How to fix this flooded kitchen floor?
July 21, 2013 1:19 PM   Subscribe

Bought this house about three years ago and then learned that the water pipes, under the concrete-terrazzo slab, had burst and flooded the place (no, incompetent inspector did not notice this). The previous owner had then laid down an inexpensive woodlike floor. That was carelessly done but looked okay overall, except that residual water had stained and darkened a few areas. I had the house re-piped and the floor seemed to have dried and healed leaving just those few dark spots.

But recently, the HVAC drain clogged, and did a bit more flooding and although that too is now fixed, the kitchen's woodlike floor has buckled some and the stains have spread. It looks pretty crappy. I'll have it all inspected again and be sure it's finally repaired, but now the question is what to do about the ugly floor?

I intend to sell the house soon so want it to look good, and want to be able to fully disclose this history, but want to minimize further investment within reason and ethical boundaries. I could tear out the woodlike floor in the kitchen only, and then tile that room. But that's work. And pricey. I'm thinking of painting it. Some kind of epoxy?

What would you suggest? Something waterproof against normal kitchen spillage, something rather glossy but not slick to walk on. The kitchen is black tile, white walls and cabinets, stainless steel appliances. Was thinking black floor, but this is Florida and fear it will be too dark--although the gloss would help bounce light.

Suggestions for colors, materials, methods, cautions or other, alternative ideas?

Thanks so much.
posted by fivesavagepalms to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Here's a tutorial:

"How to paint a laminate floor: yes, it can be done!"

Is it possible the previous owner saved enough extra laminate planking that you could just replace that particular damaged section?
posted by slidell at 1:51 PM on July 21, 2013

Read the comments on that tutorial, though. Sounds like it has required a fair bit of maintenance.
posted by slidell at 1:55 PM on July 21, 2013

If the floors have buckled, just ditch them. How big a space are we talking about? Because if you're selling, you could put the new inexpensive flooring in, and just save yourself a huge amount of aggravation. You can get natural stone tile for $5 a square foot, slate for $3.75, wood laminate for $3.00. I'd spend the money and just re-do the floors. Because really, there is no way through this that is both cheap and painless.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:34 PM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you want to redo the floor, you can potentially do it for cheaper than those prices, and going cheap might be appropriate knowing that the next owners may well want to remodel. You can get laminate at Home Depot right now for $0.79/sf plus another maybe 30 cents/sf if you have to redo the underlayment. You can get tile for $0.59/sf (pdf), plus ... maybe another dollar/sf (?) total for the concrete board, mortar, and grout. But with tile, you have to worry about the adequacy of your floor framing and subfloor, and it'll be more physical labor to pull it out, so I'd probably stick with laminate.
posted by slidell at 4:59 PM on July 21, 2013

(My comment is not to imply DarlingBri is wrong, only that you can find lower quality materials if price is your main concern.)
posted by slidell at 5:05 PM on July 21, 2013

As previously mentioned, if the floors are buckled you need to remove them. Wood-look floors (most likely laminate flooring) are not made to withstand any amount of flooding.

For materials to consider, first determine a budget. As a former floor-covering guru I can tell you there are several options that could work well for you, but the price range is wide.

Tile could work well, but tends to be slippery - more texture is better, but it's still slippery when wet.
Also, tends to be more costly, on the installation side.

Sheet Vinyl (commonly incorrectly referred to as linoleum) is a less expensive option, and it comes in 12 ft wide rolls, so it'll be a continuous sheet that spills won't soak through. There are several grades and thus a wide price range.
Most styles are not shiny. In fact, I don't recall any shiny options.
Like tile, it will be slippery when wet.
Vinyl is usually the best bang for the buck when it comes to installed total price.

And there's always another laminate (wood-look) floor. It works well so long as it doesn't get wet; it can withstand some spills so long as they're wiped up quickly.

If you have any additional questions about any particular products, feel free to message me and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
posted by nickthetourist at 11:13 PM on July 21, 2013

Response by poster: Update:
Tore out the cheesy laminate and replaced it with tile. Looks gorgeous. Expensive, but we hope it adds value. Place goes up for sale Oct. 1. Thanks for your thoughts.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 12:32 PM on August 21, 2013

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