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  • Which floor makeover is right for you?
    Are you ready to update your flooring but aren’t sure which options are right for you? You’ve come to the right spot! I’ve used a few different options on the abundance of tile in my house and I definitely have some opinions on which option is my favorite. We’ll look at the pro’s and con’s of painted tile, vinyl tile and vinyl planks. I’ll cover budget, ease of installation and durability. If you just want my opinion on which is best feel free to scroll to the end. Painted tile- The first transformation I did to a portion of the tile in my home was painting the tile shower surround. Most of the tile in our house is the builder grade brown that you see a lot of in homes that were build in the early 2000’s. We had it in our old home that was remodeled before we moved in and it was definitely in style during that time. And at the time I loved it. But our bathrooms don’t have any windows in them (something that my husband and I would both love to fix someday but just isn’t quite in the budget at the moment) so the need something brighter and a little modern. So to start off we decided to paint the shower surround white. Yup. We painted our shower tile. If you want to see how we did it you can read about it here. And you know what? I would do it again. In fact, we’ll do it again to the tile surrounding our master bath tub. Over the last year and a half it has held up amazingly well. Granted, it’s not a bathroom that is used frequently for showers, but we do have a couple of kids who make quite the ruckus during bath time. And we haven’t had a single scratch in the paint. Now, as far as painting floor tile, I can’t say for certain. I have seen a number of people who have done it and done it quite successfully. (You can check out this blog to see how their painted tile held up) I imagine that it would hold up splendidly, especially in a bathroom situation where you might not have as much shoe traffic as say an entryway or a kitchen. Out of the three methods, though, I expect it is by far the most time consuming option, so if you have a lot of tile that may not be the route you want to go. Vinyl Floor Tile Vinyl Floor Tile may not be a new idea but up until a year and a half ago I definitely never considered it for my floors. Especially not for covering existing tile flooring. If you do a google search of vinyl floor tiles you will find a wide range of vinyl tiles ranging from downright ugly to beautifully chic and modern. You also have options of groutable vinyl, peel and stick vinyl and vinyl you can glue down yourself. I went with the peel and stick option, as it seemed the easiest and it had the widest assortment of styles I liked. I have to say, I’m still intrigued by the groutable vinyl and I just may have to do that to my laundry room someday. I’m seeing hexagon groutable tiles in my future! To see my vinyl tile makeover click here. Vinyl Plank Flooring This is probably the most common flooring you will see in new homes, as least in my area of the U.S. When we were on the house hunt a couple of years ago we usually found that brand new homes had vinyl plank in all of the common areas of the house. I didn’t, however, realize that you can put vinyl planks directly over existing tile. Who knew?! Well, probably everyone except me. That was a game changer for me. I knew we had to try it right away, and since I was getting ready to work on the master bath I figured the timing couldn’t be better. Off to Lowe’s we went to pick our planks. You can see that project here. Budget Now that you have a little introduction into each of these options I want to grade them based on a few criteria. If your first priority is budget, it’s important to know what you need to expect in terms of cost. These are just my experiences based on the amount of material I had to get for the space I was working on. Yours will be different and you’ll want to calculate your own estimated costs. Hopefully I can give you a better idea of what you’ll need to expect. For the painted tile, you’ll obviously need paint. But you’ll also need a really good primer. I used Stix. Keep in mind a really good durable primer can be pricey. You’ll also need a water-based polyurethane, which can also be expensive. If you already have painting supplies that will help, but if not you’ll need those as well. For this project I used foam rollers. If you’re doing a stencil on the floor you’ll also need an accent paint and a few stencils. You’re most likely looking at $100+ for a small bathroom. (Again, you’ll want to do your own calculations. For vinyl floor tiles the price can range greatly. We used floor pop tiles and they were very budget friendly. At the time of purchase we spent $20-30 on the tiles. We also had to purchase a floor leveling compound (we used Henry’s floor leveler). In total we spent around $60 for a small bathroom floor. If you’re strictly looking for a budget friendly flooring this could be a great option for you. Vinyl plank flooring is likely to be your most expensive option. I will say, however, that if we had done our smaller bathroom rather than our larger bathroom, we probably could have done it for under $100 since we likely only would have needed one box. It will all depend on the price of your planks (which ranges as much as the tiles) and how large a space you’re doing. Ease of Installation When you’re doing a project yourself there are times when