Full Episodes of Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford

Engineered Flooring and Decorative Metal Ceiling Project

By: Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford in green shirt standing in kitchen of home.

Danny Lipford in home after floor and ceiling remodeling project.


Homeowners Haley and Jimmy Rodgers have put in a lot of work renovating the house they purchased three years ago, including removing walls to open up the space. We’re helping them put the final touches on the project, including:

  • Level Existing Floor: To level the existing tile floor, we primed any bare concrete with LevelQuik latex primer, then filled in missing tiles using LevelQuik self-leveling floor compound. The grout lines in the tile were filled with SpeedFinish fast drying concrete filler.
  • Engineered Hardwood Floor: Engineered hardwood flooring from Armstrong (EAS506), was glued down to the tile floor at a diagonal using Armstrong ProConnect adhesive.
  • Decorative Metal Ceiling: To add elegance to the dining room, we covered the drywall ceiling with 3/8” plywood, then nailed decorative metal ceiling panels (Armstrong Metallaire Bead, 5424504NWH) in place over it.
  • Replace Kitchen Faucet: Our last project was removing the old kitchen faucet and replacing it with a new stainless steel, single handle, pull-down kitchen faucet from Danze (Opulence D454557SS).

Read episode article to find out more.

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Danny Lipford: Y’all have already done a lot of work on this house.

Haley Rodgers: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: This week on Today’s Homeowner, we’re wrapping up an interior update that started three years ago. Better late than never, I always say.

Haley Rodgers: Okay, what did we do?

Danny Lipford: Usually we’re helping homeowners get started on their home improvement projects. This week we’re helping these homeowners finish one.

Jimmy and Haley Rodgers bought this house about three years ago and immediately started renovating.

Haley Rodgers: Well, when we were looking at the house, it was dark and it was closed up and I said, “No way!” And I went home and I told Jimmy about it and he said, “Well, there’s things that can be done about that.”

Danny Lipford: Jimmy’s been in the construction business for most of his life, so he knew what was possible.

Jimmy Rodgers: I’ve built homes, I had several different companies. You know, in general, just been in it my whole life.

Haley Rodgers: So I thought, “Well, okay I go look at it one more time.” Because there was something about this house that appealed to me. I don’t know what it was but was something, it was home. Homey feeling almost. But like I said, I knew there was so much work to be done in it.

Jimmy Rodgers: I knew it could be done. I mean, I’ve been doing it for a long time.

Haley Rodgers: Yeah, and I knew that if anybody could do it, he could. So we got it. And we knocked down walls in the kitchen. We knocked down the coat closet wall. We opened up some cased openings. We knocked down the wall in between the den and the kitchen.

Jimmy Rodgers: It was a lot of work. I mean, it was a lot of work.

Danny Lipford: The results are pretty amazing. Gorgeous cabinets, a cool open design with lots of natural light, and plenty of space to entertain their large family. But because so many walls had been removed, there were quite a few voids left in the old ceramic tiles.

Okay, so that’s where, like, the closet, right as you come in the front door, huh?

Jimmy Rodgers: Yeah, that’s what you’re looking at.

Danny Lipford: Wow, gee-whiz. It’s just a small little foyer, and that’s not a very good feeling when you walk in the house. And you also, what, took that wall section out?

Jimmy Rodgers: We made this door opening in this wall here to open it up.

Danny Lipford: Man, that’s a lot, lot better than. And they were telling me about some other wall back over in here.

Haley Rodgers: Yeah, right here, there was a wall right here. And a wall right here where the island was.

Danny Lipford: Great. Y’all have already done a lot of work on this house.

Haley Rodgers: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: A lot of work. Now, the flooring, I know that you’ve been waiting to try to figure out what to do with the flooring. Have you tried to maybe find the same ceramic?

Jimmy Rodgers: We tried, but it would be something a little different in everything we looked at. Well, what have you thought about as far as some other flooring? You have hardwood over here, and you have hardwood running down the hall there. Apparently you like hardwood.

Haley Rodgers: Yeah, I know I would love hardwood on the floors again. And I think I’d like to go with a different, a darker color, if I could. Because of the light cabinets, we need a darker color to bring out the cabinets.

