“oops” that happened…

With spring in the air, we have been spending lots of time outside enjoying the nice weather. Have you??? Along with the nicer weather, we also get lots of green growing everywhere. I love this time of year!!! But along with the beautiful flowers and green grass, we also get weeds and plants that need trimming to look even better. 

And because I have to remind you of what our house looked like when we bought it

Front of House

Then last year after redoing the light pole. Which reminds me that we really need to add some new shutters…

DIY Light Pole

OK now we can get back to the story. One afternoon we were doing some yard work, Eric was pulling weeds that always grow by the big pine tree. And I was working on the front flower bed trimming the plants. If you remember, we gave our flower beds a makeover last year. I decided to downsize the spiky plants again because they were starting to take over. I started to remove the leaves at the base of the plant and making it one plant again. 

I asked Eric to help me decide what parts of the plant to keep and to help remove the unwanted parts. And someone was a little to strong when removing the plant and the whole plant was removed… And this did not happen once but twice. 

After some laughter, we decided this was a sign that it time to remove the spiky plants because we have been talking about replacing them with a different plant. The roots for these plants are crazy but not very strong, it took us awhile to remove all the roots. Here is what our house looked like after:

after-removing-plants

We decided to replace the two plants with ‘Green Velvet’ Boxwood, the same plant that we planted in our backyard, it should only grow 2′-3′.

green-velvet-boxwood

And here is our front flower bed today with the two new plants. 

House-after-adding-new-plan

If you are wondering, we will be replacing the other one next year because we did not want to spend lots of money on plants this year. Plus did you notice anything different in the picture??? Yes, the red wreath is gone because it is not Christmas anymore. But we removed our old screen door and are in the process of adding a new screen door to the front!

A couple of our projects lately have happened to come across some “oops”, like over the weekend a window got broken… Don’t worry no one was hurt and it was not one of our newer windows, we were planning on replacing it, now it will just have to happen sooner. Anyone else having some “oops ” happen during a project that creates another project? 

Fixing Chipped Concrete Steps

When you have a home over time things can start to break or crumble right below your feet. There are many different ways this can happen (like our old pipes…) but today we are talking about concrete.

Our back and front porches were starting to crumble at the corners and sides. Here is our front porch.

repair chipped concrete steps

And here is our back porch, this one is the worst…

repair concrete steps

After doing some research, I decided to attempt to patch our steps.

applying-concrete-to-step

SUPPLIES:
– Cement (found mine at Lowe’s)
– Margin Towel
– Water
-Cheap Paint Brush
– Spray bottle w/water inside
– Wire brush
– Puddy knife
– Bucket (to mix cement)

First thing first was cleaning the area and removing all the chipping concrete. To do this, I took the puddy knife and wire brush to remove all the chipping/flaking concrete. Then used the hand broom to sweep the steps.

tools-to-repair-concrete

After all the chipped concrete was removed, I then washed the area with dish soap and water. Next I took the garden hose with a sprayer attacked and sprayed the area with clean water. Then I let the area dry.

clean-steps

Now we are ready for the new cement. To mix the cement, I found about 1 part water to 5 parts cement mix, only mix an amount that be applied in 5 minutes.

repair chipped concrete steps

TIP: There is also a bonding agent that you can use instead of water. I feel that I probably should have used this because how much I was fixing but we will see how it holds without it.

Once the cement is mixed, take the spray bottle and spray the area lightly with water, you only want it damp no pools of water. Then I took the trowel and applied the cement, making sure to get it into all the cracks.

adding-new-concrete-to-step

I then built the area back to the shape it needed to be. It helped sometimes to use a board. I then let the area sit for a couple of minutes to harden just slightly.

repairconcrete steps

At this point, I finished shaping the area: rounding corner, making everything level, etc..

Next I lightly sprayed the area with water then taking the paint brush, I painted the cement to give it a brushed finish.

repair concrete steps

I then worked on the next section of the cement, completing all the steps until I was done with the porch. Then I let the whole area dry for 24 hours before walking, watering, etc… on it. It will fully cure after a couple of weeks but after 24 hours you can walk on it. 

There is a difference in the color of our old & new concrete, so I could paint or apply a thin coat of concrete over the area to make it look the same. But for right now we have no plans to do that, maybe one day!

Here is the biggest change, the back porch.

how to repair concrete steps

Can’t remember the before, here is a side by side of the porch.

repair cement steps

I am not a professional so please do your own research on how to fix chipped concrete.  

This was a cost-effective way to fix chipped cement and only took a couple of hours, plus it was less than $20. Anyone else need to fix some chipped steps or cement?

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DIY Cheap Kitchen Backsplash

Do you like the look of subway tile? I do and I really wanted to have that look as my kitchen backsplash. But as always I am trying to save money, especially after redoing our main line… But it you are renting a place, you could also do this using contact paper… Here is our DIY subway tile backsplash, please look past the cabinets still working on them.

diy subway tile backsplash

Can you guess how much it cost us to do it? It was less than $28 and that includes $6 for the sheetrock mud to refinish our walls plus I have lots of supplies leftover… And can you guess how we did it? It was all done with paint!

So here is how we created own cheap subway tile backsplash. First we had to remove the old laminate backsplash. But you do not have to do this if yours is still in good shape.

After the old backsplash was removed we needed to fix the walls to make them even again, find that here

Then we added two coats of primer to the wall and I decided to caulk all the seams were the wall meets the countertop, cabinets, and window trim (I already did this part when I added the trim to the window).

diy subway tile backsplash

Which brings us to our current wall all ready for a new backsplash or all ready for paint.

