Tag Archives: plaster repair

Let’s kick up a little dust

All summer we were focused on getting the house painted before the weather turned against us, and for the most part, we made it. All summer I told myself that when the rain came, I would return to my plaster repair project in the living room. October and November broke records for rainfall, and we looked out on this drippy landscape from our living room window. It was time.

View out window to rainy street scene

Typical autumn day in the Pacific Northwest

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Last spring I left off with a sizeable hole in the plaster above the mantel, lath stretching across its mocking grin, and the promise of problems just to the right of the fireplace. I’d resurfaced two-thirds of the west wall when summer weather lured me outside.

Hole in plaster above mantel

We looked at this all summer until we ceased to see it.

When I finally did psych myself into restarting, I was so eager to get going that I forgot to take a picture of the whole wall. I continued just as I had before, chipping and peeling away the finish layer of plaster and its paper surface anywhere it was no longer attached to the plaster base coat, which turned out to be the entire wall above the mantel and casement windows.

My intention was to repair and paint the west (fireplace) wall and a portion of the north wall (up to the French doors) before a Christmas tree sprang up to stall my progress—a pretty sporty goal. I will have two weeks off over the holidays, which I’ll use to paint miles of white trim throughout the living room, dining room, and foyer.

Coffered ceiling detail

How long will it take to paint the nine panels in the dining room ceiling?

As before, I applied two coats of joint compound, smoothed the wet compound with a foam knock-down knife, and, when the mud had set up a bit, gently smoothed it further with a damp wallpaper sponge. The wall still needs sanding, but I won’t have to grind away as much as I did on the south wall. I’m learning as I go, but I’m always disappointed that I haven’t developed a fluid technique … the way professional plasterers swoop the mixture onto the wall with such precision and economy of motion. No, I just plop it on and smooth it the best I can. No magic technique here.

Let’s get back to the west wall and that trouble spot next to the fireplace. When I bought the house 34 years ago, that section had been damp, and the finish paper on top of the plaster sagged in defeat. When I reroofed in 2004 (what I still think of as the “new” roof because it seems like yesterday), the wall surface dried out, thank goodness. However, I knew damage had been done.

Pulverized plaster pours out of damaged spot

Uh-oh …

As I whacked at the wall surface with a pry bar and a rubber mallet, pulverized plaster poured from the hole. Plaster turns to powder after having been soaked for very long. I knew that I’d wind up with a sizable area in need of patching. I kept going until the plaster seemed firm again. Yes, it was messy.

damaged plaster being removed from wall

I have collected bags full of plaster debris

pry bar and rubber mallet

Plaster whacking tools

I was under intense scrutiny throughout the process.

Long haired black cat sits on mentel.

Inspector Lacy

When I used my little shop vac to clean up, it ate the chunks, but I didn’t realize that behind me, it was belching out a cloud of fine plaster dust that now coats everything in the living room and beyond. Thinking that the tank might be full, I emptied it outdoors and discovered inside the tank a filter sheet that I’d never installed. Well, who’d have thought to look inside? I just plugged in the new unit and started vacuuming. Not that it matters … sanding is next, and what didn’t get covered in plaster dust will soon be covered in joint compound dust.

After excavating, some good news: The area beneath the slumping paper was bone dry, and the lath wasn’t rotten. Some bad news: The skinny strip between the window casing and the fireplace felt damp. If the new roof had eliminated the leak that pulverized the plaster, where was the moisture coming from? We looked at the chimney outside. Hey—who forgot to paint this little strip of shingles? It’s so skinny, the asbestos siding people didn’t even bother to cover it back in the 1950s. Eric applied caulk to the gap at the fireplace side. I mentally added the strip to the list of things to paint in the spring.

Narrow strip of shingles between window and fireplace

Who forgot this?

Back inside, Eric pressed a paper towel into the damp space for several minutes. When he removed it, it was perfectly dry. Was what I interpreted as “damp” simply “cold”? And, it was hard as rock. My pry bar didn’t dent it. I think it’s actually wood. Maybe the plasterers were as puzzled as I was about how to spread plaster in that tiny space. I’m leaving it just as it is.

I scored the top layer of plaster and chipped it away to create a straight edge at a stud. The powdery plaster continued to pour out of the bottom corner of the excavation. Then I gouged the plaster out of the keyways and vacuumed everything up. I was glad to find that no cold air was coming in. It might have been a giant hole in our wall, but it was a tidy giant hole, and even that was an improvement.

