Mid-Century Kitchen Floor Mishap

We’re loving the new kitchen, but one part is not working out well: the flooring. We installed Armstrong Vinyl Composite tiles, and while I would still recommend them as part of a mid-century remodel, learn from our mistakes!

Vinyl Composite Tiles (VCT) are 12×12 tiles made of vinyl that are glued down to install, then stripped and polished to create a smooth durable floor. They are not commonly used in residential remodels these days, but variations of this tile was popular in the 1950s. With this in mind, we were inspired by Pam Keuber’s (of Retro Renovation) Azrock VCT kitchen and amazing Eichler renovations on Destination Eichler.

It’s tough to see the detail in the tiles from the picture, but the subtle design works well in our kitchen (we think, anyway):

So what went wrong?

The biggest issue is we did not get the concrete underneath the flooring perfectly smooth. Because VCT is thin, the surface it is installed on must be perfect. We knew this going in, but definitely didn’t get the floor as smooth as it needed to be. A lot of areas are “telescoping” (little bumps are forming where tiny debri are stuck under the floor).

Another issue is is the so-so polishing job (done by me). It looked okay at first, but it is very susceptible to scratches, and we have a large dog with tough claws. This flooring also needs re-polished every 6-12 months. I don’t think I am up to the task again, but we also don’t want to add the ongoing expense of hiring a professional.

If you’re still sold on VCT for your kitchen I think it can be done well and look great, but it might be worth hiring a professional, or at least heeding warnings that the floor must be PERFECTLY smooth underneath.

Welcome to Rambler Renovation!

My name is Kristen and I love mid-century homes, especially ranches (aka “ramblers”). My husband and I purchased our 1955 ranch in 2021 and we are on a mission to bring back the mid-century charm.

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