Our Failed Sealants

I’ve shied away from talking about our fiasco that was our Ardex Feather Finished Countertops… if you want to read more about what I have already wrote on that, I suggest looking back through the blog… and here you go here (that’s the post where I burst everyone’s bubble and whine a lot.. but there’s also some progress shots elsewhere in the blog).

I thought I’d share what sealants we used and that didn’t work.

Sikagard 1 Gal. Natural Look Sealer

Sikagard 1 Gal. Natural Look Sealer

First off, we tried Sika Sikaguard Professional Natural Look Clear Sealer from Home Depot.  We did NOT try to wax this.  It did not work at all for us.  We put coats and coats and coat after coat of this stuff on and the water would still soak through. We put some MIO in water to make the water colored, and it stained the crap out of it.  I thought I had pictures of these stains, but apparently I didn’t take any while in my blind rage?

Side note – this was the ONLY concrete sealer I could find at my local Home Depot.  I thought that was odd.  The sales associates looked at me like I was nuts when I told them what I was looking for.

Sakrete Gallon Cure'n Seal Concrete Repair

Sakrete Gallon Cure’n Seal Concrete Repair

Next, I tried a sealant I got at Lowe’s instead.   This time I picked up Sakrete Concrete Cure N’ Seal.  I flipped over my ‘test’ concrete (As previously mentioned, I applied some to an old MDF shelf), applied more feather finish and then again coated until I thought for sure anymore would be overkill.  Around eight coats if I remember correctly.  THEN I waxed it..twice.  I spilled everything all over the tester and it didn’t soak in.  Everything was great.

As for the wax, I just bought kit carnuba wax from Amazon.

So what went wrong with the main installation?

I have no idea.  We did exactly to the countertops that we did to the tester shelf.  The only thing I can think is that these countertops were actually used, not “tested.”  We prepped meals on them.  We sat dishes down on them.  No matter what we did, we had to do whatever the equivalent is in this situation as “walk on eggshells” with them.  Don’t let your glass sit too long.  Don’t let your raw veggies touch them lest it comes off on the veggies.  Do not let grease splash on them because it’ll stain before you can even exhale.

I’ll post some aftermath photos asap to show the damage.

In the interim, does anybody know where we went wrong?  Or did we do everything we were supposed to and these were just an absolute disaster in the making no matter what we did?

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The Ceramic Womb

…is what we call our “master bathroom.”

Here’s a funny anecdote.. if you google image search “Master bathroom,” this is what you come up with:

Google Img Master Bath

Don’t believe me?  Go ahead, click it.

For the record, most of those gigantic bathrooms are actually bigger than our entire house.  Who has that kind of space?  Also, what are these people doing in their bathrooms?  Hosting parties?  Exactly how many people are in this bathroom at any given time? The entire Duggar family?  I digress.

Here is our “master bath” from our first tour of our home —

Master Bath

“Master” Bath

The wood on each side of that picture is the molding framing in the sliding pocket door (can I just say I love pocket doors?).  Then, following the picture in from the left, you see the glass shower door the pink wall of the shower, and the grey toilet.  In the far right of the picture, just before the pocket door molding for the other side, you see the pedestal sink peeking out.  It’s a little hard to tell in two dimensions, but between the shower wall in the middle of the picture and the edge of the sink, is just enough room to slide through sideways to the toilet.  It is cramped to say the least. In the almost year (holy smokes) that we’ve lived here, we’ve both showered in this room one time each.  It is very cramped.  Also, I am sure you’ve noticed by now that the entire thing is pepto pink.  I want you to be assured that the inside of the shower is as well.  Every surface inside that shower – floor, ceilings, and every wall – is also this pink tile.  Thats why we call it the ceramic womb.  It is awful.

We have big plans for this bathroom, but I’ll get to that soon, this post is already getting huge just enjoying the sights.  Let’s just say, hubs went all hulk smash! on the thing and it no longer has a shower or 4 walls.

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Stay tuned!

New Rug!

Our living room is coming along…  Here’s an update of how it looks as of today!

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All that junk on the sofa table?  Just keeping it real.

