’t even mind the unfinished look because at least I’m making progress and it will be gorgeous soon enough.

I came up with a unique way to get a beautiful design with the free tile we were given. I’d love to share it now but instead I think I’ll make you wait until next week. ūüėČ

See you around!

Lauren <3

Click here to see how I tiled the backsplash.

Cleaning Cabinet Hardware Naturally

Once upon a time in an insane land far away, I thought my landlords were going to let me paint my cabinets. In some fantasy¬†I’m still holding onto hope they will. I feel like a broken record at this point, repeating my wishes constantly.

Because I thought they were going to say yes, I spent the time and energy taking all the upper cabinet doors off, labeling them with sticky notes, and cleaning the hardware. I put all the hardware in separate baggies with numbers that correspond with the cabinet they go on.

 Cleaning Cabinet Hardware | Super easy technique for cleaning hardware with items you probably already have Cleaning Cabinet Hardware | Super easy technique for cleaning hardware with items you probably already have

To clean the door’s hardware I put them in separate containers to clean them. I sprinkled baking soda on them before covering them in distilled white vinegar and let them soak for a few hours.

Cleaning Cabinet Hardware | Super easy technique for cleaning hardware with items you probably already have Cleaning Cabinet Hardware | Super easy technique for cleaning hardware with items you probably already have

After soaking I scrubbed the hardware with an SOS pad and rinsed. The baking soda and vinegar really did a good job of loosening up the gunk that was caked on. If you’re in the process of revamping your cabinets and are reusing your hardware I really recommend doing this step.¬†You can really get into every crevice when the hardware is not on the door.

Cleaning Cabinet Hardware | Super easy technique for cleaning hardware with items you probably already have

Here are a few side by sides of how much of a difference this can make. Plus, a reminder at how horribly disgusting my cabinets are.

Cleaning Cabinet Hardware | Super easy technique for cleaning hardware with items you probably already have Cleaning Cabinet Hardware | Super easy technique for cleaning hardware with items you probably already have

Now I sit and wait until my wish comes true. My cabinets are without doors, and the insides are begging me to paint them. I’ve done a few of the inside shelves as you may have already seen here, and I’m slowly painting them while I wait. I hope I don’t finish¬†all the insides of the cabinets and clean all of the hardware before I get to paint. At least I will have something to keep me busy in the mean time.

When is the last time you thought about cleaning your hardware? Do you get impatient waiting to do your next big project, and how do you deal with the anticipation?

See You Around!

Lauren <3

DIY Plank Vinyl Floor – Bathroom Update

I am¬†so¬†excited to finally have this project done. I’ve been waiting at least a couple of months to put the new bathroom floor in, and we finally had time to do it! On Halloween weekend nonetheless, but it was worth it ūüėÄ

As you may know if you’ve been following along, we got free Mannington Adura floors from Chris’s dad who installs floors for a living and had leftovers from a job! This stuff is awesome. I can already tell it’s going to be really durable, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. The style and color is called Dockside Seashell. This whole name confused me when we first got it, but I’ll break it down. Mannington is the brand, Adura is a type of “luxury vinyl”, Dockside is the style/grain on the wood, and Seashell is the gray color.

DIY Plank Vinyl Floor - Bathroom Update

Just a reminder, above is what my bathroom looked like before in all its carpeted glory.

DIY Plank Vinyl Floor - Bathroom Update

Here is what we found when we moved the toilet. A nasty wax ring, and a nasty unpainted wall! woo. I honestly wasn’t surprised one bit. Grossed out? Yes. Surprised? No.

 DIY Plank Vinyl Floor - Bathroom UpdateDIY Plank Vinyl Floor - Bathroom Update

The next step was removing the carpet, and the layer underneath. Luckily the floor that was under the carpet was in good shape and we didn’t have to remove it all the way down to the concrete.

Next we pulled the tack strips up, swept and cleaned the floor thoroughly before we laid the glue down.