DIY window trim

Supplies:

  • semi-gloss or hi-gloss white paint
  • light grey sample paint in satin (this will be the grout color)
  • painter’s tape 3/4″-1″
  • paint brush & small roller
  • cardboard paper cut to 3″x6″ (size of subway tile)
  • straight-edged knife
  • butter knife
  • ruler & pencil

diy subway tile backsplash-4

TIP: For finding the paint for your grout color, use the grout color guide to find the color of paint you want. I was lucky and found an Opps paint in just the right color for $2, sorry not sure what the color is called…

I was going back and forth about which color to start with first but in the end I decided to add the grout color first. So before you can start painting you need to cut your tape to the size of the grout line. To do this I took a very sharp straight-edged knife and marked the tape 3/16″ away from the edge. After finishing the project I wish I would have done a smaller grout line 1/8″.  

diy subway tile backsplash-2

After marking the tape, I then cut the tape to my desired size.

diy subway tile backsplash-3

Now I could start painting the grey paint on the wall. I took a ruler and measured/marked where all the grout lines would be on the wall and only painted around that marking. This is another part I would have done differently, I would have just painted the whole wall first with the grout color but this could make you need a bigger can of paint.
diy subway tile backsplash-5

diy subway tile backsplash-7

Once the grout color was the color I wanted and it had dried completely, I took the tape and started taping where the grout lines would be. To do this I used my 3″x6″ cardboard template (you could make it whatever size you wanted)… Then starting at the bottom left hand corner, I placed the template along the edge and taped right above the template.

diy subway tile backsplash-9

I then pressed the tape into place and moved my template down the wall about 6″-8″. I then pulled my tape, making it straight, and again placing right above the template.

diy subway tile backsplash-10

I continued this process for the length of the row. For the next row, I placed the template directly on top of the last rows tape and completed the same process for the row. I did this until I reached the top of the cabinet. I then started on the sides.

diy subway tile backsplash-8

To make the sides, I again placed the template at the bottom left hand corner. I then took the tape and placed it along the side of the template, pressing into place only where the line should be.

diy subway tile backsplash-12

Then I took a butter knife, pressed the straight edge of the knife right in the middle of the row line of tape and then pulled the extra tape piece (just like using a tape dispenser). This gave me a straight edge on the side tape, giving me the box I wanted. I completely this for the whole length of the first row.

diy subway tile backsplash-13

For the next row, I turned the template sideways to make in only 3″x3″ for the first tile, taping just like before. But for the rest of the row I turned the template back to the 3″x6″. I continued this pattern for all of the rows. After I finished taping I took a credit card and ran it over the tape to make sure all the edges were sticking to the the wall.

diy subway tile backsplash-14

diy subway tile backsplash-15

But to give a very straight edge, I then painted another coat of grey paint just over the tape making sure to get along the edge of the tape. 

diy subway tile backsplash-16

After that paint dried it was time for the white paint. I did use hi-gloss paint but I felt like it was almost the same as semi-gloss paint. I used my little roller and rolled the paint onto the wall, I did cut in the edges first with a paint brush. After a couple of coats of white paint and the paint had dried, it was time to remove the tape.

diy subway tile backsplash-18

This is where I got a little upset … I have no idea why but for some reason as I was removing the tape it made the paint under it bubble. I still cannot figure it out, it even did it on the wall that was previously painted that I just taped to give it a crisp line. So I had to be very very careful about removing  the tape (I think it was just my wall because it is brick right behind the plaster but I have no idea). 

UPDATE: I talked to my dad about the paint bubbling and he suggested priming the wall before adding any new mud. Something about the new mud not being able to cure fully, sorry I did not completely understand… So give that a try!

And here is my DIY subway tile backsplash for cheap!

diy subway tile backsplash-20

diy subway tile backsplash-19

Do you want to redo your kitchen backsplash? What is your favorite type of backsplash?

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New Underground Plumbing

YAY!!! We have some new plumbing! Which means we are not washing our dishes in the bath tub anyone… And if you missed the previous post about relining our main line and breaking up some cement, these posts will give you the back story of our current plumbing issue. Here are our old pipes:

replace plumbing in house

After demoing the cement and removing the dirt, we were ready for the new pipe. We feel very lucky that my dad was able to come one evening to do the plumbing to connect the kitchen sink, dishwasher, and washing machine to the main line. He came on a Thursday, we had been without a kitchen sink for 2 days and the plumber we hired could not come until Monday, another 4 days…. The plumber was still was coming to do the rest of the plumbing.

While my dad was doing the plumbing, he told us we should probably redo all the other plumbing too. So now that is on our list of things to do this year…

Here is the plumbing my dad did from the kitchen drain:

underground plumbing

I had my dad add pipe to be able to move the washing machine next to the dryer in the future. 

And here is the plumbing that the plumber did:

redo plumbing

We decided, at last minute, that we wanted to add a floor drain in the storage room because we plan on moving the water heater into that room. He was also so kind to add a new clean out valve on the main stack. 

underground plumbing-7

Because we have not replaced all the stack, he had to brace the cast iron pipe so that it would not crush the new pipe.

underground plumbing-6

For the cost of re-plumbing, we paid the plumber $762 for all the plumbing going to the bathroom. Which included cutting into the main stack and he had a fun time with that… The cost for the part my dad did was about $100 and that price was only for the supplies. So we spent a total of right around $862 for this part of the plumbing. 

replace plumbing

Now we just need to fill in all the holes with dirt then add about 4″ of cement. We are feeling very blessed that we are fixing the problem before it became an issue and that we just received enough money from Eric’s bonus + tax return to cover the costs. Another blessing is that we are able to do a lot of the work.

Anyone one dealing with plumbing issues???