Plaster removed down to lath

Ready for patching.

Back at the fireplace, I made an interesting discovery: Once I had all the plaster out of the lath, I could peer in behind the lath and see the bricks of the chimney. The painted bricks that face the chimney on the living room side stick out beyond the red brick, as if they’re a thin veneer applied on the portion inside the house. I know they’ve been painted a zillion times, but the increased thickness can’t all be paint! Kind of fun to think that this lath and brick last saw the light of day in 1913, and now they’re back in the dark again. How many years will they last?

Fireplace structure within the wall

Behind the fireplace

This hole was getting too big for me to dare to use plaster patch. I chickened out and we decided to fill the gap with ¼-inch dry wall. Eric cut the dry wall to fit and screwed it in, and I finished up with three coats of mud. It looks pretty good. I’ll know how good when I paint it.

Large plaster patch completed

The big hole is patched!

I picked off a good bit of plaster off the north wall to the left of the French doors, too. There was an ancient outlet in the baseboard on north wall, into which we plug our TV and cable box. As I bashed at the plaster, every time so much as a flake fell onto the TV plug, it lost its connection and the TV went off. So annoying.

Plaster removed from wall, cable TV rebooting.

Every time I touched the plug, the TV and cable went off.

It’s been like this forever, which makes cleaning that spot a real pain. I couldn’t finish picking away the plaster until Eric replaced the outlet. Why do we sometimes live for years with a problem rather than make a simple repair? Finally, we have an outlet that grips the plugs. Eric saved the Hubbell parallel-and-tandem ungrounded black ceramic receptacle—rated 10 A, 250 V. Notice that it takes plugs with horizontal or vertical prongs. It’s probably original to the house.

Antique Hubbell parallel and tandem receptacle.

Another vintage artifact for our collection.

Also on the north wall, I finally found out what the bilious green stuff was under the paint. For the first time, I saw a hint of pattern. It was wallpaper, not finish paper or paint! I took the time to pick a section clean so I could imagine the entire living room and foyer, and probably the dining room, too, covered in green paper with cream and pale pink furled leaves. Judging from what I’ve seen of vintage wallpapers, I’d say this pattern was from the late 1930s or early 40s … pre-war.

Green wallpaper with cream and pink fronds and cream stripes

I love vintage wallpaper, but …

I was on a roll. I decided to try out the hot mud we bought months ago to patch that gaping grin over the fireplace. I mixed the powder 3:1 with cold water to make a stiff dough. I had six to ten minutes to apply the stuff, so I worked like the devil to fill the hole. It spread like elastic pizza dough, pulling a little as it went. Of course, I ran just a little short and had to scurry to mix more. In short order the hole was filled. Hey—that was pretty easy! Although it’s supposed to set up in about 30 minutes, I let it cure for 24 hours. It was sticky, and I couldn’t work the surface smooth, but that was okay because I covered it with joint compound to match the rest of the wall. Now you can’t see that old hole at all. Wait until it gets painted!

Hot mud plaster patch

Hot mud plaster patch

Bucket of Fastpatch 30

DAP Fastpatch 30

Hole in wall fixed with hot mud and joint compound

Like it never happened!

I wanted to end this post with a nice photo of the painted wall … but this is as far as I’ve gotten. Maybe next time! Now it’s time to bring in the tree.

Plaaster repaired and ready for paint.

The wall is white, and the TV weather warns of coming snow.

Green ginkgo leaf with 1913 - 2013 below it

Glacial progress

With the speed of a Pacific banana slug riding a glacier, new white joint compound is creeping across the face of the west wall. The glacial pace is due, I admit, to the fact that I am not having the time of my life doing this task. That’s a lame excuse, but it’s all I’ve got. Sometimes I just sit in my living room chair and look at the wall and wish it were done. So far, wishin’ ain’t workin’.

Greenish slug with black spots on forest floor hummus.

Banana slugs don’t really ride on glaciers. They prefer the forest floor. And my hostas. [Photo: Wildlife Fidalgo]

Work gets in the way. By the time I get home, I have other things to attend to and little energy for projects. Golf started this week. Facebook is a total time-suck. Now that Daylight Saving Time is in effect—hallelujah!!—I might have a chance to get something done in the evenings while I have decent light pouring in. (That sounds promising, doesn’t it? However, I know it’s BS, so don’t expect anything). Oh, and my back hates being on a ladder. There … those are all the excuses I can think of. For now.