DIY Plank Vinyl Floor - Bathroom Update

To lay the glue down we started with just one side of the room so it was easier to work. There are instructions that come with the glue but basically you just dump some glue on the floor and use a trowel to spread it around. Then you put a fan on it and wait until it gets tacky or until it is mostly clear. You want to be able to adjust the pieces a little bit, but not enough for them to slide around on you while you work.

To start the floor we put a full size board in the top left corner. Then we cut a board to fit in the space below. The remaining piece from the second board¬†is then put at the top in the next row. Just keep alternating like this and you will get a floor with a good pattern. This is what the professional told us to do, I wouldn’t make this stuff up! ūüėõ

DIY Plank Vinyl Floor - Bathroom Update

To cut the boards we just used a square and a box knife. In some cases we had to measure the length of the board we needed, but most of the time it was easier to put the board next to where it needed to be laid and make a mark with the knife of where to cut. Generally the boards just need to be scored with the knife, and you can snap it.

DIY Plank Vinyl Floor - Bathroom Update

Above is where we stopped before laying more glue. Once the rest of the floor was ready to be done Chris sat on the boards we already put in place, and cut the boards on top of a cardboard box.

DIY Plank Vinyl Floor - Bathroom Update

When we got to this point Chris had to measure how wide of a piece he needed and cut the boards long way. This was pretty difficult using the square, but I imagine there is an easier way to do it so the cut is even the whole way down. We had a little bit of a struggle, but overall it ended up fine.

DIY Plank Vinyl Floor - Bathroom Update

After the floor was all down there were still a few things I wanted to fix before putting everything back together. One of the things was painting this wall! I couldn’t put the toilet back knowing that this monstrosity was behind it. It just wouldn’t feel like a complete reno. Also notice the rotted out trim in the corner.. we’ll get to that in a bit ūüėČ

The first thing I did was wipe the nastiness off the wall with a hot rag.

DIY Plank Vinyl Floor - Bathroom Update DIY Plank Vinyl Floor - Bathroom Update

Then I sanded the wall so the paint was able to stick well, primed it, and then painted it!

Notice the rotted trim looks different? I used Durham’s Rock Hard Water Putty to fill in the holes and prevent the wood from rotting further. It is a powdered material, and you just add water to activate it. Mix it up and apply it to the surface. I just used my hands since that seemed easiest. This stuff is moldable, sandable, and paintable. And since it comes in powdered form you don’t have to worry about it setting up in the container. It’s super cheap too and I already have other plans for it around the house ūüėÄ I think this is my new favorite home improvement product.

DIY Plank Vinyl Floor - Bathroom Update

The other thing we did was get rid of the yucky wax seal, and instead of replacing it with another wax seal we opted for a universal reusable seal. It was like $7, and is somewhat adjustable. The whole thing was too tall so we just removed a layer of the spongy stuff in the middle.

DIY Plank Vinyl Floor - Bathroom Update DIY Plank Vinyl Floor - Bathroom Update

The last thing I decided¬†to do was quickly go over the trim with a coat of paint. I’ve painted the bathroom trim before, but now the floor height is lower and some ugly areas were uncovered. As usual I sanded and wiped it down first.

DIY Plank Vinyl Floor - Bathroom Update

The trim looks as fresh as it’s good ole pal the floor. ūüėČ

Now are you ready for the finished product??? are you sure?? okay, here it is!! ūüėÄ

DIY Plank Vinyl Floor - Bathroom Update

It’s everything I dreamed and more. No joke. I feel like it just makes the space feel so much bigger, brighter, and lighter. It’s amazing.

The bathroom has come such a long way since we moved in and I think it’s becoming one of my favorite spots in the house if it wasn’t already. I can’t wait to show the landlords the results.

Next my plans are to re caulk the shower, and paint the new trim piece between the carpet and the vinyl. I also need to look into cosmetic fixes for the shower surround.

DIY Plank Vinyl Floor - Bathroom Update DIY Plank Vinyl Floor - Bathroom Update

Here’s a side by side just as a reminder ūüôā

Do you love it too? Do you feel like you could tackle a similar project after reading this post? What’s your favorite flooring?

See You Around!

Lauren <3