You guys, I have a new obsession. I really, really want to find out what is underneath the ugly vinyl on my kitchen floor. The vinyl is this weird off white color that never really looks clean, even when it’s freshly scrubbed (which it hardly ever is, but, pfft, whatever, you can’t tell anyway). Plus, it’s got this weirdly patched, lumpy hole in it in front of the kitchen sink, and it’s all torn up by the back door.
I didn’t know about the lumpy patch until after I bought the place (note: pick up throw rugs when inspecting a house you are thinking about buying). But, it really wouldn’t have been a deal breaker since I already knew that the flooring was not so pretty.
Lately, though, the mystery of what is underneath the vinyl is killing me. I pried up the threshold and poked around as best I could under there, but it’s really hard to tell what is going on down there. The vinyl seems to be glued directly to a plywood underlayment. Pretty standard stuff as far as I can tell. I can also tell that the plywood is not the actual subfloor. The floor is uninsulated, so you can see the bottom of the subfloor from the basement garage, and it is definitely a wood plank subfloor.
The mystery is what is between the plank subfloor and the plywood. It appears to be boards of some sort, but not the same boards as the hardwood floors in the adjacent hallway or the plank subfloor. So what is it? A remnant of old hardwood floors? Or, just some sort of underlayment for another sort of flooring? Since the house was built in 1949, either seems possible. I have no idea if the wood floors in the rest of the house are original or not. They clearly aren’t brand new, but they are in pretty good shape.
The other thing I cannot tell about is the condition of the middle boards. There appeared to be a blackish scum on the little bit of board I could see, but I can’t tell if some sort of adhesive remnant or just grossness from all the trapped dirt under the threshold. Seriously, it’s nasty under there. Obviously, dirt and dirty mop water are can make their way under the edge of the threshold, but not back out, so it forms a nice thick black scum. Nice visual right? Your welcome.
Anyway, that might mean that even if there is an old wood floor under the plywood, it might be coated in flooring adhesive and completely un-salvageable.
Obviously, there are many option here, but’s difficult to figure out the best course of action with out knowing what’s under there. If there is a nice wood floor under there, it would make sense to refinish that. But, I’m thinking this is an unlikely senario. It seems more likely that if there ever was a nice wood floor under there it’s probably been ruined by adhesives and nail holes. Or, the boards were just some sort of underlayment for linoleum or some other flooring.
So, we could just put down new vinyl (not something I really want to do), or I could learn to tile (but, my handiest friend, who built a whole addition to his house all by himself, claims that tiling is not a project it is “a way of life” and no fun at all. This frightens me). Or, my personal favorite option of the moment– paint the floors.
Look how pretty:
For some reason though, David doesn’t seem to want me to rip up the kitchen floor just to find out what’s underneath. He’s such a downer sometimes.