This whole kitchen floor dilemma started when we bought a new, steel backdoor to replace the piece of junk that’s been there for 60 years. We measured the casing and bought a door according to those measurements. Then, after we’d ordered the new door, we measured the actual door and realized something fishy was going on.
Here’s a normal door:
A little investigating in the water heater closet showed us that, over the course of 60 years, previous homeowners had been piling layer upon layer of flooring on top each other. And with each layer, they’d just trimmed the bottom off that old wooden door. So when we bought our new steel door, it wouldn’t fit unless we wanted to rip that floor out.
Well, replacing the kitchen floor was on my long-term project list. It was something I wanted to do, but it wasn’t a priority, since our tile floors weren’t that bad. The backdoor, however, was pretty bad. And if getting a new door meant replacing the floors then by golly we were gonna do it.
Then realization hit. Those six layers of flooring in the water heater closet? The bottom layer was vinyl tile. From 1950. If you’d be so kind as to do that math, it meant there was a 99% chance that the glue used to nail down that tile contained asbestos. And a professional would charge a heart-stopping amount of money to pull it up. So that derailed our plans yet again.
We spent a couple of weeks trying to decide what to do. Do we:
a) pay a LOT of money to have the asbestos-ridden floors professionally removed (think $5,000+)?
b) take the risk and pull it up ourselves and hope we don’t get crazy asbestos diseases?
c) don’t do anything and live with the ugly floor and door?
After much debate, Aaron felt pretty confident that he could take off the first layer of tile, backer board and linoleum, while leaving another layer of linoleum and the asbestos tile underneath alone. (Read: The scary glue used to adhere the tiles is what contains asbestos and is only bad if it’s disturbed. So as long as it’s left alone, it won’t hurt us.)
He took this week off work, rented some power tools from Home Depot and got to work yesterday. (Ladies, has your boyfriend ever taken a week off work to demo your kitchen because you want a new backdoor? No? Poor you.)
And as luck would have it, when he started to demo the tile, he realized the asbestos tile was only located in the water heater closet! The rest of the kitchen contained only tile, backer board and linoleum over the subfloor.
End of day two and Aaron successfully pulled up all of the tile and linoleum except the stuff under the appliances and around the edges of the cabinets. The next step is to chisel down the tile to the edge of the cabinets then put trim over it to hide it – so we don’t have to pull the cabinets out to get underneath them.
We haven’t figured out what type of flooring we’ll put down next. We still have to take height into consideration. If we get something too thick, we won’t be able to open the backdoor. Plus, there’s the question of hardwoods in the kitchen and whether or not all perspective buyers will go for that. We think we’ve narrowed it down to a couple of options – but anything we choose will be dark wood planks or LOOK like dark wood planks.
Speaking of the door, this is what I was talking about with the door casing. See how they put that 2×4 in to raise the bottom of the door when they installed the tile? Who KNOWS what’s underneath that, but we have to take it out to get a steel door to fit.
Next step: remove the final bits of flooring under the appliances, clean it all up and install our new as-of-yet-unknown wood (or wood-ish) floors.
Everyone give Aaron a round of applause for being Boyfriend of the Year.