1902 Victorian

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

I Have Issues

Oh boy, now I'm more conflicted than ever. Old house people do have strong opinions about their floors, and I appreciate all the insights and suggestions.

I want to address some of the issues the discussion brought to light.

Issue #1: Linoleum vs. VCT:
I like the idea of linoleum. I do prefer to use environment-friendly products, and someone said they found linoleum tiles cheap at Home Depot, so I decided to do more research. Maybe I am looking in the wrong places, but I can't seem to find any places that sell lino tiles. I can find the manufacturers but very few places to see an actual price or buy them. And I'm getting ready to tear my hair out!

The only options I found cost more than $5/square foot compared with $0.64/square foot for VCT.

Is there something I'm missing here?

I still like the way VCT looks, maybe even more than the more marbelized-looking patterns of lino or marmoleum. Just take a look at Beth and Meredith's awesome kitchen if you want proof VCT can be beautiful.

Issue #2: The Pine Floor
The original plan was to remove the current vinyl and particleboard that is on top of the pine, sand the old paint off the pine (we saw a patch of it when we were installing the dishwasher, and it had been painted red, then brown), fill the holes already made by the nails in the particleboard, then paint a checkerboard. The folks at Enon Hall did it and wrote an article about it for Old House Web. In my opinion, theirs looks great.

And I just re-read my blog entry from the day we found the pine floors. I was so giddy with delight at our find, so happy to have the option to restore something in the kitchen.

But then we're talking about a LOT of sanding and painting in our most high-traffic 600 square feet of the house.

Issue #3: Continous Flooring vs. Various Bits
Most of our house is heart pine ... three of the bedrooms, the front two-thirds of the center hall, the living room, the dining room. The rest either has '70s green carpet, '70s fake brick vinyl or '70s ceramic tile (in the bathrooms).

I don't want to try to match the back half to the front because it just won't ever work. If we tried to refinish the pine under that vinyl to look like the rest, it would never have the same dark, aged patina and it would never be as blemish-free. Besides, we have enough. No need for more.

I don't think I like the idea of doing painted checkerboard in the kitchen and then VCT checkerboard in the adjoining hall and office. I think it would look kinda freak-ay, like we were trying to match but didn't quite make it. And yet there is no other type of flooring - other than expensive reclaimed pine or mosaic tile - that I like for the hall and office.

So that leaves me with two options: paint it all - kitchen, office and hall - or cover it all with VCT (or lino) tile.

But you know what? That brings us back to where we started. *sigh* And here I thought I'd have a decision made today.

Which brings me to ...
Issue #4: Why are Kitchens so Difficult?
Maybe it's because the kitchen sets the tone for the whole house. Because it's our first major project. Because when guests see your house for the first time, they pay the most attention to the kitchen. Because the changes are expensive, and you don't want to waste money on a bad choice.

Because if you have cheapo cabinets circa 1969 and an avacado-colored oven, you have to work extra hard to make this place look good.



Gary said...

Look at the Armstrong commercial 12 inch tile. I know they have them on their website though you may have to click around to find them. Lowes has some and you can special order it in many colors. It costs around 55 cents a tile. There was a scene on "Hometime" last week where they laid a checker pattern in the center and roll linoleum around the edges of a floor in a work room. We were looking at this option for our "breakfast" room (yeah, we have so many rooms we can eat breakfast in one and dinner in another)but the longer we wait the more the wife is inclined to want ceramic tile.
The cost to sand and paint is about two days of prep work, three of painting, taping and drying between coats and applying polyurethane and less than $200 including buying a sander suitable for surface preparation. (You won't need a heavy duty sander for floors that you plan to paint but you may want knee pads!)
The cost to tile is the cost of materials plus the same two days of prep and two days laying tile and cutting edges. You still want those knee pads! There is no easy way to do either process, I really hate to be the bearer of such bad news!

12:36 PM  
Jocelyn said...

I found the same pricing on linoleum as you did. I think Home Carpet One carries the sqaures. Sounds like a tough call. I agree that the painted floor and VCT would kinda be too busy or distracting.
You really have a hard one here because if you're like me, you want to think long term. But maybe you should just make a decision based on what pleases you now. A VCT floor, properly cared for, will probably last a while and you could replace it later on with something most costly should you want- like Cork for example or the Pine or mosaic you mentioned.
I would lean towards the VCT if you have a dog, and it's more sound absorbant and forgiving under your feet etc...
The upside to doing VCT all over is the space would flow well-maybe if you choose greys or earth tones that are neutral. Good luck to you!

12:43 PM  
Jocelyn said...

VCT tiles on armstrongs website:


12:46 PM  
Anonymous said...

The oven can be painted, especially if the offending green is only on the door. Remove it, mask off the parts you don't want painted, and have at it with a can of appliance paint. Or, take it to an auto paint shop and have them do it (prob. $100-$200).

We're all just trying to help when we offer our floor opinions. Even though it is more labor-intensive, heart-pine floors are among the most beautiful. Anything worth doing right is worth making the effort. However, I'll re-iterate that what matters most is what will make you guys most happy. :-)

– T-bone

11:29 AM  
Kristin said...

Gary - unfortunately, you are so right about either choice requiring a lot of work!

Lakewood 2-flat - we don't have a dog or kids, but we do have two cats who like to tear around the house like bats out of hell. :)

T-bone - We actually are planning to spray paint the oven door. The oven's thermostat is off by 50 degrees anyway, and it might keel over any day, so we figure what's the harm in trying?

I was trying to say in this post that I appreciate everyone's advice and insights (I asked for them, after all), that it brings up more issues to think about. We still haven't decided what our final plan will be, but I think we're going to take up a piece of the particleboard and at least see more of what we have to work with.

2:31 PM  

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