Redoing the kitchen floor

Old 06-08-07, 06:13 PM
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Redoing the kitchen floor

I'm in the early stages of planning a replacement of the flooring in my kitchen/laundry room/back hallway/back bathroom, and could use any suggestions or hints. The existing flooring is sheet vinyl and is in terrible condition - poorly installed (no shoe molding or anything over most of the edges), curling up on the edges, dirty beyond all hope of getting clean (I've tried), and with gouges and some cracks/chips.

The subflooring has water damage in one corner from an old neglected laundry drain leak. There is a ridge where the back of the kitchen meets the back hallway. The back bathroom has a patch in the subfloor (not covered with vinyl) under the toilet. The dishwasher door leaks, so there may well be water damage there, too, although it's likely the curled up edge of the vinyl has mostly kept that contained.

The kitchen walls are wainscotted in ceramic tile, down to the floor.

The layout of these 4 areas, which are currently covered with one continuous sheet of vinyl, is pretty complex, with bumpouts and with the laundry room being essentially "carved out" of the kitchen and back hallway, with a wall in between. In other words, using a template is going to be absolutely essential if I use sheet vinyl for the replacement.

So, questions:

1. Is sheet vinyl the way to go? What are pros and cons of sheet vinyl vs vinyl tile (not necessarily peel-and-stick)? Longevity is fine, but if I can manage to find a job where I want to move to, I will be selling the house within the next year, so more important are initial good looks, ease of installation, and low cost.

2. I understand there are now alternatives to full spread adhesive installation for sheet vinyl. How well do these alternatives hold up to moving appliances across the floor? Obviously, any vinyl flooring is subject to gouging if you're careless moving the refrigerator across it, but isn't it more of a potential problem if the flooring is free to move relative to the subfloor?

3. Preparation. Assuming there are a couple of areas of subfloor that I need to patch, is it enough to just patch them and level them out/sand them? Or do I really need to get 1/4" underlayment? I don't want to raise the level of the floor around the dishwasher, or it will be impossible to remove it to replace it later (yes, I know I should consider doing that at the same time, but I don't have the budget to remodel the kitchen - it really needs a complete makeover, but I'm sticking to the items that provide the greatest "bang for the buck", and flooring and paint are it). What should I use to fill cracks between boards and/or smooth out the ridge near the back hallway?


Old 06-09-07, 07:51 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
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All riiight! Lots of questions.
1) That's pretty much a matter of opinion, but it's the way I would go in your case. I don't care for peel and stick vinyl tiles and real VCT looks sort of commercial which may not play well when you try to sell the place. Folks buying a place often plan to replace floor coverings and VCT is tough to get up, something that is normally not lost on them. If I were doing this, I'd stick with sheet vinyl.
2) Yes there are now alternatives to full spread glued vinyl. Tarkett started it and now everybody and their dog is making it. I really like the stuff. It's much easier to install than full spread. The backing isn't the gray felt you're used to and doesn't get damaged with handling which makes it much more home owner friendly. I've put a lot of it in and have, to date, never had a complaint about it sliding around when moving appliances. That hasn't been an issue for me when putting the appliances back at the end of the job. This stuff is much more floor prep friendly also. So long as the old flooring is well adhered, You can patch any rough spots, cut out and patch any damaged spots, pull the base and appliances, and lay it in. When the glue dries with full spread, it shrinks and draws the new vinyl down into any little imperfection. Consequently, prep is the job with full spread if you want a nice install. With this stuff, there's no glue to cause that so prep is not as critical.
3)The reason for the underlayment is to provide a smooth surface to glue to. If you use full spread, yes, you'll need underlayment. You've got too much going on with the existing floor to be able to get by without. If you use no glue, it will depend on the actual condition of the existing floor and what you're willing to live with. It has to be pretty bad before I feel I can't provide a smooth floor that will last without underlayment when using no glue. Proper patching and sanding can do a lot but some times is not enough. I use Ardex Feather Finish for floor patch. Mapei also makes a good one called Planipatch. Stay away from cheap patch or patch with sand in it. The ridge you mention is quite possibly a seam in the subfloor showing through the existing vinyl. Cut that out and patch it to get rid of the ridge. I'm guessing here, but that's what it sounds like. I can provide how to pictures if need be for the various steps. Let me know if need be.

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