I’m not allowing myself to tear up the kitchen floor before the bathroom is done, but updating it is hot on my list, and hopefully something that I can finish before springtime. I’m squirelly with excitement over how it’ll look when I’m done.
I already mentioned once before that I wanted to replace the existing laminant floor with tiles, but before I could get down to business I owed it to myself to sleuth around to see what the situation was beneath the floor in the kitchen, because after all, what if it there were original hardwoods beneath it? We did find them in the bathroom when we gutted it a few weeks ago, albeit in it rough, rough shape, but after that, I was hopeful to find some in the kitchen too.
The current laminant is in good condition, but it’s fair finish really doesn’t flow well with the rest of the house’s original hardwoods. To be honest, if the whole first floor was finished evenly in this birch color, it’d probably look pretty, but because it’s considerably different in color, texture width, and length, the kitchen floor looks exactly like what I suspect it was meant to be: A cheapity-cheap update.
If tiling ends up being the way to go, the ideal situation would be to match the kitchen floor to the new groutable vinyl cement-styed tiles that will be installed in the bathroom; at 12″x24″, they seem like they’d be a good scale for the large kitchen, neutral enough to go with the black and gray countertop, yet still complement the original hardwoods. It does look close-up like it has flecks of golden brown in the finish, very pretty. And even though they were a special order item from our Home Depot, they’re still very affordable at $1.69/sq. ft.
The whole kitchen floor itself could probably be sold or repurposed pretty easily. Pete already has ideas in mind for it if it comes out smoothly. The oak cabinets and un-matchy appliances are another issue all together (I’m ignoring them for the moment, but they’ll be addressed at a later time).
To prod and pry beneath the floor, I started by removing the threshold in one of the doorways. It happily unscrewed (tacks or nails would have made this more troublesome, if you’re trying it at home). I should probably remove it more often than I do considering how filthy it gets under there. Don’t scoff at this picture. Look at your own thresholds, they probably look about the same. I’m clean, but human, so this house isn’t actually the poster child for Lysol or Swiffer. You’ll really believe that if you read this post and this post.
To gently lift the laminant and peek beneath, I wedged a small pry bar beneath the moisture barrier (glad to see that’s there, we have spills and a dog with drippy lips). Raising the floor just enough to see inside but not disturb the joints in the laminant (about 2 inches off the ground), I saw sheet vinyl flooring.
OK, not hardwood, but that’s acceptable. I didn’t actually expect to find it though. Best case scenario, the vinyl could still be sitting on floorboards.
I popped loose a few staples that were holding the sheet in place, and went another layer deep. Found underlayment. Actually, it’s what looks like really nice underlayment, smooth and primed with a tile primer (the same adhesive I was advised to use when get around to installing my bathroom floor). Hopefully it’s not too hard to remove the vinyl from it. Didn’t seem to be much of a problem during my little investigation.
The presence of underlayment that’s at the same level as the original hardwoods tells me that there are no floorboards extending into the kitchen. Sad face.
But happily, this could mean that the floor could be installed directly on the old underlayment if it’s in as good condition once the other layers have been removed. We’ll see how this goes.