Retro Marmoleum Flooring for the Kitchen – Day 1of the project

The BEFORE RETRO LINOLEUM photo of our kitchen featuring the vinyl faux tile flooring. It really wasn’t that ugly, it just showed every speck of dust and smudge.  This was taken the morning of demolition.

When we bought our home, the polyvinyl chloride flooring, often mistakenly referred to as linoleum, that the previous home owners put in in the kitchen wasn’t in too bad of shape, and although we didn’t care for the faux tile or how easily it got dirty, it wasn’t that ugly nor did we want to rip out something just because of ascetics.  We decided to wait until it was truly in need of replacing, and considering it was 10 years old when we bought the house, it held up better than we thought it would.  We are finally getting around to changing it out for something new, mainly due to the many knife dents and scratches it has accumulated over the past 15 years.

As unusual, I vacillated for weeks (well more like all summer) on what flooring material I wanted. It drove my hubby nuts. We did consider just continuing the oak throughout the rest of the house to match up with the original hardwood floors, but we both felt it would be better to go with an “eco friendly” product. “We” finally settled on real Linoleum flooring.  It is what was originally installed in our kitchen when it was built in the 1940’s and then later covered over with the layers of vinyl flooring.  The linoleum I wanted back in the house was the old fashion vintage linoleum, the kind that was popular between 1860s to pre-1950, and made out of linseed, cork, and jute.

Vinyl sheet flooring is inexpensive, but genuine linoleum made from linseed sure isn’t.  It would have been cheaper to put in hardwood or tile.  There are some truly beautiful vintage kitchen inlaid linoleum floor designs I would have loved to copy, but we have a limited budget to work with.  After getting 4 different installation quotes, I was disappointed to discover that my fancy inlay design would have more than doubled the overall cost of installation.  Each border line I wanted, added another $1500 or more to the labor costs.  My design technically had three lines, alternating between black and green.  I had to scale back on the design.  Well, our home was built for housing for the WW2 workers over at the local Douglas Aircraft plant, so I tried to rationalize the change “as the original builders probably wouldn’t have put in a high end inlaid design in the middle of the war effort.”  I settled for a modest black border around a green field.


The room was taken down to the 1944 sub flooring 1 x 6 boards

Tuesday, the layers of old flooring were carefully removed down to the old sub floor in both the kitchen and laundry room.  Due to the multiple layers of other flooring and adhesives on top of the old linoleum, this was not a DIY project and needed to be done by pros.  Wednesday the 3/4 inch plywood under-layment will be going down and then we have to leave the linoleum in the house for a couple of days to acclimate.




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