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This past fall we tackled our biggest project yet – a DIY Kitchen Remodel for my parents. And whew! That was a lot of work.
My parents built their house on their own when I was a toddler. (Guess we know where I got the DIY gene!) I’ve heard stories from them about moving in before it was finished. The well running dry when my sister was a baby at the same time everyone had the flu. How my Dad built the cabinets himself, working first on the bottom cabinets and adding the upper ones a year later.
My parents put a lot of work into the home and eventually finished the entire thing. However, life rolls right along and often home improvement projects and updates take a back seat to other things. This had definitely happened for my parents. They wanted to remodel the kitchen. In fact, they had new-to-them cabinets sitting in the garage. And those replacement cabinets sat in that garage for years.
When we moved back home, updating the kitchen quickly became something I wanted to help my parents do. The vinyl countertops were bubbling and lifting up. The kitchen faucet had more than its fair share of hard water build up (and the sprayer hadn’t functioned in a long time). The fan light no longer worked smoothly. And then the dishwasher died.
Weeks of hand-washing dishes soon had me putting the kitchen remodel at the top of the list – as soon as my husband got home from deployment to help. I’m ambitious and not afraid to tackle projects myself, but I knew I was going to need the extra hands, muscles and carpentry skills for this particular project. So in that space of time after deployment but before he went back to his regular job we tackled that kitchen.
Overall the kitchen was still functional. No truly broken cabinets. But drawers were sagging and sticking and the lazy susans in the corner cabinets never seemed to have less than half a dozen items tipping over or fallen off in the back corner. Let’s face it – everything was looking pretty dated.
When the floor looks like this, it’s definitely time to replace it.
The first step of any DIY home improvement project is giving yourself a blank canvas to work with. That means ripping out the old, right?
I know a lot of the DIY shows on TV list “demo day” as one of their favorite times of the project but frankly? I don’t believe them. Emptying cupboards, removing all the old cabinets, pulling up the floor, and ripping down the wallpaper – it’s a LOT of hard, long, tedious work.
Sorry folks but there is NO “easy way” to do this. Yes, I scoured Pinterest and tried a few of the tips and concoctions I saw recommended over and over. When it came right down to it, the best method I found was a steamer and a paint scraper. I didn’t go quickly, but it was effective. Just hold the steamer above a small section of wallpaper for a few seconds to loosen the adhesive then peel the wallpaper from the wall.
I used a small handheld garment steamer (like this PurSteam Next Gen Fabric Steamer, Fast-Heat Aluminum Heating Element With Travel Pouch, 180ml Capacity Perfect for Home and Travel ) but I think a full sized steamer would have been even more effective (like the PurSteam PS-910 Heavy Duty Powerful Fabric Steamer with Fabric Brush and Garment Hanger)
Even worse than wallpaper removal? Taking up the old vinyl flooring. Yuck, yuck, yuck. That stuff did not want to come off.
I’m told there are machines you can rent to aid in removing the old floor. I highly recommend you check into that. We didn’t have one of those nearby so we used the brute force method. Fun, fun. I’m sure the machine would have saved some aching backs and blistered palms.
If you do want to go the low tech method, that little tool pictured above (similar to Warner 790 Tool 4-Inch Strip and Clean Scraper, 12-Inch Steel Soft Grip Handle) turned out to be the best one for the job. (We tried at least 3 other tools, trust me.) The husband could get the upper layer of the flooring off with that tool, then I went back in with a spray bottle of water and soaked the lower layer of the flooring. After a couple of applications of water and letting it soak in for a few minutes after each application, the remnants of the flooring and the glue holding it down lifted up fairly easily. For any of the stubborn pieces my husbands “favorite tool” the mini pry-bar (similar to Titan Tools 17005 Stainless Steel Prybar and Scraper Set – 2 Piece) did the trick.
By the beginning of Day 3 on the DIY Kitchen Remodel, the kitchen looked like this. No more demolition, time to start the actual work on the remodel. Can you guess what we tackled next?
Stay tuned for the next stage in the big DIY Kitchen Remodel – on a budget! Until then, check out more home decor inspiration like my Master Bedroom Update, Laundry Room Redo, or quick and easy 5 Minute Floral Arrangements.