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  • Writer's pictureJen

The Move to Marmoleum

Updated: Sep 28, 2018

As the 90 years of layers of flooring was being removed in my kitchen, it slowly became apparent that my goal of going all Nicole Curtis and restoring the original douglas fir tongue and groove flooring underneath needed a revision. While in great shape overall, there were some sections by the back door where shotty exterior work over the years by previous owners had created wood rot and a large section had to be removed. There was also a lot of old mastic that was on the floor (which triggered an asbestos test that luckily came back OK).


I had enough original flooring that would be covered by new cabinets that I could have removed and relocated to patch the new hole (small hole above is original floor ventilation for the cabinet), and that was an option I seriously considered, but it was a lot of labor and I would then have to refinish the floor - with mediocre outcomes. The hardwood flooring refinishers would not even bid on it. And, if I was truly trying to restore this kitchen, it would likely have never had wood floor exposed (although there was a section of painted hardwood perhaps under an open cabinet?). When we found the original oil cloth (a beautiful white field with turquoise sailing ship border) folded up under a cabinet with a 1930s newspaper. and the layer of linoleum flooring with an amazing bold patterned design, this became even clearer.


The problems restoring the wood floor is when the final decision to go with #marmoleum really kicked in. I knew I needed to make the decision quickly to keep the project moving because depending on the colors chosen, the product would ship from a US warehouse - Las Vegas or somewhere on the East coast, or it may have to ship from Europe, where the flooring is manufactured. It took about two weeks for my flooring to arrive. It then required an acclimation period of a minimum of 72 hours (mine basked in the hot summer California temps inside my house for a week). Note: if your flooring company tells you this is not necessary, find someone else.


Once the product has acclimated to the temperature and humidity levels of your home, installation can happen. Your installer MUST use the approved Forbo adhesives when installing your floor. If they do not, the manufacturer's warranty is void. Forbo specifically ships the adhesive with the flooring order so they know what batch was sent with the order. Again, if your flooring installer says that they do not use this specific adhesive, find another installer. I had to go through three different companies and a call to the HQ office to get a referral for a Forbo certified installer - this is also a real key thing. They listed their authorized dealers on their website, but not all authorized dealers are certified installers.


I selected the sheet flooring because of a specific color I wanted and decided to run it through my kitchen and into the connecting laundry room and breakfast room. The border follows the perimeter line connecting all three rooms in a continuous loop - and frankly, it helps to make my tiny rooms feel a lot bigger. This was inspired by some of the photos in the previous post (Inspiration at Sea).


Marmoleum is finicky - which there are a LOT of opinions out there about. I found a marmoleum discussion group on Houzz as I placed my order, which provided a lot of good feedback - and some of the scary feedback. There are some real haters out there - holy heck. Who knew people could be so aggressive about flooring!?


My marmoleum install took two (long) days. The first day was cutting all the border strips and gluing them in place and then placing the largest sheet portions in the center of the rooms. The second day was cutting all the smaller outside portions to fit above the border line and around all the cabinets and topping it off with the baseboard shoe molding. It is a lot of hard work and labor - which is definitely reflected in the cost. This stuff is tough and cutting through it was a definite chore for the two installers (not to mention the hot weather and my house without air conditioning adding to the fun).


I loved the way my floor looked when it was completed. I did start experiencing problems with it not adhering correctly just three days after installation (more on that in another post - repairs are pending), but my installer has been great about resolving that issue and it is all covered under the warranty.


My marmoleum floor has definitely brought a warmth to my kitchen and created the continuity between the three rooms that I was looking for - in addition to the historic authenticity.

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