LESLIE: We have Billie from Virginia on the line who has a question about restoring vinyl flooring. How are you, Billie?
BILLIE: I’m doing great this evening. How are you?
LESLIE: I’m great, thanks.
BILLIE: OK, my question is we installed a no-wax, vinyl, kitchen floor about ten years ago. The finish has worn off where the chairs are pulled out.
BILLIE: So my question is can it be restored.
TOM: I don’t think it can be restored. It’s …
LESLIE: I don’t think so either.
TOM: Yeah. I mean if you’ve worn the finish off you’ve worn the finish off and that’s it. Probably what the best flooring option is for a high-traffic area is not vinyl flooring, sorry to say. I remember the good, old days. Leslie, did you ever grow up in a house that had …
LESLIE: Ah, linoleum.
TOM: Yes, linoleum was a wonderful product; made from linseed oil. It was tough stuff. Boy it just didn’t wear out. You could drag your refrigerator out across it. You could drag your chairs across it. (Leslie chuckles) You could drop stuff on it and it never would seem to be damaged. You could wax the stuff, you know? You could clean it. There weren’t so many restrictions. It was good stuff. But the vinyl today just doesn’t seem to have the same durability.
So for high-traffic areas, I would recommend laminate flooring; especially in the kitchen. Laminate flooring is basically a decorative surface on top of medium-density fiberboard and while it’s called laminate flooring and you may confuse it with laminate countertop, it’s actually 20 times tougher in terms of the thickness of the wear coat. And the next nice thing about it is it can look like wood, it could look like tile, it could look like stone.
BILLIE: We have looked at that but our problem is it’s too thick. I wouldn’t be able to even pull the dishwasher out if we had a problem.
TOM: Ah. Well, that’s a common problem.
BILLIE: It is?
TOM: Yes. And what you basically need to do is to uninstall the dishwasher – which is not a big deal; there’s only one drain line and one water line – and you …
LESLIE: Oh, and the legs twist up and down.
TOM: The legs twist up and down. And basically you take it out, you install your flooring so it kind of sticks into the front of the dishwasher just a few inches, depending on how the pieces end up, and then you put it all back together again. It’s not very hard to do at all. I mean maybe you’re looking at 1/4 to 3/8-inch thick. And on the edges where you have the door jambs between that room and the rest of the house …
TOM: … then you put some saddles down – usually they’re made out of oak and one side can be higher and the other side can be lower and it kind of sandwiches that edge down – and it looks just beautiful. And the nice thing about laminate flooring is you don’t have to attach it to the floor. It just lays right on top and today all the pieces interlock together, so it’s just a really, really nice product.
BILLIE: OK, well we had looked at that, so I appreciate it.
TOM: Armstrong Flooring has a great website at Armstrong.com. They have a visualizer there where you can actually play with some different types of flooring and see how it might look like in the kitchen. So take a look at that; OK, Billie?
BILLIIE: Alright. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.