What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Reviving Sheet Flooring

We do not wear shoes indoors so clean floors is very important to me. The bathrooms, utility room and walk-in pantry in this house have older sheet flooring. My husband took one look at the utility room and in an appeasing voice promised new flooring. But I had other plans! The floor itself was in good condition just very dirty looking. It wouldn't have been flooring I chose but it works well for the room and besides we have enough to do that the money for new flooring would be better spent elsewhere.

So I pulled out my trusty bottle of household ammonia and tested a small area in the corner. Just as I suspected, the area came up considerably cleaner so now I knew what I was up against. Sheet flooring can become dirty looking from dirt or wax build-up or a combination of waxing over not quite clean floors and trapping the dirt in between layers of wax. I suspected in this case it was several wax layers trapping dirt combined with surface dirt. I decided to do a larger patch to see if my suspicions were correct. I picked up another bottle of household ammonia and a stiff scrub brush from the dollar store*. Armed with a large bowl of water and rags for wiping down the area after cleaning I set to work (1). The ammonia solution thickened as I scrubbed the larger patch so I knew for sure there was a heavy wax build-up.

There is no doubt about it, this is a hands and knees cleaning job. Ammonia is hard to work with for any length of time especially for those like me with respiratory problems. It is essential to work in a well ventilated space for short periods at a time when using ammonia full strength. My method was to pour the undiluted ammonia onto the floor then scub with the brush spreading the ammonia in about a 2 square foot area. I had the ceiling fan on as well as all windows in the area wide open. As the ammonia became thick with the built-up wax and the ammonia smell dissapated somewhat, I wiped down the the section with clean water. Wiping the section well with clean water is very important to prevent any wax from resettling on the floor. The edges of each section remain sticky for quite some time allowing the next section to overlap and remove all the wax and grime. Then I would take a ten to fifteen minute break and do another section. By mid-afternoon almost half of the room was finished (2) and by the time my husband arrived home only a large strip in front of the utility room door remained (3). I was very pleased with my frugality and the outcome so proudly told him to come and see what I had done. He could not believe how the floor came out looking like new! The next morning I finished up the large strip with the final picture taken (4) at the entrance between the family and utility rooms. Once the entire floor was cleaned, I went over it again with clear water checking for any sticky spots. This particular sheet floor still has a wonderful shine to it even though I did not wax it but some floors will come up dull after cleaning so will need a coat of good quality floor wax. For a total cost of $4.50 and a little elbow grease the floor ( ~ 10' x 10') looks like brand new! Not bad, eh?

*Watch for a post on dollar stores shortly as many available household items can really help stretch the dollar when renovating, decorating or simply cleaning a new to you home.

Garden Gnome
© 2007


Kristy Sand-Lentz said...

The floor looks beautiful! Now when you move the freezers...lol
love reading your blogs! this one and Mom's kitchen are bookmarked...
Kristy in North GA

Garden Gnome said...

I think the floor came out wonderful. On a scale of 1 to 10 for a DIY project I would give it a 7. Those with mobility problems would not be able to do this and those with respiratory problems might find it difficult but for the most part it is a cheap, easy solution that works!

We are left with that ugly rusted, indented mark from the former freezer in the walk-in pantry. Since the pantry is basically my domain and in most cases it won't be seen by others the only concern is keeping the floor clean. I'll try the ammonia trick in there but ventilation will be a problem. It will likely take up the rust but not the indentation.