Flooring in the Kitchen

Back in the mists of time, when Little D still thought a baby bouncer was the pinnacle of technology, we had a dream to install solid fuel in our home and embrace a greener way of life. To do that we had to replace the old crumbling kitchen floor with something more substantial, changing the way the kitchen looked forever. To even start contemplating laying this floor which is 24 foot long (7.31 meters) by 10 feet (3.04 meters) we had two choices, (1) dig it out, or; (2) raise it up. We chose the second choice because the path outside our house is higher than the internal kitchen floor and this was causing a damp issue. By raising it and sealing the floor, we would create a new damp proof layer. However, you have to remember we had to do this because we were having a solid fuel system installed in just under six weeks. Sounds easy but we had no money, we still have no money and to lay a floor we had to take out two walls, one in brick and the other in stone, wood and glass, remove black concrete from most of the walls along with horse hair plaster, tear out old wooden cupboards and fire proof cladding, that when chucked on the bonfire went up in less than ten seconds. Fire proof cladding in the 1950s meant something completely different. We did all this with a one year old bouncing away in the door way. Please note he wasn't there for the demolition work, though Little D would revel in that nowadays. It was a labour of love for Andrew, done in evenings, weekends and days off. We carted away rubble bag after rubble bag, the hardcore used in the footings of paths and dry stone walls to save us more money -- skips cost a lot! Funnily enough these paths and walls didn't take shape for several years and the rubble sat in a pile.

Restoring stone floors

From the start Andrew struggled with the fact that the original floor wasn't level and was covered in crumbling, damp rubber tiles. This meant days of finding the correct levels and discovering that we would need a step or steps into the kitchen. In the end we ended up with one step. Though the solid fuel heating system has gone, we kept the floor and for the last few years it has been battered, bruised, spilled on and neglected. We recently removed the old drain, you can see the concrete cover by the skirting board above. However, Andrew has been painstakingly cleaning each stone tile and has started to seal them with a polymer wax gloss, and the results are breathtaking. Cleaning them has involved a wire wool scourer -- the kind you use to wash up with -- a wallpaper scraper and damp cloth. As Andrew is still having problems with his back this was a job he reveled because he's on the floor most days so might as well do something useful. He used a soft brush to seal the tiles, making sure that he removed any excess of the polymer as he went. You're looking for a minimum of three coats, each coat applied at right angles to the last one.

How to restore kitchen floors

We're getting there inch by inch in the kitchen, and this space will hopefully house a table by Christmas.


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