This past September I began a journey that would lead me to an alliance with the Big Orange Box and with Lowe’s, said box’s archenemy. I had a bit of money saved up from working during the summer, so after doing tons and tons of “research” both online and off, I decided to spruce up my room a bit. What I thought would be an easy, inexpensive task turned out to be a grueling, savings-account-emptying undertaking.

I’ve been wanting hardwood flooring for quite some time both for its aesthetic and practical properties. Besides, my carpet was dingy, overstretched, and not very cushiony anymore, so my floor was in need of a change. I decided to go with the Maple variety of the IKEA Tundra laminated flooring, which at $1.15 per square foot is not of the best quality, but it also isn’t the worst. (A few weeks after I bought the flooring, IKEA put it on sale for half off. I was a little mad at first, but what could I do? Life goes on. I bought some more at the discounted price to install in my sister’s room.)

No matter how many people say that laminated flooring is easy to install, it’s hard work! My dad and I spent one Saturday getting most of the floor covered; the angled corners behind the door took us almost a week to figure out. Granted, if the room you’re installing the floor in is purely rectangular, it should be pretty easy, but my room, as I later realized, can be very unaccommodating.

I made a short time-lapse video of my dad and I installing the flooring using a borrowed Canon Rebel XT and a TI-83+ calculator as an improvised intervalometer. (More about that in an upcoming post!)

Installing the new floor was only part of the remodeling process, though. Before we even got around to that, I painted the walls in my room a nice blueish-gray. To be more specific, it is the Myth color (740F-5) from Behr in an Enamel finish, which I bought from Home Depot during Labor Day Weekend when it was on sale. I had intended for the color to be more gray and not so blue, but it didn’t turn out too bad. Like I said before, my room can be very difficult, and painting knockdown-textured walls (a medium texture) is no simple task. First, you have to make sure you use a paint roller with a sufficiently thick nap. Then, when you apply the paint, you have to exert a lot of pressure on the wall to make sure that the paint gets into every nook and cranny. Even then, there were several spots where I had to reapply the paint with a brush because I didn’t get it in right the first time. The edge at which the walls meet the ceiling was also a challenge, because the texture is irregular; if you paint a straight line across the top, it will look jagged, so I had to paint a jagged line for it to look straight, if that makes any sense. I tried using tape to mask the ceiling while I painted the wall, but it wasn’t working, so I just “freehanded” it using an angled brush. The way that edge turned out is probably my least favorite of everything else I changed in the room.

After painting and installing the flooring, I put in new base molding and door casings. This part was probably the easiest to do. I chose the MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) molding instead of the wood molding because of the price. I was beginning to run low on funds by this point. The person that installed our original molding did a lousy job at the outside corners; we have rounded wall corners (also called bullnose corners), but had square base molding, so the molding jutted out from the wall. It wasn’t very appealing. My solution to this was to buy a rounded corner base molding piece from Home Depot. It looks pretty snazzy!

After measuring the walls, I cut the pieces to length, painted them Behr Ultra Pure White with a Semi-Gloss finish, and then just nailed them to the wall. I then measured the door openings, cut the door molding, cut the miters on the ends, painted them and nailed them to the wall. Simple as that! Well, not really. Cutting them was a pain. I don’t own any power tools except for an old jigsaw that my dad had lying around that we used to cut the planks of the flooring. These cuts had to be precise, though, so I cut everything using a miter box and a backsaw that I picked up at Home Depot. There were also a few gaps that I had to fill in using wood filler.

Overall, the project turned out pretty good, and was a tremendous learning experience. About a month after I finished my room, I remodeled my sister’s room using the same techniques. The only thing that’s left to do now is decorate my room. I have a few ideas of what I want it to look like, but I have to wait for my funds to increase again. Darn my slow-paying job!

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