Tuesday 11 August 2015

Bad Taste

I was watching one of those shows on HGTV where they buy a home and then gut it so that they can have something totally different than they bought. You would think they could just buy a house that they wanted that needed less work done on it. That would make for a short TV show of course.

When they were looking for a home to demolish the star of the TV show would show them what was good and what was bad about the house. This particular host lifted up the wall to wall carpet and said “We are in luck; there are hardwood floors under the carpet.” The couple buying the house wondered why anyone would cover such a beautiful floor. I think I might know.
 Image result for hardwood flooring
When I was growing up we had hardwood floors in our home. I suspect that at the time hardwood was less expensive to install than buying hand woven rugs to put throughout the house. The floors were long lasting and stood up to a lot of punishment. We had carpets in select areas of our house, but it was mostly hardwood. Mom would sweep and or vacuum on a regular basis as mothers did back in the fifties. It was just something that needed to be done.

There was a difference between hardwood floors back then and now. Now the floors are coated with some kind of polyurethane coating which will protect the floor and give it a lovely shine. Back in the fifties that shine came in a can of paste wax that was hand rubbed onto the floor and then polished. I am getting ahead of myself though. First the floor had to be cleaned, which meant that the old wax needed to be stripped off of the floor. Mom would get down on her knees and scrub the floor with mineral spirits or varsol until the wood was clear of the old wax. I seem to remember mom using steel wool and working up to a clean cloth. It was a whole weekend job and she only did it a couple of times a year. Maybe just once. Here is a link that will give you an idea of the work involved.

After the floor was stripped of wax, it was time to put on the new wax so that the floor could be nice and shiny. My brother and I loved when she finished because we could slide all over the house in our socks. It was a hoot!
Now, as much fun as it was to slide on, the floors were cold in the winter and not very comfy to sit on while watching Saturday morning cartoons. When mom and dad could afford to get wall-to-wall broadloom they did. I can imagine how thrilled mom was that she would no longer have to strip the wax from the floor. The floor was warm in the winter and stretching out in front of the TV was just heavenly. The added bonus is that my brother and I could shuffle along in our stocking feet and create sparks that would shoot from our fingertips like a super hero. A sad super hero, but it was really cool.
Avoiding work is why people covered those gorgeous hardwood floors, not bad taste. Although, we can’t totally discount bad taste.


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