But the living room has made a lot of progress.  We’d like to thank Kev’s parents for the beautiful blue rug.  It was our Christmas gift.  If you’d like it, it is the moroccan trellis rug in Blue on Overstock.com.  We got it on a sweet Black Friday deal.

You can also see that the artwork above the fireplace is now mounted and the houseplants are gone…because we killed them.  Whoops.  We had no real great place we liked them in this house so I guess it doesn’t really matter.  Poor planties.  I also switched the position of the chair & tiny table & switched it out with another lamp we had in another room.  I like it better this way, but I have to shim up the other leg of the chair so its stop wobbling (only one leg is on the rug).

The Living Room POA-

Here’s the living room plans-

  • Paint fireplace grate
  • Buy new curtains
  • Possibly buy a new more fashionable blind
  • Buy an area rug
  • Box out the hidden windows
  • Probably buy a new couch
  • Build built-ins on each side of the fireplace that are mantel height & the TV can be hidden in
  • Paint the trim glossy white
  • Paint the front door
  • Mount the artwork (I made that) above the fireplace
  • Pare down on the houseplants.  (actually we accidentally killed them.. so that was an easy step…unfortunately)

I’ve actually bought a couple different pair of curtains to try out here and haven’t made a decision yet.  They’re probably all going back to the store.  We also picked out a huge (96in) bamboo shade on discount from Home Depot the other day as well.  I am hoping to get that hung up in the near future.  When I go into the living room now I feel really at home.  It’s starting to feel warm and inviting instead of just a mishmash of things thrown in there that we already owned.  We haven’t really bought a lot for it, but the little adjustments make it feel more intentional than its previously thrown together.  Happy home.

Then & Now – Living Room Edition

The end of November & beginning of December brought a lot of rapid fire changes to the living room area.  It was an area that basically remained stagnant from when we finished the painting and ripping up the floor.  We filled it with furniture we already owned and went on with life.

Here’s what it looked like at our first walk thru.  When we “fell in love” with our diamond in the rough.

Living room - February 2012 (before we bought our home)

Living room – February 2012 (before we bought our home)

Gross carpet, ugly blinds, brassy fireplace cover. But also- beautiful fireplace, huge window, great bones.

Now here it is on Thanksgiving Day 2012 (about 9 months later)

Living Room on Thanksgiving 2012

Living Room on Thanksgiving 2012

So what’s changed in the last 9 months?  Well the obvious – it’s been painted and the carpet was ripped out.  We put our own furniture in it.  But also, Kevin used high heat paint (its actually marketed for a grill – Rustoleum makes it) in flat black to paint the fireplace cover.  How much better is that?  Seriously amazing.

We have a lot of plans for this space.  All in all from the wall in the left of the photo to the window is about 12 feet.  From the fireplace to the wall that I am standing beside when I took this picture is either 19 or 20 feet.  I don’t remember exactly.  So with where the couch is the living room is about 12×10 roughly.

Here’s the living room plans-

  • Paint fireplace grate
  • Buy new curtains
  • Possibly buy a new more fashionable blind
  • Buy an area rug
  • Box out the windows hidden in this photo
  • Probably buy a new couch
  • Build built-ins on each side of the fireplace that are mantel height & the TV can be hidden in
  • Paint the trim glossy white
  • Paint the front door (can’t see it here)
  • Mount the artwork (I made that) above the fireplace (it’s just leaning in this picture)
  • Pare down on the houseplants.  (actually we accidentally killed them.. so that was an easy step…unfortunately)

It’s basically a whole whole bunch of buying.  So that’s why it’s coming along slowly.

Luckily though, a lot of this list was knocked off over Thanksgiving weekend… Thanks Billionaire (thats what I call my father-in-law, Bill)!

Gross Grout

5 people read my blog on a regular basis.  Five.  I spell it out so you know that’s not a typo.  You, one of the five.  So it’s really silly that I type this like it’s some sort of big shot blog, but I like to cover my bases.  With that said, nobody paid me for this post or any other (seriously though, where do I sign up for that?  Cash money.)   Not a dime is made from this blog.  I actually make negative money when you think about the time I put into it means time I am not getting paid for my actual real job.