Danny Lipford: Now, a lot of people wonder, do you have to remove the ceramic? That would keep Jimmy busy for several days there with…

Jimmy Rodgers: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: It’s really a tough job to get rid of it, but to tell you the truth if there’s no real, any loose areas. Or there’s no areas that really have some, you know, bad dips and all. We can actually go right down over this with, like, the same kind of wood you have there, which is like a 3/8-inch engineered wood.

We’d have to do a little floor patching here and there. So maybe we can get you to start looking around for some of the hardwood, and see if that works out. But I understand you had a few ideas on the dining room, and some of the things that you might want to do in here.

Haley Rodgers: We’ve got a formal dining room. And I just wanted to make it a little bit more formal.

Jimmy Rodgers: We dressed it up with chair rail and the picture molding below and crown molding around the ceiling.

Danny Lipford: But Haley has one more idea to really set the dining room apart.

Haley Rodgers: I’ve see pictures of decorative ceilings. And on some of the pictures they had, like, these tiles, these decorative tiles.

Danny Lipford: Oh, yeah. There’s all kinds of different styles like that. Maybe we can get you to look online and see some of those and maybe some of those will look good for you.

Haley Rodgers: Okay.

Danny Lipford: And that’ll be pretty easy for Jimmy and I to tackle that one as well.

Haley Rodgers: Okay.

Danny Lipford: So Haley gets busy making her selections. Armstrong’s online showroom allows her to choose both the flooring and the ceiling panels all on one website. That means when Allen and I return, we can immediately start moving out the furnishings.

Allen Lyle: You know one of you is going to break something in that cabinet and Haley’s going to come after you.

Jimmy Rodgers: I’m going to get in trouble before it’s over with.

Danny Lipford: Although I may never be asked to do this job again.

Allen Lyle: Haley, I got a stick if you want to hit him.

Danny Lipford: Jimmy, be careful.

Next the temporary spacers and the voids can be removed as well as the shoe molding around the baseboards. To get ready for the floor leveling compound, Allen is treating the low spots with a primer to make sure we get a good bond.

You know, we’re actually using two different types of floor leveling compound. The one that Allen’s doing here requires the concrete to be primed, so that the concrete filler will stick very well to the existing concrete. Now, on this because it’s painted, you don’t even have to dilute…

Allen Lyle: Not diluting it all, Now over there I’ve got some raw concrete, I’ll dilute it down just a little help it soak into the pores.

Danny Lipford: And then he’ll be mixing this floor leveling compound that pours in here. We love to use this because it makes it, well, it makes this look good; but also it just levels everything perfectly by itself.

Now, the material I’ll be using is a little bit different because what I’ll plan on doing is just skimming out the grout joints. And you know, it’s not very deep. This, you know, we don’t have much of a surfacing problem there, but this stuff dries really quick. It dries in 15 minutes, so you have to move very quickly, so…

Haley is dampening the floor before we spread it. That way it’ll allow us to get all of it in place before it hardens. We only need to fill the grout joints with this stuff, but we have a lot of them.

For the larger voids the floor leveling material mixes up to a more liquid consistency. This allows it to level itself by simply spreading. Gravity takes it where it needs to be. However it also takes a lot longer to dry, so we’ll have to let it sit overnight before we continue.

Joe Truini: The challenge of living with hardwood floor is that furniture has a tendency to scratch the floor and wear off the finish. This is particularly true of rocking chairs. The runners on the chairs not only scratch the floor, but as you can see here, it wears the wood and the finish right off the bottom of the rockers.

So I’m going to solve this problem with hook and loop fastener. I went and I bought a strip of fastener and cut it to length so it covers, not the entire runner, but most of it. But I’m just going to use the loop part, not the hook part, but the soft loop part.

This is peel-and-stick adhesive. I’m going to peel it off of there, and stick it right down the center of this runner. This is a three-quarter-inch wide strip. Here you go. I’m going to put another one on this side, of course.

This is extremely durable, you’d be surprised, and the adhesive is strong. It’s hard to pull it off once it’s on. About the same place, right in the center, press it down, and there you go, that’s all there is to it.

I’m going to turn this over. And now those strips will not only protect the runner on the bottom of the chair, but also protect the floor, and no more scratches.

