February 9, 2012New 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.
And the 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!
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. 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. 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!!!
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!