Thursday, July 29, 2010

Home Improvement

I don't think I will ever remove another tile floor. Don't ever kid yourself into thinking it's an easy, do-it-yourself project! Hehe, what's that about hindsight is 20/20? While I absolutely love our new floor, it was one of the most tedious projects to date. It took nearly 4 straight days and an odd array of tools to get the old floor up. The guys kept asking, was it really worth it? What's wrong with the old floor, it's white, everything goes with white?

Try explaining to a guy why a stark white floor doesn't look as good as a tannish/yellowish/brownish floor when your cabinets are warm maple colored and the walls will be a soft yellow, and that all of the appliances are black. White just doesn't work. It's too harsh, too plain, too hard to keep looking white, and it would be the only white thing in the room.

Before the floor went in, we had to remove all the old cabinets (all 5 of them) and remove the old tiles and base moulding. Here's the "before" photos. Notice the extreme lack of counter space and sweet particleboard countertop.

The kitchen cabinets on their way out... (to be painted and used in my craft studio!)

Here's a random dining room shot just to show the disarray. Any flat surface became fair game for tape measures, levels, screwdrivers, drills, you name it (and kitchen cabinet boxes in this case). Note the awesome bed sheet curtains. We'll have real curtains eventually, I promise!

Next, the old floor was taken up. We didn't think it would be that bad, but anytime you got a corner of the tile up, the rest just shattered. We used chisels and hammers, shovels, a huge ice cutter thing, a crow bar, and just about anything that could be used as a lever/wedge. My brother models the shovel method (which I don't think worked that well).

Then the backerboard with a layer of mortar underneath went down. It's also called cement board. The *nice* thing about remodeling an old house is that the floors aren't very level. This made installing the floor particularly tricky.

After the backerboard and mortar settled in, it was time to put on the new tile. We used a ceramic tile, so it will be very durable. That's really important because the doorway next to the kitchen is a high traffic area.

The tile took about 6 hours to get down between mortaring, adhering, measuring, and cutting. Our kitchen is a goofy shape, it's rectangular with one wall that has "steps" taken out (which makes the room smaller) for ductwork. Plus it wraps around a small wall and goes towards the side entrance. The tile laying went smooth by the windows, but got funky when we got closer to all of the doorways.

I had a little too much fun photographing the tile spacers. The sheer quantity (400 or so) reminds me of containers of beads.

I don't have a full photo of the completed floor, but it will come with a photo of the completed kitchen. We still need to finish several other projects. We still need to tile the counters with black granite, install the stove hood, put up the breakfast bar, finish framing out the "hole in the wall (shown below)," put on the cabinet hardware (since the cabinets are up), and install the tile backsplash. That sounds like a lot more now that I've written it out!

I'll post more as we move along! If you have any questions about putting in a tile floor, we have become experts of a sort.


The Quilted House said...

I don't envy your that job! I've learned to triple the time and effort for EVERY home improvement endeavor! It's SO worth it though! Can't wait to see the finish!

Stefani said...

Making a house a home is very satisfying - good for you guys!