Danny Lipford: Yesterday was so much fun, and Jimmy and Haley are so excited about putting the finishing touches on a project they’ve been working on a long, long time. And Haley really wants that dining room ceiling, and she’s going to get it right now.

The first step is measuring the ceiling to see what we have to work with. What we could do with this whole ceiling is actually treat it almost like an area rug. Here you go, I’m going to let you just real carefully lay it right on the floor, just like it is right there.

Haley Rodgers: Oh, those are pretty. Those are very pretty.

Danny Lipford: This ceiling is called Metallaire Bead. Since the ceiling is slightly less than 12-foot by 12-foot, we’ll put together a 10-foot by 10-foot pattern, so the margin around the edges creates that area rug on the ceiling look.

In order to nail up the metal panels, we need a consistently nailable surface. So we’re nailing 3/8-inch plywood to the ceiling joists to create a solid backing.

So we got two-foot panels.

Allen Lyle: Right.

Danny Lipford: Two foot by four. So we got to cut one of them one way or the other. Why don’t you cut that, bring it back in, and then I can cut these with aviation shears…

Allen Lyle: Right.

Danny Lipford: …for that one thing. And, man, we’ll have to get that one right.

Allen Lyle: Oh, it’s going to be critical on this one, yeah.

Danny Lipford: To ensure proper placement of that first piece, I’m carefully laying out a two-foot by two-foot square so it’s centered on the box for the light fixture. Once we cut that circle out of the center panel…

Allen Lyle: Looks like you done that before.

Danny Lipford: What do you think, man? That’s from eating pork and beans and having to get in the cans.

…we can begin installing it on that square.

All right, it’s the first one. It’s important, now.

Allen Lyle: Uh-huh.

Danny Lipford: Here we’re using these panels strictly for decorative purposes…

All right, we’re off and running here.

…but they’re also a great solution for damaged ceilings. Now small repairs on textured or popcorn ceilings can be made with spray ceiling texture. First the drywall itself has to be repaired or primed to block water stains, and the adjacent surfaces covered to catch any over spray.

Then, after shaking the can thoroughly, you can test it on a scrap piece of cardboard to prepare the nozzle before lightly spraying it over the damaged area. One can covers about four square feet, so it’s an easy fix for small repairs.

Hey, Jimmy’s got his nail belt so, you guys can continue on all of this. He’s not that easy to work with. You know, you might have already figured that out. But I’m going to take on the hard task.

Allen Lyle: And that is? Trying to help Haley decide on which way the hardwood floorings going to be installed out here. There’s a lot of different options. I understand you’re talking about maybe an angle, maybe diagonal?

Haley Rodgers: Yeah, so it will look like a completely different floor in here…

Danny Lipford: OK.

Haley Rodgers: …than in there.

So what we’ll need to do, is we’ll need to get that first line—that layout line. And you always try to go with the longest length that you can. And I think we could go right in this corner here and then we’ll shoot right across here.

I just need to get a square so we can get a 45-degree coming off that corner. We’ll pop a line, lay a few of them out and see what you think.

Haley Rodgers: Sounds good to me.

Danny Lipford: All right. Now just go down that way, all the way to the wall.

Haley Rodgers: Oh, OK.

Danny Lipford: Here we go.

Allen and Jimmy are making great progress on the ceiling, working it out in all directions from the center panel. Now, Jimmy’s experience really starts paying off here. He’s really using his head.

Allen Lyle: You know, he can do that.

Danny Lipford: When the floor is clean and level, I can start applying the adhesive that’ll hold down the new wood floor. I’m only applying as much as we need for our narrow starter strip right now.

You get to put the first board down.

Haley Rodgers: OK.

Danny Lipford: The ceremonial first board. Perfect. There you go. All right, you got it started right. We have no excuses now.

Haley Rodgers: If it messes up, you can blame me.

Danny Lipford: That’s right.

The second piece we installed was six to eight inches shorter, so that our seams are offset. We’ll continue spreading adhesive, installing this two-board-wide starter strip all the way across the room.

OK, let’s just set this down for a little bit of weight there. And I’ll tell you, this is a perfect place for us to stop on the flooring. We have the first two pieces, it’s a nice straight start, and you guys are going to get a lot of hardwood installed this weekend.

