Slowly but surely, we are making definite progress around here. We moved out of the basement several weeks ago, and have been working to get the upstairs of the house more liveable. While we were thankful to be in our own home, we’re definitely glad to have upgraded from this:
Basement living…can’t say I miss it. At all. (Thank you, friends that came to visit during the early weeks- you are brave!)
Our first priority before moving upstairs was getting the flooring taken care of. The old carpet was rather disgusting (and ugly), and, with a baby that will be crawling all over before we know it, we definitely wanted the peace of mind that comes with new floors.
The bedrooms all got new carpet, which, even though it’s not as pretty as hardwood, I sort of prefer in a bedroom. I love not having to worry about walking on cold surfaces when waking up early in the dead of winter.
Carpet installation day was a bit of an adventure, with my two-week-old and I hanging out in the basement while the carpet installers blared 80s rock from their van all. day. long. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problems with 80s rock, it’s just not the best soundtrack for babies to nap to. Nevertheless, we survived, and the bedrooms got an update:
The next decision we needed to make was for flooring in the main living spaces.
Here is where things got a little tricky. Half of our house is built over a basement, while the other half is built over a concrete slab. Nailing into concrete isn’t exactly feasible, which ruled out traditional hardwoods that are finished on site (which is always my favorite option).
The next wrench in our plan came in the form of the kitchen and hallway linoleum, which we learned was asbestos. Before you all run in fear, I would like to assure you that people have survived for decades in houses with asbestos. While the word can make some homebuyers shudder, asbestos is typically only dangerous when it is friable (easily crumbled). For more information, see this fact sheet.
Because most asbestos-related danger comes when ripping it up, we determined that the safest option would be to install the new floors over the old tile. Seems simple enough, but the adhesives used for most glue-down floors likely wouldn’t stand up well to the linoleum.
So now, we were in need of a floor that 1) didn’t have to be nailed down and 2) didn’t have to be glued down. Also, while ripping up the carpet revealed beautiful hardwoods in the living room, it also uncovered this patchwork of craziness in the kitchen/dining room:
Yes, those are six different types of linoleum.
No, I do not understand what they were thinking.
So basically, our house was making the flooring decision for us.
Because of these constraints, we opted for a floating floor, which is basically a click-and-lock hardwood system that sits atop the old floors.
Thankfully, most pre-finished floors come with a click-lock option, and it’s often the cheapest of the three choices.
We browsed through floors at a few places, including Lowes, Home Depot, Lumber Liquidators, and a local flooring company (where we bought our carpet). We ended up deciding on Mohawk Chocolate Hickory floors (from Lowes) for their dark stain, handscraped look, and reasonable price.
Thanks to a 10% off new mover coupon from Lowes, we placed the largest order of our lives (flooring, light fixtures, a toilet, and some other fun house stuff), which arrived to our garage on a couple of big pallets (which are begging to be turned into a Pinterest project).
Then, my handyman husband got to work.
No, I did not help (other than using the shop vac to prep the spaces he was heading to). Basically, my job was baby feeding/changing/holding/playing while Zach installed the floors. So, while I was looking at this:
Zach was doing this:
It took him about 70 hours to get the floors down, and we still need to add quarter-round, but I’m so impressed with his work! It was such a huge job, but it’s pretty cool to look around and know that he did it all on his own. As a bonus, I love that we can now walk around our house barefoot without worrying about contracting some asbestos-induced foot fungus (or maybe that was just me).
Hudson also tested them out and gave them his seal of approval: