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February 9, 2012

New VCT Flooring In Mom’s 1950s Time Capsule Condo

By Sara In AZ

Can y’all believe it, we FINALLY made it all the way to new flooring installation day at the condo! I’ll bet y’all never though this day would come, what with all the mess and mayhem going on these past few weeks. I suppose it never felt like this day would come to us either!

I don’t know what it is, but there is just something so fabulous about finally having the new flooring installed after seeing the bare concrete slab for months on end. It just puts a whole new perspective on things and really finishes off a room.

Just to refresh your memories, here is what we started off with.

old tile

And the old carpet……………

old carpet

I am, in no way, saying ceramic tile is bad, or that I don’t like it. It suits many people well and here in AZ  tons of homes have it as the flooring of their choice. We probably would have just kept the ceramic tile had it been installed better, but many tiles were not adhering to the floor (they were hollow sounding when stepped on)  so then they were prone to cracking. We did not want to go all out fixing up the rest of the condo only to leave the flooring in such sad shape.

We all knew we absolutely wanted to use VCT (vinyl composition tile) since we were aiming for a period look. At first we thought we would go with  a VCT and a wood flooring combo for the main area, then back to VCT for the bathroom and carpet for the bedrooms. We nixed that idea though because it seemed like there would be too many transition points for a small space, we thought the different flooring would make the condo seem even smaller.  Plus, wood is expensive and we just did not have the money to lay out right then for wood floors. So Mom decided on all VCT for the main areas and carpet for the bedrooms.

But what colors of VCT????? Hmmmmmm?????? Mom pretty much let me have free reign on picking the colors of the VCT, so off I went studying all that I could about which companies offered what.

Ultimately, we went with Congoleum VCT. We decided on their commercial grade VCT tiles from their ‘Alternatives’ product line. I don’t think Congoleum is really superior to say what Armstrong has to offer, I just decided on Congoleum because the colors appeared more in line with what I was looking for. Oh my gosh though, there are SO many colors out there to choose from, with all the different manufacturers,  it is almost overwhelming!


You can see from the picture above that Congoleum has 3 different lines of VCT tile. The tile we went with was from the Alternatives series, but the CX series has some really cool tiles too. The CX series tiles have the more streaky/old school tile look and I completely would have gone with that tile, unfortunately the CX line has a very limited color selection so that is why we went with the Alternatives line.

Here is one example of VCT from the CX Series.


Just a heads up about VCT. If we would have had more time this is definitely a flooring project we could do on our own. Seriously y’all, I watched the guy lay the VCT and it is not rocket science. All you have to do is figure out your pattern and snap a chalk line to keep it all straight. Then you trowel the adhesive onto the floor, wait about 10-20 mins. for the adhesive to mostly set-up, then lay your tiles. Completely, totally do-able!

One more heads up about Congoleum, if y’all are interested. I contacted the company and they will send out samples as you can see below, you will just have to pick and choose what colors you want them to send and pay a small fee. You can also go to a local flooring store and see if they might have any samples available. I highly recommend seeing the colors in real life before committing to a color and ordering it in bulk, I was surprised at how different the colors were in real life as opposed to how they appeared on  the computer screen. And, you can order Congoleum at Lowe’s, as a special order, for around $45 a case. That is probably about the best price that I found on it. Home Depot only offers Armstrong VCT, not Congoleum.

Armstrong has a really awesome selection of VCT as well, definitely check them out if you are looking for VCT. Tarkett is another option for VCT with their AZROCK VCT. They have a really wide selection of colors and some really great looking VCT tiles.

Soooooo, after much thought and debate and fretting, I chose…………

Emerald Lace as the main bulk of the VCT flooring, which actually really surprised me because looking at it on the computer it looks more green, but in real life it is more of a teal/blue which worked well with our blue paint.


I also wanted some accent colors in the VCT. So I choose Washed Cornsilk


And Aqua Spring


I thought some kind of accent pattern would be nice, then I came across this VCT pattern in the Spring 2011 issue of Atomic Ranch. Perfect!

AR Spring2011

Now, onto the carpeting. Mom was dead-set on having wool carpeting in the condo. Now wool isn’t the cheapest carpet y’all, but this was Mom’s special place and since it was only going into 2 smaller bedrooms Mom knew she could swing the price of it.

Mom came across Godfrey Hirst wool carpeting and knew it was what she wanted.


She went for the Ansley pattern in Stucco color.  I really liked this carpet because it has a slight pattern, but not so much that it is overwhelming to the eye. In fact, you don’t even  notice it unless you are really looking at it.


And we’re off to installation day! Here is the VCT getting installed. I decided I wanted the pattern to be a bit more random than the VCT floor pattern in the magazine picture, which were all in a row.


Then we had to have the installers back because there were problems with the way some of the tiles were laid. Sad smile Here are some of the tiles pulled out.