Haley Rodgers: Yeah, I’m going to try to get all my family over to lay a lot of wood floor.

Danny Lipford: Perfect, perfect. Well, you got a lot of flooring to go here, and, but just rest up right now. I’ll get in here and help these old guys with the ceiling here.

Haley Rodgers: OK.

Danny Lipford: By the end of the day, the ceiling panels are complete and the flooring is ready for Haley’s weekend crew to take over.

Jodi Marks: You know, I really like laminate flooring, it’s very easy to install, it’s a great DIY project, and you get instant results. But I will tell you this, the number one complaint about an engineered floor is the clickity-clack hollow sound it makes when you’re walking across the floor. But, Shea, you’ve got a really neat little product here that we can talk about.

Shea Pettaway: Yes, I do. It’s called the floor muffler.

Jodi Marks: That’s the perfect name.

Shea Pettaway: Can you imagine having a car without a muffler?

Jodi Marks: No.

Shea Pettaway: A lot of noise. So what this does, it reduces sound on the floor. And it’s light, strong, and flexible at the same time.

Jodi Marks: And it’s very easy to install, you just put it down, and then you put your flooring on top of it. The nice thing, too, is it creates a vapor barrier, so it’s perfect for basement applications. But it also is mold and mildew resistant.

Shea Pettaway: And let me tell you another good thing about it. It’s a self-tape. So you don’t have to worry about putting any tape on it. It’s already on there.

Jodi Marks: So this makes a perfect DIY project that much better. Thank you.

Danny Lipford: Jimmy and Haley Rodgers have been updating the interior of their home since they bought it three years ago. We’ve been helping them install a decorative metal ceiling in the dining room, and adding hardwood floors throughout the kitchen and dining areas.

Allen and I have taken a break for the weekend, but Haley has her brother and sons to help with the flooring.

Haley Rodgers: Hey.

Brick: Hey. What’s up?

Danny Lipford: While they start spreading glue and laying boards, Jimmy gets busy cutting door jambs and casings ahead of them. By using a scrap piece of wood as a spacer for his oscillating saw, he can cut out just enough to allow the wood to run under the jamb.

Haley’s brother, Brick, is also using flooring scraps to tap each new piece firmly into the next one. This prevents the mallet from scarring the tongue or groove as you strike it.

Fitting the boards together this way is simple enough out in the open, but it gets a little tricky when you start working around the corners of walls and cabinets. But these guys are taking their time and planning their cuts, so the results are exceptional.

Haley stays busy cleaning up excess glue and keeping the guys stocked with boards. But when things slow down, she even gets the chance to show off some of her flooring skills to Jimmy.

Haley Rodgers: OK, what do we do? Just put it in with tongue and groove, right?

Jimmy Rodgers: Yep.

Haley Rodgers: It’s in, but it’s not like this way.

Jimmy Rodgers: Well, I know, I haven’t hit it that way yet.

Haley Rodgers: Perfect.

Danny Lipford: These two even managed to find time to tack up some bead molding around the perimeter of the new metal ceiling. And Jimmy’s been busy replacing the shoe molding as soon as they finish an area of flooring. So when we arrive on Monday morning…

Haley Rodgers: We got through.

Danny Lipford: Wow!

Haley Rodgers: We got through.

Danny Lipford: So I guess, Jimmy, you had a nice relaxing weekend.

Jimmy Rodgers: Yeah, pretty much.

Danny Lipford: You mentioned casually to us a few days ago about your displeasure with this faucet over here. Allen’s got something.

Allen Lyle: I got a surprise for you. I got a brand new faucet we’re going to put in. But I’m like the surgeon, I need my head nurse.

Haley Rodgers: OK.

Allen Lyle: So you’re going to help me with that, OK?

Haley Rodgers: OK.

Danny Lipford: When they were finishing up the kitchen part of this renovation three years ago, Jimmy and Haley opted for a fairly cheap faucet. Unfortunately, it hasn’t fared so well, so we’re replacing it with this new model from Danze.

While Allen disconnects the old faucet, Jimmy and I get the chandelier reconnected in the dining room so that we can give it a test.