budget may be the only factor you can consider. In our old house we sometimes had to do the harder project because it was the cheapest option for us. We were also younger and putting in a significant amount of time and elbow grease was easier than I find it these days. If you’re not solely focused on budget you may want to consider the ease of installation. I would say, by far, the most time intensive option would be painting the tile. Not only is there more prep work, but you’re also accounting for multiple layers and drying/curing time. I know that once I start painting our master bathroom shower it will be unusable for a few days. Honestly that’s the main reason I’ve been putting it off for so long. Installing vinyl floor tiles also involves a bit of prep work. Since the tile has to stick to the floor you have to make sure it is well cleaned and then you have to level the floor. If you don’t level it you’ll have dips where the grout lines were. Once you have all the prep work done, laying the tiles isn’t too hard. Installing the vinyl plank was the easiest of the three. Once we had the installation tools we were able to quickly get to floor down. There was minimal prep work, since the floor is actually floating and not stuck to the subfloor. Durability Assuming you’re not looking for a temporary fix, you want to know how each will hold up. Out of the three options I would definitely say that the vinyl tile is the least durable. Now I don’t want to discount it as an option, because it’s been great, and for the most part it’s actually held up really well in the last year or so since we put it in. The only part that has started coming up is right behind the toilet where I think we had a leak in the pipe the connects to the toilet. Otherwise it’s held up great! Vinyl tile is the one I worry most about when the kids are in the bath and splashing everywhere. Surprisingly around the bathtub has done well too. I did add some clear silicone in the cracks near the tub to try to keep any water from getting under the tiles. When I painted our bathroom tile I wasn’t sure how the painted tile would hold up. I worried about scratches or pealing. But in the last two years I haven’t had a single scratch or pealing. The painted tile I have, though, is on the bathroom walls and not the floor. I have hear great things from people who have done it on the floor though! So if you’re leaning towards painting the floor and you’re worried about durability I think you’ll be okay if you take all of the precautions of prep work and sealing properly. In my opinion, I think the vinyl plank flooring is the most durable. Though I haven’t had issues with the painted tile, and I’ve had minimal issues with the vinyl tile, I just worry less about the vinyl planks. They’re waterproof and are built for the wear and tear of everyday living. Who wins? It depends. Haha. I know that’s the last thing you want to hear after reading that novel. It will depend on what your goals are. If you are concerned about budget vinyl tiles may be the way to go. And I’d really like to try groutable vinyl tiles. I think that would make them more durable with less concern about the tiles pulling up. But if budget isn’t a concern and you just want to get the job done and have a super durable floor, I would absolutely go with the vinyl planks all the way. I hope this helped in your search for the best flooring option for your needs! If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!
  • How to Install Vinyl Planks Over Tile
    If you saw my post on how to install faux shiplap, you probably already know that our master bath has a lot of tile. I mean, every surface but the vanity and walls is tile. Brown, builder-grade tile. My plan was always to change it up. I mean, why is tile in bathrooms a good idea?? Do you know what gets stuck in that grout??? I don’t even want to think about it. First I thought I’d paint the floor and use a stencil to give it a modern pattern, (I’ve had success painting tile, which you can see here.) but the prospect of all that work on so much tile was daunting. Then I discovered vinyl tile. I put some down in our small, upstairs bathroom (you can see that project here) and after a year of moderate use decided that probably wouldn’t work in our master bath that gets used daily. Finally, I learned that you can actually put vinyl plank flooring directly over tile. We found some 100% waterproof vinyl and it was the perfect solution! This was one of our quickest bathroom installations to date and it made such a huge difference. Although it wasn’t our cheapest project, coming in at under $200, I would definitely recommend going this route over vinyl tile or painting. (Not to mention it’s wayyyy cheaper and less work than tearing out the tile and replacing it!) *Before going out an buying your vinyl planks make sure that by adding the flooring on top of the tile your floor won’t end up being to high to clear the bottom of any doors or that it won’t stick up higher than your carpet. You don’t want to end up with an awkward transition. Supplies Utility knife to remove current baseboard Cat’s paw or pry bar to remove current baseboard Vinyl plank flooring (We used Style Select, Dovetail color from Lowe’s) Vinyl floor installation kit Saw for cutting (you can score the planks with a utility knife, but I found using a saw easier) Brad nailer and nails to reinstall baseboard Silicone caulk Spackle for baseboard. Step 1- Remove baseboards and toilet The