I spent this cold but sunny Sunday playing with a heat gun on our future kitchen floor, removing adhesive left behind by tiles the state tore out in 2010. It was freezing outside today, and we have no heat inside, so I hung by a ceramic space heater for hours while I softened residual mastic and tar paper with a heat gun in my left hand and then gently pried it loose, taking care not to gouge the underlying wood floor, with a scraper in my right. It’s slow-going, nasty business. I wore a mask because the tar stinks a bit, and it bubbles and smokes if you don't distribute the heat evenly, applying just enough to loosen the grip of the mastic before half-pushing and half-lifting it from the wood. I was wishing for an old-fashioned boot scraper, because the tar sticks to the tool and blunts the edge, but I just used the sole of my boot to wipe off the tar as I slowly cleared out this patch of pine floorboards.
When we first saw our future kitchen, it had this equally noxious and ugly green-and-white checkerboard tile floor.
After the state's hazmat squad cleared it out, we assumed the underlying floor was plywood, so we were planning to install antique salvaged planks atop the residual adhesive. Then Kevin tore down an old cupboard and discovered these pristine straight-grain heart-pine floorboards underneath.
They’re not wide-plank like the other wood floors throughout the house, because the kitchen was added onto the original footprint in 1910, but they’re nice enough to sand—after we coax off the remains of the old tile job. Sanding will be a joy by comparison.