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Interior trim


Keep in mind that trim work requires a very high level of carpentry skill. Trim needs to be essentially perfect, sloppy joints and visible nail heads won’t do. Don’t ask a rough carpenter to do trim work – the results will be a disappointment.


Door Swing



To identify the swing of a door by opening it away from you. Right-hand (or right hinge) doors swing out of the way to the right when fully open. Left hand doors swing to the left. Inward swing is most common for exterior doors.


Door terms


•Interior doors are usually 1-3/8" thick and have a "hollow" core. A wood frame is filled with a matrix of corrugated paper and covered with a thin veneer.

•Exterior doors are usually 1-3/4" thick and solid core – again a thin veneer laid over a frame, but with some other material filling the door cavity. This filler could be foam or composition board or even lumber. Other popular exterior door choices include solid wood, steel and fiberglass.

•French doors are mostly glass, with one, to as many as fifteen panes set in wood sash.

•Insulated French doors have dual layers of glass, usually with a dividing grille installed between layers.

•Colonial doors have raised decorative wood panels that resemble doors popular in colonial America. Six or nine panels are most common.

•Flush doors are smooth and flat, with no decorative treatment.

•Louver doors include wood louvers that allow air to circulate but obscure vision, an advantage for enclosing a closet, pantry or water heater.

•Grilles (grids) are laid over the glass in a single-pane French door to create the illusion of multiple glass panes.

•Paint grade doors are usually primed at the factory and are designed to be painted after installation.

•Unfinished doors can be stained or given a clear coating, such as urethane, to enhance the beauty of the wood.

•Entry doors are decorative exterior doors, often with glass panels set in a border of brass caming.

•Slab doors are the door alone, as distinguished from prehung doors which are sold with jamb, hinges, trim and threshold attached.

•Prehung doors are sold as a package with the door, jamb, hinges, and trim already assembled.

•Brick mold (also called stucco mold) is the casing around each side and head on the exterior side of an exterior door. Prehung doors are sold either with or without brick mold.

•Crossbuck doors have a raised X design in the bottom half of the door.

•Bar (café) doors are familiar to everyone who has seen a Western movie.

•Ventilating doors include a window that can be opened.

•Fire doors carry a fire rating and are designed to meet building code requirements for specialized occupancies, such as hotel rooms or dormitories. Code also requires that fire doors be used between a house and an attached garage, and that an automatic door closer is installed.

•Bi-fold doors on closets fold in half when open, revealing nearly the full interior.

•Bypass closet doors slide left or right, never revealing more than one-half of the interior.

•Hardboard doors are made of composition wood veneer, the least expensive material available.

•Casing is the trim around each side and head of an interior door. Casing covers the joint between jamb and the wall.

•Finger joint trim is made from two or more lengths of wood joined together with a finger-like joint that yields nearly as much strength as trim made of a single, solid piece.

•Hardwood doors are finished with a thin layer of true hardwood veneer.

•Lauan doors are finished with a veneer of Philippine hardwood from the mahogany family.

•Stiles and rails form the framework of a flush door. Stiles are vertical and every door has two; a lock stile and the hinge stile. Rails run horizontally at the top and bottom of the door.

•Molded face doors have decorative molding applied to at least one side.


 Floors and tile



Some types of floor cover are more durable than others. Vinyl lasts longer than carpet. Ceramic tile lasts longer than wood block or strip flooring. But no floor material has a life expectancy equal to that of the house itself. That makes flooring a popular focus in home improvement work.

All floor cover requires a base that’s structurally sound, clean, level (to 1/4" per 10’ span) and dry (moisture content of the subfloor should not exceed 13 percent). Concrete makes a good base, assuming the surface is smooth and incorporates a good vapor barrier. Untempered hardboard, plywood, and particleboard also make a good base for flooring. Use either 1/4"- or 3/8"-thick sheets. Underlayment needs a 1/32" gap at the edges and the ends to allow for expansion. Underlayment-grade plywood has a sanded, C-plugged or better face. If moisture isn’t a problem, use interior type plywood. Otherwise use either exterior or interior grade plywood with exterior glue. Trowel on a smooth coat of cement-based underlay to prepare nearly any floor surface for resilient flooring.


