Tag Archives: crown molding

Spring Update

It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve given an update, and we’ve made lots of progress on a few different projects.

Our garden is planted, for the most part, and includes snow peas, a couple jalapeno peppers, eggplants, 2 roma-variety tomatoes and 1 grape tomato, bush zucchini, spaghetti squash, large sized andĀ  pickling sized cucumbers, various herbs, and leeks. We started everything from seed inside about a month ago (except the snow peas, which were planted outside and are now a perfect row of happy little pea plants), so we’ll see how this goes. Doesn’t look like much now!

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We’ve also gotten a number of perennial flowers happily planted in our new flower bed, and everything is really starting to grow with the recent warmer weather.

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We made some mild progress on our balusters, and got them all primed with the paint sprayer a few weeks ago:

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But then the pollen hit and we decided to hold off on doing the final paint coat. No one wants yellow paint on their stairs! So these are still piled in our living room awaiting that fate.

We are almost done with our little side tables for our guest bedroom – they got stained on top, and got a coat of light gray paint (a runner-up color for our kitchen cabinets, when we were still considering painting them gray, so we already had that paint). Another coat of paint and some sealer and they’ll be all done. Here are some photos of this project from the beginning. They are kinda-matching, kinda-not:

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The paint stripper took of multiple layers of gummy, old paint.

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Tops all sanded

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Getting some stain

We’ve also made some progress with the buffet piece we’re refurbishing for our friends…the wooden surfaces we salvaged are all stained now, and the body is waiting for primer and paint. Nik busted out the router this weekend to practice with, since we’ll be attempting to cut out the middle of the solid doors in the front of the piece to put in some radiator grate or glass so they can put their cable box in there and still get a signal through to their remote. I’ll save pictures of this till the end…so it can be a surprise!

The weather was beautiful yesterday, so I dragged all the cut pieces of crown molding out of the garage, gave them a quick sanding and dust-off, and got the paint sprayer out. I’ve never put semi-gloss paint in the sprayer (which is what we use for our trim paint) so I was a little worried about how tacky it might feel – but it worked like a charm! The finish was really nice, and a bit glossy (not as glossy as when painted on with a brush). We had one minor clog in the gun, but running some water through it seemed to fix the issue.

So that took all of 15 minutes to do, once everything was set up. After about an hour of dry time, we decided to just go ahead and mount the pieces since we already had pressure in the air compressor. We started in the dining room and made it most of the way around the living room. There’s a few pieces left to hang but we finally called it quits at dinnertime.

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Everyone knows crown molding is challenging – and we definitely have some wonky corners/edges. I think the challenge is not finding the right angle, but getting the piece perfectly level and lined up in the saw – especially if its a 12′ wobbly piece hanging out the other side of the saw. If it’s not perfectly level, your angle can be a few degrees off. That combined with our walls/ceilings which aren’t remotely straight has left us with some intimidating gaps. We’re just going to have to make really good friends with the caulk gun for this project!

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Before

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After!

Despite my attempt to make organized lists of things to accomplish for the weekend, Nik always manages to go off and start a completely new project – like ripping apart most of our side deck off the garage, and replacing the floor, stair treads, and railing. Granted, this did have to happen at some point since the boards were completely splintering. He used left over wood pieces from the jungle gym – but we need to get a few more boards to finish the stair treads and railing. Before:

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During and after:

Progress-wise, our goal this month is to get the crown molding finished and patched, get somewhere with the stair railings/balusters, get our friends’ buffet piece and our guest bedroom tables finished up, and wrap up refinishing a dining table in the garage that we’ve had for a while that Nik recently unearthed and started working on. And THEN we can start on our bathroom!

 

Making Balusters

I find that when I make a blog post with goals and plans, we get more done that weekend. So here we go: last weekend we did make a lengthy trip to Lowes to investigate our stair options. We measured our stairs, and realized we only need 2 x 8′ pieces of plowed handrail to cover the sections that will have balusters, and 1 x 12′ piece of unplowed handrail to cover the walled section that won’t require balusters. Plowed handrails basically just have a small groove on the bottom, to hold the balusters in place and hide that junction. There is also a little slat of wood that slides out of the bottom of that groove, called a fillet, and I think you can cut this to fit between each baluster to get them spaced evenly and further secure them in place (fillet shown in the right picture):

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Our plowed groove is only 1.25″ wide, so that will be the width of our square balusters. The ones we have upstairs are currently 1.75″ and they feel too bulky, so I think the 1.25″ will be a nice, airy upgrade.

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So the two plowed 8′ railings were $47 each and the 12′ unplowed one was $57, totaling $151. Unfortunately, after all the effort of getting the 12′ one home sticking out the trunk, we realized we bought a 12′ plowed one ($20 more expensive!) so we’ll have to return that and get the unplowed one. To mount that one to the wall, we’re not sure the plowed bottom will attach to the brackets correctly, since they’re designed to attached to an unplowed rail.

Speaking of brackets for that handrail, we bought some new ones that are a bit more attractive and substantial since this railing is heavier than our previous one. Those were about $18 total. We also bought two oval wooden wall plates for where the banister hits the wall, $14 total. Not sure those are both necessary yet, but we can return them if they’re not needed.

Finally, we headed to the lumber section to see what we could use for balusters. We found 2″x2″x36″ pieces of poplar or oak that were nice quality wood – but $6 each! We need 28, so that would be $168. Too pricey. So we wandered further into the lumber section and found plain 2×6 white pine boards (actual size 1.5″ x 5.5″ x 8′ length). Some were bowed or had bad knots, but after about 20 minutes we had selected 4 satisfactory boards. We measured that we could get out 8 balusters per board, and, best part, each board was a little less than $5, totaling $19, and leaving us with 4 extra balusters for when we inevitably mess some up. That savings almost pays for our table saw that we used to cut them all!

