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  • Writer's pictureBrittney Valeski

3rd Floor Master Renovation... Thanks to our Cat. (Part One)

Ever been forced into a renovation by your cat? OK weird question but you'll see where I'm going with this. Our beautiful long haired orange tabby Olive apparently didn't like that the previous owners had cats. So much so that she peed on our fairly new bedroom carpet in the recently renovated master bedroom. Hey Olive, you're a big jerk, but thanks, we owe ya.

When we purchased our home in June of 2017, this room SOLD us. A complete 3rd floor attic renovation with the closet of my dreams. Beautiful lilac paint on the walls and plush gray carpet made this room so cozy. The closet had shelves for days and all the hanging space you could want. We played it cool with our realtor but once we got in the car we both said "I don't care what we have to do, we are getting that house".


Above is the room we fell in love with... below is Olive's reign of terror... so gross.

Through this, we came to believe the previous owner's cats may have also used this rug as a bathroom because some of the stains were pretty old.

Fast forward a few months and Olive began her quest for a new master room. She peed in the corner of the room while we were away overnight and if you know anything about cat pee, you might as well just torch your house and start over. I was gifted a carpet scrubber for my birthday from both our parents and Alex. This Bissell is wonderful and I highly recommend it if you have any carpets. We use it all the time and for every Bissell purchase, the company donates to their Bissell Pet Foundation which has helped over 180,000 shelter pets find their furever home! We got the smell and stain out but she kept peeing over and over again. We just couldn't deal with cleaning our carpet five times a week so I went to town looking up the best options for flooring. Can I just say I love Pinterest? If Pinterest were a person she and I would totally be friends. I had seen a fellow home fixer upper online renovate her bedroom with pine board and really loved the end result. So after careful measuring and running the room through our design software, I convinced Alex I knew how to build our own hardwood floors ( I did not).


First things first, the floor. How brave is my husband for believing me when I said I knew what I was doing? I'm fairly certain he didn't, but he was willing to go along for the ride. We went to Lowe's over several days and purchased a few 8x4 pine boards each time. We ultimately decided to go with 15/32 thickness to give us support over the subfloor. Because we didn't have a ton, Lowe's ripped them down for us no problem! I think the day we bought 3 boards they charged us after the first four cuts but it couldn't have been more than $0.25 for each cut. Now we're really lucky to have access to a mini wood work shop in Alex's dad's garage so we stored the wood there. I hand sanded each individual board which was probably the most exhaustive part of the process. I'm a bit of a splinter-phobe so I was going to be sure each piece was as smooth as possible. I worked on this a few evenings after work and put in one solid 4 hour Saturday and finally, all the boards were silky smooth. Enjoy the video below... I was very serious about not getting any dust in my eyes, nose, and mouth. I'm nothing if not cautious.

Alex ripped up the carpet and padding and moved all our furniture into our closet. We'd be living in our guest room for a little while but we were lucky to have an extra bed so no complaints here. I spent a good three to four hours pulling all of the staples out of the floor. This will be the part where you regret all decisions that brought you to this point. "Do I even need a floor? Isn't this subfloor fine? Why. Are. There. So. Many. Staples? WHAT DID I DO??" I couldn't have gotten through this part without my iHome and my favorite podcasts. After thoroughly cleaning the floor I decided this was the time to paint. More on this later because right now, we're talking floors.

After the paint dried, we laid out the boards we had pre cut to decide how the floor would look. This is super easy and not at all complicated as I worried it would be. If you're playing along at home, now is the time you grab your knee pads, a nail gun, air compressor, and some great ear protection. As most anyone who has used this flooring technique will tell you, start in the middle or fairly close to it. You don't want a side of full boards to the left and itttty biiiittttyyy little strips on the right. This will help you get pretty even. Alex and I opted not to use glue which is widely debated topic among the pine board flooring community of which we are now card carrying members thank you very much. We have dogs and like to move furniture and might end up being a little hard on these floors which is A: why we picked the stain/poly we did and B: why we wanted to be able to remove and replace boards as needed. Now as I write this, we are a little under a year into the new floors and there really isn't a scratch or dent to be seen but we erred on the side of caution. One by one, I laid the boards in place, held them down, placed tile spacers in between for even spacing, pressed them as hard as i could and Alex placed a nail on either side every few feet. This was not anything we looked up, just what felt right to us. If you want to hide your nail holes you can choose the smallest size they have for flooring nails but we wanted a rustic kind of attic feel to the floors so we went with normal sized nails and didn't patch the holes. Be sure to start some smaller boards from the walls, meaning don't use all 8ft boards. We alternated an 8ft, then maybe a 3ft, then maybe a 5ft. You'll see in pictures what I mean. This helps to makes the floor look more natural and you won't have a line of 8ft planks with a 2ft end on every strip.

Staining and applying the poly was actually kind of fun. I'd been on my hands and knees for two days straight laying the floor so being able to stand and use a long handled paint roller was a win in my book. I knew I wanted super light floors so I went with a Minwax Stain in Pickled Oak. Best decision I could have made. Remember those non existent dog scratches I talked about? They could very well be there for all I know but this light colored stain hides everything! We purchased a gallon because the side says it could cover anywhere from 300-800 sq feet. We had a 325 sq. foot room we were covering and after applying two coats, we still had 3/4 of a gallon! You could start with a quart and see how far it gets you if your room is around the same size. I will say, the gallon of Pickled Oak was so hard to find that I special ordered it from Sherwin Williams. If you want to go the easier option, Lowes has quarts almost all of the time. Our polyurethane was a no brainer. If you are choosing any color that might have a chance of "ambering" over time, do yourself a favor use this Minwax Ultimate Floor Finish. Again, we're almost a year into these floors and this poly surely saved us a lot of scratches thanks to our dogs and cat chasing each other around like they're animals or something.

Finished floor below!

So that's it, part one of our master renovation. These floors have held up amazingly! We highly recommend this method if you're looking for wide plank floors on a budget and honestly, even if you have all the money to spend. There's something special about the feeling you get walking over floors you made from scratch. Visit part two for the rest of the room makeover! For now, I'll leave you with some pictures of our sweet kitty (project manager?) Olive.

Until next time,


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