Thirty-two feet

It’s amazing what we can accustom ourselves to living with when we’ve been in the midst of remodeling chaos for over a year.

ugly old linoleum

This is the story of how all that changed in one day. Months ago, Eric hacked up the floor and removed about 3/4 inch of accumulated vinyl and plywood underlayment, leaving us with what may have been the original linoleum … or maybe linoleum from the 1940s remodel. At any rate, it was in sorry shape with cracks and chipped edges. We removed what we could in the area where the new cabinets were installed. And it sat that way … for months.

We made our flooring choice early on, after considering our lifestyle, which can best be summed up as “parents of fur kids.” Ideally, I’d have liked hardwood to match the color of our fir floors, but wood would not hold up well to Duke’s toenails. I love the look of cork, and although it’s supposed to be tough, I doubt it’s tough enough to withstand a bouncing 90-pound boxer who leaps and spins when asked if he wants to go to Starbucks. Then there’s all the winter wetness that our feet track in the back door … and I’m talking about ALL our feet: two humans, one dog, and six cats. That’s a total of thirty-two feet. One hundred forty-four individual toes.

Then I thought about linoleum—no, not vinyl—the real thing! It’s tough enough for hospitals, totally green and recyclable, and best of all, appropriate for our century-old house. The perfect solution. We chose a light gray, finely marled pattern guaranteed to hide pet hair. Our pattern is Armstrong Linorette ‘Silver City.’

But before the linoleum could go down, the crew would have to level and prep the floor. The night before they arrived, I felt compelled to sweep and mop the old lino before it disappeared forever. FOR-EV-ER.

old lino is clean

First, the floor had to be made level again where we’d chipped the old linoleum away. The installers used the same quick-setting concrete compound that we used to level the subfloor under the new cabinets. Then they started covering the whole floor with 1/4 in. plywood. You can see some of the gray leveler compound in the background.

floor being covered by plywood

Even the paper-faced plywood made the room look so much brighter and cleaner. (You know it’s been bad when plywood is better than your previous floor.)

plywood underlayment covers floor

More leveler smoothed the seams between the sheets of plywood. And then … the back hall (which I’m trying hard to call the mud room, but it doesn’t seem to stick) went from this … to this.

mudroom before and after

For about a minute, you could eat off the floor in the breakfast room. After that, you’d probably swallow a cat hair.

breakfast room with new linoleum

Duke and Fred checked out the new surface. Duke is happy he has lots of room to play kitchen island again.

Boxer and cat on new linoleum

The next day the installers were back to heat seal the seams. Some people don’t bother with this step, and trust that nothing will get in the crevices … but we have those 32 feet. Pets do have accidents sometimes (me, not so much). I wasn’t going to take any chances. I was concerned, though, that the gray weld rod would be so obvious that I’d curse it every time I walked in the room. Linoleum is only 6 ft. 7 inches wide, which meant there was no way to avoid a seam smack in the middle of the kitchen.

gray linoleum weld rod

I am amazed that most of the time I don’t even notice the seam. During the day it’s virtually invisible.

broom and linoleum

At night, the overhead lights pick it up a bit, as Lacy points out.

Black cat sits near seam in linoleum

We didn’t move appliances back in until two days later, after we had a chance to paint and install base molding. I’m still working on that little task! (Prime, sand, prime, sand, paint, paint … remember?)

white base molding applied

I am beyond thrilled with the linoleum. It feels great underfoot, and looks perfect in our kitchen.

I immediately reclaimed the breakfast room as my paint lab, covered in rosin paper, of course. The cats are miffed that their Kit Kat Lounge is taking so long to reopen … but I’m afraid it’ll be a while longer. Sorry, kitties.

base molding being painted

In the meantime, all you critters—wipe your paws!


8 thoughts on “Thirty-two feet

  1. Jessica@CapeofDreams

    Another huge step towards the finish line. So happy that you got your kitchen island back and that all of the inspectors seem to have signed off on your work. 😉 I’m jealous that you have been so productive this December, and I have not made any progress in my house. Well, there’s always January.

    1. D'Arcy H Post author

      Thanks, Jessica! December was productive, but September and October we did nothing, so it all evens out. It’s hard to keep up the pace all the time. Enjoy your holidays and know that you’ll get back into it with the new year. Sometimes you just need to relax!

  2. Stacey

    It looks really great, D’Arcy! I love that you chose linoleum. They have come a LONG way with this product and I’m also attracted to it’s green qualities, and all around versatility. They even now have “click it” tiles that you can just snap together. They’ve come a long way since I was a kid and my parents had this shiny orange and green plastic floor. EEEEK! This, however, is perfect for your home… and all it’s little feet! The gray looks fab with the white cabinets and black quartz. You did good,… real good! YAY, one more project done. Congrats!

    1. D'Arcy H Post author

      Hi Stacey! I should have explained what linoleum is made of–linseed oil and other plant-based materials with a jute backing … but it was late and I was too tired and forgot. In other words, linoleum really hasn’t changed at all, which is pretty amazing. Of course the patterns have changed and look much more subtle and refined. If your parents had shiny plastic, it must have been early vinyl. I have become such a lino fan … I could go out and proselytize about it now! I feel like I could lay down on the floor next to Duke, and I would NOT have done that before!! 🙂

  3. Karen B.

    I cracked up at the math on the numbers of feet, not to mention toes. It looks beautiful and clean with your white cupboards. The wood floors in our kitchen are being ripped up the first week in January thanks to an ice maker hose leak that went undetected for about a week. They will be replaced but something solid and easy sounds good right about now.
    I love the constant progress of your project…you have done an amazing job.
    Enjoy your holiday.

    1. D'Arcy H Post author

      Thanks, Karen … every time I walk in the kitchen I’m so happy (even though we’re still not done). The colors are so much lighter now, and the room is much brighter and cheerier. Good luck with your floors … let me know what you finally pick! And Merry Christmas!


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