I was pondering that back door threshold and a thought entered my mind. Possibly a crazy one, possibly totally sane. Should I rebuild the kitchen floor from scratch?
I took 7 vinyl floors out of my kitchen and found old (but not original) pine underneath.
The plan was always to have it sanded. But here’s the deal: my friend Chris told me that the pine floor in his kitchen is holding up poorly, and I have a feeling that mine is a similar material. (My upstairs pine floors are older and I believe harder than what’s in the kitchen.)
I always said dismissively that if the floors don’t hold up well I’ll replace them later. But the low corner of the kitchen floor is about 2 ½ inches lower than the high one. There’s no structural problem here; unlike Portland cement masonry, lime based masonry can settle without losing strength. South Philly used to be a swamp, so this is kind of a common thing around here. And although I can feel the slope, it doesn’t bother me at all. You see the sub-title to my blog. I wanted a quirky old Philadelphia rowhouse, and obliterating all the quirks is not the adventure I wanted.
So why am I considering this now? Because making a raised threshold to cover this awkward gap and bridge the level-to-crooked transition will take some work. Then installing cabinets and appliances on the crooked floor is more work.
Leveling the floor would raise it to cover that vertical strip of wood under the patio door and the horizontal threshold under it.
Then there’s a structural reason. Apparently someone had to get something big in or out of the kitchen because there was an opening cut through here. The home inspector told me to sister these joists, but I put it on the long list because it doesn’t seem structurally unsound now.
But if I level the floor, out comes everything. Then I will sister all the joists, and the sisters will go in level and support the new floor. This will be much easier than what we did in the back bedroom. Let’s look at a pro con list though. I kind of shudder at the idea of another project.
- No threshold at the back door.
- Easier to install cabinets and appliances.
- Slope may bother guests and other occupants.
- A level floor may be better for resale.
- Doing more now means less disruption later and an easier job overall.
- More work now means more work now.
- A level floor and plywood subfloor erases some of the house’s weirdness.
- The Irishman gets to say I told you so.
- More pressure to commit to a permanent kitchen floor right away.
Now about that last point, some people have urged me to put down ceramic tile. I don’t want anything that hard and cold, so that’s probably not happening. I would consider vinyl or linoleum as long as it’s plain and not printed with the image of something more expensive. The vinyl tiles I had in school would be fine. Or I could run the same oak strip flooring as I have in the living room through the kitchen. Or I could have a small bump between the rooms and use thicker tongue and groove oak, which ironically would be cheaper. And if I can’t decide, the plywood subfloor will be fine for now.
So what do you think I should do?