Friday, March 9, 2012

fixing other people's stupid mistakes

I feel like, in my house, I'm constantly fixing other people's mistakes.  Most of these blunders are thanks to the  former home-owners who either hired a brainless contractor or thought they were good at doing it themselves.  Not all DIY'ers are created equal.  I beg to argue that these people were not even adequate at their DIY projects - at least the ones they did here.  For example, none of the doors in my house are balanced.  They all swing either open or shut which is very annoying and not terribly easy to fix.  Another example?  They re-did the basement and apparently covered electrical junction boxes; our electrician is pretty convinced they did anyway.  We had to hire him to fix some of their blunders when nothing I did could make the bedroom light work (and I'm not without knowledge of the craft; I have wired an entire basement before to pass inspection with flying colors).

My latest fix-it project has been to basically "grout" the wood flooring in my kitchen.  When the pre-finished floors were installed, they did not properly acclimate to the climate and humidity of the house before they were installed.  I'm guessing that the owners did not care how it turned out as they were dumping the house on the next unsuspecting buyers.  Either that or they just didn't have a clue.  I've worked on wood flooring installation before and it's imperative that one uses the correct tools.

The first winter we had here, the floor boards formed major cracks, some almost 1/4" wide between planks.  If this were an old farm house, I'd have thought it was charming, but as I swept and mopped my floor, I noticed the cracks filling in with crumbs and dirt. So a few times a year, I'd take a tooth brush and vacuum cleaner and try to clean them out, inch by inch.  Because I usually have an extra 4 hours in my schedule.

This year, I decided to do a temporary fix and I really don't know if it's going to work, so I can't nessesarily recommend this to you who may have a similar problem.  I filled in all the cracks with wood filler.  It was a very annoying project, but it may end up saving me lots of frustration in cleaning later.  However, the filler may crack under the pressure of summer humidity and all fall out, but that's a risk I am willing to take.

I tried to take a picture of what my pre-finished floors SHOULD look like when properly installed, but I couldn't find one joint in my entire house that was tight.  So here's my before and after pictures.

notice the lovely dirt.

Not horrible.

It's ugly flooring, so I'm hoping to rip it all out in the next couple years anyway.  All that work for nothing?  No way.  I won't have to clean out the cracks for at least 6 months!

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