Will My Luck Hold?

There’s nothing like a cold chisel, a hammer and some unattractive tile for relieving one’s frustrations.


Today, after a trip to (gasp) Ikea to make sure my online sink choice and countertop selections were good (I’ve now definitely settled on the Domsjo single-bowl sink and am still vacillating on the Numerar countertop in beech), I decided it was time for a little destruction. Fun!

Starting by the back door (where I don’t walk much on a daily basis) seemed like a good idea, because today I wanted only to pull up a small area of tile to find out what’s under it, and to determine the likelihood of saving the wood floor. If I can’t salvage the 120-year-old pine, I’ll have to budget for new flooring…and that will determine how much I can spend on the countertop.

So I broke up just enough tile to expose a discrete piece of hardboard, then pried it up:

I got lucky – there is but the layer of tile and a layer of 1/4″ hardboard underneath it (and some grotty rosin paper at the bottom that I’ve yet to scrape up).

I don’t yet know if the floor can be saved. So far, although it looks like crap, it’s no worse than my dining room and living room floors after I pulled up the many layers atop them. But there may, of course, be major problems yet to be exposed. At least I’ve a good idea of how much work the rest of the floor demo will be; a lot less than I expected, really (though I’d cheerfully wring the neck of the fool who used 3/4″ staples every 3″ or so to tack down the hardboard).

Time to get cracking on the cabinets. I can’t finish the floor until the old ones are out, and I can’t pull the old ones until the new ones are built and ready to install…immediately after I finish the floor. Catch-22 remodeling at its finest.


About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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9 Responses to Will My Luck Hold?

  1. Douglas says:

    Hey Megan, I used that Numerar in birch for my countertops, about 2 years ago. Love them and they hold up great. Let me know if you’d like some pictures or info on my install.

  2. rondennis303 says:

    I truly understand your feelings about the staples. I had the same problem. I can highly recommend Lee Valley’s Staple Lifter (36K02.25). It saved me a ton of grief. I had that cheap three-ply underlayment that some yahoo had taken a pneumatic staple gun to and when hog wild!

  3. In our house, my big “frustration release” job was the parquet floor in the entryway. Man, was that fun.

    For staple removal, I used a (sharpened) screwdriver to pry them up a little if they were pressed far into the surface, then I used a fencing tool to pry them out. It was the natural choice for me, since I’d been using them on the farm since I was a kid.

  4. KampWood says:

    As a former commercial building carpenter I feel your pain. Only when I had to rip tile out I had the advantage of using a Hilty hammer drill. Good luck!

  5. Hey Megan I have a work related question to ask you, but I can’t figure out how to contact you directly at PW. Can I ask it here?

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