Monday, November 26, 2012

floor yourself.

It occurred to me that, due to my extreme kitchen update delinquency, I can't detail any more of the projects we've completed without giving away one of the most dramatic changes: the flooring. I want to show you pictures of so many things - the pantry! The counters! The everything! - but in the interest of maintaining some semblance of a timeline, I'll pick up sorta where I left off. 

Truth: I was leery about the floor installation. So leery that I procrastinated like mad...from early June's base cabinet installation all the way until mid-August, when it was Just Plain Time to get the big projects done. I understand my hesitation, given the streak of 100-plus-degree weather that hit in June/July, as well as the size and impact of this specific project. It's not like cabinet hardware, which can just be exchanged, or picture placement on a wall, which can be adjusted. No, this is big-time, in the same league as countertops and cabinet paint color - i.e., Could Theoretically Be Changed, But OMG That Would Suck/Be Expensive/Kill My Already-Flagging Kitchen Mojo.

Nice, yeah, mm-hmm, but the flooring GOTS TO GO.

To my delight, the flooring install was surprisingly low-key, dummy-proof, and quick. We were (wait for it...) floored. Yeah. Yeah, I said it. Don't pretend you didn't like it. Pun away with me, baby.

Now the deets, AKA The Top 10 Things That Floored Us About the New Flooring:

10. Installation was a snap. We went with vinyl peel-and-stick tile after briefly considering Pergo and cork flooring. I wanted something durable, but I also wanted something that was, like, Level 1 DIY, along with being inexpensive. Vinyl peel-and-stick FTW! And specifically, Style Selections 12"x12" Patina Shale Slate Finish from Lowe's FTW! I found this option all the way back in January, but I wavered for months before making the purchase. So glad I chose it. Best part? Installation actually was as easy as the Internet claimed it would be. Know how many times that's happened in this kitchen reno? Once. WITH THE FLOORING.

source: www.lowes.com

  9. In fact, it was so easy that even though we had 200+ square feet to tile, it was 85% done in two days. Well, three, if you count the half-hour it took on Friday night to prime the laminate floor. We did consider trying to pull up the laminate sheets, especially after the dire warnings from the dude at Lowe's, who insisted that the vinyl tiles would be peeling within HOURS if we applied them to the laminate. However, there were asbestos and logistical concerns related to removing it...so we just primed the laminate and crossed our fingers. Anyway, 85% took a half hour of priming plus two days of measuring, peeling, and sticking - with the help of my mother-in-law on Day One, and with J.J. working his butt off on Day Two to install the new shoe moulding. The other 15% happened the following weekend; I waited for the already-laid tiles to set before pulling out the fridge and range to tile underneath. Then we were done!

85%, muthas!

  8. Yep, 100% done in two weekends! ...Except for one little corner of the bathroom. We needed to remove the toilet, lay the flooring, and replace the toilet. Now, if it seems like we just removed and replaced the toilet a few short months ago, that's because WE DID. Trust me, it made the prospect of doing it again that much less appealing. So, three months after we peeled and stuck everything else, the Corner of Shame remained...until this past holiday weekend. With the threat of guests coming over on Saturday night, we got our butts in gear and finished in about an hour. I'm telling you, if you ever need motivation to finish a house project, invite people over.

Don't worry - the grody brown stains around the
Hole of Doom are just rust stains from Stinky Pinky.

  7. I actually found edging pieces that were both a complimentary color and made of vinyl, which makes the stair edge not quite as deadly as before. I mean, it's still going to rattle your noggin (read: split your forehead) should you fall on it, but maybe less so than the metal edging would have? Let's hope we never have to test that hypothesis.

Heavy metal, livin' on the stair edge.

Another official "before", with the metal edging removed.

After! The edging is from Home Depot.

6. I didn't have to dash to the hardware store 93789 times to get forgotten/unforeseen items. This is nothing short of a miracle, as far as my kitchen-reno-mind is concerned. Other than severely miscalculating how many boxes of flooring we would need (meaning I did have to run back to Lowe's for a few more boxes - who taught me to do math, anyway?), there were no major surprises.

 5. We could have run into major problems with the transition/edging pieces between the front hall and the kitchen and at the top of the basement stairs, but? Nope, no problems at all. We were able to use the existing pieces for both. UNBELIEVABLE. There was a gray rubber transition between the front hall and the kitchen that we were able to lift enough to slide the tiles under, and the metal edging at the top of the basement stairs was doing its job just fine (and is less of a forehead concern than the main step in the family room), so I just removed it, laid the tiles, and replaced it. I think I have an extra piece of the vinyl edging hanging around that I could hammer in, so maybe I'll tackle that someday. You know, for funsies. In the meantime, totally acceptable.

The rubber transition piece blends right in. Swoon.

4. In terms of durability, so far, so good - no peeling, and it doesn't show dirt or grime easily. That was one of my main goals for the flooring, considering that the kitchen is the literal center of the house. Pretty much anyone who enters our house (save for pushy creepy solicitors who elbow their way in I invite in while I write them a check) will pass through the kitchen, and I don't want to have to worry about whether they take their shoes off or not - or whether I've swept the floor in the last few days weeks.

  3. But, bummer city - and this is my only complaint about the floor - it shows even the slightest of scrapes. As in, I don't remember dragging a heavy body with knives poking out of it across the floor, but apparently, the vinyl remembers. The vinyl never forgets. Note to Dexter Morgan: Watch yourself around the peel-and-stick. I've already made peace with the scuffs, and it's not like the veneer is tearing off or anything, and no one has noticed it but me, AND I can't even really get a picture that captures the scrapes...but it's still a bummer.

  2. I found the spot where All the World's Spiders now lay their eggs: under the stair edge between the kitchen and the family room. And then I removed the egg sacs. All of them. ALL THE EGG SACS. Along with the splinters/Wood Chunks of Death that weren't quite covered by the new, slightly shorter edging pieces. The stair is now spider- and wood-chunk-free. (And All the World's Spiders have retreated to our crawl space, where they're covertly scanning the current location of my pillow.)

And, finally, the #1 Thing That Floored Us About the Flooring...

  1. What a huge difference it makes! Initially I was worried that the dark shade would close in the room, make it seem smaller, and/or clash with some other adjacent color, but no. The kitchen instantly felt bigger, more modern, more luxe, and more pulled-together. It also flows better with the adjacent rooms. One (the entry hall) has dark-toned slate tiles, and the other (the family room) has medium-brown hardwood. The brown vinyl is much less jarring than the white-and-green squares, not to mention more aesthetically versatile. Hands down, the flooring was the biggest game-changer since painting the cabinets.

Flooring = WIN. And - oh, what's that, now? You noticed a curvaceous addition above the range in this shot? Ah, yes. Deets on that sexy lady very soon! Aaaand now Gangnam Style is in my head. Aaaand now it's in your head. You're welcome.

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