Here are some more tiles pulled out. uggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh………………….


And finally we have completion!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!


Super Duper YAY!


And now to the carpeting! Here is the new pad getting installed.


And now the carpet is cut and is ready to get tacked down.


We are getting closer………………


Oh my gosh, flooring installation is complete!






Here is a close-up of the carpet pattern. It actually has kind of a retro look to me.


Well, we actually are not quite done with the flooring yet y’all……… You see whenever I talked to Ruth she made it abundantly clear that I WAS to seal this VCT. Every time we talked she said, “You need to seal that VCT ASAP Sara.” I was like “Yeah, right I don’t even know if we will seal it.”

I am an idiot.

Ummmmmmmmm., let me tell everyone right here and right now – RUTH IS RIGHT!!!!!

I would say that if you have a darker VCT tile you could probably get away with not sealing the floor, but if you have a light colored floor like this there is just no way. Unless you want your lovely new floor to look like this……..


And I’m pretty sure you don’t! The only people that had been on this floor were the flooring contractors and us, so I can’t imagine how dirty it would get after a year or so. Not good.

So yeah Ruth, onto the sealing! I asked Ruth what exact kind of sealer she used and she gave me stern warnings against the off the shelf VCT sealer available at Home Depot and Lowe’s. She said to find a commercial supply place around your home and get it from there. So that is exactly what we did!

But only after we cleaned the floor for hours. Sad smile Yeah, that really sucked.


I found Hillyard online and saw they had a local shop that I could go to and purchase their products. When we got to the store I told them I needed a good VCT sealer and this is what they recommended, Hillyard Clean Assist Seal #341.


I also asked them about the best application method and they said I would be wise to use a looped finish mop. We bought ours from Hillyard, but they sell Looped Finish Mops at Home Depot too. It is kind of hard to see from this picture, from the Home Depot site, but the ends are looped. I guess it is better because the looped ends result in less linting as you spread the sealer over the floor.



So, we went to town sealing the VCT floor up.

And just to let y’all know this is probably the only time you will ever see me NOT in a dress!!! Smile


Go Mike!


Ahhhhhhh, we are finally done. And check out the shine on that floor!


And now no one is allowed to walk on the new floor or to touch it! hee! Just kidding y’all! 

I think I need a nap now!

Come back next Thursday when we install the new bathroom light!

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33 Responses to New VCT Flooring In Mom’s 1950s Time Capsule Condo

  1. sablemable Reply

    February 9, 2012 at 7:06 am

    Saraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG, OMG, OMG, that floor is just gorgeous! You did a great job picking out the colors and the design!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      February 9, 2012 at 1:43 pm

      Oh thanks Sable! I can’t wait to see what VCT you pick out for your MCM pad!

  2. deb Reply

    February 9, 2012 at 7:12 am

    Looks fantastic – great job guys!!

  3. Betty Crafter Reply

    February 9, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Wow – it really looks great!!! Love your color choices!
    On VCT sealing – we did it ourselves after installation (we did buy the Armstrong product at a big box store) and didn’t get the shine or protection we were looking for. We finally asked our contractor to come back and seal it professionally. I know Pam on Retro Renovation has hers professionally done every year.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      February 9, 2012 at 1:46 pm

      Thanks Betty I really appreciate it!

      We may consider having this floor professionally sealed/waxed down the road too, for right now though the Hillyard sealer works really well.

  4. Erin Reply

    February 9, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Sara, your mom’s condo is really coming along! Love that floor! Funny I was just looking online on Saturday at VCT flooring. We were originally thinking about cork for our kitchen but I’m going to show the hubby this post and maybe we’ll go for something like this!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      February 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm

      Thanks so much Erin!

      Ohhh, yeah let me know what y’all decide to go with – cork or VCT. I know it’s hard to decide sometimes, we were really debating what would work best here. I do love the VCT though!

  5. Queen of Fifty Cents Reply

    February 9, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Wow…LOVE the pattern on that floor! I’ve got to go find that issue of AR and look at it again.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      February 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      Thanks Queen! We knew we wanted some type of pattern on the floor and this one really seemed to fit. 🙂

  6. nickarmadillo Reply

    February 9, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Looking pretty spiffy. Great job!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      February 9, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      Oh, thank you so much nickarmadillo! I appreciate that!

