Read more about the article Upgrading a Builder grade railing
Finished Hand Rail

Upgrading a Builder grade railing

The problem

Some of our want list had to be delayed to replace a poor quality handrail installed by the builder. Needless to say the railing failed due to poor preparation and material selection. Upgrading a builder grade railing can add value to any home.

When learning how to remodel and build homes, my father always spent the time to hand select every 2×4, 2×6 etc. etc. I hated it. But as I got older I excepted the process and I just do it naturally. The reason I mention this is due to the material that was used to construct the railing we are replacing for this project.

As a force of habit I automatically go to the best quality material I can locate and scrutinize every piece. So this brings us to the choice the builder used. In the vast number of years I’ve been remodeling I have never stumbled across a finger jointed 2×4. This is the wrong choice for an outdoor wood project.

I know the builder chose this material because it is cheap and with a fresh coat of paint who would know. The choice of material is not the only mistake. During installation proper preparation did not occur. The exposed end grain was not sealed and I could not find any signs of a primer being used. Poorly prepped and a low quality paint job and the railing is destined to fail. The failure is the railing had rotted when exposed to the elements.

Rotted railing.

I did paint them after the first year and again a year later, however I could see that replacement was in the future. The picture above shows the paint blistering at the base trim. The lower rail is basically just paint. When removing the post the extent of damage was remarkable.


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Read more about the article High Bar Renovation. An easy upgrade using MDF and Paint.
High Bar Renovation

High Bar Renovation. An easy upgrade using MDF and Paint.

Before we can start.

Finished High Bar
High Bar Renovation

This project was not on the to-do list. The contractor who built the house used very cheap paint and after a few years, it showed. We decided to paint the family room and kitchen in the future but with all the rain this past year we moved forward and repainted. The original color was called Greige and is somewhere between brown and gray. Cleaning the paint without it showing was impossible and literally would wipe off as you tried. We opted to change the color to one that was slightly brighter and of better quality. We also applied primer over the original paint to ensure the new paint would last. For our High bar Renovation, we added to our painting project to tie the whole space together.

This post is not about painting the living space. We chose a neutral Grey which ties in better with the trim. However, when it came to the kitchen island we knew it needed something more. Also, the Grey did not contrast with the Granite countertop which is grey’s whites and blacks.


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Craftsman Style Bath a simple Update

For our Craftsman Style Bath project, we are removing the contractor-grade cabinetry and making a craftsman style transition to continue the theme for this home. Our Craftsman Vanity has been crafted for this renovation and is ready for installation.


The first step was removing the cabinet, toilet, and flooring. The shower The shower is a good condition and we will keep this in place. We will add trim to blend with our new style

Craftsman Style Bath

With the room cleared, we have a clean slate to work with. The flooring came out quickly. Once removed we found a lot of staples to remove from the subfloor. We will be using a large format tile. To reduce the possibility of cracking, we need to ensure we have a flat smooth surface. A staple can create a place for cracking to occur.


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