So on to the cutting…Nik first cut them to length with the miter saw, leaving some extra length for figuring out the exact height that will be on the slanted section of our new railing area:

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Code is 32-38″for balusters on steps, so since they should all be the same height here with a knee wall vs. individual steps, we’ll aim for 34″. Then he used the table saw to rip one edge off the board and make it a fresh, flat cut. Then we ripped the remaining 3 sides on each baluster to get them to 1.25″ (remember, theĀ  boards are 1.5″ thick and we wanted a fresh, sharp cut on each side).

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So I think it was a total of 8 initial rip cuts for the original pieces of wood, then 3×32 cuts on each baluster. Over 100 table saw cuts certainly took a while and the noise potentially annoyed some neighbors on a Sunday evening. It looked like we’d been snowed on afterwards, but we got them all done!

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This Saturday we’re finally having a yard sale in the morning to clear out some pre-wedding housewares and other clutter we’ve collected, but the afternoon should be warm and lovely – a perfect time to get out the paint sprayer! We use this one from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Critter-Spray-Products-22032-Siphon/dp/B00006FRPJ.

Critter Spray Products 22032 118SG Siphon Gun

It is cheap (but requires a good air compressor), and is only practical for small painting projects (trim or cabinets – not walls, for example). It screws right on to cheap pint sized mason jars, and we always strain the paint first, then thin it a little bit with floetrol and water for water-based latex paints, to prevent clogging.

We also bought more crown molding while at Lowes last weekend, so we’ll cut the remaining pieces we need to finish off the living room walls, then do a massive paint sprayer session on all the crown molding and all the balusters. We might do a protective clear coat of water based polycrylic on the balusters after they are installed, depending on how durable the finish feels with the paint sprayer. On Sunday we’ll do more paint spraying if we don’t get it all done Saturday, and hopefully get the remaining sections of crown molding installed.

The next steps will be caulking, filling, and doing touchup paint on the crown molding. For the stairs, we’ll need to sand, stain, and seal the new handrails, remove the old banister/balusters upstairs, and move on to installing the new ones…then caulking, filling, and doing touchup paint where needed. The sooner we get these projects done, the sooner we can start thinking about our master bath renovation – that’s good motivation for me!

 

A New Garden and Molding

We got a bunch done this weekend, including finishing our flower garden edge, buying some crown molding, and even getting it up in the powder room as I had hoped! I’ll show some pictures for a quick update:

For those who don’t remember, our backyard started like this, with an unsightly jungle gym:

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My dad and Nik ripped that down in a single afternoon (although somehow my mom ended up in the rewarding “after” shot…probably because she was helping clear a lot of brush from the yard when this was taken):IMG_2159

Last spring we built a small raised bed garden:

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And now we’ve extended that garden around the deck to create a bordered flower garden:

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This garden greatly diminished the old pile of jungle gym lumber under the deck, but you can see we still have some more to get rid of. Baby steps…

We bought a few bags of dirt to get this area started, but I’m not spending a ton more on new dirt. We’ll probably just put a light topping to make it look nicer, add some mulch, and any flowers we plant we’ll dig out a hole and add better dirt just around the plant.

Now on to crown molding: we bought a contractor’s pack of molding (8 pack of 12′ pieces!), which caused some drama since it had to stick out of Nik’s trunk on the car ride home. We were ill-prepared for this, and I had forgotten bungee cords, so we tied the trunk down with rope, went very slowly, and tried not to annoy too many other drivers on the 2 mile drive home from Lowe’s. It was a success, overall.

To do the bathroom, we needed 2 32″ pieces, and 2 71″ pieces, all cut with inside corners. This is evidently the only “before” shot I took of the bathroom ceiling:

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We messed with the miter saw a bit, and figured out there are two ways to cut the angle properly: one that makes the angle easier to figure out, but is harder to hold the trim, and one that takes some time to think about the angle, but handling the trim during the cut is way easier. But inside angles are figured out, nonetheless. When we were sure the pieces fit decently, I gave them a quick coat of our semi-gloss white trim paint. Then it was time for nailing.

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Getting the pieces in place was trickier than it looked – I forget nothing is perfectly straight/plumb in our lovely house, including the ceiling, which apparently is curved in the bathroom. We had to settle on an arrangement that left some gaps, knowing that caulking and filling would hopefully cover things up. So here’s the semi-finished room:

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Looks nice from afar, but up close here are some of the gap issues I’m referring to that will have to be dealt with:

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Also, the gleaming white trim made it glaringly obvious that we forgot to paint the ceiling in this particular room. It looks downright dirty compared to the new trim (most obvious 2 pictures up)…so we’ll have to buy a small can of ceiling paint and get to that asap.

This week there’s not too much on the to-do list. Friday night is the 6 year anniversary of when I finally agreed to be in a relationship with Nik (this was a lengthy decision for me, starting with Nik asking me out on a date on Valentine’s Day…little did Nik know that this was just the start of all the indecisiveness he’d have to deal with in a future involving me!). So we’re going out to celebrate Friday. Then my parents might come up to visit Saturday and Sunday since October was their last visit. We are hoping to install a front storm door, and maybe get some more crown molding done, but there’s not many other pressing chores so it should be a nice weekend.