How NOT to Renovate Your Kitchen Floor

June 28th, 2011 | Category: decor, diy

I started renovating my kitchen floor in March of 2010. I finished in December of 2010. As you can see from the picture above, when we purchased our home, our kitchen floor was blue and white, 1960’s, and carpeted. Gross. Not to mention, unsanitary. It had to go, and soon!

So, on a cold, pre-spring day in March, I decided to see what was underneath the carpet, naively wishing it was the same beautiful, already finished oak flooring we found underneath the living room’s electric blue plush.  Sadly, I was disappointed. Lying under the carpet was some seriously old beige tile (with glue on top from the carpet layers).  Since I had the carpet off, I figured I would go ahead and tear up the tile. So I grabbed my handy pry bar and hammer, and went at it. When the tile was up, I was dismayed once again.  Under the tile laid tar-paper, which old timers used to use to lay tile. Under the tar-paper was thick, black tar, which was stuck to my beautiful oak. Here’s the breakdown: Carpet->Glue->Tile->Tar Paper->Tar->Wood Flooring. (Can you imagine the person that tiled over that once-beautiful wood floor? Seriously, what were they thinking?)

So, upon seeing that my coveted wood was actually under there, I decided to start scraping up the tar paper and tar, with the intention of restoring and refinishing the wood. One thing to note about my character: I can be stubborn. My husband, Michael, told me: “Just tile it!”. But I would have none of that. I imagined going downstairs in the morning, barefoot, coffee in hand, walking on a warm, walnut stained floor while I prepared breakfast.  It’s a lovely image. I continued to scrape, and scrape, and scrape. I used three different kinds of chemicals, and tried countless techniques I found on the internet. Finally I realized that boiling hot water did the trick better than anything else. Several months later, I was making progress. Still stubborn, I pressed on. Spring, Summer, and Fall passed by, and in December of 2010, it was still unfinished. My family and I had decided I would be hosting Christmas for the first time in 2010, so obviously, I needed to kick it into gear. When I finally had most of the tar off the wood, I sadly came to the realization that  it was in very bad shape. I had done some damage while scraping, and the tar had stained the wood in several places. In order to restore it to its natural beauty, I was going to have to hire a professional, or spend several more months getting it perfect. Ok, floor, you beat me. At this point, my stubbornness ran out. I finally realized the wood is just not going to look good, especially up against my living room floor-which is in pretty good condition. With only a week to spare before Christmas with my 16 family members, I tiled my kitchen floor – and I LOVE it! I think I love it better than wood. We found some lovely 18 inch charcoal gray porcelain tile that looks fantastic!

So, what’s the moral of the story?

Here are the three main things I learned during this renovation:

1)   Do not let your renovation rule.

I started obsessing about the perfect floor, and I drove myself  (and Michael) crazy! Don’t fall in love with your idea. Be open to change. Creativity thrives when its options are limited. You might surprise yourself by liking something new more than your original idea.

2) (Occasionally) Listen to your husband.

Well, not just your husband, but also friends and family. If you are stuck on a certain idea, and you keep hearing people suggest something different, listen. Give some thought to other ideas, different colors, and unique materials. Most of all, don’t stress out trying to do something out of your means or range of expertise. I know from experience, it’s just not worth it!

3) “Keeping up” is overrated. (Don’t Obsess!)

No one is going to hold you up to a standard. There are no grades to be given for the “perfect living room”, “most awesome paint color”, or “best throw pillow placement”. If designing and decorating your home isn’t fun anymore, there is something wrong. Living in and loving your home is far more important than the area rug you pick. Don’t get hung up on your “ideal room”. Enjoy your home as it sits, 1960’s light fixtures and all. Chances are, you will be a happier person, and your loved ones will thank you.


2 Comments on “How NOT to Renovate Your Kitchen Floor”

  1. 1 squarepegsys Commented: 
    On 1:11 pm on July 1st, 2011

    I think you should listen to your husband more an occasionally

  2. 2 admin Commented: 
    On 2:24 pm on July 1st, 2011

    Haha, yes, he is the level headed one :)

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