Repair, Recover or Remove?

Adhesive used to secure resilient flooring tends to deteriorate when moisture comes up through the subfloor. If resilient tile comes loose, try resetting the tile in new adhesive that’s designed for use below grade. If the resilient tile is cracked, broken or has chipped edges, it’s usually better to install new flooring. Matching new tile with old tile isn’t practical. Resilient tile changes color with age. But it may not be necessary to remove the old surface when installing new. If the old surface is scarred, stained, abraded or has been embossed by the weight of furniture, apply a liquid leveler, or trowel on a cement-based underlayment to smooth the surface. Then install the new floor cover. If unevenness in the underlayment is showing through, remove the old surface and do some leveling before installing the new floor cover. Remove resilient tile if the new floor cover is also to be resilient tile.

If a wood floor is smooth and free of large cracks, refinishing may put the floor back in like-new condition. Most wood flooring can be sanded and refinished several times. Softwood flooring with no subfloor is an exception. Even one sanding might weaken the floor too much. Plywood block flooring can sometimes be sanded and refinished. Thin wood flooring and wood flooring with wide cracks usually has to be replaced – any patch would be obvious.

 Wood Flooring


Wood flooring, sheet vinyl with resilient backing, and carpeting can be installed directly over an existing hardwood floor, assuming any voids have been filled and the surface isn’t loose. Shrinkage cracks are more common where boards are wide. Be sure to check for boards that are buckling, cupping or cracking due to moisture. If there’s a moisture problem, solve that before you lay new flooring.

You can install laminated wood flooring over ceramic, wood or resilient flooring, so long as the surface is firm and dry.


New Wood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is available in tongue-and-groove strips and blocks (parquet). Some thinner patterns of strip flooring are square-edged. See Figure 11-1. The most common hardwood strip flooring is 25/32" thick by 2-1/4" wide and has a hollow back. Strips are random lengths and vary from 2’ to 16’ long. The face is slightly wider than the bottom so joints will be tight on the surface.

Softwood flooring is also available in strips and blocks. Most softwood strip flooring has tongue-and-groove edges, although some types are end matched. Softwood flooring costs less than most hardwood species, but it’s also less wear-resistant and shows surface abrasions more readily. Use softwood flooring in light traffic areas such as closets. No matter which type of flooring you select, give the material a few days to reach the moisture content of the room where it will be installed.

Strip flooring is normally laid at right angles to the floor joists. When new strip flooring is installed over old, lay the new strips at right angles to the old, no matter what direction the floor joists run. Use 8d flooring nails for 25/32" thick flooring, 6d flooring nails for 1/2" flooring, and 4d casing nails for 3/8" flooring. Some manufacturers recommend ring-shank or screw-shank nails. To help prevent splitting the tongue, use flooring brads with blunted points.

Begin installation of tongue-and-groove flooring by placing the first strip 1/2" to 5/8" away from the wall. That allows for expansion and prevents buckling when the moisture content increases. Nail straight down through the face of the first strip, as in Figure 11-2. The nail should be close enough to the wall to be covered by the base or shoe molding. Try to nail into a joist if the new flooring is laid at right angles to the joists. Drive a second nail through the tongue of this first strip. All other strips are nailed through the tongue only. Drive these nails at an angle of 45 to 50 degrees. But leave the head just above the surface to avoid damaging the strip with your hammer. Use a large nail set to drive nails the last quarter inch. You can lay the nail set flat against the flooring when setting these nails, See Figure 11-3.

New Wood

Stagger the end joints of strip flooring so butts are separated in adjacent courses. Install each new strip tightly against the previously installed strip. Use shorter strips and crooked strips at the end of courses or in closets. Leave a 1/2" to 5/8" space between the last course of flooring and the wall, just as with the first course. Face-nail the last course where the base or shoe will cover the nail head.

Square-edged strip flooring must be installed over a substantial subfloor and should be face-nailed. Other than that, the installation procedure is the same as for matched (tongue-and-groove) flooring. Wood strip flooring is always nailed.

