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Baseboard Trim

August 27, 2013 |
posted by Ana White

As you know, we are busy DIYing our mom's a duplex to share, dubbed the Momplex ... and moving day for one mom is fast approaching!

We are in the trimming stage for one unit in the Momplex.  We've already finished out the insides of the windows and closet openings with wood, then installed interior doors.  Then we trimmed the sides of the doorways and windows with casing, and topped it off with custom made "cheater" headers

Today, it's finally baseboard day!

Baseboard Trim

We bought the contractor 12' lengths of baseboard moulding, in the 5 1/4" widths. I love taller baseboards. If I had my way, we'd be half way up the wall with moulding :) .

Baseboard Trim

First, we take a measurement of the very longest wall. Our strategy is to cut the longest cuts first, and then use up the smaller scrap pieces in shorter spots.

Baseboard Trim

And then it's saw time.

We cut all of the baseboard moulding just a tad long, then trimming it down for the most perfect fit. We can't afford to cut a piece short and run out of baseboard moulding - for us, it's a day trip to the nearest Home Depot.

Baseboard Trim

Then we just start laying the cut baseboards down, with the ends mitered at 45 degrees for 90 degree corners.

Baseboard Trim

It takes us at least two cuts every time to get it right. The first cut is a smidge long, then we go shave a tiny bit off, fit it again and so on until the baseboard is PERFECT. I know, totally unreasonable, but you tend to go the extra mile when Mom's the boss.

Baseboard Trim

For outside corners, we simply mark the length instead of measuring, and cut the mitered corner,

Baseboard Trim

Perfect fit!

Baseboard Trim

For walls longer than 12 feet, we take an overall measurment,

Baseboard Trim

And the splice two shorter pieces together with a 45 degree bevel cut.

Baseboard Trim

We only had to do this in one spot in the living room.

We had the side that you are more likely to see overlap the side that you are less likely to see so the joint is pretty much invisible.

Baseboard Trim

That, and the media console will sit right in front of it.

Baseboard Trim

But just in case Mom did decide to look behind her tv, she'd never know we spliced baseboard trim together there.

Baseboard Trim

Once we got all the long pieces cut, we started the smaller pieces. These guys are easy, no mitered joints required - just measure, cut,

Baseboard Trim

and fit in place.

Baseboard Trim

I just love how this hallway looks with the baseboard moulding!

We ran the baseboard moulding right into the closets, and around.  Remember the $5 manifold cover Grace and I built?  We painted it white and ran the baseboard right around it.  Now we just gotta build a door for it.

With all the baseboard cut and fit, it's time to nail it to the walls.  We'll be nailing it into the studs in the walls,

So we cut a board and marked it with the wall stud pattern.  That way we don't have to measure out each and every stud or use a stud finder to find each and every stud.

I don't think I'm ever getting my nailer back.

It sure is handy to not have to worry about compressors and greasy hoses, dragging a pneumatic nailer from room to room.  

We set the nailer so the nail head is just below the surface of the trim,

So we can fill the holes with wood filler.  I always overfill the holes because wood filler shrinks when it dries, and then go back and lightly sand the excess off.

Despite our meticulous efforts to get the trim perfect, there were a few spots that just weren't cutting it (pun not intended)

Nothing a little caulking can't fix!

Now you are the only one that knows about that corner.  Don't tell our Mom's on us, okay?

Sometimes walls can be out of square or have a curve to them, or your drywall texture more significant than ours, and you can also finish off the wall to baseboard joint with caulking, but we didn't find it necessary at the Momplex.

Just need a table now!

Well, after we paint all the trim .... and maybe add crown moulding.

Have done baseboard?  Did you find it as easy to install as we did?  We'd love to hear your side too!

Decked Out

August 20, 2013 |
posted by Ana White

Have you ever had one of those projects, that just lingers on and on and on ... and never seems to get done?

Well, that's the story of our decking project this summer.

And by now, we are just decked out.

As soon as summer hit, we knew we wanted the decks done, and got right down to business framing them up.

The big reason decks were priority number one was simply to have access to outdoor space to work on other projects, and to make it easier to go between the two units. That, and if you don't prioritize outdoor work in the summer in Alaska, there's a pretty darn good chance winter will show up too soon.

