Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hardwood Flooring Update



Bona! Can't say enough good things about these products. Bona Amber Seal is essentially a stain that is applied before the Bona Mega, which is the clear protective finish. They are waterbourne products and contain low amounts of VOC's. Though it is pretty pungent while wet, after a day or two it is hardly noticeable.

There was a learning curve with the application. I basically ended up sanding the first application of Amber Seal off.  I left puddles and pools and it ended up looking blotchy. As long as you even it out and don't leave any pools it will come out looking good.

The Amber Seal has a very warm look and feel. I bought two gallons of the Amber Seal and three gallons of the Bona Mega. The total was less than $300. I finished around six hundred square feet and I have leftover of both products.

Renting a buffer and screening after the Amber Seal really is necessary.

Finish your floors last! This remodel would have destroyed the finish on these floors. I'm glad I waited until nearly the end to do it.

 Vi Vi did not help...

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Hardwood Flooring

Time to sand the nasty floor.

I was able to get most of the bad spots out but the worst stuff in the middle was through to the sub floor. Probably dog pee.

The bad boards had to come out. It's a pain to take out single boards and not wreck the ones right beside them. You've got to saw two times along the length of each board and then chisel the rest out.

It took me all day Friday to patch up this area.

 The final result of the patchwork. Next, more sanding.

7 bundles of red oak flooring for the kitchen.
Original linoleum floor. Who came up with this crap?
Ricardo working on the old floor.
 Subfloor was in decent condition. It is 3/4" ply. But we had to remove 3/4" MDF that was laid on top of it. The linoleum was on top of that.
We took up the old roofing felt and put down red rosin paper.
In the foreground you can see where we have taken out every other board to interlace in the new flooring.
One third of the way. The pneumatic nailer is a must.
 Two thirds done

Hardwood kitchen floor installed.
The several gaps in the foreground I didn't worry about since there will be an island where they are.
Cabinets and appliances replaced.

Discovered later on that the original flooring was white oak not red oak. Doh!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Vent Hood

 The vent hood arrived yesterday.

It comes with a plug end on the power cable, so I had to wire in an outlet above ceiling.

They sent a flex duct to connect to the hood but instead I got a 6" rigid piece to exhaust to above ceiling. I will vent through roof as soon as possible

We determined 30" above the stove top was the height we liked.

It took longer to install than I anticipated, about 4 hrs.
 Here is the 6" duct roughed in.
 Installed vent hood.

I believe it is 680 cfm with 3 speeds. There are 2 LED lights and 2 removable stainless steel grease filters.

$265 from Sears.

Just makes the stove look even worse...

Monday, November 11, 2013

Decatur Makers Project: Decatur Wine Festival

Last week I helped the Decatur Makers construct a giant wine bottle display for the Decatur Wine Festival.

It was a lot of fun and ended up looking pretty cool. It was three tiered platform for supporting inflatable bottles on.

The main supports were 3"pvc and the platforms were 3/4" plywood. The top of the highest bottle was more than 13 feet tall.

The wine festival was jam packed. I saw a lot of people taking pictures in front of our display.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


I received an offer from Infinite Energy to get a free NEST thermostat if I switched to their company for natural gas.

I had been already looking at the NEST for a year or so and had actually tried to purchase one one day from Lowe's but they didn't have it.

When the offer came I jumped on it. It just arrived on Friday. It literally took just a couple of minutes to install.

It is very cool. It connects via WiFi to the home network and from there I can access it from any where else with an Android app.

It gathers information so it can "learn" how you like your house temperature. It has a motion sensor and will show the settings when you walk past it. It also shows the humidity on the app.

So far the weather has been really mild and it hasn't had to utilize the air conditioner but once and I basically did that to check to see if it was installed correctly.

The NEST would normally cost $259.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Makers Fair

This past weekend was the Makers Fair at Georgia Tech.  Makers build stuff.

Battery powered go-cart from my alma mater Southern Polytechnic. Not really, I just went there, didn't graduate.
One of Tech's green buildings, Clough Commons, LEED Platinum.
1.4 Million Gallon Cistern
347 Solar Panels
Evacuated Tube Solar Hot Water system
Radiant Floor Heating
Green Roof

Clough Commons

 3D Printer
Latest release from Apple...
Remote controlled robot
An air compressor cannon

Deck Second Half

After finally getting the stump down to a workable height we got to work on the second half of the deck. On the left you can see the framing. You can also still see the stump, just much lower.

Here is what it looks like now. We had to raise the upper level to clear the height of the stump so the deck has two levels by necessity.

Aggie helped a little.

