My fiance & I just purchased our first home, a foreclosure that had
been abandoned for over a year. We're trying to get it ready to move
in by Christmas (please cross your fingers for me!), but there's still
a lot to do. The kitchen is the biggest task of all.
The cabinets are original (1941) and painted white. There is an
offwhite laminate or formica countertop with stainless steel edges.
There are all kinds of things caked to the stainless steel edge.
We've pulled out most of the contact paper from the drawers and
cabinets, and all of the wallpaper is down.
I plan on using Murphy's Oil Soap for the cabinets, TSP for the walls
(to help remove any leftover wallpaper paste) and maybe steel wool for
the edge of the counter?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I'm mostly doing this
job myself (ugh), and I am open to any and all advice. I'm so new to
Thanks a million!
your probably best off replacoing the countertops makes painting the
cabinet easier gets you a new sink and faucet. if you want to keep the
metal edge look there are plastic stripping that looks like the
existing metal edge.
kitchens to to be the heart of homes best wishes on yours.
remember you cant make the whole house perfect, and even if you did
soon someone would want to change it.
No steel wool!
Bottom left: Golden Fleece Scouring Cloths
You probably walked past it in the supermarket 1000 times.
For the line where the trim meets the formica, you might need to use a
toothbrush along with the Bon Ami.
On Dec 7, 11:31 am, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I've had good luck cutting counter plaque with paper towels dipped in
straight isopropyl rubbing alcohol. It also works well on range hoods
with built-up grease deposits. Just be careful to not get it on
painted or lacquered surfaces. It will degloss paint and reliquify
On Fri, 7 Dec 2007 08:31:42 -0800 (PST), email@example.com
I think you will find a stiff bristle scrub brush will do the best job
at cleaning out the cracks between the edges and the surface of the
countertop. I agree the Scotchbrite pads are probably best for the
flat surfaces. "Simple Green" soap is pretty good stuff and fairly
gentle on surfaces., That is basically that magic soap the door to
door guys sell but when you watch the pitch it is clear the real
"active ingredient" is elbow grease.
New countertops will go a long way toward making a "new" kitchen but
that may be expensive for you right now. The good news is "mica" is
fairly DIY friendly and pretty tough stuff, even if it is not trendy
right now. All you really need is a small router type tool.
Remember stainless steel was NOT used in the 1940s. That metal edge is
aluminum and will scratch badly if harshly scraped with steel wool or sharp
Post formed counter tops can be made quite reasonably.
Agreed. The first year can be pretty tough financally and she's probably
got other things that she may not have even discovered yet, that *have* to
be replaced. I'd expect a slurry of 'how do I..' posts from them over the
next few months.
When we got back stateside and into our house which had been a rental for
6.5 years, we also had to make choices. I'd love to redo both bathroom
floors, kitchen floor and kitchen cabinets as well as replace the main
carpet, but we have to live with them as is for now. Just can't afford it
all at once.
Things fixed (no particular order):
1- Back porch fully rescreened. Had to replace much of the wood. Have to
hang the porch screen door. Turned out the wood frame was rotting a bit and
we decided the long view of replacing it is best although we 'could' hang
the screen at need as that portion is ok.
2- Attic spider infestation gone, caulked ceiling of bathroom too
3- Fireplace repaired
4- trees (saplings) cut out of yard
5- Fence back up and wing of fence with door replaced
6- Wndows replaced (front kicked out, bathroom broken inside pane and
7- back room sealed from further water damage and mold treated (pends taking
out insulation and 3 walls of drywall to be replaced and 'windows')
8- weather stripped outside along back porch with caulking and plastics,
will later have proper vinal and metal applied.
9- patio doors replaced
10- dryer replaced
11- old chest freezer now at a foodbank/Church as a donation (Monster
12- new vertical blinds up in 3 places
13- removed estimated 12 large trashbags of beer bottles, cans etc from back
14- Termite infestation fixed and various small moldings replaced (Thank the
lord, the damage was cosmetic not structural)
15- fixed exterior static back yard flood lights and front garage 'auto on
at movement' flood light
16- repaired various corner molding and baseboards
17- arranged for tub liner which should come in any day and temp sealed
rusted out hole at drain with silicone
18- replaced dishwaher
Pending work we already asked about but havent done yet:
1- paint the new front door to match the rest of the house
2- install 2 new ceiling fans with light fixures (have them)
3- get Electrician, we have 1 on standby but he's busy just now and due in
sometime soon for estimates, agrees it sounds like about 375-400$ if we are
right an no actual wiring needs to be replaced and Don can help hold stuff
such as the ceiling lamps while he attaches to existing undamaged junction
boxes. Part of the wait there was the attic spider infestation. We told
him we didnt want him up there until that was fixed and he was really happy
to know we were upfront about that and would fix it first. Now he's busy
doing small jobs for folks for Xmas lighting. Older gentleman who says he's
slow so doesnt charge by the hour but by the job. Thats fine with us.
Pending work we havent asked about yet but will in separate posts when we
1- How to lay floor tiles before the fireplace (I have them there now, just
layed over the peeling up poorly done linoleum job)
2- How to replace *properly* the 2 walls of roughly 4ft tall solid
plexiglass panels in the damaged back room. We also will get a professional
estimate. Needs to be done before we have the damaged siding along there
replaced as depending on what we do, it will require changes to the siding
3- How to replace the 'veneer' (I think thats the name, thin overlaying
pretty wood lookingstuff) over pressboard on the built in bar.
