Magazine article The Saturday Evening Post

New Cover-Ups for Old Floors

Magazine article The Saturday Evening Post

New Cover-Ups for Old Floors

Article excerpt


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. …

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