Thursday, June 27, 2013

the last two weeks ~ anything new and exciting?...

My chest hurts.  Not sure if it's psychosomatic or if it's real.  If it's real, is it from all the fumes from the lacquer, all the dust from the demo?  Will my body be healthy enough to heal itself after the remodel is done?  We still have a lot of spraying to do - and the fumes are just awful!  I wear the proper masks/respirators depending on dust (particulates) or paint fumes...back in the day they wouldn't even do that + they would smoke like a chimney while working.  I guess it's a good thing that I never smoked because it feels like I'm getting all that toxin now that I might have if I had smoked.

So, this idea of spraying our cabinets can be blamed on me.  I can't remember when I brought it up, but I know that a few months ago I found a blog telling me all the steps in order to do it yourself and have it look professional.  The blogger had a nice presentation and a picture of all the items you would need to buy.  I looked at the pictures on the list of things to buy and thought "No Problem!"  I've seen all these things (at least I thought I had) at the local home improvement stores.

Source: All Things Thrifty
She had used Valspar Lacquer and I knew that Lowe's dealt in Valspar, so I thought that Lowe's would have the lacquer.  I was incorrect in my assumptions.  I called Lowe's, Sherwin-Williams, ACO (or ACE, never remember which one), Benjamen Moore and NO ONE could help me find what I was looking for.  I grew frustrated.  Very frustrated.  I posted a comment on her blog asking where she was able to get this lacquer and waited for an answer, which seemed to never come.  I thought I would get a notification if she had responded.  In the meantime I googled this specific lacquer and found only ONE place in America that sold it and it was in Texas (I'm in Michigan).  It cost $53/gallon (we bought 4 gallons) and $20 for shipping.  I waited for my lacquer to come...and wondered where I would get it tinted.  Again I called around and nobody wanted to be the one to tint the lacquer.  UGH!

Well, I checked back at her blog and she DID respond (right away too) but I was not notified as I thought I would be.  She gave me a link to ValsparWood.com and I was able to locate a distributor of the lacquer that was close (enough) by; Bond Plywood.  I called them to find out if they would be willing to tint the lacquer and he told me YES.  The "he" is Todd.  He told me that the White Base lacquer that I purchased would only work on the off-white color that I wanted to spray on the upper cabinets but it would not work on the espresso color I wanted to spray on the lower cabinets.  We would have to use a clear base lacquer for that.  I asked if they sold it there and he said YES!  He told me that when I come in, I should bring in a couple of cabinet doors, the lacquer that I had already purchased and a sample of the colors I was going for and he would tint the lacquer and spray the backs of two doors.  AWESOME!!!  He was surprised that I could only find this lacquer at one store and that the store was in Texas.  They charge about $20 less a gallon than the store in TX.  He was willing to exchange 2 of my gallons of the White Base for 2 gallons of the Clear Base.  I also needed to buy clear coat.  I bought 3 gallons from them.
The cream is for the upper cabinets and the espresso is for the lowers. The one all the way to the right is the color the cabinets were.
He gave me a TON of advice and as it turns out, he lives only 3 miles south of us and was willing to come by and take a look at our work, if we needed him.

We sprayed the first and second bank of cabinets the first weekend and the third bank of cabinets last weekend.  The smell of the lacquer was HORRIBLE!  We didn't have any windows open because we were trying to keep the room at a constant humidity level (while I was waiting for my lacquer to be tinted, a customer came in and told me that you should keep the humidity level at 50% or less and these past weeks have been so humid).  So, I brought up the dehumidifier and closed the doors and windows and we struggled for two weekends with the cloud of vapors burning our eyes.  It was not the best conditions.  We really couldn't see all that we were doing.
Then horror of horrors, the end result of all that madness; a bumpy, stippley finish.  I felt so defeated.  We will never get this project finished (in 3 more weeks), and if we keep this finish, I will not be happy with the results.  I will always kick myself for demoing a perfectly working kitchen.

We needed another gallon of espresso, so I went to see our guy Todd at Bond Plywood.  I brought samples of our finish with me (a cabinet door & a completely finished drawer) and our sprayer to see if he could figure it all out.  Turns out our Wagner sprayer was over heating the product, it was spitting product out when the contents of the can got too low, the product was too thick for this sprayer, we were working in too closed of conditions and too far from the item we were trying to spray.  He made some suggestions, such as sand everything down to smooth (trying not to remove the color), buy some retarder to thin out the product, keep the windows open with the fans going, don't worry so much about the humidity and spray it close and make sure it's wet.  And we made a date for him to come by on Wednesday to make sure we're doing it right.

Monday and Tuesday we spent our evenings sanding every door (backs only) and drawer fronts down to smooth so that we could spray on Wednesday when Todd came.

So last evening, Todd watched Jerome and instructed us every step of the way and the doors and drawers turned out FABULOUS!

I am no longer worried as to how the finish will turn out.  However, we still have a huge cabinet that we need to sand down to smooth so that we can get rid of this "orange peel" finish.

Maybe we will be done in two weeks.  I surely hope so!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

a side note...


Look at how much space you have behind your corner cabinets!  Just imagine what could be done with that much space.





end of may, beginning of june ~ anything new and exciting?...

We hired the drywalling out.  Glad we did.  He did a really good job.
In the past couple of weeks we've primed the walls, installed crown molding,

then brought in the hardi-backer board...
laid the tiles...

and grouted.

Regarding the grout and the tiles I chose.  We washed the floor about 6 times after grouting.  There was a lot of grout haze.  After we were certain to have all the grout haze removed, we went to bed.  In the morning when we walked into the kitchen, there were still a lot of areas that had grout in some micro creases in the tile.  The tile is a matte finish and you can really tell where the remaining grout is.  We've tried using magic eraser, a scrub brush, a scouring pad of a sponge.  We've bought a product that says it's acid to remove grout.  NOTHING has worked.  And I'm a bit down about it.  Plus I'm worried that all that scrubbing is going to mess up the matte finish.  All that money, all that time seemingly wasted because the floor looks shabby.  It looks good as long as you don't look at the light reflecting off of it.  So, basically it looks good at night.  Jerome says not to worry (as he usually says), but I'm really bummed.  I will call The Tile Shop to see what they recommend.
 

In the meantime, we've put some paper down to protect the floors and have started prepping the lower cabinets (washing with TSP, wiping with deglosser, lightly sanding and removing dust) for painting (hopefully by this coming weekend we'll have everything prepped and installed).

It's a time consuming job that we do every day after work and on the weekends.

In other news, I'm getting estimates for roofs for our rental house.  They are coming in all about the same price ($5500).  So, I guess I then have to give the job to the person I liked best.

Lots of money going out this year in the rentals; balcony, AC and roof.  Plus what we're spending on this kitchen.  Hope we have money left over at the end.