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Blog posts of '2016' 'January'

New Kitchen Floor Installed

After one full week we are starting Day 8 all excited to get our new kitchen floor. We're going to remove the old floor and install a new wood floor with red oak.

The old kitchen floor needs to be re-finished

Once installed we'll have the entire kitchen floor sanded and stained to match the existing hardwood floor on the main floor.

Sanded and stained with one top coat of polyurethane.

Our new gleaming floor with a seconf coat of semi-gloss polyurethane and a final coat of high gloss polyurethane.

Structural Beam Installation

The installation of the structural beam has to be supervised by a structural enginneer to make sure that the LVL beam is sized properly for the estimated weight load and that it is installed properly to support the the second floor and first floor in the finished basement.

Prior to the beam installation, the old stud wakk was removed and a temporary support wall was installed.

Once the temporary wall was set up, the new beam was installed on the supports on either side.


 The new open space looks great! Now we're ready to replace the wood floor in the kitchen.

Preparing the Kitchen Space for the LVL Beam Installation

On Wednesday, Day 4, Andy our electrician, completed all of the relocation work we asked him to do so that the LVL (laminated Veneer Lumber) beam could be installed. Andy moved the dining room chandelier location approximately two feet on the dining room ceiling. He re-located the chandelier wall switch to the side wall and added three new wall plugs.

He roughed in the wiring for the under-cabinet lighting, the island plug and the new location of the island lighting. Andy will come back once the cabinets and islamd are installed.

On Thursday, Day 5, Scott our plumber, had moved all of the plumbing in the wall space to an wall section that is staying.On Wednesday Day 5, our prime contractor, Kitchen & Bath, completed the installation of a temporary structural wall.

 Both Andy and Scott had to work in the basement ceiling in order to make all the new connections to work. Not a big deal. Just a little drywall patching is required.


Since the the kitchen floor was  in transition, we decided to install a floor level vac pan, since we already had central vac system. I went online to research the contractors available and decided on the Vac Man who charged $200 to supply and install the same day. His online rating was good and his professional installation service confirmed that. Not bad. 


Kitchen Demolition Fun

All of the contents of the kitchen cabinets had to be removed and store. This took two days to do and we decided to purchase ten large plastic storage bins to pack most of the goods away. Cost was less $100 all in. We found the best deal at Canadian Tire although Home Depot had a simple deal. We segmented the non-perishable food bins from the non-food bins and placed them all in the dining room. The disruption chaos has begun. Remember this is Day One of an estimated 42 days to complete this project.

The wall between the dining room and the kitchen has to be stripped of its drywall skin. The bulkheads on the ceiling of the kitchen have to be  removed to open up the ceiling to enable all the changes to take place. We had large drop sheets which we placed over the work areas to capture debris and protection the floor surfaces. We placed sheets over the dining room sideboard to protect it from dust and scratches.


We wanted to keep the kitchen appliances going as long as possible. So for week one, we kept the fridge, gas stove and sink operating to have some semblance of a functioning kitchen.

We had all the safety gear with work gloves, eye protection and safety boots

 It's true that the demolition process is cathartic and done properly can be a lot of fun. Everything went out to the dumpster in the middle of a howling snow storm.

Kitchen Renovation Planning

One thing my wife and I quickly learned is that many homeowners decide to redo their kitchens prior to the end of the year to have the beautiful new space ready in time to celebrate Christmas and other family celebrations in December. We purposely decided not to do that so that we didn't end up paying a premium to get work done to meet a looming deadline.

All of our suppliers liked this and you know, it removed a whole layer of stress, not all stress mind you, from our kitchen reno project.

So, in dealing with plumbing, electricial, flooring and kitchen cabinet suppliers, the first thing we said was that the installation was going to take place in January after the busy season for these contractors. We gave them two months to slot us into their schedules. More than once we heard contractors say that they appreciated the advance planning. All too often, they have to to things at the last minute for which they charge a premium. Save money, plan ahead.

The flooring, plumbing and electrical contractors we selected were ones we had established a working relationship with over the years. All of them had done work in our home before and we knew and trusted them. For new homeowners I recommend that you do the same. Sometines it takes a while to find good and reliable contractors in your area who offer good value that you are comfortable with. Once you find them, stick with them over the years. It's the same with a car mechanic who you can trust to repair your car professionally and fairly. We received written quotations and agreed to an installation schedule with everything  we could think of detailed in the contract to cover all known work required. 

However, like most home improvement projects, unforeseen situations occur, and they did occur, that had not been considered in the original contract. When this occurs, you have to have confidence in your contractors that they will deal with you fairly.

The only prime contractor that was new to us was the kitchen cabinet contractor who was someone we selected after interviewing three other companies. This is our first kitchen renovation and we had to trust our instincts on the company we selected. We had to have a good warm and cozy feeling about the company, particularly the designer assigned to do our project. Since we are in the middle of the renovation in mid-January at the time of writing this, we will reserve judgement on their performance until the job has been completed satisfactorily. So far, so good.The company we selected did not quote the lowest cost but after numerous meetings they instilled confidence in us because of their approach to business with good communication, professionalism and friendly attitude. It's funny how many contractors remove themsellves from consideration because of poor communication or because of an abrupt, unfriendly, arrogant and sometimes even rude attitude.

Another new contractor was the dumpster rental company. Because we were doing the kitchen and kitchen/dining room wall demo ourselves, this was the first step we had to nail down for the Monday following Christmas. My son and I surveyed the available suppliers online in our area the week before Christmas. Admittedly, we did not allow a lot of time to order the dumpster but there are literally dozens of rental companies online, with professional web sites. As a result rental rates were competitive. There were quite a few companies that offered various sized steel bins or even bulky bags to handle the kitchen debris. The company we selected "Dump-This" was excellent. picked them because the business owner made sure that all phone calls, if they were not picked up on his office phone, were directed to his mobile phone. We talked to a live person who was eager for our business and very accomodating for our needs. We ordered a 15 cubic foot bin more than  what we needed according t the owner, for $99.00 plus tax. Not bad. The weight of the renovation debris would be an extra cost. If we had 2,000 lbs,or I should say 907 kgs since we are in metric Canada, to remove it would cost us an additional $250. Okay still good but that's our max budget $350. We had no real idea what the weight would be. So we were looking forward to finding out what it was going to be in one week's time. 

With the dumpster dropping on our driveway at 8:30 am on Monday morning we had to get everything out of the kitchen cabinets prior to the kitchen demo. It's December 27 and we are excited that we are finally starting our new kitchen adventure!



Our Trending Kitchen Adventure

This is the story of our kitchen renovation. After 22 years with the same kitchen and many attempts at cosmetic improvements, we finally decided to take it all down and build a new kitchen. There was a lot of planning involved as you can imagine but we took our time and we learned a lot along the way. The 'before' shot is our starting point December 27, 2015.

Our biggest problem was cramped space, particularly on the other side of the fridge, which because of its size jutted out into the middle of the kitchen. Our plan included taking down the wall between the kitchen and the dining room to open up the space.

Since I had a lot of contacts with professional contractors and also a son willing and able to help with the 'demo' part of the project, we decided to be the 'general contractor' for our kitchen project to learn as much as possible but also to save money along the way.