Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Flat not Level

With the walls done and the flooring ordered, it was time to prep the floors.  There were a few different issues to deal with when it came to our floors:
  1. Old asbestos tiles in the hallways, bedroom, and bathroom
  2. Cracked and peeling sheet linoleum in the ex-laundry “room”
  3. A random drain in the laundry
  4. Areas where the pro’s had to cut through raised foundations (new bedroom and laundry (doorways)
  5. Slope into the living room
All of the above lead to uneven floors.  Part of the attraction to the floors we picked was that they were flexible and therefore could conform to minor imperfections in the floor, but they aren't magical, so we still needed to do some work on our floors to get them ready.
After discussing with the guys in the flooring store, we determined that the floors needed to be ‘flat not level” aka, a marble may slowly roll across a room to a low corner, but the floor had to be smooth with minimal lumps and bumps.
Old asbestos tiles prepped and ready to skim coat and the living room slope at the doorway
So, with our flooring guys we came up with a plan:
  1. Old asbestos tiles
    • leave and cover with new concrete .  Due to the asbestos and super strong glue they’d used getting them up would be very expensive
  2. Cracked and peeling sheet linoleum
    • We would take care of the removal
  3. A random drain in the old laundry space which was no longer needed
    • Cover and remove the slope with self-leveling concrete- which would also seal it
  4. Areas where the pro’s had to cut through raised foundations
    • Self-leveling concrete
  5. Slope into the living room
    • Some feathering out with a skim coat to reduce the slope's angle and make it less obvious
removing old laundry lino
So, it was a combination of floor leveling compound in the really dippy places (like by the “laundry” drain and former raised foundation), and thin concrete “feathering” for all the less pronounced dips.  We decided that this step was better left to the pro’s so we paid them to do it.  The whole process was a bit of a saga with me having to pull the “I want your boss to see this” card because they tried to take us for a bit of a ride, but in the end we got things sorted out.

On day 1 of the floor "flattening" our flooring guy asked what our plan was for the old drain... a quick call to our contractor later determined that the drain was not necessary and we could cover over it (a round of high fives and fist pumps - and weird looks from our flooring guy!- may have occurred).  A little on the fly imaginative problem solving later and our flooring guy was ready to even out the whole sloped section of the floor. 

Our high tech drain cover
What the heck is that you ask....  why yes it is a jar lid covered in waterproof tape!  Yup, we so did that!!  It isn't fancy, but it did the trick, they do say that necessity is the mother of all inventions after all.  Hmmmm, I wonder if we should look into patenting our solution?!

With the “flattening” done, all that was left was for the flooring to dry and cure and then we could tackle the flooring install. Unfortunately it was in the middle of the winter, and we had to get the temperature in our, at the time, unheated basement above 20 deg C ….. Ummm, yeah small problem there when the temperatures were around 0 deg C.  Luckily thanks to my company’s old poorly heated temporary accommodation during a recent office reno (sigh, the joys for working for a small tech company...), I had access to several small space heaters, so we hooked those babies up and a week and a half the floor was cured and we were ready to roll.

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