  7. Vickie Reply

    February 9, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    HooooEEEEMackerel! Absolutely stunning Sarah! The colors, the patterns on the tile and carpet – whew! Now, would you please come re-do my WHOLE house too?! ;- ) It’s just beyond gorgeous. Congrats!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      February 9, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      Gosh Vickie, thank you so much! That is very kind of you to say and I really do appreciate it. I will totally come and re-do your house, you can pay me in Moss lamps! 😉

  8. Andrea Reply

    February 9, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    OOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHH! Loving that VCT tile, that’s fantastic! That pattern in the carpet is really interesting – I am usually not a fan of carpet, so I had no idea it came in such interesting patterns nowadays, LOL

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      February 9, 2012 at 2:00 pm

      Thanks so much Andrea! Yeah, I did not really know about all the carpet patterns available either, go figure! I do really like this carpet though, the pattern is very subtle and just a little bit kitsch. 🙂

  9. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    February 9, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    LOVE it! You did a great job picking the colors too. 🙂 We used that off-the-shelves sealer at our old house and maybe that was our problem – it didn’t last for long and didn’t give a consistent coat. Hey, ask your Mom if she wants me to bring her a cat to ruin that sweet brand new carpeting!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      February 10, 2012 at 2:18 am

      Awwww, thanks Eartha that is really nice of you to say – esp. coming from the Color Queen! I’m glad we just went with the commercial sealer, it seems to be lasting and we are 6 months down the road now. HA! Yes, I’m sure a cat would do a real number on that carpeting! 🙂

  10. Jeanne Reply

    February 9, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    That floor is fantastic! I love the pattern and the colors! The sealant really makes a difference. And I love the carpeting. I bet the wool really feels nice underfoot. Your mom has a brand-spanking new house! How nice for her! I’m thinking that I want to do VCT tile in my kitchen sometime in the future. Thanks for the tip about buying commercial sealant rather than off the shelf stuff. Great job! Will we get to see the condo furnished?

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      February 10, 2012 at 2:24 am

      Thank you so much Jeanne! I was really worried about all of the colors and pattern, but it all came together in the end. I must say, that wool carpet is super nice! We have a running joke that Mom now has a new/old condo. 🙂 You should totally do VCT in your kitchen, I think you would really like it – and yes, only commercial sealer! I think there might just be some pics of the condo furnished coming up down the road…..stay tuned!

  11. Jen Reply

    February 10, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I LOVE the flooring. Well done!

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  13. Stacey Reply

    February 11, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    I love this flooring! Beautiful! I probably don’t have the energy for the VCT, but my house does need new carpeting. Your selection is beautiful. OK, I have to admit that I’ve never heard of wool carpeting. I’m here in the hot, Deep South and wool is just something we don’t use much of! It’s too dang hot! But can you tell me why your mom wanted wool carpet? Thanks!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      February 11, 2012 at 5:06 pm

      Thanks for the comment and the compliment Stacey!

      Actually, wool carpet has been around for a while. Ruth even had it in her 50s house, from when it was originally built, and unfortunately it was removed before they moved in. 🙁

      Mom really wanted wool because it is much more durable than synthetic carpet and it is supposed to better for people with allergies or chemical sensitivity. Apparently wool also has a natural stain resistance as well. I think all around it is probably a step up from the synthetic carpets. You will pay more up front, but it will last years longer than synthetic carpet.

      I think a lot of people don’t realize how awesome wool carpeting really is. When we went to the flooring place to inquire about it the sales guy was shocked and commented that not many people ask about wool carpet. You should go to your local flooring store and check it out, I think you will really like it!

  14. Stacey Reply

    February 11, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Thank you! That’s a thorough answer and exactly what I was hoping – that wool is better for you and will last longer. I will check it out. Thanks again.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      February 12, 2012 at 3:08 am

      No problem Stacey! Glad I could help, and let us know what you decide to go with.

  15. Annie B. Reply

    February 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Sara!!!!!!!!!!!! That floor!!!!!!!!!!

    Don’t you just want to lie down on it and make VCT angels or something??
    I, too, saw that pattern in AT and loved it. What great color choices.
    Does Hillyard make a sheet vinyl sealer, I wonder?

    My comment is late due to the fact that I took some time off to work on our floors: pulling up carpeting, pad, cleaning, restoring the vinyl underneath and oh – forgot to add moving furniture!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      February 13, 2012 at 6:50 pm

      Hee! You are too funny Annie! 🙂 I think I need to make snow angels in that VCT!

      You know, I am not sure if Hillyard does make a sheetvinyl sealer. You should check out the website and see if you can find anything.

      Wow! It sounds like you have been super busy with flooring projects yourself! I’m sure it looks FAB now though!

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  17. Teri F Reply

    October 13, 2013 at 1:24 am

    Hi! I can’t believe I just found your site :). I had to comment that last week I found a never installed aqua blue caloric stove and oven. Score! Anyways, today 10-12-13 we were looking at the flooring and I fell in love with the Congoleum aqua spring and corn silk colors. Now after seeing them here installed omg I can’t wait to get these ordered! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      October 13, 2013 at 1:53 am

      Wow Teri! It sounds like you made a TOTAL score with your Caloric stove and oven….go you! I think you will be really, really happy with that VCT color choice – it looks amazing together…it sounds like you are going to have one rockin’ kitchen between that great flooring and those FAB ovens!

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