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Give Your Foyer an Elegant Makeover

Steve Watson and the Don't Sweat It crew help remake a foyer to give a home a more elegant entryway.

Kia and Travis love their home, and they've worked hard to get it to a point they're happy with. However, some of the design choices of the former owners still remain, and they’re looking to make a few changes. The couple loves to entertain, but they've avoided it for over a year because they want their home to be as presentable as possible before inviting friends over.

Don't Sweat It host Steve Watson and his team arrive and, in this first project, enhance the home's "first impression," giving the foyer a whole new look with new wood flooring, a custom-welded banister and new front door. As part of the overall improvement, they also brighten things up with new wood trim.

Below is a summary of the basic steps, as well as a list of tools and materials used, as seen in this project.

A New Wood Floor

Materials and Tools:
36"x79" exterior door
cherry floating floor (200 sq. ft.)
steel
newel posts (5)
post base hardware (5)
1138 Toffee Cream paint (3 gallons)
1135 Onyx White (1 gallons)
black hammered spray paint (2 cans)
lag bolts (20)
36" quarter-inch flat stock
air compressor and hoses
caulking gun
drill bits
drill press
electric miter saw
finish nailer
gloves
hammer
hammer
measuring tape
metal miter saw
painting supplies
pry bar
safety glasses
table saw
welder

Steps:
1. Begin by removing the old carpet and seeing what's underneath. Use a pry bar and hammer to pull off the base molding, then peel up the carpet-tack strips. The old railing can simply be unscrewed from its position and each individual section. Carefully remove the door casing and set it aside to be reapplied later. The existing front door should come out simply with the removal of a few screws and cutting away the caulk.

2. Since this new railing is custom made, the newel posts of the railing should be installed first. Each post comes with custom mounting hardware that makes for a simple install. Once those are installed and level, take measurements and build the baluster sections. The top and bottom rails for each section are cut to the same length, and the balusters spaced so there is no more than a 3-7/8" gap between each. The minimum height of the railing must be no less than 34 inches and no more than 38 inches from stair to hand rail top. The balcony where the stairs turn and the upper hallway both sit higher than 30 inches. The railing or "balcony guard" must be 36 inches in height.

3. Before welding, create a level surface to build a template on. Use 3/4" MDF 4x8 sheets set up on saw horses. This will allow you to screw in spacer blocks to batch-produce the railing sections. The angles for the balusters and railing sections can be cut with a metal cutting miter saw. After the layout is carefully measured and marked, just weld it up. Use a 4-1/2" grinder to clean up the welds. Angle brackets can be fashioned out of flat stock and drilled on a drill press to create mounting plates for the railings to attach to the newel posts. Before installing each section, be sure to clean with acetone and then paint. Once dry, the sections can be installed by securing them with lag bolts to the posts and screwing the bases into the floor.

4. According to safety codes, the railing should have a base every four feet. The sections are fastened securely to the stairs or floor with screws.

5. Begin installation of the floating floor by laying down a moisture resistant underlayment. Start at the front door and work your way back. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to ensure a good fit. The electric miter saw is a great tool for cutting straight edges to ensure that each piece fits properly. You can use the off cuts from the last piece to begin the new row. Doing this ensures the seams will not line up, but will instead be staggered, and it helps prevent buckling. Be sure to leave no more than a 1/4" gap at the wall so it can be covered by the baseboard. Before the baseboard can go down, the door must also be installed and the casing put in.

6. Putting in this new front door is relatively simple. Remove the old door from the hinges and the interior and exterior casing. Remove the door frame using a pry bar and hammer. If the screws or nails don't come out, use a reciprocating saw to cut through them. Clean all the edges of the opening of nails, then make sure that the edges are level and plumb. Level is the key to proper door installation. Insert the new door in place and check for level on all sides. Place cedar shims in any gaps to fill and level, then screw through the shims to hold the door in place. Shut the door to check for a good fit. If everything checks out, then finish the exterior with PVC trim and caulk. Reattach the saved interior trim.

7. Prime and paint the walls.

8. The baseboard should be installed last, after the walls are painted, and be painted in place.

Replacing Door Trim

Materials and Tools:
8' door casing (34 pcs.)
baseboard (110 linear ft.)
1x4 (16 linear ft.)
decorative drill bit
air compressor and hoses
caulking gun
electric miter saw
finish nailer
measuring tape
painting supplies
safety glasses
table saw

Steps:
1. Using a pry bar and a hammer, remove all existing door frame molding and trim.

2. Measure all the doorways, remembering to leave a 1/8" space for caulk.

3. Choose the decorative look you want, and buy the corresponding drill bit to match.

4. Nail the medallions first, followed by the top and vertical molding.

5. Finish the project by nailing in the baseboard. Caulk all seams and nail holes, prime and paint.

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