The work started in the living room before we even moved in. We were planning to pull out the carpet and install hardwood everywhere. That meant that the fireplace stone facade, mantle and hearth had to go. The old code used to require hearths to project from the fire box by 24 inches or so. The new code only calls for 16 inches, and we wanted to recapture that 8 inches of floor space for the hardwood.
Oh. You’re probably wondering about that door on the right. Believe it or not, it leads into the master bedroom closet, which is attached to the master bathroom. It had to go too. There are three bathrooms in the house, so why they felt like a door from the living room to the master bath was a good idea is beyond the realm of my understanding.
Keep in mind that just about all my tools are in the moving company storage vaults. I was smart enough to have a Makita cordless combo kit bag set aside for “Early Delivery” just in case I needed a cordless drill for something at the apartment. Good Thing!
So now I am ready to tackle the fireplace stone.
Normally, I don’t do a lot of shopping at Harbor Freight Tools. I’ve always been more of a believer in the “buy the best tools you can afford” philosophy. But I figured for a hand drilling hammer, cold chisel and a couple of pry bars, what could go wrong? Nothing.
They call this stone PV stone. Short for Palos Verdes, the peninsula just south of our house. So the stone is a local sandstone and you see it on a lot of fireplaces, exteriors and landscapes in this area. It’s relatively soft and tearing apart the fireplace didn’t take long. It’s piled up outside waiting for its place in the new landscaping.
Now we were ready for the flooring. We chose a beautiful dark walnut wide-plank floor. Because we are so close to the ocean, we decided on pre-finished engineered hardwood. Solid wood floors have a tendency to cup and warp around here, and though we generally prefer solid, it wasn’t the way to go for this house. Our price from the flooring store included install, and since I was mostly tool-less I didn’t really have the option of installing it myself.
I hemmed and hawed about whether to rip out the strip floor that’s already down, but on advice of our sales guy, we decided to leave it. If you are wondering about the adhesive, it’s because this part of the house was originally an exterior porch. So the subfloor here is actually a concrete slab. Once the floor transitions to wood subfloor, the installers switched to power nailers.
Up next: Moving Day!