Parquet tile is made from narrow wood slats formed into a square. Parquet block flooring can be applied with adhesive over a concrete floor protected from moisture with a vapor barrier. Spread adhesive on the slab or underlayment with a notched trowel. Then lay parquet in the adhesive. If you elect to nail parquet flooring to wood underlayment, nail through the tongue, the same as with wood strip flooring. Minimize problems associated with shrinkage and swelling by changing the grain direction of alternate blocks.

You can install particleboard tile over underlayment the same way you install parquet tile – except particleboard tile shouldn’t be installed directly over concrete. Follow the manufacturer's installation instructions. Particleboard tile is usually 9" x 9" and 3/8" thick, with tongue-and-groove edges. The back is often marked with small saw kerfs to stabilize the tile and provide a better grip for adhesive.

Laminate Wood Flooring

Laminate flooring strips are made from layers of wood and finished with a hard synthetic surface. Pergo® is one popular name. Most laminate flooring is loose lay; neither nails nor adhesive are used. Instead, the flooring floats on a cushioning material designed to reduce noise from foot traffic. Laminate flooring can be installed over nearly any firm, flat flooring material. Install strips parallel to the longest wall in the room. Keep the strips about 1/4" away from the side wall and end wall so the floor can expand with changes in temperature and moisture. Cut laminate flooring with the finish side down, using a carbide-tip blade.

Lay the tongue side of the first strip against the wall. Continue laying boards along that wall, fitting ends snug against the previous board. Use spacers to maintain a 1/4" gap between the flooring and the wall. Avoid short lengths of flooring at the end of a course. If the last board in any course is less than 8", trim that amount off the first board in the course and move the entire course down by that distance. Second and later courses lock into the previous course. Stagger end joints in adjacent courses. Finish the job with base molding that covers the 1/4" gap at side and end walls.

Resilient flooring



Sheet vinyl with resilient backing smoothes out minor surface imperfections. Some sheet vinyl is designated loose lay and doesn’t require adhesive. But use double-faced tape at joints and around edges to keep the covering in place. Manufacturers recommend spreading adhesive under all parts of the sheet for most products. Others can be bonded at the perimeter and seams only. Minimize the number of joints needed by using wider sheets – some sheet vinyl comes in widths up to 15’.

 Granite and Marble Tile


Both resilient sheet flooring and resilient tile require a smooth surface for proper adhesive bonding. You can repair an irregular surface with an embossing leveler or a masonry leveling compound. When the surface is dry, spread adhesive with a notched trowel, following the adhesive manufacturers instructions. Lay the tile so joints don’t coincide with the joints in the underlayment.

Seamless flooring, consisting of resin chips combined with a urethane binder, can be applied over any stable base, including old floor tile. Apply this liquid in several coats, allowing each coat to dry. A complete application may take several days, depending on the brand. You can repair a seamless floor by applying another coat. Damaged spots are easy to patch by adding more chips and binder.

Cork tile



Cork is a natural sound absorber and insulator. It is quiet underfoot, and can last for decades when properly maintained. Cork will expand and contract based on humidity, although to a lesser degree than wood. Cork tiles should be given time to acclimate to the environment before installation. Remove tiles from their packaging and store them in the room where they will be installed for at least 48 hours prior to installation.

Most manufacturers recommend using a water-based contact cement adhesive for cork installation. Cork is porous, allowing the water in the adhesive to evaporate and create a strong bond. It’s a good idea to test for proper adhesion before proceeding with the installation. Excessive moisture can damage cork flooring. For kitchen, bathroom or other high-risk applications, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for sealing cork floors with urethane or floor wax.

Granite and marble tile



Common granite and marble surface finishes include polished, honed, and flamed. A polished surface is highly reflective, and is best suited for low-traffic areas. A honed surface has a duller, more slip-resistant finish that’s less likely to show scratches. Flamed tiles have a deeply textured surface that’s useful for applications requiring additional slip-resistance.

