Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ugly Floors Be Gone!

So this past weekend, this happened:

If you will recall, the kitchen used to have ugly peel-and-stick tiles...

...that definitely weren't looking their best anymore

We're going on vacation this summer and are going to have our hardwood floors refinished while we're gone!  :)  I am super excited about this because our hardwood floor's original finish is from the 1950's and it has worn off in all of the high-traffic areas.  It looks so sad!

After a lot of indecisive-ness, I decided to bite the bullet and have hardwood floors installed in the kitchen too so that they would match the rest of the house.  If time weren't an issue, I probably would have tried to install the hardwood in the kitchen myself to save money, but since the clock is ticking, my hardwood floor guy is going to do the installation as well. Obviously this is going to wreak havoc on my initial kitchen makeover budget of $2,000.  In fact, I hadn't even planned on having the hardwood floors in the rest of the house redone this summer either, but it seemed like a "now or never" kind of thing.  I don't dare try to refinish the floors myself with two large hairy dogs...we would likely  end up with hairy floors too :)  Believe it or not, hairy floors are not a hot commodity right now...

So anyway, onward to the good stuff!  The kitchen actually had two layers of plywood sub floor laid down. This is because the kitchen's linoleum tiles are much thinner than the hardwood floor in the rest of the house.  The second layer of subfloor was necessary to bring the linoleum in the kitchen level with the hardwood in the rest of the house.  The mission: rip up all of the old linoleum as well as the second layer of subfloor.

First up, we pulled out all of the baseboard molding, threshold moldings, and air vent covers.

Then, we went out and purchased this nifty toe kick saw from Harbor Freight:  

We needed a saw that could get super close to walls to cut the top layer of subfloor AND be able to reach under the toe kick of the kitchen cabinets.  A regular circular saw wouldn't be able to do either of those things.  

NOTE: For those of you who don't know, Harbor Freight is discount tool store.  They are a good source for tools that you only need a few times.  The tool quality isn't quite as high as the stuff you'd find at Lowes or Home Depot, so while I wouldn't buy my mitre saw there, I felt perfectly fine buying this because saw there we'll probably only ever need it a handful of times.  

First up, the husband ran the toe kick along all of the walls and the kitchen cabinets.  Then, he took a regular circular saw and started in the middle of the room, and cut out to the edges in radial pattern.  The toe-kick saw had a tendency to "kick" (how ironic!), and the circular saw sometimes caught on nails that were holding the subfloor in place, so the husband had the wonderful job of cutting everything up!  What a lucky guy :)

Then came the fun part--prying everything up! Some pieces came out super easy, and some were a total pain in the butt.  It depended on how many nails were holding the subfloor down.  We tag teamed it used a combination of pry bars, long screw drivers, and hammers to pull everything up 

Behold!  The aftermath!  I have NO idea what we're going to do with this stuff.  We'll probably deal with it after vacation and everything else that's going on right now.  Yup, we're those people ;)

Ahhh...even though its only plywood, it looks so much better :)

The funny thing is, since we basically took out 1" of flooring you really do feel shorter standing in the kitchen relative to the kitchen cabinets, which are still their normal height (because obviously we didn't take out the subfloor underneath them).  The dogs don't seem to mind though!

Have a good weekend!  I'll talk to you all next week!  


  1. I'm so glad you decided to get hardwood floors in the kitchen too. I'm such a huge fan of having the same floors throughout. I can't stand when people chop rooms in half and put down something else.
    Can't wait to see it. It'll be so pretty!

  2. How quickly did the toe kick saw accomplish the task? I just had an installer come out and look at replacing our vinyl tile with engineered hardwood in our kitchen. This would involve removing the tile along with 1/4" plywood underlayment. He thinks it's a huge job because of the need to cut the underlayment flush with the cabinets. I'm guessing he's not familiar with the toe kick saw ... :)

    1. It took us a good chunk of the day to get the floor ripped out. The saw did a good job! It was hard (for me) to pry up the floor pieces, but my husband (with all his muscles) made it look easy :)