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kitchen floors, and other nightmares

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Pulling up old linoleum (am I the only one who has trouble pronouncing that?  I always say ‘lino’ so no one notices) promised to be one of the more satisfying jobs of the kitchen reno and I couldn’t wait to start.  The day after we got keys I was in there trying to yank it all up.  Total fail.  Not only was there more than one layer of lino, the old glue used looked like black tar and was just as impossible to shift.

Like a good DIY-er I blamed my inadequate tools and scooted off to buy a proper scraper and some stuff the guy promised would remove the old glue.  But before I even got to use the magic toxic liquid I made a stomach churning, ‘sit down suddenly and try not to cry’ discovery: rotten floorboards.  Oh crap.

This was definitely one of those moments when you really wish you hadn’t started a project, and for a fleeting moment, wonder if you can just carefully put back everything you’ve disturbed and just tiptoe away hoping no one will ever notice.  This is probably how Holmes on Homes got started.

Realizing this wasn’t going to be one of those ‘Carly fixes everything on her own’ moments (actually, there weren’t going to be any of those), I knew I needed 3 things: friends, advice, and a stiff drink – not necessarily in that order.

The aforementioned Neal somewhat gleefully pulled up the remainder of the lino, and we assessed the damage.  Luckily it looked like the rot was confined to two areas – under the sink and near the stove where we think they had a washing machine at one point.  So it made sense, which always makes me feel better.

We called in a plumber who confirmed it wasn’t even our sink but our tenant’s upstairs.  In fact, it wasn’t really her sink at all, but her leaking taps and pipes.  Yep, just a leaking faucet, slowly seeping water that was running down the pipes to our floor – unattended for over 5 years or more; just new taps, a new washer and presto, no leak.

So now our friend Nick – photographer by day, DIY expert by night (actually probably the other way around) – offered to help, always game for a good reno challenge.  We had got down to the sub-floor by this point, only to discover a second sub-floor.  There was a bit of humming and hawing on our part about leaving it, particularly as we had been living without a kitchen for over a month now, but Nick is not a guy to do things by halves, so sent us away with his car keys to get supplies while he tackled it alone (no we don’t own a car – major renovation liability!).  We came back an hour or so later to find no more sub-floor, no more rotten boards, and a quite a bit of blood on Nick.  Waving aside our concerns, toilet paper wrapped around his hand, he and Sam put in a new sub-floor and, hooray! the floor was fixed!  With only minor injuries!

A week or so later – fully recovered – Nick returned and we installed new sexy flooring.  ‘Burnt Mocha’ (black) bamboo (which yes, is as hard to clean as I was warned, but I still love it).  Nick cut it to size and I used the air floor stapler thingy.  Once I got over the fear of nailing/stapling my foot I was like a woman possessed – that thing is ridiculous satisfying fun.

So thanks to Nick, we have a kitchen floor.  Though no flooring skills in the world can compensate for my shoddy measuring:

Yeah, no worries, the cabinet will totally cover this far…

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