Click to enlarge.

I took up the resurfacing again in the left corner of the fireplace wall, where I knew the narrow slice of wall between the window trim and the foyer opening would be difficult … and it was. I had a hard time maneuvering the putty knife to apply a smooth coat around the trim. Lots of sanding in my future. Can’t wait.

Joint compound on wall between trim and window

In a tight place

Then I plastered (or, joint-compounded?) across the top of the window. I found myself removing more and more of the old plaster finish coat, coaxing it gently off the wall. I grudgingly came to accept that nearly all of the top layer on this wall would have to go, so I helped it along. Only those places that were firmly stuck remained, and these islands of original finish plaster became tinier and tinier, as if the sea were rising.

Layers of paint and paper coming loose from the brown plaster

A topo map on our wall

I knew I’d have to apply a second coat because the first coat didn’t quite bring the surface out to the correct depth against the trim. And, one spot looked like this:

cracked joint comppound on part of wall

Crackle glaze?

I took the easy way out: I applied a second coat and hoped for improvement. This time, no crackle finish. Hey, maybe wishin’ does work!

The second coat seemed to slide on easier. You’d think by now my technique would have improved, but I suppose you have to have a technique before you can improve it.

After a while, it occurred to me that I might look up plastering technique online. The You-Tube videos made it look easy—it’s all in the wrist! I did learn a couple of tricks. One: They all use bigger trowels than I have (I’m using the biggest putty knife I can fit into the tub of mud (not a trowel). And two: Smoothing over the top coat with a damp sponge will virtually eliminate the need to sand. Well, heck … wish I’d known that 50 lumpy square feet ago.

First coat of joint compound next to window

Coat one. Each coat is only about 1/8 inch thick.

Inevitably and with considerable trepidation, I had to remove the damaged plaster over the middle of the mantel. I whacked the length of it with the handle of a putty knife and it all came away with alarming ease. After vacuuming up the debris, I was left with a neat hole down to the lath, right in the middle of the mantel. Barely noticeable when I pushed the mantel clock back into position! Cold air poured in from the uninsulated wall cavity. Didn’t humans of a century ago think of insulating their walls?

Plaster removed from wall

Dig here!

 

Plaster removed from wall. Pieces of horsehair visible.

Look closely–you can see the horse hair sticking out of the plaster.

When I had finished coaxing most of the wrinkles out of the area above the fireplace I cast my gaze upon the space between the right side of the fireplace and the casement window, which I knew to be a problem area because of the suspicious way the finish coat paper has slumped. True confession: When I bought the house back in 1984, I noticed some dampness there. It’s hasn’t been damp for ages (I don’t think), but the damage has been done.

I stabbed the offending area repeatedly with my trusty frog-green utility knife … and this is what I found.

Pulverized plaster pours out of damaged spot

Uh-oh …

Not good. Not good at all. What makes plaster pulverize like that? Water. What lurks behind? I’ll leave that mystery for my next post. OK, the truth is … I was busy this past weekend, and I didn’t get around to digging out this hole. We had company over for Duke’s tenth birthday dinner, and I didn’t want to deal with the mess and pulling the TV cabinet into the middle of the room, where it would surely stay for weeks. That’s right, folks—I’m blaming it on the dog.

Boxer with graying head

How can anyone resist this adorable face? Happy birthday, dear Duke!

Eric and I made a trip to the box store to get real plaster patch material—the kind you mix with water and then work like hell before it sets up. As soon as I get up my nerve to see just how badly that section of wall is damaged, I’ll try my hand at true, from-the-lath-up plaster repair. But first … maybe I’ll take a tropical vacation! 🙂

What will it take to patch these holes? I can’t let it go. I can’t! There must be some way to bring them back. Oh, I can’t think about this now! I’ll go crazy if I do! I’ll think about it tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day!*

Green ginkgo leaf with 1913 - 2013 below it

*Extra credit if you can identify this.

Dig here

What happened to me in the 12 years since I last painted the living room?? It seems I aged twice that much, because every time I come down from that ladder, my body expresses its extreme displeasure. All that twisting and balancing and trying to outwit my bifocals made painting the ceiling and crown molding less like fun and more like torture. But it’s done, and it looks good!

