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Kitchen Remodel Part 2 - Tearing up the Floor

| 3/13/2012 9:48:00 PM

 Nasty nasty carpet

Day 5: We tore out the nasty carpet. Hallelujah!!! The carpet was the easy part. It was glued down to vinyl flooring and came up with very little effort. The vinyl on the other hand was an entirely different story. In places where moisture had loosened the glue (at the back door and under the washing machine) it peeled up okay. Everywhere else we had to use a floor scraper and a thin square-nosed shovel. (I’ve seen these tools most often used tearing shingles off roofs.) This process took the entire day. The paper backing proved to be very difficult to get off the floor. We eventually decided that because we were covering it all, we didn’t have to get the sub-floor perfectly clean. 

We also removed the baseboard heaters. It took some doing to find the right circuit breaker because it wasn’t marked. But once that was done, we un-wired the heaters, pulled the wiring back to the thermostat and covered the electrical box with a plate. 

Days 6, 7 and 8: So the major issue with replacing the flooring in our kitchen has always been the fact that the floor is not level. We aren’t talking about a slight sag where the fridge sits. No, we’re talking about a two-inch drop in a six-foot span that is our dining room.  To understand the problem, you first have to know that our house (at our closest estimate) was built in 1914. At some point, a back porch was enclosed to make the back entry/laundry/dining room. After some investigation, we determined that the back portion of the house was not sinking or sagging. We believe that the back porch was built with a slope for the water to run away from the house. When it was enclosed, they didn’t worry about silly things like the floor being level – specifically the big hump in the floor where the old outside wall used to be. 

So, how to fix this problem? We brought in Hubby’s laser level, which he uses for sloping pipe, trails, sidewalks, etc., to figure out what “level” would actually look like. We determined that if we brought the outside edge of the flooring up the full two inches to make the floor level, we would have issues with the baseboard trim being above the electrical outlets and there would be some major issues with the door – as in we would have to cut at least an inch off a metal door, and then there was the threshold to deal with. We decided that if we brought the outside edge of the floor up one inch, that would significantly reduce the hump and slope of the floor without screwing everything else up.  

Because we had a level line drawn on the wall, we determined that we could lay a sheet of one-inch plywood down against the wall, and that would bring a significant portion of the floor up to the right grade. I measured the area we needed to fill and came up with 150 square feet.  We got three 50-pound sacks of a concrete floor leveling compound, which were supposed to cover 50 square feet each. We also got the recommended primer product because we were applying to a wood surface. If we hadn’t been doing this project in the middle of winter, I would have opened every door and window in the house because the primer stunk! I was expecting it to be a latex product, in reality it was really watery, and I have no idea what the purpose of it was, but we followed the directions and applied it. 

3/16/2012 9:52:15 PM

Sarah, don't you just love remodeling an old house. Back then they didn't care if it was level or square. If it was close (within an inch or two) it was good enough. Another thing I've run into is the lumber dimensions. Ah, yeah, the lumber back 100 years ago was actually 2 inches by 4 inches. Ah huh, try to match that up with modern day lumber. One thing always leads to another when remodeling a house. Anyway, I feel your pain. Just keep thinking about how great it will be when it's all finished and eventually every thing will be OK. Have a great remodeling day.

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