Deckmate vs Grip Rite

The two screws on the right are Lowe's and Home Depot's version. The Grip Rite screws on the top are from Lowes and the Deckmate screws are from Home Depot.

There was a noticeable difference between the two.

The Deckmate screws were much better than the Grip Rite.

The Grip Rite screws seemed to have too much paint in some of the heads and the bits didn't seat correctly.

Never had any issues with the Deckmates.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Funny Money

I just returned from Mexico recently. While I was there it was an interesting exercise to calculate in your head how much something would cost in reference to dollars. The Mexican peso, at the time, was worth about 11 cents. I had lots of pesos with me because I exchanged one thousand dollars before I left.

After a few days of going through the trouble of keying in the price of something into the currency converter on my smartphone I quickly realized that if something cost 50 pesos it was about $5. A 100 peso item was close to $10. They just added a zero to everything. That's inflation. That is what we will do with the dollar too. They'll just add a zero to the money.

When I got back I still had quite a lot of Mexican currency with me. I was looking at and thinking how weird it looked. Why could I buy anything I wanted with this funny paper just a few miles south but it was worthless here? Why aren't these bits of paper accepted here? It's really no different at all from the bits of paper we do accept. It's a strange concept when it's staring you in the face.  It's all just pieces of paper.

And yet based solely on a mentality really, people are able to exchange pieces of paper for vast expanses of land and the resources that land holds. How long will it last that you can walk into an office with a suitcase full of pesos and get laughed out of the building, but if that suitcase contained dollars the mood would quickly become somber and serious?

I am old enough to remember when it was quite common to get a silver dollar as change. That will not happen to anyone again and hasn't for years. I am looking at a quarter on my desk right now that is made of silver from 1950. I recently found it in my change. How did I quickly separate it from the other change in my pocket? Why is it on my desk and not with the rest of the change that sits in a bowl in the kitchen?

One day when I got on the subway I received quite a few Sacajawea dollars in change from the machine. This was the first time I had ever had any of these in my possession. I looked at them very carefully the next day. They seemed like tokens from an arcade. I was almost positive that the cashier would laugh at me when I put them on the counter in exchange for a soft drink. I asked the cashier if they were acceptable, she didn't know. She had to ask her supervisor. I felt as if I had committed theft as I walked out. What I had given them was worthless and I had a beverage.

What is it that causes that mental facade to fall, to break down, to make people lose confidence in the paper they've been taking for their entire lives? It never had any real value at all. It was always only paper. The sooner you can change those slips of paper you hold into tangible goods while people will still accept them the better.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Energy Star Tax Free Holiday

This past weekend the State of Georgia had a little publicized tax free holiday on Energy Star and Water Sense products under $1500. This could include appliances, windows, light bulbs, faucets, etc. In the press release they included thermostats as well. I got pretty excited about that because I've been wanting to upgrade my thermostat for a while. So I went over to the web to check to see if the thermostat I've been looking at is in fact Energy Star rated.

Well, it turns out that the label wasn't there. So I checked some others, no label. So I browsed over to the Energy Star home page and searched for thermostats. It turns out that thermostats haven't been on the Energy Star program since 2009. I forwarded the information to the Georgia Environmental Finance Association. They are the ones who administer the environmental programs. They informed me that it was the legislature that ruled the thermostats part of the holiday and they were only passing along the information, which was true. However, they did issue the press release without vetting the information first.

I wasn't able to save any money on the thermostat, but I did buy some bulbs with the Energy Star label on Saturday and they were indeed tax free.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Paint Screw up

This Sherwin Williams Harmony primer has zero volatile organic compounds. You literally cannot smell any paint odors at all. $37 gallon.

I am using the same kind of paint for the ceiling. It is flat white. Yesterday I got three gallons of paint for the ceiling and painted half the room. Today I painted the other half.

When I came back from lunch and inspected the ceiling I noticed a difference on half of it. Turns out the third gallon of pain was eggshell. Huge difference!

Sherwin Williams gave me another gallon, though they weren't very cordial. I had to go to a different store to get it. I'll be glad to get done painting. I'm not impressed with Sherwin Williams' customer service. Their paint is awesome however.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Kitchen Update

Even though we had the coolest kitchen ever, white fridge, white dishwasher, white stove, white cabinets, white floor,  we decided to change it up a bit...

 First, we destroyed the old one and insulated the walls...

This floor was hard to part with...

One light in the kitchen was awesome, but we added a few anyway..

No pantry was fun, but we added one just for the hell of it..

Walls and ceiling primed. Sherwin Williams Harmony Primer, no VOC's. There are absolutely no paint odors whatsoever! Incredible.

The fun stuff!!

 Tubby did not help.