Perfect. Perfect. All right, just a little bit of clean up, and we can get some furniture moved in here.

Jimmy Rodgers: All right, I’m going to get the benches out of the way.

Danny Lipford: Excellent. Now this project that Jimmy and Haley have been working on, it’s been going on about three years. They’re anxious to get everything complete, and we’re so close.

All we need is for Allen and Haley to finish the installation of the new kitchen faucet, a little bit of clean-up, and we will be moving furniture back in.

Now, if you have a situation—which many people will—where you’re removing a wall between a kitchen and an adjacent area; and you have a cooktop in the middle of the room, it gives you a good opportunity for a great focal point.

Here Jimmy created a custom cabinet enclosure for the hood and installed a quality fan and duct components inside. The company who made those components, Broan, also makes a variety of ready-to-install chimney-style range hoods.

So you can match the style of your home, whether it’s sleek and contemporary or traditional and classic like Haley’s.

Speaking of Haley, she and Allen have finished the faucet installation and she’s ready to test it out.

Haley Rodgers: It’s beautiful, I can wash my hands. It’s beautiful. Love it. Love it. Love it. Wow.

Danny Lipford: If Haley’s happy, that must mean we’re ready to move back in furniture. But before we do, she wants to make sure we don’t scratch up her new floor, so she’s breaking out tons of felt floor protector pads.

Danny Lipford: She broke out in a rash. A remodeling rash. I have had homeowners say, they’d go, “You know I love y’all to death, and it’s been a great experience. But, you know, I think I’ve had enough.”

Allen Lyle: Uh!

Haley Rodgers: Ow.

Allen Lyle: Okay, yeah, yeah, ouch.

Danny Lipford: While we continue getting these guys moved back in to complete their project, here’s a question about one of your projects.

Danny Lipford: Johnathan wants to know, “Can I install a ceiling fan where a light fixture is now?”

There’s really no problem in replacing an existing light fixture with a ceiling fan in terms of the electrical needs. But what you really have to be careful of is to make sure the electrical box that the light fixture is attached to will support the extra weight of the ceiling fan.

So normally you have to do a little extra support, by using either a two-by-four or two-by-six. In the attic nail it between the two ceiling joists, and then run a bolt or screw up through the electrical box to support the fan.

Another way you can do it is with a lot of the little kits they have out there that’s basically a ceiling fan brace kit. It’s all metal and it has the electrical box built right in. Again, that just nails right between the two ceiling joists.

It’s so important to support the ceiling fan, not only for safety, but also, if it’s not supported well, the fan’s just not going to run smoothly.

Danny Lipford: OK. Putting the china back in the china cabinet, now that’s a sure sign that a project is complete.

Haley Rodgers: If it doesn’t get broke.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, don’t break any of it now, that’s for sure. You know a lot of times when we work with homeowners, we’re doing most of the work. But in this case you guys worked so hard, especially on this hardwood floor.

Haley Rodgers: It was a lot of work, but we had a lot of family come and help with it, and I think it turned out gorgeous.

Danny Lipford: I think so, too. And I think you’ll agree that, you know, when you’re able to get inside a house like this and remove walls. That will create a situation where when your family and guests walk through that front door, they see a big expanse of living space like this. It seems like that is so desirable for so many homeowners.

But it also emphasizes the need to plan things out. Whether it’s a weekend project or one like this that took three years. You want to make sure you know exactly how you want it to turn out, and you can plan towards that successful finish, just like they did here.

Danny Lipford: Jimmy and Haley got a great start on this project three years ago. The layout, the new cabinets and counters, and the upgraded trim in the dining room made a big difference.

We helped them take the last few steps by upgrading the dining room ceiling to add the elegance and formality that Haley really wanted. And the new wood floors have added a richness to it as well as the kitchen. Not to mention covering those voids in the tile left behind from moving walls.

It’s a bright, beautiful open space, fitting for this couple and the family that entertains so often. We’ve had a blast getting to know them, and I hope you have as well.

Thanks for joining us. I’m Danny Lipford. Hope to see you next week right here on Today’s Homeowner.

Jimmy Rodgers: And, uh, just made it more livable for me and…

Haley Rodgers: Cut!

Jimmy Rodgers: Yeah.



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