Rejuvenate White Grout Restorer Marker Pens

Rejuvenate White Grout Restorer Marker Pens

You may have heard me say the word gross..or disgusting.. or dirty before in reference to our house and specifically in reference to our kitchen.  We love our little first home.  It gets more perfect everyday.  However, it really was filthy when we moved in and some things refuse to come clean.  Like the white grout in our kitchen.  So one day early on after moving in I was in our Second Home (Depot) and discovered these bad boys right here.

They’re about $6 for two of them and I love them.  I should tell you I ruined the first one.  Completely utterly destroyed it trying to grasp a technique that works well.  If you have ever used a paint marker, you know something about these.  In fact, I can’t specifically say these aren’t just paint markers marketed for a specific purpose.  I don’t have any inclination of what makes them special to use on grout.  But I bought them and love them and would totally buy them again.

Let me tell you about some tips I picked up while ruining the first marker.

The package says to press in the tip to get the paint flow.  Yes, that’s a great idea.  But a bad idea is to press it into the grout to get the paint to flow.  That will eventually destroy the tip and you will end up like I did with a 3/4 of the way full marker and no tip to use it with.  Luckily I had enough with my second pen and I never ruined it, but learn from me just in case you have much more grout than I do.

I eventually worked out a system.  It consists of finding something that you can stick the pen into when you are using it to store it point down.  Mine was a fancy trivet thing that I don’t use as a trivet.  It has a little hole in it that the capped marker fit perfectly in.

Got your trivet like thing?  Great.  Now, start by cleaning your grout.  Always clean everything.  It sucks, just do it.  I hate cleaning and I did it so you can manage.

Once you’re clean and dry (and so is your grout), then get your pen and some sort of rag you don’t mind ruining.  I happen to have a gigantic pack of lint free cloths that we bought when we painted the cabinets, so I used one of those.

Grab your pen and shake it like a salt shaker shake it like a salt shaker shake it like a salt shaker (I know not a single other line from that song).  Once you are convinced your paint is flowing well, press the tip into the rag gently.  I’d say gently as if you were popping a pimple (just keeping it real) or squeezing a grape, but not like you hate the pen or it threw a drink in your face or perhaps works for Fox News.   You’ll see the paint start flowing out on your cloth.

Once you can visibly see the paint, run the marker gently (don’t press too hard – just hard enough) over the grout either until the paint stops flowing or you’ve done about a square foot of grout.  You don’t want to do too much painting at once because if it dries, you can’t get it off.  As far as running the marker over the grout, I found that dragging it down the tile so that the fibers in the tip weren’t pushed against themselves worked best. To say it another way, if you look at that picture of the hand holding the pen in the product picture – holding the marker like that, drag down, DON’T PUSH UP – NEVER UP, so as to maintain the pen tip.

Now you’ve got your square foot of paint done or however much you just did (hey maybe you don’t listen and you just read random blogs to not follow their advice), put your marker cap back on and place it in your little trivet hole so that the ink can follow gravity towards the tip.  Take your throwaway towel and wipe off the paint that got everywhere but your grout.  I found that if I put light pressure on the rag and just ran it on the grout lines, the paint genuinely stuck to the grout but came off of everything else.  Every once in awhile, I had to focus in and really detail get the paint off the tile. Generally tho, the quick wipe was all I need.

Once you get the paint off the tile, pick the pen up again and give it a couple shakes and then run it over more grout.  You may need to press the tip into the rag every once in awhile, but once I got into the rhythm  I really did not do that often.  I found letting it rest tip down while I cleaned up the excess paint was the most helpful at keeping the process rolling.

Also, I am 27 years old and I still can’t spell rhythm.  Thank god for spell check.

So here’s the side by side I snapped while I was doing the worst part (directly above the st0ve).  The black thing to the top of the pic is our exhaust fan.  The grey is the cabinet to the upper right of the stove.  And just in case I have to point it out, the gross orange is how the grout started out before the paint and the white is the after.  It’s not perfect brand new looking white in these really awful parts like the area in the picture, but I think it still looks pretty incredible.

Grout Side by Side

Grout Side by Side

Not bad for $6 and a couple hours of work.  Granted it’s work that some people would find tedious.  But I think the after makes it gratifying.  I don’t know if I have any parks & recs fans out there in the 5 of you that read this, but if not, really get on that.  Its incredible.  Anyhow, there’s a scene where they have to stuff envelopes and Jerry finds out he’s really relaxed by mundane repetitious tasks.  Me too, Jerry, me too.

