Tag Archives: Home Improvement

Removing Kitchen Soffits

Removing Cabinet Molding

Our kitchen is small, so anywhere we can wrangle up a little extra space is certainly welcomed.  The bulky soffits that were above our wall cabinets were definitely taking up valuable space. We knew that we wanted to remove them to help open up and make our kitchen feel larger. It was especially important to remove these on the wall behind the sink since we were planning on placing open shelving and backsplash tile from the counter to the ceiling.

After opening up the end of the long soffit above our microwave, we knew that it wasn’t hiding any duct work, electrical or plumbing. We already knew that the soffits above the sink were only decorative, since they were so small.

We used the following tools for this project- gloves, hammer, exacto knife, screw driver, pry bar and vacuum.

First, we removed the cabinets on the wall with the sink.

Removing Kitchen Soffits

We started by hammering into the center of the soffit. This created a hole so we could see into the empty soffit. Bonus points if you vacuum up the insulation and mouse droppings now instead of waiting until they fall out of the soffit!

Removing Kitchen Soffits

 

Removing Kitchen Soffits

Once you open up the wall, you can see exactly where the framing is. We used the hammer to break up the rest of the drywall on the soffit, then we pulled the remaining drywall off by hand or with a small pry bar. We used the exacto knife to score the edges where the soffit met the actual wall. This helped to give us a clean edge when we removed all the drywall.

Removing Kitchen Soffits

Once all the drywall was removed from the soffit, we just used a screwdriver to dismantle the framing.

Removing Kitchen Soffits Removing Kitchen Soffits

And that was that! We left ourselves with some gross looking holes in the wall, but it immediately opened up the room and really helped us get that extra space we so desperately needed.

Removing Kitchen Soffits Removing Kitchen Soffits

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Removing a Kitchen Island

We knew the next step for our kitchen remodel was going to be demoing the island. It was taking up a lot of space, and would open the area up to give us more room for the renovations.  So that’s how we went from this:

kitchen dining view

 

To this:

Removing Kitchen Island

We started by pulling off the laminate trim that was on one edge of the countertop. I used an exacto blade to cut the caulk line on the top and then a small pry bar to pull off the trim.

Removing a Kitchen Island

Then we unscrewed the laminate countertop from the island which was supported underneath by plywood.

Demoing Kitchen Island

This plywood was then screwed in from the top with a couple of screws. I’m so going to use this plywood for some of the cabinets we need to build on the island. Free wood for the win!

 
Removing a Kitchen Island

Once the laminate countertop and the plywood were removed, we were left with this sight:

Removing Kitchen Island

Next we removed the 1×6″ wood trim that was on either side of the top of the island.

Island No Side Top Trim

At this point we realized this wasn’t a true island but what used to be a wall. At some point, previous owners knocked down part of this wall to a half wall and then added a countertop to it. Pretty smart for a quick and dirty fix. I think the kitchen feels small now, I can’t image what it was like with a wall here.  Had to feel almost prison-like!

 We then removed all the molding around either side of the island. We used a utility knife and then a small pry bar to pull off the molding. At this time we also took off the paneling, which was pretty easy to do with a pry bar or hammer. Also this is the paint color that was cover 90% of the walls in our house when we first bought. I call it Peaches & Crap.

Demoing Kitchen Island

This left us with a whole bunch of drywall. We pulled up the 2×4 that was running along the top of the island, and after that it was pretty easy to pull the drywall off and just cut it down  so we could easily throw it away.

 Removing Kitchen IslandRemoving Kitchen Island

Then it was just a matter of taking apart the 2×4’s that supported the wall.

Removing Kitchen Island

The hardest part of the entire process was removing the last 2×4 that ran horizontally across the floor. It was nailed every 8 inches or so which made it pretty tough to rip up.

Demoing Kitchen Island

We were left with such a great view. A large space in the wall and a spot in the floor that would need patching.

Of course Penny didn’t know what to think. She was very confused.  It took her a good day to understand that she could walk across the spot that once housed our island.  I thought vizslas were supposed to be smart.  Good thing she’s got the looks!

Removing Kitchen Island

Layers of Linoleum

tripping_hazard

When we first bought our house, there was some pretty thick carpet in the dining room. Between the foam underlayment and the carpet, the step up to the kitchen flooring wasn’t noticeable.  When we removed the carpet, the tripping began.  Each time the kitchen was updated in the past, the new flooring was installed right on top of the old flooring.  This inevitably led to a pretty major tripping hazard.  We ended up having to use 2 different thresholds in order to build up to the height of the kitchen flooring. It left us with a little eyesore that looked something like this:

Kitchen Remodel- Double Threshold

The unsightly double-threshold was just one of the reasons we decided to update our kitchen flooring during the remodel.  The quarter round and floor were starting to look weathered and didn’t fit in with the rest of the house anymore.

distressedWhen we removed the two thresholds, this is what it looked like:

