Monday, October 26, 2009

Negative progress

So weeks ago--maybe a month, I'm not sure--I started working on the kitchen floor. By working I mean actively working; part of the floor has been torn up since the summer. Just a quick recap: this is the second floor I've put down since February. First floor was vinyl plank, and almost immediately it started chipping, cracking and peeling up. So far I haven't seen anything about anyone else having problems like this with the plank; most people love it.

For the second floor I couldn't decide on what I wanted. I don't like laminate in kitchens, especially with my messy children and dogs. I don't know that the floor would support the weight of tile, plus there might be a height difference between the tile and carpet, and I felt that peel and stick tile would have the same problems the vinyl plank had. Hardwood would be nice, but we're already fairly upside down on the trailer and that just seems like throwing good money after bad. (Which is how every project feels right now, but sometimes it can't be helped.) Sheet vinyl might work, but the subfloor seams would almost certainly show through. I don't know how much time my dad spent sanding the seams in the bathroom and you can still feel them through the vinyl.

So I decided that, for the time being, I would do a paper bag floor. I found this site, gathered supplies, and went to work.

First off, "gluing" the paper down with polyurethane didn't work for me. I looked around some more and found where people had used watered-down wood glue. I bought a big bottle of wood glue at Lowe's, watered it down to a roughly 2 or 3:1 ratio and continued laying the floor. That worked better, but not quite as well as I would have hoped. Corners were curling up and there were tears at some of the edges of the pieces. So I switched to a very slightly watered-down glue. Still curling and tearing despite all the polyurethane weighing it down. Switched to full strength glue. Still problems. I decided maybe it just needed more polyurethane, and that kind of worked but not really.

In the meantime, the pieces that I had put down with polyurethane were very badly bubbled despite copious amounts of smoothing, pin-pricking and layer upon layer of poly on top. I thought I'd take those up and redo them with the full-strength glue which, while it wasn't working as well as I'd hoped it was the best method so far. I started peeling the pieces up and this happened.

The only reason that it's only half torn up is because I stopped. For the most part it peels up like there's nothing holding it to the floor. So now I'm at a loss. Do I continue with this? My mom thinks I should tear the whole thing up, rent a floor sander and try and get the floor as smooth as possible before doing anything. She's probably right, but once that's done what do I do? At that point it's back to square one. I'm starting to wonder if the floor is too cold for adhesives to really stick to it. If that's the case, my options are even more limited than I thought.

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