Sometimes I don’t know when to call it quits.
Saturday I went for an epic trail run—scaling massive hills, technical climbs and descents, the works. I should’ve been out of commission for the rest of the day, but sitting in our living room were two boxes that called out for attention: one had our new linoleum tiles, the other a suspiciously large tub of adhesive. Get to work, Uncle F#*k-Up!
Let me explain that when I say linoleum, I mean it. Vinyl flooring is for truck stop bathrooms. True linoleum is a green product and has been around for ages. It works great but in the atomic years of the 1950s, Papa Science declared that plastics were the wave of the future. Enter the vinyl floor, a product that rips and shows white underneath, shines like a used car salesman’s hair, and puts out smelly and toxic gases for, oh, a few thousand years. It’s taken us another fifty years but we’re realizing that real linoleum, made from wood flour and rosin, is really a much better product. For our bathroom we used Marmoleum MCT from Forbo in a striking grey marbled color called Dove Grey. It smells good, truly. And the adhesive smells like, well, nothing. I was amazed I could install flooring and smell nothing worse than my own dripping armpits. Why were they dripping? Because this is the hardest most body-punishing work imaginable!
Here are some tiles cut, rotated, and fit on the floor. Mind the gap! Nothing’s glued down yet, this is just to be sure everything works. Now spread the glue and don’t drop anything in that toilet waste line hole because you’ll won’t want to reach in there to retrieve it. It’s like Satan’s bowels.
Good, the glue is spread with a 1/16” square notched trowel. If I were smart, I would’ve bought five-dollar foam kneepads before starting this project. Instead I “roughed it”, Uncle F#*k-Up style, which meant I ground my kneecaps into bone flour, then abraded the ligaments and muscle until my lower leg hung like a limp windsock. Learn from my mistake: use kneepads if you’re going to be kneeling on a bathroom floor all day. Or stop drinking so much.
Despite all the pain, the flooring went in by about 9 Saturday night, and I rewarded myself with a glass of ale. Then I went comatose until sometime Sunday morning. Toddler Harbat gives the new floor the face of…um…
Then came the toilet. Here’s the mistake I made: “This will be the easiest part of the project!” Fate, it seems, has good senses of hearing and humor. I destroyed the first wax ring and said naughty words. The second time around I was lowering the 60-pound porcelain altar down onto a pair of perfectly-balanced upright bolts, yelling at my wife to tell me if I was lined up when it hit me: this is what astronauts feel when docking the shuttle to an airlock. Extreme high pressure, no room for error, and the visual acuity of Mole man. But the toilet is on and so far nothing unspeakable has leaked out onto our new floor.
Still left to do: install baseboard to cover up that nasty brown where the old craptastic 70s vinyl was glued [glued!] to the wall. I have full confidence Uncle F#*k-Up will cut perfect miters for all the corners and everything will go smooth as crap through a goose. Yep.
What have I learned from this whole project? One, you can do many more things yourself than you realize. Two, you may not want to do those projects. I now know how to install linoleum tiles and if anyone asks, I’ll tell them to buy kneepads so they can crouch down periodically and watch someone else do it.