first thing you want to do is remove the toilet and your current baseboards. You will want to have the baseboards on top of the new flooring to give it a clean look. We also removed the toe kick under the cabinets too. Your baseboards will have a bead of caulk on the top so you’ll need to score it with a utility knife. We used a pry bar to get the baseboards off. We knew we weren’t going to use the original baseboards again, so we weren’t too careful when removing them. If you will be putting the baseboards back on you’ll want to be careful not to damage them. Step 2- Prep the floor If you’ve seen any of my other projects you may know that prep work is my least favorite part. But it’s oh, so necessary. Vacuum or sweep the floor and then give it a good mopping. I really wanted the floors underneath as clean as possible. After the floors are dry you’re ready to get going. That’s my kind of prep! Step 3- Organize your vinyl planks (Optional) Okay, so this step is optional, but I would definitely recommend it. Depending on the brand you get you’ll have a few different patterns of vinyl planks. We organized the flooring by pattern so that we could make them look more random and not end up with a bunch of the same pattern at the end. Step 4- Installation of vinyl planks Now it’s time to get rolling! We started by the bathroom door. I wanted the boards to slide under the door trip so it would look nice. I used our multitool to cut the very bottom of trim. If you don’t have a multitool you can carefully try a handsaw or remove the trim, cut it down and replace it. (If it’s not making sense watch the video below) You also want to keep in mind that these floors are floating, meaning they aren’t glued to anything. You’ll need to give it some space to move around a bit as the floors fluctuate. We ended up leaving approximately 1/4″ for this. (We started off just using bits of wood for the spacers but quickly realized that to make this project easier we would need the installation kit. The one we purchased had spacers included.) It may take a bit to get the hang of installing the vinyl planks. I wish I had a better video clip of us clicking the vinyl planks in. When we do the next bathroom I’ll make sure to get one. This will have to do. At first I thought they should just snap in easily. The first row we did was especially frustrating. But then we bought the installation kit and using the bar pull was super helpful. Occasionally you’ll also need to use the mallet to get everything to snap in flat. When you get to the end and cut off your remaining bit you can either use a sharp utility knife or a saw to cut your vinyl plank ends. I preferred using a saw to make my cuts, but just know that you can do this project without power tools. For any cuts that you make you will only be able to use that leftover as the beginning of a new row. So where possible use the remainder for the new row. Make sure you’re starting with different lengths so you’ll have some staggering among the boards. The middle portion is my favorite. When you don’t have obstacles to work around it starts to go super fast! Woohoo! The end of the installation was a lot of measuring and cutting. When I had to go around the toilet I just lay the board down and traced an approximate guide to cut. The toilet base should cover it just fine. If you’re using a utility knife you may have trouble at this part. I’m not sure how well it will cut curved lines. I used a scroll saw to cut these parts, but a jig saw would work well too. To get under the vanity base we took off the toe kick. We had to rip a couple of the planks to get them to fit, and we ripped the toe kick before putting it back on. We re-attached the toe kick with the nice edge on the bottom touching the planks. As you finish installing you will likely have to rip some of the vinyl planks to make them fit next to the wall. (You’ll have to cut some of them lengthwise.) For shorter planks we used the scroll saw, but for the longer ones we used a utility knife. Both worked just fine. Install baseboards and toilet When you’re all finished installing the boards it’s time to put everything back together. Start with the baseboards. It’s easier to get the baseboards put in before the toilet is reinstalled. If you have any bullnosed (rounded) outside corners and you’re not putting the original baseboards back on let me save you some time and give you the angles. Luckily most saws have this one marked because is a commonly needed angle. You’re inside edge will be 5/8-3/4″ and the cut angle will be 22.5 degrees. You’re welcome. Use a brad nailer to attach the baseboards. Last, install your toilet, touch up the brad nailer holes, and paint or apply touch-up paint to the baseboards and you’re done!! So we’ve had this project done for a couple of months now and I am so happy with it. I would absolutely do this again and we’ll probably replace our vinyl tiles in our guest bathroom with vinyl plank flooring soon. We haven’t had any problems with water, it’s easy to clean and I don’t feel gross walking on it. This project was a bit more expensive than the vinyl tile I installed in our other bathroom a year ago, but since I don’t have to worry about the water I consider it worth it. Plus you don’t have to do as much prep work and it would be even easier to take out if you need a temporary solution for your bathroom or kitchen. Such a win! Have you ever put vinyl planks over existing floors? If you try it let me know how it went!
