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The Floors

Started: 2013-01-20 12:32:52

Submitted: 2013-01-20 13:01:34

Visibility: World-readable

In which the intrepid narrator installs a beautiful (and expensive) hard wood floor

When we moved into our house in Boulder in the spring, we were somewhat less than overly enthralled with the state of the flooring. The three upper levels were carpeted with the same bland beige carpet that had clearly seen better days; it was becoming bare in places and had a few mysterious stains in the corners of two rooms. The dining room and kitchen had a prefinished maple that was technically a hard wood but had been installed so poorly that it was coming apart at the seams, and the border between the carpet and the wood, in both the living room and the family room, was an ugly raised seam that threatened to trip us every time we walked over it.

Although our current plan suggests leaving this house in a couple of years to go live in East Asia, we wanted to strategically spend money to upgrade the things in our house that really bugged us. We started with the walls when we moved in, and after six months the floors still bugged us so we resolved to fix them too. Kiesa talked to a couple of hard-wood-flooring places in Boulder but we weren't really inspired by the samples she brought home until she saw quartersawn red oak. This style is more expensive because it is a premium cut but the grain looked much better, because the grain was perpindicular to the board rather than intersecting it at an oblique angle. The quote came in somewhere in the high four figures and we decided to fund the project with some newly-vested stock. (After spending roughly eight years in industry being offered worthless stock options at nearly every turn, I finally found a profitable publicaly-traded company to work for. Kiesa is still amazed that company stock can be worth anything at all.)

The prospect of trying to live in a house while the flooring in the main level was being replaced did not seem especially attractive, and we quickly identified a possible solution: Get the floors replaced while we were in Hong Kong for Christmas. This meant extra work immediately before leaving and immediately after returning, to move the piano and stove and refrigerator and other furniture out of the living room, dining room, and kitchen, but it all worked out in the end. We left for Hong Kong with ugly carpet and returned with beautiful hard wood. The floors simply look like they were meant to be, and now we live in a neighborhood that rewards capital investments like this because so many of our neighbors have similar floors.

Here are some before-and-after pictures, starting with the view from the entry way into the dining room:

Dining room with original flooring
Dining room with original flooring
Kitchen with new hard wood floors
Kitchen with new hard wood floors

The living room, before and after:

Living room with original carpet
Living room with original carpet
Living room with new hard wood floors
Living room with new hard wood floors

Looking back on the entryway itself:

Entryway prior to wood floor installation
Entryway prior to wood floor installation
Entryway and sofa with new hard wood floors
Entryway and sofa with new hard wood floors

When we returned, we needed to retouch the baseboards (which had been removed and replaced, but not refinished), so I figured out how to caulk to seal the space between the baseboard and the wall, and Kiesa painted the baseboards in the living room before they were covered by furniture, but the rest of the baseboards still need to be retouched before the project will be complete. We also lost one baseboard entirely, which we'll need to replace. (It was probably a minor miracle that we only needed to replace one baseboard; when we had the house painted in the spring the painters complained that they couldn't sand the baseboards lest they start to disintegrate.)

We did face one major mishap with our new floor: the faucet that fed the ice maker in the refrigerator leaked, causing some of the new floor boards in the kitchen to warp. It's not especially obvious in appearance, but I feel it every time I walk over it, so it's on our list of things to fix.

The other downside is that the new floor makes the old carpet, where it remains in the living room and upstairs, even older than it did before, but I have no great desire to replace that yet.

"Yes, this unit of Infantry has a Priest with them. He can pray to his
pagan gods and heal the Infantry. These units over here have
Magicians. They summon these big fireballs..."

And then you'll have to explain the Ceyah.
- Zan Lynx, on explaining Kohan: Ahriman's Gift, 19 August 2003