Tuesday, February 01, 2011

It's called an asbestos sandwich

If you ever lose your ever-loving mind and decide to buy a fixer-upper whose kitchen is harboring two live snakes, a beehive and a nest of dead mice....oh, did I neglect to mention the mice carcasses?  We're pretty sure they were the snakes' winter stash.  They were also in the exterior wall that day, the day I rinsed my eyes with rubbing alcohol in an attempt to erase the images from my mind.  Anyway, if this peaceful, uplifting experience is on your bucket list, just buy a place with the kitchen already torn out.  Seriously.  Those shows, you know...the ones that make you think you can do this in one weekend, always try and get you to believe that demo is "the fun part".  No.  No it's not.  You wanna know what the fun part is?  Being done.  There is no other fun part besides that.

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 Let's pause here for a sec and talk about pulling up this kitchen floor, or "asbestos sandwich" as I like to call it.  What you're looking at here is a sub-floor, adhered to which were 9"x9" asbestos tiles from 1958.  Atop these had been laid a layer of semi-flexible cardboard-like particle board substance.  This "substance" was installed directly over the asbestos tiles using no less than 17 trillion individual staples, which went into the "substance", through the tiles, and into the primary sub-floor.  Once that had been completed (with similar care and workmanship as one might find in a three year old's blanket fort), the gorgeous textured dirt-colored sheet linoleum was then glued down.  Before we could even think about installing the new flooring, I was charged with the task of pulling up each of those layers, sanding the primary sub-floor smooth, cleaning it, and prepping it with a coat of adhesive primer.  It was similar to having my wisdom teeth pulled, except without the fun.

And while our kitchen looked like this...

we prepared our "meals" (read: microwaved popcorn and Lean Cuisine) in this microwave hooked up in our dining room.  Note the all-important coffee maker in the right corner, which we could not use at the same time as the toaster because that would blow a breaker.

Oh, and during the time that our kitchen was unusable, so was our living room, seeing as we jumped the gun a little on the ordering of the cabinetry and had no where else to stash it.

Yes, we could have saved a solid week of blood (literally), sweat (literally), and tears (literally) had we just bought one of those places with no kitchen and no bathroom at all.  And we could have probably gotten it for even less, too!

p.s. If you're itchin' to see an "after" shot, check out the new before/after page I added today.  As with our house, it's a work in progress.

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  1. As awful as I feel for what you are going through right now, I have to say the view out your "microwave/ coffeemaker window" is really beautiful. You've likely heard this a million times, but it will be so worth the blood, sweat, and tears when y'all have finished. *hugs* and prayers always.

  2. I can relate, but am amazed by you with 4 kids (not to mention one of them is a baby and the other a toddler). What a sense of accomplishment Dwija that you guys did this together! WOW!

  3. It has really been a wonderful, exciting journey. The deepest valleys mean the highest hills!

    And yes, the view out of every window is just lovely. W really are so lucky :)

  4. We have the floors that are in your kitchen in our living room, I think. From the after picture. They look very similar. Your house looks great, btw. I am very impressed!

  5. Thanks, Julie! It's been a lot of hard work, but definitely worth it.

  6. I love your positive attitude and sense of humor about the whole thing.

  7. I cannot imagine doing this with kids under foot.

  8. We spent the whole 1990s renovating a Queen Anne Victorian. While our kitchen was ripped out-- you could lay on the couch in the family room and zap something in the microwave then grab a cold drink from the refrigerator w/out getting up! Sloth haven!

  9. what an experience! thank you for detailing it for us and linking up to the lightening bug list

  10. I'm pretty sure Jeremy and I would've killed each other through a kitchen demo and remodel. Heck, I'm a little concerned about how we're going to handle panting our new (old) end tables. You guys have my undying respect. I know what those "after" pictures look like, and I know it was all worth it. :)

  11. How exactly does one remove an asbestos sandwich floor without, you know, dying?

    came from TL&TLB linkup!


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