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The Home Improvement Thread

BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 39672 replies471 threads Senior Member
edited July 2017 in Parent Cafe
It looks like a few of us have been busy with some home improvement project lately and scattered our DIY and contractor questions and comments in many different threads. Perhaps, it is time to reconcile all of that chatter under one roof -? Let's start a new thread. This is like Dressing Young for the house. :) Good idea? If not, ignore this!
edited July 2017
2971 replies
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Replies to: The Home Improvement Thread

  • emilybeeemilybee 13220 replies35 threads Senior Member
    Good idea.
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  • runnersmomrunnersmom 2277 replies37 threads Senior Member
    We are replacing our foyer floor starting next week. It's been a thorn in the side of my husband since we moved in 23 years ago and, of course, 3 weeks before we're throwing a large engagement party for our S, he's pulled the plug to get it done. We've ordered the tile and the tile guy we hired comes very highly recommended and promised a 7 day job...I can only hope he's right. My H always wanted a herringbone wood floor, but for many reasons we went with stone-like porcelain 12x24 tiles, set subway style. I wanted to do a refresh of the powder room, which I have always hated, but it's hard to justify the expense for something I just don't like, but is certainly functional and not falling apart.
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 39672 replies471 threads Senior Member
    I am trying to decide what color to paint my new siding. The old siding was painted depressing "chocolate" (poop) brown. Good riddance! The windows are brown fiberglass. I am thinking keeping the trim brown. White trim looks nice but is a PITA when it comes to maintenance.
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  • emilybeeemilybee 13220 replies35 threads Senior Member
    My across the street neighbors have brown firm (window are also brown.) There house is a very light beige - one of the colors which is in the brick on the front of their house. I can take a picture if you'd like. Just pm me your email address.
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  • bookwormbookworm 9100 replies72 threads Senior Member
    I like off white. BM's linen white has a touch of yellow in it. Th darkest I would go is Sherwood Williams Toasted Almond
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 39672 replies471 threads Senior Member
    Good ideas. Thanks! The siding came pre-primed in cream primer. I am getting used to it and kind of like it.
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  • anomanderanomander 1746 replies4 threads Senior Member
    @runnersmom Are you on a slab or wood? Large-format tiles have higher requirements in terms of support (rigidity in particular) if you have a wood subfloor, so make sure you discuss it with your tile guy if you haven't already.

    Regardless, 12x24 stone-look porcelain in a running-bond pattern (i.e. Subway) looks fantastic. I hope you can get it done in time!
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 39672 replies471 threads Senior Member
    @runnersmom - good luck! It can be done!

    Our kitchen countertops were torn out and replaced quickly. If we have not had a custom layout, we would have been done in 2 days. We are just waiting for custom backsplash that had to be mapped out separately, after the countertop install. But I can already use the kitchen without the backsplash - no issues.

    Speaking of parties, Mr. B really, really wanted to have a patio party, so I washed the entire deck (1000 sft plus!) and we assembled the grill and the firechat set to go on it in one day. I was tired as a dog, but the party was a success.
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  • anxiousmomanxiousmom 5830 replies105 threads Senior Member
    I am thinking of doing our kitchen counters Bunsenburner. What did you replace yours with and what costs?
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  • Singersmom07Singersmom07 4225 replies82 threads Senior Member
    @anxiousmom we did ours last year with a great looking quartz. It has a swirling grey, taupe, beige pattern. It really looks like a marble but it is virtually indestructible. My husband cleans it with Windex :)
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 39672 replies471 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2017
    @anxiousmom - the cost will greatly depend on the project scope and the amount of labor needed. We needed 3 foot wide countertops and custom backsplash, so the cost was over the moon. We went with a company that contracts for Costco here, so that was still a good deal. I am absolutely in love with the material - it is quartz made by Cambria in Berwyn pattern. It has creamy greys and just a tiny touch of sparkle and looks amazingly good with the cream colored cabinets that came with the house. I was going to reface them because they were painted, but I think I will keep the painted doors now! :)

    https://www.cambriausa.com/designs/design-palette/Berwyn/

    The sinks are Blanco "white" - they are just a touch of grey and match the light grey in the pattern. The whole combo goes well with the stainless appliances.
    edited July 2017
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  • mathmommathmom 32765 replies160 threads Senior Member
    I am 90% finished with repairing our detached garage. It's one of those things that certainly has very little return on investment, but I was tired of looking at the sway back roof covered with moss, the cedar shakes covered with green stuff, with the occasional one at the bottom falling off etc. etc. And there was a big enough hole where the hill had basically slid down and rotted things out that large animals could get in and camp out. It ended up more as a rebuild, underpinning the nonexistent foundations, replacing studs that turned out to be eaten away by termites, rebuilding the roof almost entirely. (Upper half had no underlayment, undersized rafters and missing cross ties. Also did I mention the driveway drained into the garage? Anyway it's all done except for a small concrete patio that is supposed to get slate, and a little bit of fence repair. And they said they'd help me replant my rain garden since they managed to kill about a third of the plants.

