Kitchen Floor Weekend

It’s official. The “re-do the kitchen floor” project has been finished! As you read on Friday, I mentioned that my dad was coming into town this past weekend to help install a new kitchen floor in Bernie’s condo. We spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday going to Home Depot, laying floor, and working hard. But it’s done! On Friday morning, my dad arrived in Boston bright and early. After moving his tools and equipment into the condo, we made our way to Home Depot to pick up some more material that he didn’t get beforehand. Once we got everything home, it was time to start.

Step 1: Tear up the old floor.

This step literally took 15 minutes. The laminate tiles were so worn down, that they came up without any tools. We would sometimes trip over loose tiles just walking in the kitchen. As we were tearing out the pieces, I found the first remnants of the previous owner’s cats. There were two FAT cats that used to live in this condo. Their cat hair was eevvverrryyywhere when Bernie first looked at it. Bernie is allergic, so when he bought the place, one of the clauses in the sale contract was that it had to be professionally cleaned to get any remnants of cat hair gone. They did a good job, but every once in a while, I still find cat hair. When we pulled the fridge out, we found even more cat hair under the fridge. We thought we had cleaned it all out when we pulled it out to paint?! Guess not. I also found where the litter box used to be. When I pulled up the corner laminate tiles, I was greeted with a big whiff of cat piss. Gross. Hopefully the new floor covers it!

The flooring we put down was a Pergo floor called “Monson Slate” – Pergo made to look like slate. We wanted to originally put down tile, but being on the 3rd floor of a building and with the old age of the building, we were unsure if the floor would be able to handle tile. Plus, tile takes forever, is cold, and could crack. The nice thing about a Pergo floor is that it’s floating – there’s no glue or nails. The tiles just snap together, holding it down. It moves with the building and is more affordable.

Step 2: Lay down the foam sub floor.

Fortunately, the floor beneath the tiles was totally level and in good shape, so we didn’t need to worry about putting down a new sub floor. So we laid down the foam liner on the sub floor and stapled it down. Day 1, done!

Step 3: Start laying down the Pergo floor, tears optional

The next morning, my dad and I headed back to Home Depot to pick up things we needed last minute. Once back, we got to work! We started taking the flooring out and reading the directions. Neither of us has ever done the pergo before, but my dad is an huge handy-man, so I knew he would figure it out. After reading the directions, we started laying down the floor to just an an idea of the pattern. After some math and measuring, we started to snap some of the pieces together. After about 3 pieces we realized something wasn’t right. The pieces were just not fitting together. Crap. We kept banging our heads against the wall, trying to figure out what was wrong. I started looking up Pergo installation videos on youtube, trying to find some helpful videos. Finally, we figured out the problem, we had cut the wrong side against the wall. Woops. After ruining 4 boards, we moved on and started again.

After laying down the first row according to the instructions, we once again hit a road block. The damn things STILL weren’t snapping together like they’re supposed to! Why was this happening. Cue the panic. When I get frustrated, I get overwhelmed. When I get overwhelmed, I cry. It’s just my reaction. I just had to walk away. Bernie calmed me down and told me to get a grip – we had to do this, we couldn’t give up. Soon, I heard my dad yell from the kitchen, “I got it!” He had finally figured out the issue. These things were definitely NOT as easy to install as the instructions say. They’re like puzzle pieces, different sides have to snap together all at the same time, and if you don’t have the angle perfect, it won’t work.

Step 4: Power through

My dad and I worked from 10:30 am – 8pm nonstop. By 8:00, my knees were bruised and swollen from kneeling on the hard floor, my legs were sore from squatting, and I was STARVED! But, the floor was down. We had gotten the tiles down everywhere, including the areas where the fridge and stove go. Phew! It felt amazing. After a quick dinner at Eagle’s Deli, we fell asleep, hard.

The next morning was father’s day. As much as I wanted to go take my dad out for the day, the job had taken longer than we expected and we needed Sunday to finish. So I made my dad and Bernie a big breakfast of pancakes, fruit, and eggs. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good.

Sunday morning was spent adding the white edge piece to tie it all together. That involved more measuring, cutting, and nailing. After a few hours, it was in, we were done!!!! Here’s the finished product!

Before

After

I’m in love! It was really hard, but the feeling of accomplishment was totally worth it. Thanks for everything dad! He even passed along his caulk gun to me. He bought it when my parents bought my childhood home before I was born, and he passed it on to me to use in my new home. What a perfect Father’s Day.

Readers: Have you ever done a home improvement project? Share! How was your father’s day/weekend?