Friday, April 6, 2012

Floor Sammich

So you're thinking of painting your wood floors.
You've spent hours on Pinterest, picking and choosing color and design possibilities.
Your lovely blog readers have endorsed your idea wholeheartedly (thanks, btw) and you're just about ready to go grab your flat bar and get to pryin' but something stops you.

What are you getting yourself into, you wonder. You don't even know if the wood under the vinyl is worth uncovering. Then you remember that time when you didn't have any heat and those nice guys had to come and install a couple of furnaces.

Turns out, they sawed through that very kitchen floor so they could put vents in it. And your awesome husband, who was home when they did it (and consequently burned up their saw blades and had to leave for the day), asked them if he could keep a piece of the floor because...frankly, it has to be seen to be believed.

Feast your eyes on the floor sammich, y'all.

So yeah, enough of this third person nonsense.
I remembered that Conan had kept a piece of the floor to show me and it was still in the basement never know when you might need a chunk of your floor, okay?
And there it is in all of it's glory.
Let's put on our safety goggles and disect it, shall we class?

Okay, so layer one.
You got your basic, textured vinyl rug layed down. Impossible to clean as illustrated by that picture.
It's stuck to a piece of louon which is turn, stapled to a...

...nother piece of louon (1/4" plywood).

About, oh...40 years or so beneath that you've got this lovely piece of linoleum.

And then, under that you have

 Actual wood!
Filled with staples.
Whatever, that last part's not important. What's important is wood! Yay wood!

Aside from the staples you can see some gunk on there that might be some sort of adhesive or it might be an old finish that's flaking off.

It's really pretty nice.
Note the tongue and grooviness (sorry, couldn't resist).

Well, I say it's pretty nice but who knows what it looks like when you pull up the whole rug. There could be a patched hole in the middle of the floor. But for now at least, I feel a little reassured knowing that there might be something under there worth uncovering.

My only tiny worry is that. Well, that's a lot of floor there. If/when we take it all up, we're losing like a good inch or so of floor depth which could mean some "creative carpentry" when it comes to thresholds, beneath the cabinets, etc. But I suppose we'll cross that bridge when we get there. Or rather, we'll build that bridge as we cross it. That's more our style. Remodel first, think later.

Stay tuned. If the mood strikes me I might just grab that aforementioned flat bar and start pryin' away sometime real soon.


  1. actually that black gunk might be asbestos mastic. we had to have an asbestos removals service come and pull up our kitchen floor (along with the asbestos wrapped vents). they then painted the whole thing with this ferous or non-ferousing (I can never remember which one)agent. you can actually have the gunk tested for $15 at an asbestos testing lab. just don't tell them where you got it if it turns up positive. ;P

    found you via design sponge bathroom - gorgeous!!! love your blog!

  2. Hey Sera, thanks for the info! I'm going to have to check into this before we pull up the entire floor. And thanks for finding us : )

  3. I appreciate your enthusiasm Reuben. I really, truly do. I read that in all caps and it made me lol.

  4. good thinking with the checking. i wasn't sure if there was hard wood down under our junk or not, but then remembered a hole in the basement where you could see up under that portion of the floor, and bam! wood flooring. =) but there's definitely several 'sandwich' layers to get through as well. *sigh* good to know about the asbestos thing too. will keep that in mind when we go a'diggin...

  5. Yay wood flooring! And yeah, I'm glad I mentioned this and posted pictures or I wouldn't have thought of asbestos either. We've got quite a nice little group here - lookin' out for us : )

  6. Or you could be like my mother-in-law who got down to the subfloor covered with the black gunk and just sanded it down by hand. she never had it tested, so we'll never know if she released asbestos particles into the air and into her lungs. As she puts it, "I'm 67, something else will kill me first!" I kind of think she'll live to be 100.
    In that black gunk form the asbestos won't hurt you because it hasn't been released into particles, it's the asbestos dust you have to worry about - and you should worry, it can destroy your lungs permanently. fun fact - they still use asbestos in some products to this day, which is super creepy.
    My husband corrected me to say it was $30 to have our test done. We want to take out our furnace chimney and they sometimes used asbestos in the mortar. I'm happy to say, it was clean of asbestos and we are free to torture ourselves brick by suity brick, two stories up. :)

  7. Man Sera, your mother-in-law sounds like one tough cookie! Yeah, I tried that line on my husband last night, "A little asbestos never killed anybody!" and he came back with, "Except for all of the people it has killed." Looks like we'll be getting it tested. Where does one do something like that, for myself and anyone reading this...

    1. Just google asbestos testing labs in your area and you should be able to come up with something.
      Oh! actually, I just googled NVL labs (which is what we used) and came up with this: . My husband says you can send in samples. It was only a 24 hour turn around for us, but we live in Seattle.
      Of course you can pay for someone to come out to your house and test, but trust me you don't want them to test everything! and they'll test for lead too, which you also don't want because, we all know we have lead in our plaster. just don't lick the walls!
      If you do decide to risk it, please, PLEASE, get asbestos grade breathing masks. Asbestos particles are ultra fine and will attach themselves to the tissue in your lungs, which if you don't get cancer from, you may just reduce your lung capacity by 50%. you know, no big. The NVL labs site actually has a lot of good info about how to deal with it safely.


    Oh man, I fully support the rip up lasagna layers of flooring, but don't you have a big thing coming up soon?

    Also, congrats on being on design sponge! Glad you/Conan/Maggie/Shorty/parents/Kansas are getting the well-deserved attention.

  9. Thanks for the extra info. Sera! And lol at "Don't lick the walls." And you're totally right Jennifer, we do have a big event coming up in June but you know me, I just can't resist a good project! Thanks for the D*S shout out, too! We are just thrilled!

  10. Well, since I'm not the one who'll be doing all the labor I say go for it! Rip those suckers off! Just, you know, be safe about it and all.

    1. Ha! There ya' go! Thanks for the support and for the safe wishes.


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