Pending work we know how to do and need no help with:
1- replace wallpaper in kitchen
2- replace drop ceiling tiles in kitchen
3- Install closet organizers (1960's house with the tiney closets and only 3
in the house)
4- replace sink and cabinet in main bathroom (sink rusting, custom cabinet
built around odd size 1960's sink)
Now, I left lots of little things out there but you get the gist. Not
ragging on anyone but I agree fully, they may not have the money just now to
replace the countertops if they can be made functional for a bit. There's
no shame in that, just reality. I reckon many of us here are handy, but
none of us at everything. Even though I make a reasonable income for my
area, I can't possibly afford to fix all that at once without serious DIY
and even then, it's not affordable right away.
Good luck in your new home! Correct on all but before you try the steel
wool (which may scratch), I suggest you first try:
1- Sponge pad with scrubber on one side (softer, wont scratch, may need
several sponges as they wear out and not sure how much counter edge you have
to do), possibly with 409. Coat with 409 and let sit for a bit. This may
be all you need. If you have senitive skin, you may want to wear some of
thse light weight latex gloves as you'll be in cleaner for quite a bit.
2- Check the label (or another will know and correct us here) but I think
it's bon-ami that is supposed to be scratch resistant cleanser? If the
above doesnt work, try that next with the scrubber sponge. Wipe all the 409
up first as one may have bleach and the other a bit of amonia.
Just an unwanted suggestion:
Take a look at what needs to done that will be difficult or more
expensive once you have moved in. Try to do that and tackle jobs like
cleaning when you have time. I really wish I was smart enough to
refinish my hardwoods floors before I moved in. It was my first house
and I didn't know better. Now to do the job, I as well as the
furniture have to move out of the house for a few days since all the
bathrooms and bedrooms are off the same hallway. Another job to
consider if necessary would be major sheet rock repair which can
generate a lot of dust.
Good points. I suspect they are trying to move in before having to pay rent
for January but they might need to adjust whatever else is needed (we see
only the bit on the kitchen) to allow for that.
In my case, I'd like to have replaced the rugs (had the money been there)
before we moved in but i was burning 50$ a day in motel fees and knew we had
other bills coming (see longer list posted earlier today) so will live with
a crappy carpet and our better asian one over the worst parts.
I haven't read all of the responses, so this may repeat some. Fantastic
has always been my favorite cleaner for greasy stuff, but not for glass
or paint. 3M pads (green) are my favorite for burnt on stuff in pots
and pans, but can scratch stainless. They don't rust, like s.w. 3M
makes less abrasive paids - blue, white, etc., and I seem to recall
seeing charts in stores showing which are most/least lethal. I recently
tried Zep Heavy Duty Cleaner and Degreaser 505, which cuts grease pretty
well. A razor scraper, with a fresh blade, is good for some smoothe
surfaces but not for paint, and especially when there is baked on food.
I use Barkeeper's Friend for stainless sink and glass cooktop.
Sounds like you have it almost beat. Merry Christmas.
A good way to cut grease. Wear gloves. Heat up a bunch of water to
boiling. Pour over area you wish to work on if you can. Kinda messy. Mix
some of the hot water with dish washer power and scrub area with this mix
using a tough brush.
you've already gotten some good cleaning advice, but I call dibs on the
cabinets if you decide to remodel. Wouldn't mind some pics of your
kitchen, either - maybe I can come up with some ideas for retro-looking
but functional in a modern way that SWMBO would accept.
(sucker for anything retro)
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
WOW! Thank you all so much for the ideas and suggestions! It's a lot
to undertake at once, but little by little I'll get it done!
We started working on the left side of the kitchen this evening. My
mom and I scrubbed so much nasty slime, but it really made a dent. We
used TSP with hot water for it all and lightly scrubbed the steel
I brought steel wool with me, but realized it was a bad thing to use.
We didn't need it anyway! (Thank goodness!!!) There were all kinds
of sponges - some like the scotch-brite and some just the tough
scrubby material. The plan is to get the cabinets cleaned so I can
put fresh white paint down, and to wash the walls to prime for the
lovely yellow we chose for the room. There's already a yellow trim to
save me some work too!
The biggest trick now is to move the 41 inch stove to the other side
of the kitchen so I can get to the right side to wash. This house has
an original Dishmaster faucet, but the hose is gone. I'll try to get
a pic posted. Unfortunately, I was a gal born in the wrong era,
because I'm a softy for the old retro look. My fiance isn't. But we
are finding a happy medium. :-)
Speaking of retro - check out Elmira Stoveworks' retro stoves! I
think they're called Northstar, and they're amazing! And expensive!
But so worth it. My parents' home is over 100 years old, and they
have a store from Elmira that is the older version. It's really cool.
Another question: What's a good way to get the contact paper off the
inside of my cupboards? I freaking hate contact paper...
Everyone - I can't tell you how much this means to me!!! I'm going to
try to find my pic of the current kitchen and then post the after
pics. Taking down the wallpaper and washing parts of the cabinets has
proved that the kitchen had once been painted BRIGHT RED. Wow!
Did I mention that it's freezing outside, and we have no running
water? ;-) We have a well, and the old pump is SHOT. That was an
unexpected PRICEY expense we weren't prepared for at first. We're
working through it. Fortunately, we both still live at home with our
parents (it's sad but true), and it's helping us A LOT with cost. And
we all live in the same city, so it makes some of all the work much
I'm new to this, can someone tell me how to post a pic?
Best to all,
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