So putting decking on the decks is a huge priority up at the Momplex.

Decked Out

We opted for a composite deck for Mom. We figured Mom would appreciate never having a splinter while walking barefoot on the deck.

And we'll certainly appreciate never having to maintain the decks either!

We also choose the hidden fasteners decking, which basically means there is a groove cut on the sides of the deck boards and special fasteners are used to hold the deck boards down from the sides. Not only does this keep the faces of the deck boards free of screw holes, but the hidden fasteners hold the decking above the wood joist boards slightly, allowing moisture to escape and dry.

Decked Out

There are downsides though. You have to double up joists where ever there is a butt joint in the decking. And since we are spanning 42 feet - there's no way around it, we'll have to use multiple boards to span the deck.

We did just use 2x4 boards instead of more expensive 2x8s (like the joists) as it's just to support the butt joint, and not for structural support.

Decked Out

Once all the added boards are installed, we can finally start installing the decking!

Decked Out

Like almost everything we seem to do at the Momplex, it starts with a string line. The string line is a deck board out, so we can line the outer edge of the board up with the string line.

Board, please.

We opted to cut the boards on the ground

and then hand them up.

Decked Out

The first row of boards is installed using a starter fastener.

Decked Out

It's lined up with the string line, and covers an entire joist. This is why we had to add the 2x4 joists at joints.

Decked Out

Then the next row of hidden fasteners are used to secure the remaining side of the deck board.

Decked Out

The first board is cut a little long, with the long end overhanging the side of the deck. We'll go back and trim that at the end.

But the middle boards have to be precisely measured and cut to fit.

The last board is cut long as well so we can go back and trim the ends when all the boards are installed (we'll get to that in a second).

Decked Out

Once the first row is done, the next board just slides into the first row's hidden fasteners.

Decked Out

And then the next row of hidden fasteners are placed in the grooves.

Decked Out

And that row is screwed down.

Notice that the drills are at an angle? With the hidden fasteners system, you attach with screws at an angle, so as the screw is tightened, the board is pulled into place.

Pretty slick, eh?

Decked Out

Well, things did get very slick very fast after that.

With just a third of the deck done, we had to call it a day due to rain.

It ended up raining for quite a few days, so we worked on other things inside the Momplex.

And then back to decking ....

Decked Out

Once the decking was far enough out where I felt comfortable standing on it, I helped out with attaching the hidden fasteners. They are really easy to do, and by drilling at an angle, the boards consistently pulled into place just right.

Decked Out

Just in case you were wondering where she is.

Decked Out

After getting another few rows of boards up, guess what happened?

Yep, it rained. Again. For a few days.

And then we waited a few days for the sun to come out, and got another few rows of decking boards put up .. and then guess what happened?

Remember we are Alaskans ... and don't laugh when I tell you the Ram and I got heat stroke from working out on the deck. I know, remind me in a few months of this, will you?

So then we started working on a few boards in the morning before the sun hit the deck, and in the evening when the sun passed.

That took forever, because we would have to set all the tools up, just to get a few boards down, and then put all the tools away.

And then guess what happened????

Yes, we ran out of boards!

And we live 100 miles from the decking board store.

We are officially the worst deckers ever.

So then we had to wait until we made a trip up to the big city with the truck to grab a few more boards.

By now, it's August.

And we finally got the boards.

But then guess what happened?

Why, just a giant wildfire within miles of family property. So the Ram took a week off to fight fire ... and then of course, we couldn't work on the deck because of terrible smoke outdoors.

Try explaining all this to your Mom. By now, she's wondering if the last bit of exposed boards might just make a nice recessed flower pot.

And here we are, finally at the very last board, this last week.

Finally done.

Remember we let the end boards run long? We did this so we could cut them all off at the same time to the same length. We used a string line to mark the boards.

And the Ram cut the ends off with a circular saw.

I can hardly believe this project is done!

Well, we still got to go back and add fascia trim around the deck, then railing and stairs ... but at least for now, we can say, the decking is done.

Have you ever had a project like this? One that should only take a few days, but ends up taking a whole summer?

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