Laying floor no walkover task

20:25, Aug 24 2014

Press journalist and first-time homeowner Georgina Stylianou shares the highs and lows involved with getting a wobbly foot on the great property ladder.

I never thought a kitchen floor would be the bane of my existence, but such is life. #firstworldproblems

Laying a new floor in the kitchen has become something of an unattainable enigma, made worse by weekly scraps with my partner about when it is going to get done.

The thing about being a first-time renovator is that you take everyone's opinion as gospel because surely they know better than you, everybody does.

We bought our Spreydon house despite its unbelievably ugly kitchen.


It feels like a lifetime ago - it's actually only ten weeks - that we smashed out the bright orange cabinetry, ripped the orange wallpaper from the walls, and removed the old wetback burner containing hundreds of cigarette butts.

We gibbed the walls, plastered the ceiling and ran new cable before painting the whole room. The week before we moved in an advert on Facebook caught my eye. Flooring Xtra was having a 'fix my ugly floor' competition and all you had to do was upload a picture of your ugly floor and provide a brief explanation as to why it deserved to win the $1000 flooring makeover.

Our individually-laid, multi-coloured, chipped tiles were definitely a worthy candidate.

We didn't win. There must be some very ugly floors in Christchurch.

Among our priorities on that very first demo weekend was to get those tiles covered up. We had been warned about the likelihood of them containing asbestos but also we didn't have the money, or the time, to rip them up, especially when doing so would destroy the floorboards underneath.

We made the executive decision to lay a sub floor that would later be screwed down properly and have our new floor laid over it.

So why hasn't this happened?

I can't provide a definitive answer but I think the main reason (excuse) is that Robbie and I can't make a final decision about who should lay the floor and what prep work should be done beforehand.

Like many old houses, the floor is not entirely level and there's a section where the hot water cylinder used to be that is slightly lower than the rest.

Our neighbour, a builder, suggested we just screw the sub floor down and lay the vinyl on top. Other tradies we know have talked about the need for levelling compound or at least bringing the sub floor back up to glue it.

Then there's the DIY vs professional dilemma. Our trusty friend Garth has laid vinyl floor before and believes he and Robbie can do it together. One minute Robbie agrees, the next he doesn't. Anyway, this to-ing and fro-ing has continued for weeks.

Finally, we had locked in this weekend for Robbie and Garth to tackle the dreaded floor but I had forgot we had friends from Wellington coming to stay with us and using the kitchen will be somewhat imperative.

Another issue is that in our house, getting to the toilet requires walking through the kitchen, and a new vinyl floor should not be walked on for at least 24 hours, according to Google and the opinion of everyone we know.

We could lay planks to disperse the weight but I don't feel happy inflicting pirate tactics on my house guests so I guess it will just have to wait another week.

Georgina Stylianou is a reporter at The Press. This is part of her weekly series about owning her first home. Comment below, email or tweet @gstylianoupress

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