    While we had the contractors around I had them redo the backsplash behind our sink. I'd built my counters extra deep three years ago when we redid the kitchen and thought I could have the beadboard paneling there. It turned out we splash way too much, so it's now tile.
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 39672 replies471 threads Senior Member
    Nooooo!!!! Tell your husband to lay off Windex! Ammonia is not good for quartz. Clean it with soap and water - that is all what's needed.
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  • collage1collage1 1872 replies73 threads Senior Member
    Thanks for starting this thread, BB. We just replaced our kitchen countertops (quartzite) and I love them. They look a bit like carrara marble with white stone and gray veining. We had dark granite tile with grout and the lightness and lack of grout make me happy every time I walk into the kitchen. We also painted our wood cabinets a complimentary gray (BM trout gray). The next step is to redo the fireplace in the adjoining family room/great room. We're replacing our wood burning fireplace with an insert and replacing the previously matching dark granite tile with a beautiful 3 dimensional tile (erth coverings large strips in lava) and that should be done in about 3 weeks.

    Multiple additional home improvement projects to follow with a different contractor, the biggest of which is the addition of a deck to the family room/great room. I had posted on the Flip thread that I'd love to hear if anyone has any experience selecting a nano-type bi-fold door. Ours will be 18 feet across and I believe we've narrowed it down to La Cantina and Panoramic, both of which we're seeing over the next few days. I'm hosting Thanksgiving and our contractor just became available and, with a potential 8 week lead time to get the doors, I'm under pressure to select and order as soon as possible.

    And, in terms of color pairings, I think cream and brown look beautiful together although I'm sure identifying just the right cream could take some time. @bookworm, sounds like you have some expertise in this area.
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  • collage1collage1 1872 replies73 threads Senior Member
    @anxiousmom, you asked about cost for replacing countertops. We needed 3 slabs of quartzite and, with fabrication, it came to under $10,000. There were little extras like needing to replace/upgrade all the outlets and covers and, as had been predicted, our disposal broke a few weeks after and we had to replace it. I think there was one other modest expense but can't recall what it was at the moment.
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  • CT1417CT1417 4430 replies24 threads Senior Member
    @collage1 -- interested in hearing about replacing wood-burning fireplace with an inset. What does that entail? Will this be a gas fireplace? The FR fireplace has one of those manufactured chimneys with a metal thing on the top (useless description, I realize) whereas the LR fireplace is original to the house and made of brick. The FR fireplace was built too large so I never end up using it due to the amount of wood and effort needed to keep it burning (and the mess of ashes the next morning, that sometimes blow out onto the floor overnight).

    Just curious about how much of a project that is and cost? Thanks!
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  • VeryHappyVeryHappy 18732 replies328 threads Senior Member
    Great idea for a thread. I predict this one is going to go on and on for years.
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  • emilybeeemilybee 13220 replies35 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2017
    "Tell your husband to lay off Windex! Ammonia is not good for quartz. Clean it with soap and water - that is all what's needed."

    You can use Glass Plus - it's ammonia free. I use it as ammonia isn't good for granite, either. I also use Method Granite Cleaner. Just depends on my mood which one I use.
    edited July 2017
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 39672 replies471 threads Senior Member
    I like that Method, too. Soap and water is dirt cheap though. :) Our countertops were $12k plus labor. As I said, they were super custom to fit then huge kitchen.
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  • WellspringWellspring 1533 replies9 threads Senior Member
    We just had the retaining walls on both sides of the driveway rebuilt, along with the corners of the garage which sits under the house. That necessitated a new garage door which had to be custom since it's so small. Now when I park my Forester in the driveway both the driver and passenger doors can be opened, not previously possible with the leaning retaining walls. And the new tiny garage door has a garage door opener which is a nice feature, although we never put either the car or the pick-up in the garage since the garage is so small.

    So not a sexy home improvement, but one that had to be done. What I'd really like to do is some landscaping and deck/patio construction in the back yard. We could enjoy that now and it certainly would add to resale but it's hard to convince ourselves to spend on that now that we're both retired.
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