Thursday, March 10, 2005

Stripping and Waxing!

Sounds sexy (whoo-hoo), but stripping and waxing floors is a big chore I'm finishing now, one of the final touches before selling the Austin house. What I did was to throw out all the nasty carpet in the house except for some new stuff in the master bedroom. Nasty? Yes, carpet is the nastiest thing you can put down for flooring. In high traffic areas the dirt goes through the carpet mesh, down into the pad, and sits there making mildew and all kinds of allergens. Vacuum cleaners just beat the dirt further into the pad. For real, dude! It was real gross there for a while, removing the, err, waste. We sneezed for days ...

So instead of buying Saltillo or other clay flooring for over a buck a foot I bought boxes of commercial linoleum - for 30 cents a foot. Pergo (fake plastic wood), hardwood, and ceramic seemed so high I just did what I did and after stripping the floors and testing the no-buff polish, it looks great. It reminds me of the Travertine floors of long ago. They kind of have a racket, where you have to get Armstrong commercial vinyl tile, the stripper, and the waxer, all the same brand. Hey, it's dog-friendly and easy to clean, once it's stripped and waxed good.

So I got real good at using the right glue and putting the 12-inch squares down but soon was cutting little, itsey-bitsey pieces around the closets and rapidly lost my drive. I still have a closet or two to do.

Then I discovered that there's always at least an 1/8-inch gap between the flooring and the trim. I wasn't putting down several hundred feet of quarter-round trim, so I caulked the gap and used tape to paint the trim down over the caulk. Not bad, but for $500 of vinyl "sea shell" tile I was wore out and my knees were about to fall off into the bar ditch.

The realtor of course liked the beige paint and was somewhat taken back by the tile. "OK," she sez, "you can bring in throw carpets if you want or there are folks who are hyper-allergic so maybe they'll like this kind of stuff." When I mentioned stripping and waxing and polishing she was out the door so fast it would make your head spin.

I have to comment that I've seen a lot of thin-set ceramic tile, like Saltillo and other commercial clay products, and often it cracks or comes loose. A true ceramic floor requires at least one-half inch of masonary mud. The worst part is when refrigerators and other heavy stuff is brought in with a hand truck and the thin-set tiles go "crick, pop, crack." Busted! I think you could land a Space Shuttle on this here linoleum and if you had the right kind of stripper and polisher, it would be just fine.

The house goes up on the block Friday. Wish us luck. I'll still be, err, stripping and waxing. Just don't let on to the realtor, OK? She's not the wild type, if ya know what I mean.

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