Insulating and Refinishing Floors Upstairs

AKA something I'm not anxious to do again

My 30th birthday was February 2 and we had a big family birthday party! It was awesome. That also meant we had a big house deadline and had to have the upstairs livable and guest room set up. That mostly meant insulating, reinstalling wall beadboard, and refinishing the floors. We ended up doing it all ourselves and while it isn't something I'm chomping at the bit to do again, we did save a boatload of money. 

there was too much and logan had to come pick me up!

We closed on the house and promptly found out the only room that had insulation was the master bathroom. Totally makes sense, right? The living room and master bedroom had to be torn down to the studs anyway, so we planned to later tackle upstairs ourselves. We really want to keep the beadboard upstairs, so we chose to do blow-in insulation. Disclaimer: they make a nozzle you can only order online for doing blow-in insulation in walls. It makes smaller holes and has decent reviews. Don't be like me. Plan ahead and order it if you're tackling this job! We will next time for sure. 

But we didn't have time to wait on that nozzle, so we removed beadboard at the very top of the walls and the middle, underneath a wall-stud-brace we found. The process overall wasn't so bad, but it was so messy. I was stationed on the porch with the machine and Logan primarily did the blowing. 

so boring, but someone has to man the machine

I found it easier to break the bales into chunks and stage them to dump into the machine. For some reason breaking the bale directly in the machine super stressed me out, so I improvised. Once we got that ready, we tried to duct tape around the section we were currently insulating upstairs to contain blow-out and waste (you can see below), but we found it most effective to make a cardboard shield and just go section-by-section, wall-by-wall. We used our cell phones like walkie-talkies, both of us on headsets, and we just trudged on until we knocked it out. 

captain insulation

We still have to finish insulating the hallway downstairs and our dining room, so sometime this year we'll be right back at insulation. Oh joy.

Once the messy work was done, we could do the floors! We have heart pine upstairs! Way back in August we asked our initial contractor for a quote to do the floors and it came in right at $2,800. Womp womp womp. We skipped it initially because of the cost, but I'm even more glad we did in hindsight. Our 2-3 week job took 2-3 months and we're honestly not too happy with his quality of work. I don't even want to think how long it would've taken him to get the floors done too...

Thanks to choosing to DIY the floors, I now know there are 2 jobs I never wish to repeat: reupholstering furniture and refinishing hardwood floors. It was the worst. Every part of my body hurt by the end and I honestly didn't think I'd be able to finish the job. That little sander Logan is holding below weighs 40lbs and it's all forearm strength. Logan went into beastmode though and managed most of the sanding once I was worn out and in tears. It took about a full 24 hours of sanding, then 2 days of sealing, and a week of curing. But, we saved over $2,000 by doing it ourselves! 

Nothing in the house is anywhere close to finished, but it's so nice to know we've gone from this:

diarrhea carpet

To this:

much better!

- Sarah