Sunday, February 04, 2007

Scraping By

February is home improvement month here at Scarlet Tanager.

When I started this blog a year ago, I set out to simply chronicle all of my home projects large and small so everything would be in one place and not scattered everywhere. It wasn't long until the siren song of many beautiful craft blogs beckoned I couldn't resist adding crafts, food and kids to the mix (which I've found makes a much prettier blog than renovation and home improvement.)

I thought about starting a new home renovation blog over here, but then I'd be back to square one, with things scattered all about. And who's to say that I have to label this a craft blog or a mommy blog or what have you? It's a life blog. So this month I'll show another side of Scarlet. I'm not all cupcakes and oven mitts. I'm starting with a current project and will be adding many past projects as well. Not to worry, because I do have a few Valentine crafts and some chocolaty goodness to share as well.

Several weeks ago, while in the middle of the purge/organize frenzy, we had several 60ยบ days. Weather that nice is all wrong for nesting, so I started looking around for something else to get into. Instead of choosing from the many home projects that need finishing; the pile of crown molding living behind the sofa, the quarter-round that needs to go on the hearth that I unearthed last year, the stripped stairwell walls that need smoothed and painted (the list goes on and on,) I threw open the back door and began pulling up my kitchen floor.

It's not that the floor was awful. The color wasn't particularly offensive and it wasn't ripped or stained, but boy, it was a pain to clean.
Click on it if you dare. Gross huh? The only way to get it marginally clean is to scrub it on with a brush, which I did twice a week, mopping in between. Every time I was on hands and knees, I could feel that tongue and groove beneath, mocking me. Working in the basement only made matters worse, being able to see the floor from below and the individual layers of vinyl and linoleum at the tip of of the stairs sent me over the edge.

Normally when I get the urge to tear something to pieces, I wait until the husband is at work and the kids are at school. That always buys me some time to fix it, put it back, or cover it up in case it goes badly. It was the weekend, the kitchen was in heavy use, so I had a few days to work it out in my head. Then Sunday evening, everything just sort of fell into place. I was getting ready to scrub the kitchen floor, when Mr. Tanager came in and said that one of us needed to go over to the neighbor's. I told him I would go as long as he scrubbed the floor while I was gone. He agreed and wanted to know where I keep the mop. I showed him the scrub brush method then left. When I returned a bit later, his face was red and he was sweating and had only cleaned one section.
"You're crazy."

"What do you mean?"

"That's hard work. Do you do that on a regular basis?"

"Twice a week."

"Yeah, that's bullshit. I'm not scrubbing it, let's tear it out."

"Okay then. You go get the crowbar, I'll get online and see if there are any major red flags here and I'll meet you back here in ten minutes."

"You want to do it right now?"

Thirty minutes later we had one whole section ripped up, but spent the rest of the evening trying to figure out how to remove what was left behind.

Many of the methods that worked on the dining room floor were useless here. The next day I went to the hardware store and found a floor scraper. So after Big T leaves for work and the babes are off to school, it's just me and my good friends Warner and Sharp.
Now, its not hard work, just treacherous. I've slowed down and only work about a half hour at a time now, because after I busted my ass on that first section, my scraping hand was numb for about a week. So if you ever have the burning desire so try this, go easy. Do not try to get it all done in a couple days. Small sections are easier to digest than one big sea of felt paper and adhesive. It's easier to do with kids around too. I just pull up a small section at a time then scrape that section before pulling up more.

I've managed to get all the way across the kitchen, so it looks like a drum sander is in the very near future. That should be fun.


Stanton said...

I can't tell from the picture: What kind of wood is it?

Scarlet Tanager said...

I'm pretty sure it's oak. I'll send you a closeup shortly. Most of it is in really good shape except in the middle near the sink. There was a little square of metal nailed over a hole that's about 1 1/2 inches diameter and there is a patch job that's about five inches wide and three feet long. I was hoping that's where they kept their Mason jars full of money:)

BunkleLife said...

Found your blog through my pal T's Jumilla Stories - good luck with the floor! I've been through refinishing my own old fir floors, and helped (ok mainly watched in sympathy) a friend scrape of multiple layers of paint and varnish of her own fir floor. Painful, oh SO painful at the time but the results are so worth the time (and the tears, and being thrown into the wall by the floor sander... ;-)