I still have a small part of the grout to do in the back corner behind the sink. I just can’t reach it comfortably.  So when we take the sink out (again) to redo the countertops (again), I am going to pop myself up in the sink-hole and get that back part.  Why endure the back and neck pain to do it before then?

So all in all, I seriously seriously recommend these pens.  It’s really gratifying and worth the time.  It’s very easy.  Very affordable.  Just do it!

I’d add the kitchen list & update it.. but this was never on the list so.. bonus! ha

 

 

Ceiling Changes

The initial plan (as you can see here by the paint samples on the ceiling) was to paint the walls and the ceiling in the kitchen the same color.  We used the technique in our bathroom reno (here) to make the space feel taller and bigger.  However, we ended up choosing a bright (I say cheerful) shade of green and felt that having it on the ceiling would be too much.  Also, a white ceiling will help our dark kitchen appear even brighter than ever.   So on the white ceiling paint went.

Kevin Painting the Ceiling

Here’s Kevin cutting in the paint in the little nook.  The door in front of him is the door to our patio and the unpainted door behind him is the door to the basement.  The kitchen floor actually steps down in this little two-door nook, so thats why Kevin is doing the cutting in here.  I can’t reach – even on the step stool – and I don’t do ladders.  So everywhere else it was business as usual – me cutting in and Kevin rolling.  We didn’t bother taping off because the walls were the next to be painted.  We were just extra careful to not get any paint on the cabinets or countertops (we covered those up) and we taped off the big ceiling light.

Here’s a before & after.  Look at all that reflecting light! Yum!

Before & After Ceiling Paint

Before & After Ceiling Paint

So yesterday’s post didn’t update the checklist, so lets have at that.

  • Prime, paint, and seal the cabinets. (we opted to not seal)
  • Buy new hardware and add it to the cabinets (duh)
  • Paint the walls and ceiling
  • Re-do the countertop (either paint or re-laminate)
  • Re-do the countertop AGAIN (surprise!)
  • Replace the floor
  • Finally finish installing the big light
  • Replace the under cabinet light
  • Find a permanent solution for the trash and recycle bins (on our way!)
  • Make the upper corner shelf open shelving (just have to add the shelves back in – more on that later)
  • Possibly replace the above-window light
  • Add some sort of curtains to the window and the door
  • Strip and repair the doors to the outside and to the basement
  • Paint the doors to the outside and the basement
  • Bright high gloss white paint on the trim
  • Create a family command center on the big open wall that includes a calendar, mail center, meal planner, and anything else we may find useful.
  • Decorate.
  • Enjoy.

It’s coming along.. and needed some updating now that we have to re-redo the countertops.  Progress is progress!

Let’s Talk Cheap, Temp Flooring

Our Current Kitchen Flooring

Our Current Kitchen Flooring

Look at that awesome floor!  That’s what’s currently in our kitchen.  There is no doubt about it that whoever did the last major reno to this house loved pink.  We have pink countertops, an entire pink bathroom that feels like a ceramic womb, pink floors, pink window ledges, pink walls.  There is no end to the pink.  But for now, lets just focus on that floor.  At a distance, say standing up and just looking at it, it’s ugly, but you can’t tell that it’s actually that filthy until you get down close to it.  Granted this picture is from underneath the fridge.  But you get my point.

So what are we considering?

Well we know for sure we are going to rip out those stick on tiles.  Thanks to the above picture we can see what’s underneath it and no part seems to be “soft” as we walk on it (and trust me I walk heavy) so we should just be able to put the new floor down on top of the existing subfloor.

We also know that we are aiming for “cheap, yet modern and stylish.”  The cheaper the better without compromising the looks too much.  We want this kitchen update to satisfy us for about 5 years and then we hope to gut it and rip out walls and have a much more open floor plan.  So we are not opposed to vinyl or laminate.  However, we are opposed to tile because it hurts the feet. Plus who wants to clean grout?  Not this girl.