Corner of ceiliing with half box beam and crown molding

Ceiling and crown molding are painted

Now I could get on to the next stage: plaster repair. I was anxious to see just how much of the plaster I’d need to fix. Using my fingertips, I began to tap-tap-tap my way around the room. It was easy to tell where the plaster had loosened. As I tapped, the intact places went thunk-thunk-thunk, but the places where the finish plaster had separated from the base coat went pock-pock-pock. I was dismayed at how pocky the fireplace wall sounded. On each wall I drew a dashed line in felt pen where the pockiness started. The pocky line. Eric annotated it for me.

I decided to start on the south, interior wall, which had the least amount of damage—just a crack the size of Hell’s Canyon.

Crack in plaster outlined in felt pen

Start here

Eric presented me my very own utility knife in a bright froggy green that will be hard to lose. (I never lose things. I still have the ballpoint pen I bought when I went off to college … which may explain some of my clutter problem.)

Bright green utility knife

The “upstairs” knife

I used the knife to score the wall just outside the pocky line and slid a putty knife under the cracked surface—and what do you know!—the unattached surface plaster, finish paper, and layers of paint neatly separated at the scored line and peeled effortlessly away.

Section of detached plaaster cut away from wall

Plaster-ectomy

My excitement abated when I found more and more of the surface had severed its relationship with the plaster base coat, and I continued to peel away nearly all of the surface layer over the foyer opening. It just … kept … coming. Oh, dear.

Loose plaster peeled from over doorway

A new kind of map?

I couldn’t stop picking this scab. I picked away at a pocky bit above the fireplace. Same result: I peeled and peeled and peeled until only a few small islands of finish plaster clung to the wall. I didn’t want to risk gouging the wall by trying to remove plaster that was still attached. It was fine by me if it wanted to stay! Please, stay

Some of the surface layer had separated from the base coat by as much as a half inch. And, to my dismay, I found some deeper plaster damage above the mantel. You can see that the brown coat is gone in a small spot in the photo below. An even more ominous problem lurks behind the mantel clock, but that’s a topic for another day.

Finish coat of plaster separated one-half inch from base coat

These layers of plaster haven’t met for years

Putty knife standing in front of plaster damage with spider's nest

That fuzzy blob on the left is a spider’s nest

I stopped when I couldn’t reach any higher. Sigh … the Tuscan antiquity look would be interesting if this place were an Italian restaurant, but it isn’t what I’m going for.

Loosened plaster cleared off wall above fireplace

A wall in Tuscany?

I kept telling myself that this wasn’t a fail. I wasn’t in over my head—it was just prep work. Resurfacing a large area wouldn’t be any different than resurfacing a lot of small areas, right? And I knew I could fix a small area because I’d done it before, in the kitchen.

Now, most people would move the mantel clock to a safe spot during this messy project, but I simply scooted it over a few inches. And it began ticking! It’s been silent for years and I haven’t wound it. It kept time for four days. I think it was trying to encourage me to keep going.

Antique mantel clock

Alive and ticking

I began with the Hell’s Canyon crack. After lightly sanding the whole exposed area, I filled the crack with joint compound and applied plastic mesh tape over the chasm. Then I applied a thin coat of compound over the exposed brown coat and carefully smoothed it out with a rubber knock-down knife (more of a squeegee). The replacement top coat is only about 1/16 in. thick. I treated several other finer cracks the same way. The whole section, minus breaks for my achin’ back, took less than two hours to cover.

Yellow mesh tape repairs cracked plaster

Bridging the canyon

I always wonder how a wall feels when it’s opened up and exposed to light and air after over one hundred years in the dark. What does that 1913 plaster think about this 2016 yellow plastic mesh tape and joint compound? Will I awaken one morning to find that the wall has rejected the transplant and—ptooey—spat it out onto the floor? So far, my patching job is still on the wall.

A little elbow grease was needed to sand the joint compound to a reasonable finish. I didn’t want a perfect, flat surface that looked like Sheetrock. A few irregularities will help it blend with the original wall (I told myself). It was at this point that Eric bought me an adorable mini shop vac, who will be my buddy for the rest of this project. I pointed out how lucky he is to have a wife who gets excited by the gift of a shop vac. (It also has an 8-ft. hose extension to allow me to get up to the ceiling. Spiders beware!)

Mini shop vac

Adorbs!

Final prep step: a coat of Zinsser Bull’s Eye 2 Multi-Purpose Primer & Sealer. I was surprised at this primer’s gluey, gloppy viscosity. It pours from the can like angel food cake batter. At last, I’m ready to paint wall color! Stay tuned—in my next post, you’ll finally see the new wall and trim colors together. I can’t wait!

Repaired plaster wall primed and ready for paint

Ready for paint!

Hey, that wasn’t so hard! If I can repair this section of wall, I can do the rest of the room. But why the sudden craving for angel food cake?

Green ginkgo leaf with 1913 - 2013 below it

 

Preserved in amber

 

Facebook post

This is how Eric responded to my last blog post on Facebook.  Well … I wasn’t in the room during most of the sanding effort (although I remember well how much fun it was to sand the living and dining room). Every now and then I’d pop my head in to check out his progress and offer helpful suggestions (“Hey, looks great. Want to go get a Starbucks?”) If he wants to read about his hours of sanding, I suggested he write a guest post. I’m still waiting.

The floor looks terrific … ready for stain. But I’ve been focused on the walls.

After all the paper was gone, we were left with walls that looked, well … 100 years old. They’d been gouged and patched (poorly) and abused. Add to  that, plastering is not a perfect art. Looking closely, I noticed many small trowel marks that all angled from upper right to lower left. (The plasterer was right-handed.) I think it’s kind of cool that the marks of his craft are still visible on my walls, making me wonder, a century later, who this person was.

I grabbed my tub of plaster patch and worked my way around the room, skimming over all the areas where the paint had pulled away with the wallpaper, evening out old lumpy patches, sealing cracks, and filling gouges. Yes, I even filled some of the plasterer’s marks, although plenty are left. I did a reasonable job of disguising the big crater where I pulled that chunk of plaster off the wall. Quite the work of art, by the time I was done!

green walls with white plaster patches

The next day, after everything was thoroughly dry, I sanded the entire wall surface with the mouse sander. Although this sander has a dust catcher, it did little good with ultrafine plaster dust. The green powder covered everything and swirled in the air like the Oklahoma Dustbowl. Yes, I wore a mask. This is not my bra. It’s a used mask next to a new mask.

used and new dust masks

After all the dust settled (literally), I blew my nose and vacuumed the walls and floor, then I mopped the walls with a damp sponge mop.

As an old boss of mine used to say, “It’s not good, but it’s better.” The low spots were higher and the high spots were lower. In fact, this room hadn’t been so smooth and clean in decades—maybe ever.

Finally, I was ready to paint! It was late in the afternoon, but I still had time to paint one wall for a color preview … only to find that I had no paint rollers. Life can be so cruel!

While I was smoothing things over in the main room, Eric was in the closet making a mess. When he removed some wood pieces that had supported a closet pole and a shelf, some of the plaster came with—a large enough chunk that he would have to replace it with drywall. Not a big deal. But when he carved out a neater shape to fill, a hairline crack grew clear to the end of the wall … and the plaster surrounding it wasn’t attached to anything. The damage went from this …

small plaster damage

To this …

closet wall plaster removed

We have recently learned about keys—those globs of plaster that ooze out between the strips of lath. That’s the base coat of plaster pushing through the lath and getting a good grip. When the plaster fingers, or keys, break off, the plaster is no longer attached to the wall. You then have a choice of removing the plaster and replacing it with drywall, or going through a whole bunch of rigmarole trying to glue it and screw it back into place. We’re not into rigmarole.

In the meantime, we (well … I) got excited about our chosen rug and could put off the purchase no longer. We started to wonder if we really needed the 8 x 10 size. By the time we put the furniture in the room, the floor space effectively will be reduced, and we want some wood to show around the border of the rug. We put tape marks on the floor where the rug will go and discovered that the 5 x 8 version is the one we want … and the one we rushed out to buy, coming home with it sticking out the car’s sunroof. We won’t unroll it until the floor is finished, but it feels good to have another piece of the puzzle at the ready. And I was not sad to pay less for the smaller size.

new rug still rolled up

Where was I? Oh yeah, the paint. We (well … I) decided to go with the Light Amber. This Valspar Signature paint-and-primer is nice and thick, like painting with yogurt. The real breakthrough came when Eric offered to tape the trim for me. I don’t tape much when I paint because I can cut in a clean, straight line (and I hate prep work), but these bumpy walls required trim taping. I have found the secret to effortless painting: Have someone else tape the job for you! (Thanks, hon!)

