While we are always the kind of people who prefer to keep original features when possible, sometimes it’s not possible or safe. This was the case with our upstairs hall floors. There is a nice hardwood floor hiding under a lovely coating of… asbestos tile. Scratch that – crumbling asbestos tile. Yeek. We pretty much had two options – either hire a remediator to take up all the old tile, or cover it over and seal it in. We went for option two.
By the way, I’d like to add that the asbestos tile was made to look like parquet wood flooring, so they put tile that looks like wood over actual wood. Yeah. Put that at the top of the list of things that annoy the ever loving crap out of me.
Because we’re strange, we asked for new flooring for Christmas, and Dan’s parents were kind enough to oblige. His dad even guest-assisted on this project! I was almost completely hands-off on this. It was a father/son team effort.
We chose a bamboo floor, since these were new materials and bamboo is more “green” than purchasing new hardwood. We decided on a light color to counterbalance the dark floors downstairs.
The space – though small and seemingly easy – actually held a lot of issues for flooring installation. For a small hallway, it butted up against 6 doors and the staircase. It also had a corner that looked like this:
Since it had so many openings into other rooms, every door required unique consideration for what type of threshold to install.
So the project was more of a challenge than it might have seemed at first. The first step was to lay down a layer of plywood as a subfloor. This had to be pretty precise, so it took a while to get around all the edges of the room. This layer partially acts as a subfloor, and partially seals in the underlying tile.
The next stage was to lay down tar paper, partly as another sealant, and partly to provide friction to keep the upper layer from moving around or squeaking too much. We also cut off the top staircase nubbin. We needed to put a new tread on with the correct wood type and coloring instead.
Next up, installing the floor! The new click-and-lock stuff was really easy, so once the boards were cut the installation was relatively quick. Dan would like to note, however, that it’s difficult to click it apart again, so make sure you have it right before you lay it down!
Lastly, we installed the thresholds and trim. (I painted the trim, and it was about the only thing I did). In the above picture the trim wasn’t installed yet, so you can see gaps around the door frames.
After that – we were done! Actually, the whole hallway is finished! It’s maybe the only “done” room in the house. All in all, over the last 3 years we re-painted, put in a new lighting fixture, repaired the railing, and re-floored to finish our first completely renovated room. It may only be a hallway, but it’s a box to check off the list at least!