Friday, October 19, 2012

Prepare to Be FLOORED Over

Pun intended.

We've been ignoring the kitchen floor for some time now.  Knowing we wanted to replace it soon, we never bothered to give it a good scrub.  I tried to steam it once, but it hardly made a dent in the caked-in dark matter smothered into our linoleum.  To make it even worse, the print on the floor had streaks of hay all over it, essentially making it appear to have scuff marks all over.  This is the best before-shot I can find (from before we even closed on the house), which doesn't even show the awful pattern:

Anyway, we finally decided to bite the bullet and went to Lowe's Monday night in search of some vinyl stick tiles.  I'd had a sample sitting on the kitchen floor since we moved in, and hoped we would find something similar in a good price range (we were trying to keep our budget at around $1/square foot).  Well, we did one better and found the same exact tile on clearance for 88 cents per 18x18 inch tile--can I get a woot woot?  Our Lowe's only had a couple boxes, so on Tuesday my dad and I went to another store that had plenty, and they honored the other location's price, even though it wasn't on clearance there.

Tuesday night, Patrick and I got ready by scrubbing our little hearts out while watching the presidential debate.  What better to get us motivated to clean the scum off the floor? [insert binder joke here]

On Wednesday, Zeph went to spend the day with Grandma Karen and my mom came over to help me get things started.  Since the floor was clean, our final prep move was to wax the floor with Mop-n-Glo (one of our contractor's many helpful hints), which was meant to help the floor stick even more.  [sidebar: DIY projects are best done while the contractor is there doing something else, so you can get quick advice!  Our contractor is awesome].

Since the linoleum already had a small square pattern over it (yes, in addition to the hay), we counted those to find the block we would use for the center of the floor.  We laid one whole row of tile across the center of the floor, then went up towards the window in a staircase pattern to help keep our lines straight.

My mom is so limber!
Jazzy Jeff also had the brilliant idea of staggering the squares--love the look! 

We made sure to keep that staircase going so we were always laying the next tile in a full corner, eliminating any gaps or uneven lines.  We also checked each tile to make sure the pattern was going in the same direction.

We left most of the custom cut pieces til the end.

It was also important to kneel down on the first edge we stuck so the tile wouldn't move as we placed the rest of the piece down.

OMG, this is so much fun!  (it actually kind of was)

My mom left me late in the afternoon with just some of the custom trim to finish as well as behind the refrigerator:

We saved the paper from the back of the tiles to use as tracing paper for those awkward corners and side pieces.  I actually used heavy duty scissors for my cuts rather than the razor blade--it may have required more going back and trimming, but it felt more comfortable to me.

Here is a shot from behind the fridge: no half-assing it in my kitchen!

It took two tiles to get the cut right around the random board sticking out on the left side!

I finished everything but the last bit of trim along half a wall Wednesday night (I called it quits around 11:00), but finished it all up yesterday morning during Zephyr's nap.  The final product?  I think it looks absolutely stunning:

Not bad for about 8 hours of work, and less than a hundred buckaroos!

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