These are some options and ideas that I’ve bookmarked and perused.  (For an ongoing and up to the minute look into my brain, follow me on pinterest! http://www.pinterest.com/jessiedrm – nobody pins harder than I do)

First off, I am pretty obsessed with laying the floor in a herringbone pattern.  However, with the options of actual flooring we are considering, I don’t think this is possible based on the size of the planks/tiles vs. the size of our kitchen.  The scale is off.  I am still brainstorming on whether or not this is possible, though, so it’s still in the running.

Herringbone Patterned Floor #1

Herringbone Patterned Floor #1

Herringbone Patterned Floor #2

Herringbone Patterned Floor #2

Originally, the plans were for a grey floor, but now we are unsure.  I also really love Home Depot’s fake cork options.  The end real kitchen update in ~5 years has a planned cork floor in my head, but as of right now, fake cork-look is much more in the budget.   We don’t want wood because the rest of the house is wood and it’d be killer to try to match up.  Plus, it seems like it’d be a lot of work to maintain in a kitchen.  Here are pics and links to the options we’ve been discussing:

TrafficMaster Ceramica 12 in. x 24 in. Coastal Grey Vinyl Tile Flooring (30 sq. ft./case)

TrafficMaster Ceramica 12 in. x 24 in. Coastal Grey Vinyl Tile Flooring (30 sq. ft./case) at Home Depot for $1.69/sq.ft.

Armstrong Imperial Texture 12 in. x 12 in. Classic White Standard Excelon Vinyl Composition Tiles (45-Pack)  for $0.73/sq. ft.

Armstrong Imperial Texture 12 in. x 12 in. Classic White Standard Excelon Vinyl Composition Tiles (45-Pack) for $0.73/sq. ft. – but NOT in this classic/retro checkered pattern, but still patterned in someway

TrafficMaster Allure 6 in. x 36 in. Lisbon Cork Dark Resilient Vinyl Plank Flooring (24 sq. ft./case) for $1.99/sq.ft

TrafficMaster Allure 6 in. x 36 in. Lisbon Cork Dark Resilient Vinyl Plank Flooring (24 sq. ft./case) for $1.99/sq.ft – This is a terrible picture. Who has a bright orange kitchen?

TrafficMaster Allure 6 in. x 36 in. Natural Cork Resilient Vinyl Plank Flooring (24 sq. ft./case) for $1.99/sq.ft.

TrafficMaster Allure 6 in. x 36 in. Natural Cork Resilient Vinyl Plank Flooring (24 sq. ft./case) for $1.99/sq.ft.

TrafficMaster Allure 6 in. x 36 in. Natural Cork Resilient Vinyl Plank Flooring (24 sq. ft./case) for $1.99/sq.ft.

TrafficMaster Allure 6 in. x 36 in. Natural Cork Resilient Vinyl Plank Flooring (24 sq. ft./case) for $1.99/sq.ft.

 

There are also some considerations from Lowe’s, that d0n’t have “room views” —

Cryntel 12" x 12" Ebony Marble Finish Vinyl Tile for $0.88 each

Cryntel 12″ x 12″ Ebony Marble Finish Vinyl Tile for $0.88 each

Style Selections 18"x18" Aspen Gray Stained Concrete for $2.21 each

Style Selections 18″x18″ Aspen Gray Stained Concrete for $2.21 each

Style Selections 12" x 12" Crescendo Marble Gray Marble Finish Luxury Vinyl Tile for $1.13 each

Style Selections 12″ x 12″ Crescendo Marble Gray Marble Finish Luxury Vinyl Tile for $1.13 each

Congoleum 16" x 16" Quartz White Stone Granite Finish Luxury Vinyl Tile at $73.04 each case of 10 tiles

Congoleum 16″ x 16″ Quartz White Stone Granite Finish Luxury Vinyl Tile at $73.04 each case of 10 tiles

Congoleum 16" x 16" Quartz Midnight Granite Finish Luxury Vinyl Tile at $73.04 for a case of 10 tiles

Congoleum 16″ x 16″ Quartz Midnight Granite Finish Luxury Vinyl Tile at $73.04 for a case of 10 tiles

 

As you can see, the choices are wildly variable and we’ve got a long way before we make a decision.  We like to mull over things until we’re sick of thinking about them then we just make some sort of snap decision like it shoulda and coulda been made in 10 minutes lifetimes ago.