Under Construction- Ranch to Colonial Conversion.
Part 4: Finishing
Once the ceilings were sprayed, finish carpentry could
start. All the dust covers came off downstairs, and the contractor
delivered the window and door trim so we could stain and polyurethane
it before it was installed.
The finishing period involved some of the trickiest
timing. We knew we could save a lot of time later by getting finishing
done ahead, but at the same time, we couldn't afford to take a lot of
time off work. It kept us hopping!
Here, we jump ahead a couple of weeks. We managed to get two coats of primer on the walls before the floors went down, and painted a band with two coats of the finish color around the door and window openings and baseboard (a step that saved us *many* hours of masking later). The contractor recommended against doing the finish coats of paint up front, as the walls can get whacked while moving lumber and tools around. This proved to be a useful and accurate warning!
We stained as much of the trim as we could, but the
prehung doors all came with attached trim, and were delivered the day
they were installed. So those we had to mask and finish in place. We
just barely got all the woodwork done as the flooring started going in.
The flooring took about a week, with (I think) a four man crew doing
the upstairs. With so much area to cover, it was a big job.
Once we got the doors, they also needed to be sanded and
stained. Cardboard flooring boxes proved useful floor protectino. As
you can see, the sewing room is still masked for painting.
And here's a view of the library with primer on the
walls. Because we were going with a deep red for the finished color of
the walls, we used gray primer. This is a tip JT found in a book, and
it worked beautifully. When we did the finish color we got complete
coverage with only 2 coats. I've been told that with white primer it
would have taken three or four.
Once the floors were done, the baseboard heat was installed and the baseboards were put in. At this point, the contractor was pretty much done. Our fun was just beginning, however. We finished putting on the finish coats of paint (except for the areas planned to be covered by built-in bookcases in the libray.
We wanted spindle and rail stairs with hardwood treads, and the price to have it installed by professionals was more than we were prepared to add to the budget. So JT bravely tackled it himself.
The stairs really deserve a section all their own for
all the trouble they were. However, I decided that a
spindle-by-splindle narrative would probably be less than interesting
to even my loyal readership! Suffice to say that even in new
construction, nothing is plumb, straight or level. JT had to cut and
fit an exact template of each tread as a pattern before he fit the
finished oak treads. Each stair spindle was painstakingly trimmed to
The result, however, is very pretty!