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New cover-ups for old floors.

NEW COVER-UPS FOR OLD FLOORS

One Saturday, not long ago,Marybeth Kidd of Atlanta, Georgia, took matters into her own hands. She had grown tired of living with pockmarked linoleum on her kitchen floor and impatient with her husband's excuses that installing a new floor would take "too much work, too much time, and too much money." So while her husband was away on an afternoon fishing trip, she drove to a do-it-yourself store, bought 100 pieces of tile, and got her daughter's boyfriend to stick them down. Her total outlay was $80--including the $10 installation tip. Job time, start to finish: only two hours.

"I'm sure I could have installed itmyself," Marybeth says. For that matter, at a slightly higher cost--say $120--she could have bought no-wax sheet vinyl. Or throwing frugality to the wind, she could have spent $200 and topped her lowly linoleum with elegant-looking, prefinished wood parquet.

Today, you can install the newestsolid-sheet vinyl directly over a badly scarred floor without presurfacing. Or starting after breakfast on a Saturday, you can lay a handsome oak parquet floor in time for dinner. Or like Mrs. Kidd, you can stick down 100 square feet of tile for about the price of a good pair of shoes.

Whether you feel up to redoingyour own kitchen floor, or whether you'd rather have it done professionally, the old excuses--too much work, time, and money--just won't shine any longer. They're as faded and scarred as grandmother's ancient oilcloth. They need to be peeled up and thron away, or maybe just covered upl like a lot of today's tired-looking kitchen floors.

Maybe your floor is one of them,says Stephen Bebis, the decorative-building-materials merchandiser at Home Depot, a national do-it-yourself retail chain. The kitchen gets traffic and dirt, probably more than any other room. The kitchen--a place for meals, card games, and family powwows--is a room where family members pot their plants, drop ice cubes, and housebreak their puppies. The kitchen floor must be tough--and it deserves to look good.

Do-it-yourselftechnology has become so refined that consumers have all but taken over the floor-tile market. consequently, 98 to 99 percent of the vinyl tile sold at Home Depot comes with "peel and stick" backing, Bebis says. Even the 12" X 12" prefinished wood-flooring squares come with self-adhesive backing. Vinyl-tile prices start at about 50^ a square foot and go to $1.50. Wooden-tile prices range between $2.00 and $3.00 a foot.

Sheet flooring, once the exclusivedomain of professional installers, is now an important do-it-yourself product. Sheet products today have enough "resilience" to withstand the severe bending and twisting that come with first-time kitchen jobs. Furthermore, the practice of "nonadhesive" installation, in which solid sheet vinyl is stapled or glued around the room's perimeter rather than bonded completely to the floor below, allows new floors to be put down directly over existing floors.

Not until the introduction of theTrim 'N Fit concept, however, could consumers forget their single biggest fear regarding sheet-flooring self-installation: making a mistake. With Trim 'N Fit, the do-it-yourselfer makes a paper template of the kitchen floor. The template is then traced onto the sheet vinyl. So erroer-free is the concept that its oringator, Armstrong, offers a fail-safe guarantee to replace flooring ruined because of a cutting mistake. At a $9-a-yard (roughly $100 for a 9'x12' or 100-square-foot room) base price for no-wax sheet vinyl, it amounts to a considerable guarantee (the least expensive sheet vinyl retails on sale at nearly $3 a yard). For those who need professional assistance, the minimum installation charge for sheet vinyl is normally about $75.

Wood floors are the costlies to installprofessionally. For our 100-square-fot example, prices start at about $100 for simple parquet-like tiles, move to about $125 for 3/8-inch laminated tile products, and reach as high as $175 for solid 3/4-inch strip flooring. A typical laiminated wood floor will cost an additional $4 a square foot for the material. A solid-oak strip floor will cost more than $6 a square foot for material alone.

A good professional installer willfirst examine the existing floor and perhaps recommend that it be either boarded or sanded to better accept the vinyl tile or sheet vinyl if the floor is to be cemented rather than "perimeter" fastened. "Boarding" amounts to laying down tempered hardboard or 3/8-inch plywood to create the smooth subsurface necessary for "total" adhesive installations. Using our 9' x 12' or approximate 100-square-foot format, a boarding job will cost between $250 and $300 including materials, depending on whether hardboard or plywood is used. Sanding is not recommended for smooth existing floors, because the older vinyl products often include asbestos as a composite in the face of the backing.

Ceramic tile, from marble to Mexicanclay, is becoming a popular kitchen-flooring material.

The process requires first cementingthe tile with a concrete type of adhesive. To make the job easier, let the adhesive set overnight and then do the grouting the next day. Quarry tile, which costs bout 75^ a square foot, is the least expensive way to go. The combination of grout and cement costs another $15 and brings the price of a 9' x 12' ceramic kitchen to about $90 at the minimum.
COPYRIGHT 1986 Saturday Evening Post Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:innovations in kitchen flooring
Author:Hayes, Jack
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Apr 1, 1986
Words:871
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