Tag Archives: vinyl plank

Little Things and Big Changes

Now that things are official, I thought it would be a good time to announce some big news. There’s a reason there has been a crunch to get projects wrapped up this spring and make our house look presentable – we’re moving to Connecticut! I know I’ve mentioned Nik has been applying for faculty positions at universities, and he’s officially accepted a position at the University of New Haven. We’re planning to list the house in mid May and move in early July, so I’ve made an industrious list of all the little things that needed to be finished up before scheduling home pictures and preparing to show the house, and we’re plowing right through it.

One of the things on our list was updating some things in the guest bathroom: IMG_0344

We started with just replacing the tub faucets (which of course required some additional purchases because of mismatches with the valve styles and trying to match brushed nickel from different manufacturers) and the sink faucets. The new sink faucet looked nice…


…but Nik realized the vanity top had a chunk missing out of the area around the drain, so the new drain was dripping, and caulk did not fix the issue. So, one thing led to another and we ended up replacing the entire vanity top with a pretty basic one from Home Depot.


It was only $135, but made such a huge difference in brightening up that room. We then painted the bathroom walls with a mixture of old paints from other rooms in the house (free!), and I love the light grey color it ended up as.


That was supposed to be the end of the updates for that room….but with how nice it was starting to look with just those few changes, we decided that we couldn’t neglect the other things in this room. So we decided the old white linoleum floor had to go!


We wanted to replace it with something simple that could be done in a day, so we decided on floating vinyl planks. My research suggested that we could put it directly over the linoleum we have since it is flat, in good condition, and not very cushioned. We also considered the peel-and-stick vinyl planks, which can be grouted or just butted up edge to edge, but it actually seems like these perform more poorly on linoleum since any amount of cushion-y ‘give’ in the subfloor can cause the seams to part, thus damaging the grout used over time, and potentially allowing dust to get under the floor and weaken the adhesive. Also, any flooring that is directly adhered to a substrate vs. floating will have potential to cause buckling with temperature/humidity fluctuations since there is no flexibility for expansion and contraction. The cost difference between the peel-and-stick and the floating click lock planks wasn’t substantial, so we went with the click lock floating version.

We liked the wood-look options at Home Depot, and brought home some samples:


We decided on the bottom right one, since it had a good combo of greys and warm colors to match the vanity, which we are not going to have time to update. Last weekend Nik removed all the quarter round trim surrounding the floor while I was away at a conference in Chicago. And then this weekend, we headed over to Home Depot to purchase the planks. And then it all went downhill…apparently that style is not stocked at the store, and we probably wouldn’t get it until the second week in May. No good. We (well, mainly I…Nik was ready to put just about anything on the floor at the end of this torturous Home Depot visit) didn’t like any other options that Home Depot had in stock at the store, so I convinced Nik to go over to Lowe’s to see if they had any better color options. Luckily, they did! We finally selected this product:Product Image 2

It’s a luxury vinyl plank, click lock sides, and even a bit cheaper than the one we were considering. We had to buy 40 square feet of it (2 boxes) despite only having to cover about 30 square feet, but the total cost including a new piece of trim for the wall was $100.72.

Nik did most of the install, of which the hardest part was using the Dremel to cut some of the baseboard trim and around-the-door trim to allow this to slip under – since of course our room isn’t square and plumb, and it’s easier to cut the wood. The rest was just laying planks and trying to get the plank colors nice and varied. Here’s some progress pictures – and notice, once again, we have a toilet in a tub for this install. This seems to be a theme around our house…



To cut the planks, you basically just use a razor, and snap them:

And for cutting around the toilet flange, Nik used a hairdryer to heat up the vinyl to soften it and then just used a cereal bowl curve for guidance. Here’s the finished floor, as of last night, with the second picture probably closer to the actual color:



We still have to install the trim and obviously get the toilet back in place, but as of now I love it! It feels awesome underfoot – super solid, and a very high quality feel. I’m not sure how it would hold up against pet nails since it is technically in the linoleum family of materials – and it can sort of scuff/tear – but overall it is more resilient and sturdy feeling than traditional linoleum. Fortunately Gunnar doesn’t go in this bathroom too frequently, although this room was of much interest to him while we were trying to work in there this weekend since we just gave him a bath in it Saturday morning. This might sound like a negative experience for this room, but I’m not entirely sure Gunnar realizes he’s ever gotten a bath in our house because bath time always comes with a thick smear of peanut butter on the wall of the tub. When ample peanut butter is involved, you could probably amputate one of his legs and he might not notice, so I think bath time is really just peanut butter time in Gunnar’s head. So Gunnar has been in and out of this room all weekend to check that more peanut butter hasn’t appeared in the tub – but so far, so good for the floor.

Once that room is wrapped up, the list of things to do will be pretty small. I don’t think I ever showed pictures of the finished shelves in our master bathroom, so here’s how that turned out:



For other jobs, this weekend I got some painting done on the mailbox and some other exterior things, and we have to give our front door one more coat of stain, I have one more coat of caulk to put in the crown molding downstairs, and Nik has 2 more light fixtures to update in the kitchen. Our lawn and gardens look fantastic this spring, and we’re feeling very confident going into this house-selling process – not that it’s been an easy road to get to this point!

Lots of friends and coworkers know that we’ve done all these renovations on our home, and they keep asking us if we’re sad to leave all our work behind. I’m not sure how to answer this. Of course I love the things we’ve done to our house, and I’m finally starting to feel at home in it and not like I’m coming home to a construction site every night. But I think I still went into this house knowing we wouldn’t be there forever. And now that we’ve learned from all the mistakes we’ve made on various projects, I think we’re more equipped to put the same love into our next home. We both want a place with a better yard and more land, a house with more character (not a ‘development’ home), and a house that has good bones but needs the updates that will make it our own. Hopefully we’ll find what we’re looking for in Connecticut – but we’re planning to take a year off from home ownership and rent, so we’ll have time to find the best location to look for a home in, and less pressure for the home-selling process. Part of me is super depressed that I’ll have to go from our totally renovated, beautiful home to a rental that will surely be less…nice, but part of me is relieved that we’ll have no lengthy weekend renovation to-do lists for a while, and we can spend our weekends getting to know the new area.

So that’s our update! A few more weeks till it’s on the market!