  • How to Install Wainscoting
    If you’re looking for an easy way to add interest and texture to a plain wall this is it! Wainscoting and shiplap are my favorite ways to add interest and charm to a room. Shiplap is an easy install, but wainscoting is even easier and quicker than shiplap! (If you’re looking for a shiplap tutorial check out this post!) If you’ve followed any of my projects you may know that since we moved into our house a couple of years ago I’ve decided to re-do just about every room in the house. I probably should have started with my daughter’s room, because since we moved in she added almost a hundred stickers to the wall and let me tell you, those suckers are hard to get off! If I had a do-over I probably would have just sanded the wall down. Her entire bedroom makeover started with her bedspread. I love those Beddy’s covers. They’re great for helping kids make their own beds while they’re little. My son has one on his bed and we love it! But they can get pretty pricey and I just couldn’t justify it for each bed. I found a pattern on Etsy to make your own and thought we could try it out. And by we I mean my incredibly talented mom. (Sorry Mom!) Instead of finding fabric to use for the top I decided to use a coverlet. It gave the bedding a little more weight and durability without being too expensive. So off to Ross we went. I let my daughter pick out a coverlet that she liked and that was the starting point for the color scheme of her room. With most of the room painted gray I really wanted to add a pop of color to one of the walls. I also didn’t want the whole wall to be a bubblegum pink. I had images of Pepto Bismal swimming in my head and that was the last thing I wanted. Breaking up the wall with some wainscoting and choosing more of a dusty rose color was the perfect solution for her room. Supplies 4×8 MDF sheet (primed mdf casing would work too if you don’t have access to a table saw) Table Saw (If you use the MDF sheet) Miter Saw Brad Nailer and Nails. Spackle and sanding block Caulk *This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you purchase something from one of my links, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. Cut sheet into strips I bought a 4×8 sheet of MDF to cut into strips. I knew I’d use the extras I had left for another project. If you don’t have access to a table saw or you won’t be using that many boards you can use primed MDF boards instead. I cut my MDF sheet into 2 1/2 inch strips. You could go as wide or this as you want. Install the wainscoting I cut my vertical boards 66″. I used the full 8 foot length and then measured and cut the remaining length for the horizontal board. Before I started installing the wainscoting I decided to paint the line where the top board would be so that I wouldn’t have to cut in later and worry about getting the wrong color paint everywhere. I also painted the outer boards pink before I installed them for the same reason. I started out the wainscoting by installing the outer edges and the top and then adding the vertical middle boards. To figure out the distance between each vertical board I measured the distance between the two outer vertical boards and divided it by 6. (Check out the video at the top if you’re more of a visual person.) As you add the boards check each one to make sure it is level. To install each board I used 1 1/2 inch brad nails. A lot of people will add some type of glue to the back of the board. I don’t use glue in case I ever want to remove the boards. I’ve never had trouble with boards coming off. And if you caulk the edges it will be extra secure. Still, it’s a personal decision and if adding glue to the back makes you feel better then go for it! Caulk, spackle and paint The last thing you need to do is caulk, fill in the holes and seams with spackle and then paint! Now if I’m being 100% honest I still haven’t caulked or filled in the seams and holes. I needed to get the bedroom put back together and I’m lazy so that will have to wait for a little bit. But for a totally finished look you’ll definitely want to take care of that. How easy and quick was that project? And no, we will not be adding any more stickers to the wall! Haha. If you’re looking for a little more decorative accent wall check out my herringbone accent wall!
