Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tile Removal

Part of renovating Liam's room is to rehab his floor. The former owners put down cheap, ugly black & white linoleum tiles. Of course, underneath is a beautiful, almost fifty year old hardwood boards. And it falls on me to restore the floor to its former glory.

Fortunately, it is Liam's room and he's eager to contribute to the project. He was a great help last weekend, with the demo work and the cleanup of the drywall. Any help he can offer is appreciated, and I'm glad to actually spend serious, productive time with him.

Today, Liam was manning the heat gun. Used it to soften the adhesive on the bottom of the tiles. Thankfully cheap tiles have cheap glue holding them in place. A couple of seconds exposed to the gun and I'm able to pull them up. Not long into the adventure, Liam made the observation that the black tiles heat quicker and take half the time of white ones. He figured the dark ones absorb energy faster, making quicker work of the glue. Right or wrong, we enjoyed pulling up those black ones.

I thought we'd be done in maybe two hours. It took four. Liam lasted for half of it. Cindy helped briefly, but couldn't stay focused. So I wrapped up by myself. Eventually, all the tiles were gone. But years of mopping had pushed gunk between each tile, leaving behind a dirty grid. And, of course, the heat gun didn't actually REMOVE the adhesive. Half of the glue was on the bottom of the tiles. The other half stayed on the floor. Used some simple solvent to dissolve it, then my bladed scraper to remove it. That took the better part of two hours, all of which I had to do alone.

Finally, tile-less and adhesive-less, Cindy put down some floor cleaner, and we cleaned up the remains. She had a mop. I had a bunch of old towels. She'd scrub. I'd dance around with the towels under my feet, walking like some bloated penguin. About an hour later, we declared victory.

Total, about seven hours of my labor. Two from Liam. One from Cindy. Forty bucks worth of materials. And a ton of elbow grease. A major improvement, and a great family effort. On Thursday, a local contractor is coming to re-finish the surface. Then we're on to the next stage of renovation!
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