Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer Project

No, not a quilting project this time!

Our retirement home was built in 1979 and nothing was done in terms of upkeep or repair until we bought it in 1997.  The first thing we discovered was that it needed a new roof!  I was there by myself, painting in order to freshen it up before renters moved in.  It was raining and the water was dripping from the arch between the kitchen and the hall.  Dripping fast!  I put buckets under the drips and called Jim, but there wasn't much we could do at that point.

The old fellow who owned the house before us was aware of the roof leak.  His solution was to place an empty ice cream pail on top of the kitchen cupboards to catch the drips.  Not just one pail!  He had two pails up there, the second connected to the first by a drinking straw threaded through a small hole drilled near the top of the first pail.  Very clever, eh?

So one of the first things we did was have a new roof, a torched on membrane roof, installed.  We're not totally happy with the installation as it was done in a hurry and has had a few problems, nothing insurmountable.  But it's annoying to have to repair a fairly new roof!

We also installed all new flooring, all new windows, and did some major renovations: removing two wood stoves, one upstairs and one down.  Upstairs (the main living area) we installed a gas fireplace which we really enjoy.  We were going to keep the wood stove downstairs (recreation room, Jim's office, spare bedroom and bathroom) but discovered that we would have to replace a rusted chimney that would cost megabucks.  We took out that wood stove and used it in the second greenhouse as back up heating.  The upstairs wood stove had been placed in our sales building.

We also discovered that the chimney from the furnace (a small boiler for hot water heating) was full of holes from corrosion.  That was replaced also.

The house had a rather flimsy balcony around the south and west sides of the living/dining room.  Our carpenter reinforced the balcony, firmed up the railing and installed new plywood on the floor of the balcony.  He and I together covered that floor with Ducan vinyl deck sheeting.  That worked well for many years and looked good, too.

Last summer I repainted the whole railing, and it still looks very good.  But the vinyl flooring was very faded from the sun and looking rather ragged.  I had asked last year at Home Hardware if there were any products that could be applied over vinyl sheet flooring, but was told there were none.  Recently I took that question on line and found out that Ducan makes a product specifically for that problem: Vinyl ReFresh.  When we were in Red Deer this past week we bought what was needed.

 This first photo shows the flooring being prepared.  A strong cleaner, degreaser called The Duke is mixed with hot water, 10 to 1 and the flooring is scrubbed with that.  I have a scrubbing brush on a long handle, which is just right for this job.  Yesterday afternoon I got the first half of the balcony floor scrubbed.  What hard work!  The sweat literally dripped off me.

Later in the evening when it was dry I began the painting process.  I am totally pleased with how it it turning out.

For the first coat I'm being very careful to fill all the little indentations in the vinyl.  The second coat will go on a little easier, I think.

This morning I finished scrubbing the rest of the flooring, and when it's dry I can do some more painting.

Maybe by the end of this week the first big summer project will be finished!


  1. Good job on the painting. Looks great!

    Just a few quick questions. How's it looking one year in and where did you manage to find Vinyl Refresh? Having trouble finding any in Kelowna and our old vinyl deck is really starting to show it's age these days.

    Also, do you remember how much paint it took for each coat?

    1. Hi Charles, Just noticed your comment today when I happened to venture into the "design" section of my blog.

      We bought the Vinyl Refresh at the Home Depot in Red Deer. Also the "Duke"--the cleaner you need to use before applying the Vinyl Refresh.

      Our balcony has 2 twenty two by seven foot sections plus a 7' x 7' section where the south and west sides meet. To cover that with two coats we bought two pails (gallon size, more or less).

      One year later it's looking pretty much as fresh as when it was just applied. They do recommend reapplying after a year, but I think I'll wait and see.

      I did have trouble with the first coat washing away in a rain that started within four hours of finishing the first coat. Other than that, it was a breeze!

    2. Oh, and it used up the first gallon and about half the second gallon for the two coats. I didn't skimp with the application.

  2. This is an old thread, but I just came across it looking for reviews of the Ducan product, so I hope that you read this!

    How old was the vinyl decking when you put this on to refresh it? We have a 20 year old vinyl deck that needs updating. It is in good condition, but really faded and stained. No obvious tears or leaks and all seams are good. I had a quote for new vinyl and I was pretty shocked at how expensive it was! This would be way down the list in our renovations, so I would much rather paint on a coating that could extend the life a bit. Any comments are much appreciated!