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Cannot refinish hardwoods under layers of linoleum - now what

13 years ago

Ugh ... I knew this might be a possibility, but I have not figured out what to choose, if I did -- in fact -- have to choose alternate flooring. I need input making a tough flooring decision. Opinions: please! (See below).

We are re-doing our kitchen (ourselves ... with help from electrician friend and cabinet hanging acquaintance and a couple of just very helpful friends:) ...). Anyway, we pulled out the gross 70s cabinets last night and peeled up one layer of linoleum, then a layer of plywood, then a layer of linoleum, then a layer of plywood, and then there's another layer of linoleum and then ......

Several hardwood floor refinishers had told us there was probably hardwood underneath everything and they could refinish the whole first floor and restore the kitchen floor to match pretty decently with the rest of the hardwood on the first floor (but we have not yet seen any quotes $$$$ on something like this). The other option, of course, is they strip everything down to the subfloor and put in new flooring and attempt to match it to the rest of the floors. However, I'm not sure if either of these are options at this point.

My husband says it will be way too messy and too time consuming and (inevitably too expensive as well), to actually go this route, after seeing the black tar-like glue under each layer of linoleum. He has at least one or two helpers lined up for each day of the kitchen project, all of the appliances ready to go, new cabinets are arriving today, etc. If we really wanted to do it the 'right way,' we would have to reschedule everything and deal with a half way torn up kitchen for a lot longer than we would otherwise have to .... My husband plans to peel up two layers of linoleum, a layer of plywood, put down a new layer of plywood, and then lay down new flooring ... flooring of what sort, we have no idea.

My question is: if you couldn't exactly match the wood in the kitchen to the dining room and living room and the wood floor in the kitchen would be at a different level than the dining room and living room floor (hubby would do the install of new wood flooring, after the cabinets were installed & then we would have the refinishers figure out a stain & attempt to match the rooms), would you even bother with wood flooring in the kitchen????

Should we choose something else entirely?? What's fairly easy to install, fairly easy to keep clean, and fairly inexpensive, that would match okay with our house, and still feel like an upgrade/update??

Our house was built in 1930; it is relatively small (hence the idea of wood floors throughout, coordinating some of the colors from the kitchen into the dining room and on into the living room, etc). We're installing painted white maple cabinets in the kitchen, along with the charcoal-colored soapstone-looking Formica from HD, a white Domjsko (sp?) sink from Ikea, and yet to be decided hardware and lighting (probably from Restoration Hardware). Kitchen will be a pale blue, but we're doing white subway tile backsplash on the longest wall in the kitchen (may incorporate some small black tile liner accents).

My husband thinks we'll be sorry putting in linoleum. I think we'll be sorry tiling; (we re-did our bathroom a couple of years ago; we were trying to go with a black and white vintage look. In my opinion, we ended up with a sometimes dirty-looking, hard to keep clean, black and white vintage look ...). We both like cork flooring and have friends that are very happy with cork flooring they recently installed in their kitchen, but I'm worried about whether that will 'go' with the house & look a little weird next to old wood floors, etc.

Sorry for the incredibly long, rambling message!! Any ideas would be GREATLY appreciated. Demo will be done by tonight. I need to come up with flooring decision in the next 24 hours.

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