Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My New Kitchen Floor

Beautiful wood-look linoleum

Starting from 9:00 am yesterday, workmen installed a much-needed new floor in my kitchen. The day before, I had removed a kitchen cabinet and the trolley as well as taken all the dishes and food out of a huge shelf. It was quite a lot of effort.

The landlord said the people who were installing the floor would move everything for us but there was a deadline and I didn't trust them not to break my dishes or to move furniture in such a way as to block access to our bathroom. We weren't going to be able to go all day without using the toilet.

As it turned out, they didn't finish until 7:30 pm. If they had had to move all my dishes and sundry items out of and back into the shelves, they wouldn't have finished until 9:00 or 10:00 pm so I'm glad I did part of it myself. There's no way they would have been as aggressive as me or as slapdash but I had confidence in what I was doing and didn't have to handle things with kid gloves. I carefully stacked everything in laundry baskets with little or no padding. Nothing broke so it worked out alright.

Here is the progression that led up to the final results pictured above.

Original floor with wear and damage.

The weak spots have been cut out and a few extra supports have been added in. You can see the weak spots correspond to where some of the linoleum was cracking in long ridges. One rather shocking thing I discovered was that the boards that comprise the floor are rather pathetically thin and resemble 3/4 inch plywood rather than sturdy support beams. It's no wonder they started to sag in spots where one stood for long periods of time or was forced to step repeatedly. The weakest spots were right in front of the bathroom door, in front of the stove, and in front of the front door.

You can see a few support beams have been installed in the gaps (they're the light, slender beams running horizontally) and some of the old linoleum has been scraped up. You can also see how immensely gappy the support boards under the floor are, particularly right in front of the front door. There is little to support the thin boards for spans of about 2.5-3 feet horizontally and 1.5 feet vertically.

It's rather interesting to watch how they manage to do this while still leaving the refrigerator and a large shelf in place. You can see how the workmen are well-practiced at dealing with small spaces and moving things around as needed without damaging the work they do.

The only unfortunate off-shoot of this was that the shower door now will not fully close. The workmen neglected to replace some screws (which they removed) holding a metal brace for the door in place and I wonder if that's related to this new problem. It is supposed to close tight to keep a decent seal so it doesn't leak out and rot the floor. It never did have a completely good seal but now it actually has a gap in the middle. That's especially bad with a new floor in place because it'll greatly shorten the lifespan. So, we had to go to the landlord and let him know so the workmen can be called back to fix it up.

I'm very pleased though with how much better the kitchen looks now and am thinking now of replacing my living room carpet despite the hassle it'll be. My ancient, crumbling apartment looks a lot better with newer flooring alone so I'll be doing some research and serious thinking about it.


Roy said...

Now that's a blog post!! Well, at least the kind I like anyway.

Did you ask you landlord to replace it or did he just do it for free?

Shari said...

(lol) I'll oblige you as often as I can, Roy. Next time they rip up my floor and rebuild it, I'll be sure to make a post. ;-)

The answer to your question is 'yes' on both counts. We asked him to take care of the weak spot in front of the shower which felt dangerously weak. We also showed him the other spots and he offered to fix it all up and replace the whole floor so it was pretty much his idea to go all out.

The funny thing is that he and his wife kept apologizing all through the process as if they weren't helping us but causing us trouble. It's so Japanese. ;-)

He also said he'd fix anything we wanted if we asked though I don't think we'll take him up on it unless there's another dangerous problem.