Skip to content
August 19, 2010 / mel

Hell’s Kitchen

No, I’m not talking about the Manhattan neighborhood over by the Hudson, nor am I talking about the reality show where Gordon Ramsey calls a bunch of wannabe chefs “donkeys” while repeatedly telling them to “fuck off.” No, my own personal Hell’s Kitchen is just on the other side of my office wall, inside my house.

We bought this house four years ago, and about a year in I started working on the kitchen. I steamed loads of wallpaper off the walls, I sanded them and painted them a lovely shade of orange (Sherwin-Williams’ Mandarin, if you must know). I repainted the dark cabinets a bright white and swapped out the old antique bronze hardware for polished nickel. Then, about a year-and-a-half ago, I started the journey to a new floor.

And this journey led me straight to Hell.

The existing floor is a completely awful faux-brick vinyl. In its place I wanted a black-and-white checkerboard tile. I found the tile at Home Depot and priced everything, and set an appointment to have everything measured and quoted. This took long enough. I met with the flooring girl at the store. The flooring contractor came out to look at the kitchen. First I was told I had two layers of linoleum and the tile couldn’t be laid on top, the existing linoleum would have to come up. Fair enough. Oh, but because the house was built in 1952, there might be asbestos under at least the very first layer of flooring. In the glue. Awesome.

Then the water heater exploded and had to be replaced. And some other shit broke. So the floor was put on the back burner. Last winter we took out the cabinets around the twee little fridge that came with the house in order to make room for a new fridge that was made in this century. This is what we were welcomed with:

Clearly the faux brick was put down after the cabinets, at some point. The layer underneath it would look so much better with the orange walls. We decided to get back to the flooring thing so we could get the kitchen finished and move on to other projects, like the bathroom.

We had the flooring guy come back out and take a sample to test for asbestos. And of course it came back positive. And it turns out there’s three layers of linoleum, not two. And the flooring guy–Joey Tight Pants, as the Home Depot flooring girl and I called him–tells me that obviously they can’t remove the asbestos. Obviously. But we can totally remove the flooring and clean the subfloor ourselves, he says. It’s not hard. And we can bag it all up and leave it for the trash collector.

Yes, of course you can just remove asbestos-covered flooring yourself with water and toss it out on the curb. Because I want the EPA on my ass. I just imagined the house having to be sealed and it would look like the one at the end of E.T.

So, fine. Eventually I got in touch with the only “asbestos abatement” company in the state. The guy comes and looks at the floor, and tells me that the asbestos is in the mastic, which is what’s holding the first layer to the subfloor. Which means there’s asbestos in the subfloor. And that means the entire subfloor has to come up. All of it, down to the joists. Which means I have to find a contractor to put in a new subfloor the next day. Because you need a floor in the kitchen.

Today, I have two verbally-agreed-upon-but-unsigned proposals for the removal of the subfloor and its subsequent replacement, with new flooring installed. Once I hear back from asbestos guy on a couple of things, I’ll send them both in and start working on the logistics. Each job will take one full day, and clearly they have to be done together. But hopefully they’ll both be available for the time I’m looking at. This is my first big “pay someone to do major work on your house” project, and I really hope it doesn’t turn into more of a nightmare than it already is.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: