This year, we had 5 home improvements on the list to get done. Then the pandemic happened. 3/5 were set to happen inside of the house. So I waited and waited and waited, and it never went away. So I decided to get the outdoor things done. I wanted to have the gutters cleaned and covered and I wanted to finally have a storm door installed… The main reason why I’d put these things off as long as I had, we’ve lived here over 2 years now, is because of our HOA. This was an even worse time to try to push a architectural application through the HOA but I couldn’t just sit here doing nothing anymore. Many many many phone calls, email exchanges, and about 5 weeks later, I finally had my approval. We used LeafFilter for the gutters. The good thing about the pandemic was that they were running a pandemic special and we used our military discount. We got a really good deal and had the gutters done within days of having our approval from the HOA.
Next up was the storm door. I screwed up on that. I looked at old pictures, because it was about 9:30 at night when the lady from the HOA called me, and the outside trim looked white. I was wrong. I went through Lowe’s Home Improvement for the storm door. I was able to set up the measure and order the door over the phone. Never had to go into the store, which made me happy because I can count on 1 hand how many times I’ve been in a store since March. Took 2 weeks to hunt down the installer and another week for him to show up only for us to realize I had the wrong color door. 2 more weeks passed before the new door came in and almost another week before I caught up to the installer and had him come out. Another item off of my list.
Meanwhile the pandemic is still raging outside… *sigh* (Stop being selfish wear a damn mask already)
Just before the country got locked down (back in March) I had a few estimates for the stairs and upstairs hallway that I wanted to have redone in hardwood. I had accepted one of the contracts and I had an April installation date. However, pandemic… so it got postponed. In August I had a conversation with my husband and we decided with some stipulations we could move forward. The installer agreed to our mask at all times rule and we cleaned common areas every night once he was gone. He said it would take a week. That was a lie. I’ll get back to that lol. Work started on August 31st. I do not have before shots. We had beige carpet on the stairs and the upstairs hallway. First day he removed it all and realized that our factory stairs had noses. So they would have to be removed. This is what everything looked like end of day 1.
You see the little overhang on the stairs? Well, that is called a nose and they all had to be removed. We were told that would add a couple of days to the job, we understood. We chose who we chose because he came highly recommended and I’d seen samples of his work. No one ever mentioned anything about how slow he worked. Most days it was just him, which we understood would slow down progress, but even on the days he had help it was more like they tag teamed than worked together. So still, very slow. He would tell us he would be here between 9:30 and 10am and then wouldn’t show up until somewhere between 11am and noon. One day he didn’t show up until 1:30 in the afternoon. As you can imagine I was pretty frustrated.
Anyway, the noses were all removed, the trim wasn’t removed but trimmed, not much else particularly spectacular happened until Friday the 4th of September. On Friday we had our first flight of stair treads installed.
These lead from the front door to the living room. We chose red oak tongue and groove because we thought that with gray (company specific) stain they would come out just like the railings that were here when we bought the house. Because of these 2 angled stairs he worked on this flight all of day Friday and so nothing else got done. Saturday is a blur as is Monday and I honestly don’t know what got done those days, well I know the basement stairs got done, but I don’t have pictures so we will skip ahead to Tuesday. Note, Tuesday September 8th, we had been doing this 7 day job for 8 days. These are the stairs that lead to the upstairs bedrooms. These got done on Tuesday.
His work is beautiful and I continued to remind myself of this fact as my frustration grew. On Wednesday I had a hallway floor.
Thursday we were set to sand and stain. Thursday was also the day he was telling me about what would happen in the days (DAYS) to come. When the word Saturday spilled out of his face, hell no spilled out of mines. I put my foot down and said no, “no you are not going to have me trapped in my house one more day when we were supposed to be done days ago. YOU WILL BE DONE ON FRIDAY”. I had put this day in stone and I was immovable. My husband was mortified and I didn’t care. I’m sorry but I was so over it by this point. I don’t like having people in my house when it isn’t a pandemic outside so imagine my stress levels as this job continued to drag on and on…
Thursday he showed up, he sanded, he stained, and he put on the first coat of sealant.
I could see the finish line ahead of us… finally. Friday they came in, sanded the first layer of sealant since it had been more than 6 hours since they’d put it down and prepped for the next 2 coats. As the help sat in the van, with his feet up (insert eyeroll here) the man we hired touched up the paint around the stairs in preparation for the next layer of sealant. He put down the 2nd layer of water based polyurethane and while he waited for it to dry they went to the store. My son and I made lunch and by the time we’d cooked, cleaned, and eaten they were back. By this time my husband was also home from work so it was about 4:30/5pm in the evening. They rushed through the 3rd coat and we yelled payment/contract info throughout the house to close out the job and they left. We finally had our house back. We were trapped on the main floor of the house but at least I could cook dinner lol. The stain, in my opinion, could have been the tiniest smidge darker but the match is still very good. It’s easier to see with the naked eye as my camera didn’t do it justice. Varying light makes the wood look different in every shot I took, but I think the first photo below (where you can see the countertop in the bottom corner of the shot) is the best representation of how they look.
As you can tell I’ve done some patching and left little pieces of blue tape on the walls… painting is on our to do list for 2020, but it will wait until it’s fall and the windows can be open. I’ve also bought new light fixtures and am hunting for the right ceiling fans which I’d like to also have installed about that time. With those 2, our home improvement list will be completed.
I love how the floors came out. I did not love how long it took. I won’t put him out there by saying the name of the company but odds are not in his favor, regardless of how beautiful the work, that I would ever hire him again. I understand that jobs such as these are time consuming, however I know for a fact that there would be hour long or more stretches of time throughout the day, multiple times per day, were he wouldn’t be doing anything at all. On days where he brought someone with him they would rarely work together and instead tag teamed the work. He would come in late and leave even later so days might not start until 11am but he would be here until anywhere from 7pm to 9pm at night. That night he was here at 9pm my husband had had enough and asked him to leave. I think I’d be okay with how long the job took if he had actually been doing it the majority of the time he was here, but most days it felt like he was napping on the job rather than working.
Most of these photos were shared through Instagram, so if you follow my Instagram you have already seen most of these. Sorry that there hasn’t been much activity here on Sunshine’s Snapshots, I’ve been in the house for the most part and haven’t taken anything new for y’all. Follow my Instagram though, if I post anything new they will go up there sooner than here. I really do not like this new editor. (I’m very opposed to change lol)
If you made it to this point, thank you for your patience and support. Stay healthy and please, wear a mask.
Until next time…