Lessons learned from renovating experiences

My experience with renovations (both mine and my clients’) has taught me that there are a few scenarios that are age old.

As long as I’ve been designing the questions are the same – how much will this cost? Do you know a good painter? Can I design my house so my adult children will move away? I sometimes take for granted what I know until I have to explain it to someone else and of course this makes for a great article topic!

If you are installing hard surface (wood/cork/vinyl/tile), your baseboards will have to be removed. Baseboards are designed to sit on top of these products and cover the cut edges, the only exception to this rule I have seen is very old houses with very big (and old) baseboards.

A quarter round edge trim is usually added to the bottom of the base after the product is installed.

Even though your carpet and vinyl look to be the same level – they aren’t.

Carpet and underlay combined are about ½” thick; vinyl is sitting on top of a 3/8” subfloor.

If you are converting carpet and vinyl to all the same new flooring you will have to add that 3/8” subfloor to the carpeted areas to make the floors level. It is generally much easier to add subfloor than to remove existing subfloor, especially if a kitchen is involved. It will cost approximately $1.40/sq. ft. to supply and install new 3/8” subfloor.

Toilets must be removed to install new flooring in a bathroom. Yes, I get this question all the time! I mean, vinyl could be put around the base of a toilet but really?

Gross. Instead of having the toilet base sit on a new clean floor you have vinyl cut to the base of the toilet and another keyhole cut in the back of the toilet all finished with a goopy bead of silicone. No, I won’t let you make a mess of your new floors that way!

Floors can vary in thickness from 1/16” to 1.5”, do you have room?

Will your fridge or dishwasher fit after the new floor is installed? Check to see how much room you have under your interior and exterior doors. If your bedroom doors are tighter to the existing floors and you want to install a super deep shag you might have to plane down a door or two. Exterior doors can be a big problem if you want to add tile in an entry as that can raise the profile of the floor a few inches with required subfloor.

Check the spacing to make sure these very important items will still fit into their required spaces. Closet doors can also give you grief if they have a bottom track and you are adding to height of the floor.

Stairs are expensive; there is no way around it! Once you begin to cover steps in any product other than carpet you are reconstructing and often adding subfloor. Steps are usually built out of solid dimensional lumber which is not appropriate for subfloor for any product that is glued down.

You are looking at new subfloor and/or new nosings and wood veneer to cover the stringers on the sides. All of this represents a lot of labour and can cost up to $300 per step.

I hope these categories answer a few questions for you, they seem to be a common thread! Happy renovating everyone.

Kim Lewis is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre.

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