Published at Saturday, 02 February 2019. Kitchen Floors. By Gerda Andersen.
Homeowners were at first content to varnish their beadboard or other wooden walls, but as concerns with sanitation grew at the turn of the century they covered kitchen walls with glazed white tiles, usually 3" x 6" subway tiles. White tile was frequently used behind coal-burning ranges, where it made the wall easier to clean, so it was logical to extend the tile to the sink area. Painted or sculpted tiles played an important decorative role early in the 20th century, primarily around the fireplace, but weren't common in the kitchen until the late 1920s.
Use a rubber mallet to pound them into place. To remove a tile that is going in the wrong direction after it is set, insert a stiff putty knife under the tile and work it loose. Once you have applied adhesive to an area work quickly or it will begin to set up. As you lay tile, use the chalk lines and/or straight edge to make sure you are keeping the pattern in line.
A means to re-creating the appearance of carpet, floorcloths and flooring stencils have been documented in early homes from about 1740 through well into the 19th century. Patterns can be surprisingly detailed and intricate, incorporating design elements such as flowers and leaves, pinwheels, and starbursts.
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