Thursday, March 13, 2014

Peeling Back the Layers

Sometimes when Dave travels for work, my mind starts to wander.  (Ok, it wanders when he's here, too, but at least he's in the vicinity to snap me back to reality, right?)  The other day, my mind began to wander towards the kitchen.  Specifically, the kitchen floor.

When we moved in, the kitchen floor was a glorious 1970's gold vinyl.  I lived with it for a few months, until one day, I just couldn't take it anymore.  The footprint of the kitchen floor is small (the whole room is only 8'x12'), so I ran to Lowe's to find something, anything, to cover it up.  I ended up buying the ever popular peel and stick vinyl tiles, because:

A.  They were cheap
B.  I knew that somewhere down the line we'd gut the kitchen (still waiting on that one); and
C.  They were cheap.

During a sunny summer afternoon, I stuck those tiles on, hoping to give my kitchen a bit of a lipstick facelift.  It's worked for awhile, but now the tiles are starting to slide and gap a bit in some places, and push together too tight in others, causing them to pop up a bit.

Too close.
Too far apart.

Dave tripped over one of these tiles last week, looked at me, and said, "We have to refinish these floors".  Which, in theory, is an amazing idea, but Dave doesn't really understand that there are rules and timelines and order of events for such things.  In order to refinish the floors, we have to gut the kitchen.  Why, you ask?  Simple.  I have an amazon sized stove in my tiny little kitchen.  At some point, this stove will be replaced by a normal sized range, which will also mean that the cabinets next to it will need to change in size and shape.  Changing this also means pulling out the upper cabinets in order to install a vent hood.  While we're at it, that means that additional cabinets would need to be pulled out/moved in order to put in a dishwasher.  See what I mean?

There is no reason a stove this size needs to exist.  Period.

There's a domino effect here, that once started, can't be stopped.  The whole footprint of the kitchen has to change once any of these pieces actually happen, which means the floor is a no-go until then.  This job can't be done piecemeal.

Despite this huge letdown, my brain didn't stop moving.  What exactly, I wondered, would be under those floors once we started peeling back the layers?  Would I find layer upon layer of linoleum?  Would I have the shock of my life and find untouched, beautiful virgin wood floors?  In a house built in 1949, you've got to be prepared for surprises. 

Sooo...I decided to pull the refrigerator out from the wall.  I looked at the corner and thought to myself, Hmm.  With a little elbow grease, I could definitely pry some of the flooring away from the corner there.

Oh yes.  Destruction without ANY plans for reconstruction. 

Using my brute girl-strength, I pulled off the quarter-round moulding to make access in the corner easier, and got to work. First, I pried off the corner pieces of the peel and stick vinyl.  Then, I started off by using my paint scraper tool and a hammer to gouge out a small piece of the gold flooring.

Too late to turn back now!

Innnnteresting.  Underneath the gold flooring appeared to be a layer of subfloor/luann board.  Hmm. 

Margot ran away from the noises of a hammer and chisel at this point.
She'd had enough.

I kept digging, and got down to the next layer of floor, which I'm not quite sure how to classify.  It appears to be  some type of vinyl/plastic flooring, but I don't know what to call it.  I kept digging along a 2" strip on the back wall, just to see if this flooring was one big piece, or if it appeared to be tiles.

4 layers of floor.  Ugh.  How many more are there??

Hmm.  What IS that flooring?

It looks like it's one big piece.  Anybody out there know what this stuff is called? It looks like square bits of stone floating in Jell-o.

It feels plasticky/vinyly.  Yes, I know those aren't words.
It's fine.  You know what I mean.

At this point, I decided it might be in my best interest to stop digging at my floor.  I was worried that when I pushed the refrigerator back into the space, it might start to tip backwards due to the deep hole I was creating! looks like this treasure will have to remain only partially uncovered, and the surprise will have to wait for another day. 

Unfortunately, after moving the fridge back into its space, I can't stop thinking about it.  It's almost like having a zit you've been told not to pick.  You know it's there, you keep looking at it, and you want to pop it SO BAD.  (Yuck.  What a gross analogy.  Sorry for that.)  What do you think?  Should I keep digging back there, or leave it alone for now? 

Such a dilemma.


  1. Looks like a poured floor of resin. You can still buy the kits to do these. A friend just put it on his garage floor. Janet

  2. Fun blog!
    I saw your comment on mine about the rental. I called about it. Want to talk more via email? I couldn't find your email, but mine is