Our new (to us) house in Florida, has some outdated features that we want to update.
Before we were forced to return to Canada in March due to Covid19, we were able to renovate a few of things.
Table of Contents
First Things First
One of the first things we renovated was the living room. We needed to rebuild and modernize the outdated tv wall.
- The tv wall was outdated.
- Its dominant feature was 2 Grecian style columns. Popular in houses built around the year 2000 in Florida.
- The shelving and columns took up about 3 feet of an already narrow living room.
- The tile flooring stopped at the shelving. If we tore the shelving out, we’d have an uneven floor surface.
- The tv wall was never insulated between the drywall, so anyone in the bathroom behind it can hear everything…and vise versa.
- The walls around the shelving are textured. We would have to match the texture on the other walls if we made any changes.
- Remove the shelving and columns.
- Add insulation and new drywall.
- After mudding the new drywall, add matching texture to the new wall surface.
- Using glue and nails, attach laminate wood flooring planks to the center section of the wall. (The laminate planks are much easier to attach, and better yet, they are pre-finished and more uniform than raw wood planks, which means less labour for us.)
- Build an enclosed floating shelf the entire length of the wall to hide electronics and wires behind.
- Pour self-leveling quickset concrete to even out the floor in the newly exposed area where the tile ends. (New flooring will be going over the old tile and newly poured concrete whenever we can get back to the US.)
The Tear Down
Ripping out the old and ugly is a dirty, but oh-so-satisfying-job.
Hidden Behind The Walls
At this point that we realized that there had never been any insulation placed between the drywall. The living room’s tv wall backs against a bathroom.
Why wouldn’t they insulate between the walls? For us, it was important that we insulate this wall to eliminate noise transfer.
This is also when we discovered a little gift hidden inside the wall that the original builders left behind. (Not as dramatic as old bee hives dripping with honey.)
Someone’s lunch. Yes, you read that right. They left uneaten tortillas and a little Pepsi inside the wall.
A pet peeve of mine is that builders sometimes leave construction waste within the walls, but to leave food locked inside a wall. Come on!
Also, can I just say how scary it is that the tortilla shells have stayed mostly intact… for 20 years…in hot and humid Florida!
Additional Support For TV
Once the insulation was installed, we also built in some extra support for the weight of the tv by adding 2×6 between the wall studs. The tv mount could now be bolted to the solid 2×6 within the wall.
Before the new drywall could go up, we framed in the supports for the electronics shelving.
The next step was to add new drywall and tape and mud. Mud, sand, mud, sand. Our least favourite part because of how the fine dust finds its way into e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.
Feature Wall Made of…
We wanted a wood plank feature wall behind our mounted tv and had found a few pictures for inspiration online.
We searched for what type of wood to use. Around this time, we were also looking at flooring samples and as a joke one of us suggested using the flooring for the wall. Ha! Wait a minute. That might just work.
We found some laminate flooring that was just the right colour tone and texture that we’d been looking for and thought, why not?
There was a lot of discussion over whether to have vertical planks or horizontal. We finally decided on horizontal.
To help make the job of cutting the planks easier, John built himself a cutting jig to ensure an accurate 90 degree cut. Clever!
The laminate planks worked well because they are lighter and are tongue and grooved to fit together nicely.
How To Even The Floor Surface
We had a sizeable gap where the tiles ended to the back of the wall. Eventually, we will be add new flooring over the old tiles, and we need the floor surface to be the same everywhere.
To fix this issue, we mixed a few bags of self-leveling quickset concrete and poured it into the gap.
In the photo below, John is using a flat-edged metal bar to scrape any excess along for a nice flat surface.
Matching The New Drywall To The Old
This house was built in 2000, and typical for that era, the walls are all textured. We needed to match the texture on our newly added drywall. It meant covering our new “wood” feature wall with plastic and then spraying on the texture.
Next, we could begin building the electronics shelf.
Hiding The Electronics And Wiring
To keep electronics and wires hidden from view, we built a cupboard shelf using 3/4 inch pine shelving. We sanded the shelving and then painted it black.
The shelving runs the entire length of the wall. Inside, but hidden with hinged doors, is additional storage with the center area holding all the electronics.
We hid the electronics behind black speaker cloth so remote controls can still work through.
Just for a little fun, we compiled some video clips of our tv wall project and ran them at fast speed. Individually they are boring, but run together in fast forward, they crack us up. Enjoy!