Marble is softer and more porous than granite, so it’s more susceptible to scratches, but it can be repolished when necessary. Marble is also susceptible to damage from alcohols, oils and acids commonly found in the home. A penetrative sealer is generally recommended when installing marble in high-risk areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.

 Ceramic Tile


Colors and grains will vary from tile to tile and batch to batch. To assure the installation will have a uniform look, be sure you have enough material to finish a complete area. Consider using tiles randomly from different boxes when allocating material for the job. This will more-evenly distribute irregularities, and may actually create a more homogeneous look.

Flooring over concrete



A concrete floor that stays dry in all seasons probably has a good vapor barrier under the slab. If the surface is also smooth and level, nearly any type of resilient flooring or carpet can be installed directly over the slab. If a basement slab is both uneven and moist to the touch, one remedy is to lay a vapor barrier over the existing slab, then cover the entire surface with a 2"- to 3"-thick concrete topping. Another approach is to lay a good-quality vapor barrier directly on the slab, then anchor furring strips or sleepers to the slab with concrete nails or shot fasteners. You can then install hardwood strip flooring directly over the sleepers. See Figure 11-4. For tile or sheet vinyl, nail underlayment or plywood to the sleepers before you install the finish floor.

Ceramic tile



Ceramic tile can be set in either mortar (thin-set or thick-set) or applied with adhesive. Adhesive is more convenient because no mixing is required, though cleanup takes a little longer. Tile is set on backerboard, cement board reinforced with polymer-coated glass mesh. Common names are Durock®, WonderBoard®, RhinoBoard® and Hardibacker®. For floors and counters, set the backerboard in adhesive on 3/4" exterior grade plywood. For walls, affix backerboard to the studs with cement board screws every 8". On ceilings, drive cement board screws every 6". Regular drywall screws don’t have enough holding strength for use on backerboard. Cover panel joints with fiberglass mesh and joint cement. One side of backerboard is rough for use with tile in thin-set mortar. The other side is smooth for use with tile adhesive.

Ceramic tile sizes range from 1" square mosaic to 12" x 12" and even larger. Mosaic tile are usually sold in 12" x 12" squares held together with a mesh backing. The most popular tile size for walls and counters is 4-1/4" x 4-1/4".

Avoid using tile with a bright glaze finish on floors. A highly-reflective finish tends to be slippery and offers less resistance to wear. Vitrified porcelain tiles are hard to cut accurately with a tile cutter and may require a circular ceramic wet saw. You also have to apply adhesive to both the tile and the floor when you’re installing porcelain tile.

Ceramic tile definitions



• Field tiles make up most of the job, the "field".

• Border tiles are trim pieces set around the edge of the field.

• Listello tiles have a decorative design different from field tile and are generally used on the edge of the field, like the frame of a picture.

• Rope tiles, as you might expect, have a rope design, usually in raised relief, and are used on the border.



Tips on Ceramic Tile

Most ceramic tile carries a PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) wear rating:

• Class 1, no foot traffic. Interior residential and commercial walls only.

• Class 2, light traffic. Interior residential and commercial walls and residential bathroom floors.

• Class 3, light to moderate traffic. Residential floors, countertops, and walls.

• Class 4, moderate to heavy traffic. Residential, medium commercial and light institutional floors and walls.

• Class 5, heavy to extra-heavy traffic. Residential, commercial and institutional floors and walls.

Indoor vs. outdoor tile



Tile that absorbs water will crack when exposed to freezing and thawing. Tile with an absorption rating of 3 percent or less is usually considered acceptable for outdoor use. That includes vitrified and porcelain ceramic tiles. Outdoor tile is very dense and doesn’t break easily. Use thin-set mortar with a latex admix.

Matching styles and batches



Tile colors and glazes can vary from batch to batch. To make matching easier, many tile manufacturers emboss batch numbers into the back of each tile.

Canton Michigan
Kitchen cabinets used for bed base

Canton Michigan
Custom bed created to give more room

Remodeling service for these areas

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Phone: (734) 812-3884
43812 Leeann Lane
Canton, Michigan 48187
Written "By Ron Parko"