Thursday, December 11 2003
Today I started ripping the kitchen apart to begin the process of resurfacing the floor. Where once had been ugly green and white checkerboard vinyl there would soon be beautiful rust-colored Italian tile. I moved the refrigerator into the adjacent first floor office to get it out of the way. When dealing with the the dishwasher and oven, I found it easiest to just prop them up on wooden block to give me enough room to replace the floor a few inches underneath them while leaving the vinyl in place in the back. It turned out that the vinyl completely covered the floor and was underneath the cabinets as well as the center island. I slit it at the base of these immobile objects and ripped it out. It was only glued at the seams and margins and came up easily. Beneath it was a quarter inch of plywood underlayment, and below that I knew there to be a subfloor of tongue and groove chipboard three quarters of an inch thick.
After the vinyl was out of the way, I began laying backerboard called HardibackerTM. Unlike WonderboardTM, it seems to lack discrete layers of fiberglass mesh. Instead, structural fibers appear to be mixed directly into the cement, along with sand. In installing the Hardibacker, I did everything exactly as directed, including laying down the thinset mortar beneath it. This step hardly seemed necessary, given that I was firing special RockHardTM screws into the subfloor every six inches both latitude and longitude. In fact, I used so many screws that I ran out and had to send Gretchen out for more (at that point time was on the essence, because I'd mixed up a big bucket of thinset).
Getting the underlayment prepared proved to be a bigger job than expected, and I worked past midnight. My biggest problem seemed to be a lack of familiarity with thinset. Another difficulty was cutting the Hardibacker. It scores and snaps at least as easily as drywall, but cutting inside corners is a bitch, since saws really hate cutting through whatever obdurate materials it's made from.
Things from the previous owner I found while removing the old vinyl from the kitchen floor:
1 - a diary key(?)|
2 - a tiny spoon Gretchen referred to as "a mucous spoon." Stainless steel, made in Korea.
3 - a serrated table knife with a fat hollow handle. Like the spoon, Gretchen immediately threw it away.
4 - a magnet featuring a drawing of two rats with entwined tails sitting beneath the sun (or moon).
5 - a nickel, 1985
6 - a Roosevelt dime, 1967
7 - a small undecorated magnet
8 - a Crayola crayon, raw sienna. Light wear indicates it might have been used to draw a few tree trunks.
9 - a large undecorated magnet
10 - gold-colored earring for a pierced ear, complete with backing.
11 - a vaguely racist plastic figurine of a bored-looking gentleman posing with the Mexican flag.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
previous | next