I knew painting a lighter color over pea green would take two coats, regardless of the paint+primer claim. (I always use two coats, anyway.) I liked the sample, but I was concerned the color would come out more yeller than amber. I didn’t want yeller. A lot of green showed through that first coat, and we stood back, tilting our heads and reserving judgment.

The second coat made all the difference, and soon the room was looking as I’d envisioned. I had to do some of the painting at night with the dim single-bulb overhead light and one work light. The incandescent lamps turned the color yeller, but it’s easy to buy color-correct LED lighting these days. Which reminds me, I have to pick out a new ceiling fixture.

It’s hard to accurately capture the color in photographs. The second one is truer. What do you think?

finished gold paint color

finished paint looking toward closet

I’m particularly pleased with the color during the day, with natural light pouring in from the windows. I pop in every morning and afternoon to admire its golden glow. It’s bright, it’s neutral, it compliments the woodwork, and it feels right in our old house. Okay, walls are done—next, we hit the floor!

19132013new

 

Domestic archeology

The vertical dig

You know when you have a sunburn that’s beginning to peel, and you just have to grab that piece of snakeskin and see how big a sheet you can pull off? It’s irresistible. That’s what happened when I looked at some loose wallpaper in the breakfast room. I knew a couple different patterns of wallpaper were under all the layers of paint. I’d indulged in peeling before, over behind the fridge. So I picked … and I pulled … and picked and pulled some more. Until I created this. Oops.

The yellow-and-white plaid with cheery cherries is from the 70’s (Eric remembers the pattern from his youth). Under it is a much older paper with red trellises and gray ivy vines, handpainted little red starbursts and stripes of tiny silver leaves. (Click the photo to see the detail.) I believe this is the original kitchen wallpaper because it’s the same color scheme as the gray and red geometric linoleum that’s in the back hall, under today’s laminate. When I picture either of these busy prints covering the entire kitchen, my eyes cross!

Of course, I had to keep peeling–I couldn’t stop until I got to a point where the paper was once again adhered to the wall. But inevitably, when you’re peeling that sunburn, you go too far and—ouch! Uh-oh … what’s this? Some loose plaster. Hmm … I thought this wall was in good shape. Let me say here, I know real renovators would gut the whole room and start from scratch. But we’re not fixin’ what ain’t broke. We have enough on our hands just replacing cabinets, flooring, counters, lighting, and paint. I don’t want to get into plaster repair. But oh dear … now look what I’ve done! The wall is practically bleeding.

Whoever papered these walls didn’t properly tuck the paper into the corner. They just kind of swooped it around the corner like a banked track. Close enough! I sliced into the corner and kept peeling (thinking, what have I gotten myself into?) and finally, finally … peeled it back to a point where the paper stuck to the plaster and the plaster stuck to the lath. The broken plaster was a bit powdery, making me wonder if it’s been water damaged. I’ve never noticed moisture in this wall in the 29 years I’ve lived here, so maybe it’s just, well … old. Or maybe the damage was caused when we removed the plastic tiles.

A large tub of spackle later, and it’s much better. Apply bondo, sand, repeat. I’m pleased—feels quite smooth and ready for paint. See the new bead board paneling that replaced the white plastic tiles? So far it’s only primered … waiting for its coat of glossy white.

The horizontal dig

While I was away on a business trip, Eric lit into the floor with a variety of Medieval-looking tools. We could see the layers where the built-up floor formed a small cliff that we had to jump off to enter the dining room. I installed the black and white checkerboard commercial tile in 1995. I liked the look, but the tile was hard to keep clean and never had the shine I’d hoped for.

The checkerboard covered some ugly Mediterranean-inspired 70’s vinyl, which lay on a bed of particle board, and, last but not least, was swirling ochre, dark red, and black linoleum.

This was not what I expected. I thought we’d find gray and red inlaid linoleum like on the back porch. Had the gray and red layer been removed? Is the ochre stuff original? I sure can’t picture it with the red and gray wallaper. We may never know. The ironic twist is that this old pattern is almost the reverse, colorwise, of what we intend to install: Forbo Marmoleum, Granada pattern.

This ochre layer will also be removed before we have the new floor installed. For now, we’re enjoying the old lino even though it’s scuffed and scarred.  It’s proving its boxer-and-kitty resistance and feels good under foot. And if I drop some crumbs, I dare ya to find ’em!

With these layers gone, our kitchen floor has lost nearly 3/4 inch of elevation, and is now level with the fir floor in the dining room. No more cliff to scale!