Priorities, priorities

Author: fraise

Sunday 22 November 2009, in Home improvement

Almost finished
My apartment has been giving me all sorts of opportunities to work on it lately. After the latest water damage (upstairs neighbor’s bathroom leaking into my living room), I discovered that the textured paint in my apartment could be removed by using a wallpaper glue dissolver. I started removing paint in my entry, since its walls have the least surface area of the rooms in my place. The paint removal went quickly and easily, but I discovered that a floorboard was hiding a shallow but long hole in the wall.

This had several implications: I’d also been removing tile in the entry. With the floorboard out and the wall needing repaired, I realized it would be best to finish taking tile off the floor before patching and painting the wall, in case I ran into any other areas that needed patched. I finally finished that difficult undertaking today, as shown in the photo above! Here it is “finished” (all tile removed). I’m glad to say that only the one floorboard area needs fixed, so I should be able to do that and repaint soon.

As for the entry flooring, I may try to remove the old, grey linoleum and restore the original floor beneath it. Easier, though, would be to find some nice-looking carpet tiles. My main criteria for replacement flooring are removability — no more adhesive! — and ease of trimming to my entry’s odd shapes. A floating parquet could do the job too, but would be harder to trim with the limited tools I have. Carpet tiles would be great since they would do double duty as an entry rug, and would be easily replaceable if/when they get too dirty. After all, my feet aren’t the only ones running around on it — my cats love to sleep in the entry, since the building’s heating pipes run under it before reaching my radiators and going to the rest of the building.

Then there’s still the living room! I started removing paint in the damaged nook first, since I’d like to paint it a darker, complementary color to the one I’ll be using for my living room. That way I can finish it first, then move furniture into it to make repainting the ceiling easier. Then I get to tackle painting the ceiling, removing paint from the rest of the walls in my place, then repainting those! And I still have to finish removing tile from the kitchen area. It’s nice to be making progress in the entry though, since it feels better to come home to a tidy entry.

8 responses to “Priorities, priorities”

  1. Ex-landlord S Says:

    Cork tiles are good too, if you’re facing a problem cutting around corners. You can use a soluble adhesive, varnish them (making them easy to clean), plus they’re warm for cats and the colour would blend in well with your tomettes. And they’re super cheap. Don’t hesitate to ask if you need plastering tips/help for that wall… We’ll be in Nice end of December/early Jan.

  2. fraise Says:

    Thanks for that! Cork tiles sound great – where can you find those here? I’ve only had time to look online (Castorama), all I could find were cork base layers — I’m guessing they’re not the same density as cork tiles meant for direct traffic. (Probably Bricorama and/or Ciffreo carry them?)

    Soluble adhesive, I’m so glad to hear that exists!! Nothing has been worse than this tile adhesive on the linoleum; it stuck *very* well to both the ceramic tile and the lino, urgh. (With the tomettes, they’d been taken care of and so had enough wax protection to let very little adhesive soak in. Compared to the entry situation, taking tile off the tomettes is downright simple.)

    It should be okay for the wall, though I’ll find out whether or not that’s actually true this weekend when I attempt it :)

  3. Ex-landlord S Says:

    Ah, mince… I didn’t think about that. You’re right, I’m not sure they’re easy to get hold of in France. We did our floor in London in cork, but it’s very popular in the UK. The only sure way to get hold of it in France is via the Internet (where I even found a cork tile design called “Nice” in a sort of Provencal ochre!), but then you have to be at home when they send it… That’s a shame. I don’t envy your tile removal job. Our kitchen in Nice has a nice hard coating of adhesive to shift before we can restore the original tilework. After reflooring seven apartments over the years, we’ve decided to get the professionals in to do our floor in Paris! At least we save on the VAT…

  4. fraise Says:

    That could still work for the cork though, I could have it delivered to our offices (I only need 3sq.m so doubt it would weigh too much). Where did you find it on the Internet?

    So you have adhesive to remove too! It’s such a pain. (What kind of floors do you have in Paris?)

  5. Ex-landlord S Says:

    I found them on this website: They cost around 50€ for 2sq.m., which is okay, I think. I love the look of Taurus. This site has some cheaper & simpler floor ones and they seem to be from Castorama.

    It’s made me rethink what to do in Paris. We’ve got wooden floors but, given these are old maids’ rooms, they’re made from simple planks of pine and are in an awful state, so we’ve been thinking of replacing them. But the quotes for wooden flooring were a little breathtaking…

  6. fraise Says:

    Wow, Taurus is indeed beautiful!

    Pine, that’s a shame, they really went cheap on the maid’s rooms. Wooden flooring is very expensive to put in, yes! Good wood floors should be done in a hardwood (expensive), then for new ones, the sealers and finish take a long time and require a lot of caution (most are toxic… they can give off toxic gasses for a while, too). If the pine floors are level and smooth, they could indeed be a good base for something else.

    While looking for something about off-gassing I found this neat guide to green flooring (from the US):
    Here’s a much longer one:
    (I had no idea cork was so durable!)

    There are gorgeous terracotta tiles here:
    no idea what the prices are like, though…!

  7. Thierry Says:

    Found some cork tiles (and also some bamboo which could be good but more difficult to cut into shape) at Saint-Maclou.
    Nice Ariane
    53/55 bvd de l’Ariane
    6300 Nice
    The great thing about cork is that you can choose your varnish (and even taint it) and test different look before you put it on (might not be worth it for your entrance, but it’s best to get it right when you do large rooms!)

  8. Buckinghamshire Says:

    Wooden Flooring can be expensive option. However we have used reclaimed wooden flooring, and although it has been used can give such a beautiful finish. You can find all types of reclaimed wooden flooring including oak which is my favourite.

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