Monday, June 14, 2010

Can You See The Difference?

Recently my landlord got his plumber friend to fix the shower drain: the original pipe design prevented it from being snaked. (It has been making me deliriously happy to shower while not standing in ankle deep water... I assume this will pass (the feeling, not the ability to drain), but for now, I'm enjoying it.)

In order to get to the pipes, he had to cut a hole in the ceiling in the apartment below mine (sorry neighbour!), because there was no other access. Then the old pipes had to be cut. All this vibration caused my floor to vibrate, and bounce dirt out from under the loose tiles that I hadn't realized were loose. (Conversation that led to the discovery:
me: "You missed some dirt when you swept up, but thanks for sweeping up. Where did the dirt come from? It doesn't look like there were any dirt-causing activities in my apartment."
landlord: "All I did was run water in your tub, the dirt must have been there before."
me: "I know my apartment isn't clean, but I know what dirt is and isn't there."
Then I did some poking around, and discovered the loose tiles, plus more dirt under them.)

Anyway, after discovering the loose linoleum tiles, I asked about getting them glued back down. The caretaker will be in on Monday to do so.

Given how my last complaint about the plumber leaving dirt in the bathroom resulted in the caretaker caulking *over* the dirt (without making an attempt to remove the dirt first), I decided it would be best to get rid of as much dirt as I could before the caretaker showed up with glue. (*shudder*)

Cast of characters:
Shiny new bucket, ammonia (to strip the old finish off), el-cheapo scrubby (I couldn't find a nylon-bristle brush when I went shopping on Saturday), latex-free disposable gloves (not perfect, but they at least cut down the amount of ammonia-skin contact), and (not shown) an old hand-knit dishcloth that has reached rag status.

Goal: strip any old finish, do a really good cleaning job, then apply Future floor polish. According to this website, stripping is done with straight ammonia. (*gag*) Here's a sequence of "before" (but after sweeping, on left/top) and "after" (on right/bottom) stripping photos.





I'm not sure the photos show any difference, but there is a difference in person. Stripping with ammonia and rinsing with water took *forever*, and, given the colour of the rinse water, I could probably do this step again. This step will have to be enough before my caretaker comes tomorrow.

Steps still to do:
• possibly a second stripping
• water + vinegar rinse
• wash with Armstrong floor cleaner (pre-finish cleaner recommended on the bottle of Future)
• another water + vinegar rinse
• polish with Future
• perhaps polish a second time... it's been a *long* time since this floor was taken care of, and I suspect the first coat of Future might just soak right in.

I've noticed that Future is an acrylic polish, and a lot of online sites recommend paste wax for linoleum... anyone know pros/cons of Future vs paste wax? (Beyond Future being much easier to apply, of course.) It looks like something similar to Future was used many years ago, so I suspect that going the acrylic method won't be causing any harm.

Anyone want a tour of my sparkly bathroom floor after it's all done? (But please ignore the grunge in the rest of the apartment.)

Of course, after all this is done in the bathroom, I need to repeat the process in the kitchen... a *much* bigger floor, and with more obstacles. I'll move the chairs out, but there'll still be the table, and I also want to do under the stove and fridge. (Two very scary places right now.)

Anyone know where to buy a respirator? :P

Oh... one last thing for this post: anyone have any suggestions for dealing with the stain beside the toilet? When the toilet plumbing was fixed, it didn't end up back in quite the same spot, and the hidden tiles had gotten stained. (By water. I'm telling myself it's water stains, plus maybe some rust.) Thoughts I've had so far: bleach (after making double extra sure all ammonia residue is gone) or paint (I'm pretty sure this tile will be replaced when I move out... a nice decorative border wouldn't hurt anything, would it?)


Nicole MacDonald said...

I'm suggesting a thick paste of baking soda & water left for a few days or maybe straight sugar soap? It gets the coffee of the bottom of the flask when left over night - and its the ONLY thing that does that :) Good luck!

Sox said...

You could buy a respirator at Princess Auto. I think Lee Valley sells them too.
As to the Future/wax debate, I guess it depends if the tiles are really linoleum or if they are old vinyl. I am not sure about old vinyl but with linoleum, you should be able to see the colour/pattern all the way down the side of the tile (depending how much thickness is left). You mentined the floors are old, but here is some info anyway...
Success to you. That is a big job.

noricum said...

Thanks for the tips!

Nicole: I've never heard of sugar soap. I'll have to google that. The baking soda suggestion sounds low effort and cheap, so I'll definitely try that. ;)

Sox: Yep, it's definitely linoleum and not vinyl. (The pattern goes all the way through.) Thanks for the link! I'll check that out. :)

patricia elaine said...

how did the baking soda paste work as i have similar problem after wok done in my loo by landlord.

noricum said...

I haven't had a chance to try it yet... I'll post when I do. My mom also suggested lemon juice.