JOHN L. MONTGOMERY
Professors Reeves, Shepard, and Tate
University of Florida
While a significant amount of original interior finish materials in Floyd
Hall, whether repaired or partially replaced, still remain, additions to the
building in the form of partitions, dropped ceilings, carpeting, and other
various modifications occur in many areas. The purpose of this report is
to discuss these existing materials, both original and added, their state
of condition, and to make recommendations for their restoration or replacement
The primary floor finish is that of vinyl composition tile (V.A.T.),
also known as vinyl asbestos tile (V.A.T.). The exact composition of the
material is not known, however, it is known that the tile is mounted to
either a vinyl or plywood underlayment, over the wood subfloor. The pre-
vious use of the building as the agriculture college with laboratories and
live cattle lectures would indicate that if the floors were originally ex-
posed, this would have been selective to hallways, bathrooms, offices, or
other similar spatial uses. Nevertheless, V.C.T. occurs in almost every
room of the building's present form. Carpet and exposed plywood appears
in limited areas, seemingly applied to a wood subfloor also. It should
be noted that the room originally used for cattle lectures is on grade
whereas the rest of the structure is not, therefore, it is logical to assume
that the V.C.T. in this area is applied directly to a concrete floor, how-
ever, this has not been determined.
Most every interior partition of the structure is painted plaster on
wood lath, where original, and painted gypsum wallboard where partitions
have been added. A few walls, however, appear to be some form of pressboard
made of a multitude of paper layers. The inner face of the exterior walls
are of a cementitious plaster in that it is applied directly to the face of
the brick without the aid of wood lath. This assumption is based on the
hardness of the surface upon striking.
The ceilings are generally painted plaster in the spaces still existing
from the original plan, indicating its original use throughout the entire
building, or major portion thereof. Where larger spaces have been broken
up with additional walls, the usual ceiling treatment is that of lay-in tile
or pressboard, either replacing completely or covering the plaster beneath,
generally being the former of the two.
Other interior finishes include wood moldings at the base and ceiling
levels with limited use at a picture molding height. Some vinyl base mold-
ing is used, predominately on the later, added walls. A wood wainscot appears
in the two north end rooms on the first floor, which were later sectioned off
with partitions, explaining why some of the existing spaces have wainscot on
only one or two walls.
State of Condition
Many of the problems evident in the condition of the finish materials
can be directly contributed to either water infiltration, due to leaks in
the existing roof, or to rather extreme temperature changes in the uncon-
ditioned space. Both of the problems would, assumingly, be eliminated when
the adaptation process is complete.
The majority of the V.C.T. has come loose, along with its plywood or
a wallboard-like material with a thin coat of plaster would provide a vir-
tually.maintenance-free surface in keeping with the aesthetics of the build-
ing, as well as life safety considerations. Lay-in acoustic tile ceilings,
if necessary for certain applications, should be sympathetic to the existing
interior features such as transoms, moldings, and window/door frames, however,
this ceiling type could probably be avoided entirely through other acoustic
The interior wall surfaces vary in their material types and adaptive measures
will, no doubt, require the removal and altering of their existing configuration.
This, coupled with their existing condition, supports the recommendation for
complete removal of these finishes. This is furthered supported by the diffi-
culty of repair and cost considerations associated with altering and matching
partitions and their surfaces. Through complete replacement, added and altered
wall configurations can be allowed for and continuity of materials and aesthet-
ics will be provided as well. The recommended finish treatment is that of thin
coat plaster applied over the appropriate wallboard-type surface. This is in
keeping with the original interior aesthetics yet is less costly than full-scale
plaster work over lath.
The existing flooring material will also require complete replacement due
to its present state of disrepair and poor condition. However, recommendations
as to the replacement material will ultimately depend on the function of the
adapted space. Suggested materials for consideration are carpeting, sheet
vinyl, tile, and exposed wood. Many other materials may be equally appropriate
according to use but, again, it should be reiterated that character and aesthet-
ics must be regarded as primary considerations.
Other original interior finishes, such as woodwork, moldings, and wainscot
should, whenever possible, be refinished or reused. When replacement is necessary,
vinyl underlayment, showing signs of rotted or damaged subfloors in several
areas. The other flooring finishes and subfloors are in equally poor con-
dition and will require immediate attention.
The interior plaster walls, for the most part, are in stable condition,
however, cracking, flaking and chipping is common throughout the entire struc-
ture. The inner face of the exterior wall is in relatively good condition yet
some settlement cracks and chipping is evident. The drywall and pressboard walls
are generally in poor condition, especially the latter, with gaping holes
occurring frequently in the pressboard. The wallboard shows signs of abuse
as well, through holes and torn areas.
The ceilings, both plaster and lay-in tile, are in extremely poor con-
dition. Large areas of plaster have fallen from its wood lath, causing several
light fixtures to fall. Much of the lay-in ceiling tile has also fallen or is
missing. The potential hazard created by this situation requires immediate
The following recommendations are somewhat subjective and will depend on
the purpose to which the building is to be adapted, changing accordingly.
However, the overall character, aesthetics, and historicism of the building,
in general, should take precedent over any subjective materials selection.
Therefore, it is with these considerations in mind that the subsequent recem-
mendations are made.
The first, and most important, issue to address is that of the ceilings.
As previously mentioned, their condition is critical and requires immediate
attention. The significant portion of the ceilings left intact are of such
disrepair that is strongly advisable to replace them entirely. The use of
whether total or partial, consideration to original shape and material should
be given, matching both whenever feasible. Great care should be given to these
materials, as well as all original finishes, as it is these materials that give
the quality of appearance and value to the historic building.
The preceding paper has dealt with the interior finishes of Floyd Hall and
recommendations have been made as to the repairing and replacement of these
materials. While virtually all of the recommendations involved replacement
of the existing finishes, all work on the building requires consultation with
The Secretary of Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation, as the building is
on the National Register of Historic Places. These guidelines, supplied by
the National Park Service, will act as a reference for the conscientious designer
in helping to keep the integrity and quality of the original building.