I'm back with oh-so-many balcony details that I know you've always wanted to know (since our post yesterday, anyway).
Allow me to explain how we took the floor of our balcony from this:
First, I want to warn you that this is in no a real tutorial; we just did our own thing and hoped for the best. This is the "no power tools, glue, or level surface" way to lay hardwood!
We started with our $20 bundle of hardwood from Urban Ore:
and of course let our resident hardwood experts sniff it out for any damage:
Once they declared it A-OK we set to work laying it out. We did this inside, since it was unfortunately raining during this process. We discovered that the arch is our entryway was exactly as wide as the balcony, thus it became a reference point for us to build our floor.
We quickly realized that we had only about half the amount of flooring we needed to complete the project. Back to Urban Ore we drove, with the smallest piece of wood in my purse. We knew we wouldn't find the same exact wood, so we thought that we could do a fun mosaic look and get away with two (or more) different types of wood.
It was then that we discovered that all hardwood is not created equal and we spent a good 45 minutes trying to fit our piece into the other pieces in the store, with no luck. We kept coming back to a wide plank distressed piece that we both really liked. I thought it might look weird to mix widths but Nick convinced me otherwise. After paying $10 for the bundle of wide wood, we went back home and began puzzling the pieces together in our hallway.
Nick was right (for the sixth time in our marriage, he claims) and the two woods looked quite nice together. We knew that without making some cuts, we wouldn't be able to have both long ends flush with the walls of the balcony. Since the barbecue hides one side very well, we decided that side could be the uneven side. The other side (where we planned to make a bench) would be more open thus needed to have a more finished look.
Next came the fun part (or not!). We started with the flush end and built our way slowly backward toward the barbecue.
Things went swimmingly until we started fitting in the chunky pieces. Although the skinny and not-so-skinny pieces fit together, it was a very tight fit and took quite a bit of tap-tap-tapping with the rubber mallet. (And sometimes some whack-whack-whacking...)
I carried pieces from inside to Nick, making sure to keep referencing our original plan, so that pieces would fit together as planned.
The most frustrating part of the experience was the fact that the slightly uneven balcony floor caused some pieces to separate while Nick was fitting others together. However after 3 hours, many that's what she said jokes, a bit of swearing, and a chips and salsa break, we had our beautiful new floor.
We knew that going into this we would have a few what we like to call "awkward spots." These are the pieces didn't fit together longways because their tongues and grooves were on opposite sides. Although we tried to avoid this as much possible....it happens.
We decided that we would just fill it in with some color matched wood filler, because, honestly we paid $30 for this floor, it was outside, and if it didn't look good, we'd just throw a rug over it.
The wood filler ended up being a little off from it's color descriptor but from far way, you can't really tell.
Because this area is mostly protected from the rain (and we only paid $30...) we aren't too worried about warping boards from the elements.
So the total cost of this portion of the Balcony Makeover Project was $38.
Skinny hardwood: $20
Chunky hardwood: $10
Wood filler: $8
Not having to walk around on moldy carpet squares: priceless