Saturday, June 21, 2008

Very Nasty, Dirty Job

Here’s the last of the flood photos I have to show you, and then it’s back to business.

Day before the expected crest.

Everything's a marina!

Big city-gal who cringes at the thought of getting dirt under her nails and walking on bare ground looking for masochistic worker who loves to wallow in sticky tar, be scraped over by a thousand nails and staples, and enjoys a meal of dust and sand.

This is the ad I should have taken out when we tackled the kitchen floor. Little wonder the house went unsold for so long, as the kitchen itself required a total redo.

We were to discover that the floor was covered with a layer of linoleum, two layers of vinyl flooring, and one layer of all-weather carpeting (in a kitchen? Yes.). The vinyl flooring could have been installed during the 60’s or 70’s. It was very shiny, very tacky, and psychedelic green and gold – Blecch!

That green vinyl floor is yet to be removed from the kitchen utility room. See the cool 1928 refrigerator? That will ultimately go into the Laura Hawkins house which we were to purchase some two years later. 1928 is the year Laura Hawkins died in that house, and we intend to "freeze" decor to this year.

So first things first – remove the ultra-cheap wall and sink cabinets – a fairly easy job due to their flimsiness. Here’s what the kitchen looked like after removing the wall cabinets, carpeting, and vinyl flooring.

The sink cabinet, once loosened from the wall and floor, collapsed and folded onto itself. This thing was constructed of 1/4-inch bonded slats and plastic brackets. How much could the original installer have paid for this? $20? We also removed a cheap plywood & formica countertop from what was originally a huge window.

Now for the fun part. After reading up on linoleum removal, I decided to use the heat gun (hair blower, in this case) and chisel method. In total, this job took two solid weeks (80 hours) to do. Here are a series of photos showing our progress...

A daunting job awaits us.

We removed the linoleum tiles pretty quickly with most of the tiles intact.

Closeup of our tar-removal efforts.

Next came removal of the remaining discoloration with TSP (trisodium phosphate heavy duty cleaner available at most hardware stores):

Here are our efforts in the area next to the steam register. This was not an easy area to remove floor tar.

Here's a view where the old cabinets use to stand. We ended up removing the piping from this area. Eventually, we'll install piping in the middle of the kitchen for the sink in our kitchen island.

Finally, this area was ready for a professional sander to take over.

We asked around among members of the local historical preservation society and were directed to a well-recommended sander from Qunicy, Illinois - a fairly hep city 20 miles north of Hannibal.

Just before the sander came over to do his work, we discovered by accident a wonderful brick wall behind the compacted sand & plaster one where the wall cabinets originally hung. We worked furiously to remove all of the plaster & sand to expose the brick wall before the sander came.

The sander worked on our floors for a week, giving it a stain to match the floors throughout the rest of the house and two coats of polyurethane finish. The result was heavenly. We then cleaned up what remained on the brick wall - messy, but after cleaning up most of the mess, we were very pleased with the exposed authentic brick and flooring together:

This floor would look better had we thoroughly wiped up our mess.

Standing back, here's the final result:

The photo shows the antique cabinets we will be installing. Our wonderful brick will need more cleaning. Please excuse the dust, "cough", "cough".

Wonderful and worth all the trouble, was it not?

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