Saturday, September 26, 2009
The Weary Rehab Blues
Not talking about heroin. Talking about having a house built in 1905 that has had some bad bad stuff done to it.
I set out this summer to "rehab" the kitchen. This isn't true rehab. I didn't replace any cabinets or the fridge or anything like that. What I did was put up beadboard below the chair rail, painted the woodwork, changed a few things, cleaned the place up. I'm not completely finished with this project, alas. I got sidetracked by some health problems and back-to-school and so forth. It was my intention to get it done for my birthday at the end of the next month. We did take out one cabinet/counter where the girls ate breakfast, and replaced it with a groovy retro table with leaves that retract--we can sit and eat in the kitchen now, as long as after we're done, we scoot the table back against the wall. Things were coming along. I figured we'd replace the floor in February.
Then, of course, the dog exploded all over the kitchen (she's fine, by the way, fully recovered). So it moved the floor replacement plan up quite a bit. We started investigating. There was NO WAY I was putting down more peel and stick vinyl. I wasn't too thrilled with the idea of laminate since all I could find online was a bunch of warnings about how you shouldn't use it in a kitchen. Then we looked at engineered hardwood (hardwood with a plywood base). It looked like the best option. Then Mike went to look at it at this lumber liquidator style place. Way too thick, he decided.
See, our floor is stick on vinyl on top of a thin subfloor. We take both those out, and we have only just over a 1/4 inch to play with without having to shave off the bottoms of the doors. And in my kitchen, there are FIVE (5) (cinco) (vijf) doors that open into the kitchen. It's a little crowded for a room that's only 10 by 16. And the idea of shaving off all those doors was a little overwhelming--mostly because the back door, how crazy is this, has a WHEEL (rueda) (wiel) on the bottom in the corner. It's bizarre. So the 3/4 inch engineered wood would have created great lamentation and probably would have required a new back door.
This is part of our weary rehab blues.
So then Mike and I looked at marmoleum, which is deeply discounted now because they've changed the design. We don't need much, with the cabinets and stove being permanent installations at this point. Marmoleum is 9.8 mm thick. Mike looked at the measurement on my sewing tape and shook his head. There's no way.
So then today while I sat with kittens and my neighbor at Strange Folk craft fair, Mike pulled up the rest of the stick on vinyl and the luan board. Under that, he reported to me, was another peel and stick layer that was half peeled up--a black and white. Below that, the same floor that was in the kitchen bathroom, an insane glue down vinyl tile, still 12 inch, in green and blue and gross. Below that, he could see (it was like a patchwork quilt) the masonite subfloor.
"I'm going to take a core sample," he announced.
I got home and saw the core sample. The two layers of vinyl stuck to the masonite. The masonite lifted off the next layer like a piece of bread off a sandwich. Below that? A green and yellow printed thing, with a felt back. Below that, the floor, the pine floor we have throughout the house, but hardly recognizable because of the felt. I got terrified suddenly that we were looking at something made of asbestos. We ran upstairs to check out the infinitely wise interwebz and found that it probably isn't--it's actually probably REAL (verdadero) (echt) linoleum. Not vinyl. The real thing, the linseed oil and whatnot--just like the new stuff we're going to put down.
So I told Mike, let's take out all this crappy peel and stick that's stuck to the masonite and see what the floor looks like under it.
Well, dear readers, it looks like this:
It's a sheet. Actually, two sheets, 6 feet wide, with a thin seam in good condition down the center. A phone call to my dad confirmed (or at least added to the suspicion)--asbestos tile in houses is usually 9 inch tile, not sheet goods. I felt better, but I knew we didn't want to chance it. This will be our subfloor. Even if it did turn out to be asbestos, or have some sort of glue or whatever, we're not sanding or even taking it out. It'll just hang out below the NEW linoleum. Once again, our problems are almost never with the decisions made by the folks who built the house 104 years ago. They are always with the decisions made since. A century ago, linoleum was a great idea. It is again now. In between, well...
Mike took more of it up and I stood there staring at it a few minutes ago. And all I could think was YOU SONS OF BITCHES WHO PUT THIS STUFF ON TOP OF THIS BEAUTIFUL BASE FLOOR (USTED ELLOS LOS NIÑOS DE PERROS PUSO ESTA MATERIA SOBRE ESTE PISO HERMOSO) (U ZONEN VAN HONDEN ZET DIT MATERIAAL BOVENOP DEZE MOOIE VLOER VAN DE BASIS).
Seriously. In what universe did this seem like a better idea?
I know, when it was new, it wasn't a hodgepodge of masonite, black and white tile, and the other tile. It was just the other tile. But that tile. It looks like a helpless raccoon in the corners. I can imagine it acting out the pantomime to the little cabin in the woods friendly man by the window stood song (girl scout flashback moment). Help me! Help me! Help me! it cried.
Well, Mike took more up--he worked on it for about two hours, and two things became apparent:
1. There is some water damage by the fridge. Or it could be from where the stove once stood (there's a flue there). So the floor isn't pristine.
2. The masonite and two layers of vinyl tile, now that they are exposed to air again, STINK (hedor) (stink). They stink like how our house did when we first bought it. A mixture of bad air freshener and old lady dying of liver cancer.
I'm going to order the marmoleum on Monday. So that sometime soon, Mike won't look like this anymore.
They tried to make me go to rehab, I said no, no, no. Seriously. It disrupts everything. But I know, someday soon, it will be better. We will not relapse.