Thursday, April 25, 2013
V.....is for Varnish
I was a young wife and new mother living in a subdivision filled with others just like me. Our homes were close to being clones on the outside, but of course the interiors were a bit different. We would get together and have coffee most days and talk about many things but mostly about kids and about shortcuts we could take with home improvement or cleaning.
My kitchen floor was a thorn in my side. It was linoleum and well used. I would wax it and the wax would just soak in and give minimum shine. Back then we all took pride in the shine we could get on our kitchen floors. One day my girlfriend and I were talking about this and she came up with the idea of putting varnish on the floor. She said it stood to reason that it would shine and if we used Marine varnish which was made for boats, it would be twice as good and able to withstand spills that happen in the kitchen. I didn't tell my neighbors about this but decided to do it. My girlfriend who had the idea lived about 3 miles away and she was going to do it as well. By the way, her results and mine were alike.
We went to the store and made our purchases. All I can say is that I'm so thankful that I had made up a new batch of baby formula that would last several days and also thankful that the refrigerator door could be opened and the contents accessed by leaning from the living room across the doorway without having to touch the floor. I moved everything out of the kitchen that could be moved and painted away. Not one to cut corners, I figured I would do the countertops as well. I painted the varnish onto the surfaces and I will have to say that it did look absolutely beautiful. Now that was the shine I had been dreaming about!
However, I didn't anticipate it taking 3 days to dry!! I think my husband was about ready to push me off a tall building by the time we were finally able to walk on that floor. But it did look great!! My neighbors started commenting on my floor and asked me what kind of wax I was using. I hesitated telling them what I'd really done, but I finally broke down and did. Most of them were horrified. Eventually the varnish began to wear in the traffic paths and it looked dull in those areas, the rest of it looking nice and shiny. The countertops did the same thing with the varnish actually starting to peel in areas. I didn't know how to safely remove it so it would look uniform and I didn't dare put another coat on it, so it had to stay the way it was. I imagine after the new owners took possession of our house several years later they called me a bunch of names. The floor looked so bad after a while that I ended up putting a round rug under the table and chairs to help hide it.
So I learned a lesson. After that they came out with flooring that had its own shine and then there was kitchen carpeting.....which I had at the new house and wouldn't recommend unless you live alone and never cook. This is just one of several really dumb things I did when first married.....but hey.....this is how inventions are born, right?