  • Make Your Own Vintage Sled Decor
    I love vintage decor. Everything about it is beautiful. Even the vintage that isn’t my style still holds a place in my heart. They all seem to have a story. A history that wants to be known. It’s the hopeless romantic in me. The part of me that loves old movies, especially Christmas movies. So when I can incorporate something that looks vintage into my decor it makes my heart happy. And when I can’t find something that is truly vintage I do the next best thing and make it. I love how this sled turned out. For me it’s the perfect combination of an vintage and modern. It’s also a quick and easy build, which is my favorite! *This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you purchase something from one of my links, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. *This is not a real sled. My kids were so disappointed when they found out it was just a decoration and couldn’t be used in the snow, Level: beginner Time to complete: approximately two hours Supplies 2- 1×4 pine boards (don’t forget to check out Home Depot’s discounted/cull wood. That’s where I got mine 70% off!) Jig Saw Brad nailer and nails wood glue Paint and stain of your choice – I used a red acrylic paint and Minwax Special Walnut. Step 1 – Draw your pattern for the sled The first thing I did was draw a pattern for the sled rails. I wanted a curve at the top to make it look more like an old time sled. You could also use a 1×6 to get a larger curve, but I had 1×4’s on hand that I found in Home Depot’s discounted section. If you don’t know by now, I’m all about using what you already have! You don’t have to add a curve at the top. You could always just cut an angle at the top. It’ll still turn out great! At this point you can also draw your curve for the top of the body of the sled. Step 2 – Cut and Sand I used a jigsaw to cut the rail boards. If you want, you could cut one board and then trace that board to make an identical copy. I just free-handed the curves. For the body of the sled I used a scroll saw to cut the curve. You could easily use a jig saw for that too, I just prefer my scroll saw. I also cut two cross boards at 11 1/4″ (11.25″). *As always, be careful when using power tools. After your boards are all cut sand your edges. Step 3 – Paint and Stain After sanding I painted my rails red and I stained the main body with Minwax Special Walnut. I put on two coats of paint and two coats of stain. Step 4 – Assemble the sled Lay the rails out on a flat surface. Place your cross boards on the sled rails with a little glue and use brad nails to secure them. Then place your main body boards on your cross boards with a little glue and nail them in place too. And done! I wanted to add a wreath, so I used a garland wire to wrap around the middle board and then tied the wreath on.
  • DIY Faux Shiplap Wall
    If you haven’t noticed, shiplap walls are trending. Like, big time. It seems that everywhere I look I see shiplap. And I’ll be the first to admit that I have jumped on that bandwagon and I’ll bring whoever I can along with me. The downside is that true shiplap gets pretty pricey and if you know anything about me and this blog it’s that I like to do things as budget-friendly as possible. So this post will show you how to install a faux shiplap wall. Supplies 4X8 Masonite Sheet (Also called wall panel at some stores) Table Saw or circular saw (Or if you purchase from Lowe’s or Home Depot they will often cut it for you) Miter Saw Brad Nailer and 1″ Brad Nails Paint, Primer and a sprayer and/or cabinet roller Silicone caulk Trim Installing the Shiplap First I cut the sheet of masonite, or wall panel, into 6″ widths. I measured the length I needed and cut to the correct length using a miter saw. Starting at the bottom, I set the first board and made sure it was level. I used the brad nailer to secure the first board. If you know you don’t ever want to remove the shiplap I would recommend using some sort of adhesive before placing and nailing the board. I wanted most of the renovations we do in this bathroom to be fairly semi-permanent. Personally, I like having the option of being able to change things up. After I installed the first board I used a spacer (eh hem…a nickel) to get the small gap between the boards and keep them even. You still want to make sure each board is level before securing it. You don’t want to end up stepping back at the end of your project and realizing that by the time you got to the top it ended up wonky. Installation tip: It may seem like a no-brainer, but if you’re installing full walls and can’t make a single board span the length of your wall make sure you stagger your seems. Once your shiplap is installed it’s time to paint. I decided to give the primer I tried when I painted my daughter’s bedroom another shot. Once again I was not impressed. I used the Valspar Multi-purpose primer. I can’t say that I would recommend it. In fact, when I painted my daughter’s room I only used it on one wall before I gave up and just used the Valspar 2000, which seemed to cover much better in less coats. I used a sprayer to apply the paint, thinking it would be faster and smoother. The sprayer didn’t cover the cracks as well as I had hoped so I ended up having to brush the cracks and then use a foam roller to make it as smooth as I wanted it. The next time I do this (and I’ve already got plans to do it again!) I’ll most likely paint the strips with a foam cabinet roller before I even install the boards. I found that the holes from the nails were cleaner after the boards had been painted than before. You’ll want to make sure you get all of the cracks and edges painted well. The paint is what will seal the boards against moisture, especially if you’re installing in a bathroom. Also make sure your room is well ventilated and use a mask. Our bathroom doesn’t have any windows so I kept the fan on. The fumes were still pretty bad so I donned the lovely fumigating mask. After painting and priming you can install the trim and then caulk. I opted for filling in the the holes. Some people prefer to leave them unfilled. I honestly feel like I could have gone either way. And that’s it! I can’t wait to do it again!