Flooring No Threshold

Upon closer inspection, this is what we found.

types of linoleum flooring

 

What’s missing from the above photo is the additional sub-floor that is hiding between the two linoleum layers. That means that there was 6 layers of flooring in some areas! While most people would be excited to see hardwoods running underneath all this flooring, we knew that wasn’t actually the case. Our ceiling is exposed in our basement, so we were able to see the following:

wood floor from underneath

Yes, some areas have hardwoods while some just have sub-floor running underneath it. There goes the original idea of us refinishing the floors…

Our next step was having this flooring tested for asbestos. Our home was built in 1925, so we knew that there was the possibility that one of these several layers could contain the nasty stuff.  While there are big debates on asbestos, and whether it is safe to remove when you are not creating dust, we decided to play it safe and get it tested. We cut a 1″ piece of each layer using an exacto blade and dropped it off at EMSL for testing. You can do all kinds of crazy tests, but we went with the most basic that just gives a positive or negative reading for asbestos. Testing is not cheap, but it definitely gives you peace of mind.

About a week later, I received an email from EMSL proving that I was a monkey’s uncle and there was no asbestos in any of the layers of our flooring. I was shocked, I have no idea how this happened.

We started off by removing the quarter round that was around the edges of the flooring. We used an exacto blade to cut the caulk that connected the quarter round to the cabinets first.

Removing linoleum flooring

Then we used a small crow bar to pry the quarter round off.

Removing linoleum flooring

The floating floor came up quite easily. We used the mini crow bar to pop up one tile, and then it was very easy for the entire row to lift out. Taking out this layer of flooring took a total of 30 minutes tops.

how to remove linoleum flooring

When we lifted up the floating floor, we found this beaut below.

Removing linoleum flooring

Then we used our floor scraper to wedge it between the linoleum and plywood base. It was pretty easy to lift up in large chunks.

Removing linoleum floor

We used that same floor scraper to lift up the plywood base. It was nailed in every couple of feet.

 

Floor scrapper 2nd layer

Finally we got to the bottom linoleum layer…aka Home on the Prairie. It was here we took a break, as we came to a standstill because of these staples. They had been used to attach the plywood I had just pulled out to the linoleum and sub-floor below it.

Normally I would just use needle nose pliers to remove staples, but that didn’t work here. These suckers were 1.5″ long, and every time we tried to use pliers, the staples broke apart. I went to Home Depot and picked up these nippers, and they are a miracle! Seriously my new favorite hand tool! They will pull out anything.

Tools for removing linoleum flooring

All you need to do is grab the staple closer to the floor and rock the nippers back and forth until the staple is removed.

Removing linoleum flooring

It did the trick, but there was still a ton of staples. This was actually from a 2′ x 2′ area-

 

Removing linoleum flooring

It took a good day just to remove all the staples. Then I started to use the floor scraper again to pull up the linoleum. This layer tended to chip apart instead of coming up in big chunks. In certain areas, I even had to use a chisel to get under the linoleum if I couldn’t catch a good edge with the floor scraper.

how to remove linloeum how to remove linoleum

Also next time I’ll be a little more aware of what shoes I am wearing. Linoleum is sticky stuff and the smaller chunks will get stuck to the bottoms of your shoes.

 

sticky shoes

While removing all the flooring we noticed that the cabinets were actually installed over 2 linoleum layers and 1 layer of the plywood. We will have to remove those layers once we have the cabinets removed.

 

All in all this would have taken an entire weekend if I hadn’t broken it up over a week and a half. It was a pain in the butt but I can’t tell you how great it already feels to not have to step up into our kitchen!

Not Your Everyday Greige

WARNING! This might just be the most boring post ever, so I apologize in advance. It talks a lot about the wonders of paint and the joys of quarter round… Go ahead and skip to the pretty pictures if you don’t feel like reading about it, I’ll understand.

I’m finally getting around to fixing up the rooms that have been empty the last couple of years. Since I am working on the new bed for the guest bedroom, it was a priority for me to clean up and paint it. I only have this one pic of the room from when we first looked at the house, but you can see how welcoming the color combo is. Black carpet and peaches and cream walls? No thanks.

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I repainted the ceiling and window frames white and painted the walls Benjamin Moore’s Smoke Embers. Next up was refinishing the baseboards. I sanded them down, filled in the gouges and dents, and then primed them.

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After a coat of primer, I added the quarter round.

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You can still see the gap in the corner where I need to caulk it. In some places, I had to use multiple pieces for one wall. This was mostly because I didn’t feel like driving around with a 16′ piece of quarter round sticking out of the back of my car. For these pieces, I cut the wood at a 45 degree angle and left a little room for the wood to expand.

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After that, I caulked everything and then did two coats of semi gloss white.

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Below is an image of one of the areas where there is a seam. You can barely see it when it is caulked and painted.

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And just again for fun, here is a before and after pic.

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