March 3rd - Kitchen looking better!

I managed to get a few hours at the condo after the day job today. With the painting on the cabinets completed, it was time to lay down the new vinyl flooring. I like to use the "loose fit" vinyl, in this case Armstrong Sundial. It is cut from 12' wide rolls when you buy it at Home Depot, and is installed with a special double-sided "Glass Tac" tape. The loose fit vinyl is much more flexible and forgiving that the normal vinyl, which speeds up the install. After unrolling the piece I bought, I roughly spread it out on the floor. If you treat regular vinyl flooring like this, it will crease and tear the finish.

The double-sided tape is run around the perimeter of the room, with extra strips placed under the spots where the appliances sit. This will help prevent the floor from pulling up when the fridge or oven is slid out for access to the backside.

After pressing the vinyl into the tape, it is trimmed to fit the wall, much like wall-to-wall carpet. Once it was all laid down, I wheeled the range and fridge into the kitchen, along with the two cabinet base units. Not bad for one evening's work!

March 4th - Kitchen progress continues
Tonight after work, I started getting the cabinet doors ready to paint. I set up a few sawhorses and placed leftover partial sheets of dywall across them. Drywall screws were partly run in every 10 inches on a grid pattern to support the cabinet doors while painting and drying.

In the bathroom, I updated the tub's faucet. If you go back to week #1 and look at the tub faucet, you may notice that the cold water handle was missing. Turns out that not only was the handle missing, but the entire cartridge! The faucet was made be Moen, and neither Home Depot or Lowe's had the replacement parts I needed. They were available on the Moen website, but the missing parts added up to over $75. Being an eBay junkie, I found a brand new Moen faucet to bid on, and got the complete replacement for under $45, shipping included. So instead of just replacing what was gone, I took all the new parts and installed them into the original valve body. Much nicer!

The only drag was that when I tested the shower, I heard water running from behind the wall. I found a poorly-made solder joint about 12" above the valve body was to blame. At first, I tried to re-sweat the joint...but that didn't pan out. So out came the tubing cutter to remove the offending section.

I found the reason for the leak - when the shower valves were replaced, not only did the installer do a bang-up job with the tile (go back and look at Week #1 to see what I mean), but the pipe that led up to the showerhead did not line up with the shower valve - it was off by 3/8". I tried deflecting the pipes together and joining the with a coupling, but my solder joint leaked as well. Since the offset was less than a pair of 45° connectors would accomodate, I decided that it would be easiest elongate the holes in the studs that the vertical pipe ran through. I have some 24" long drill bits, but of course they weren't on the truck. So the plumbing repair will have to wait.

March 5th - Kitchen progress continues
I used the quick-drying, original Kilz® primer on all of the cabinet doors. The nice thing about the Kilz® is that by the time that I finished priming the last door, the first one was ready to flip over and prime the other side.

After letting the primer dry for a few hours, I applied the 1st coat of the oil-based paint to the backside of all the doors. The stuff drys slow, so I turned up the heat and let it cook for the rest of the afternoon.

While the doors were drying, I installed the new gas range. It is essential to install the anti-tip bracket that comes with all new ranges (look at the bottom of the picture below). The reason for this bracket is that with the over door open, the range is unbalanced. Slide out the wire rack with a Thanksgiving turkey on top, and it may be enough to topple it over!

March 6th - New countertops
I purchased the pre-made countertops from Home Depot for this project. They come in various lengths, and need to be trimmed to fit each application. To get started, I took some scraps of the vinyl floor and stapled them (from the end) onto a set of sawhorses so that I could work on the countertops without scratching them.

I then measured off the length that I needed, and ran a few strips of masking tape along the area of the cut.

Notice how there are two strips of tape in the picture above? The one closer to the end is so that I can make a practice cut. :)

Thanks to my Dad & Uncle, the best way I know to cut these is to use a special laminate blade in a circular saw. The laminate blade has very fine teeth and a tapered profile to help it go through the material. Cuts are made from the backside, so the countertop is flipped over and the cut lines drawn. To make a nice cut, I installed a temporary fence made from a 1x2" for the saw to run against. Since the lip and backsplash are molded into the countertop, a few additional pieces are added. The fence is fastened to the countertop with some short drywall screws.

I start the cut by going vertically through the backsplash, then without stopping, transition to horizontal for the main section in one fluid motion (this picture is of the practice cut, so I have pulled out the saw for clarity).

Continue across the counter until you reach the front lip. At this point, you will need to lift the front of the saw while keeping it against the fence. Also, the portion with the cut needs to be supported so that the laminate does not crack. A wiling pair of hands is fine for this, but since I was working alone, I stopped and screwed in a small scrap of wood to accomplish the same thing.

Follow up and around the front lip with the saw. As you approach the end, the saw will transition back again to vertical for the final cutting. Once you are all the way through, simply remove the screws and you will have a nicely cut countertop.

For the sink, mark out and tape off the cut lines on the counter. There will typically be long straight cuts, and rounded corners.

Use a router, spiral saw (Rotozip®) or sabre saw for the rounded areas, then flip the counter over and use the circular saw for the straight runs. Make sure to screw a few scraps of wood to the backside to support the section you are cutting out! Once the cuts are done, flip it back over and remove the screws holding the cutout in place.

Once the countertops are cut, drop them on top of the base units!

Well, that's the end of another update. The countertops are just sitting there (we call that "gravity mounted"), and the sink isn't fastened or plumbed up. I also need to install end caps on the countertops to finish them off. Come back next week to see more progress!

If you would like to contact Antler Properties, please feel free to call, e-mail or write to us at:

Antler Properties, LLC
10400 Eastwood Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20901
(301) 651-3157

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