Thursday, March 25, 2010

The tile, revisited.

I bet you're hoping for those fabulous before and after photos I promised, aren't you? Well let's not rush things. We like to take our time around here. As witnessed by these first two photos.

Here is Sam working on the floor with daddy. See the date on the photo? March 2004.

Here is Sam working on the floor by himself. Same kid. Same flooring project. Six years later.

I could end this post right here, couldn't I?

How about just a minute to reflect? Go ahead. I'll wait.

OK, to truly appreciate the magnitude of this project and how happy I am to have it (much closer to) complete, I present What We've Been Living With:

On the left is the newest cement backerboard, all pretty and clean. On the right is the permadirty backerboard of six years ago. Disgusting. *shudder*

And the wide open expanse of permadirty. I can't even blame the poor picture quality on my camera this time. That's how gross this floor was.

The first three rows were the hardest. Yes, I know we were doing it all wrong! You're supposed to find the center point of the room and make a chalk line and start the installation at the 90-degree angle in the center of the room. Yada yada yada. I knew all this, however I was adamant that I wanted a full tile along the edge of the room leading into the dining room and no amount of adjusting and tweaking from the center point of the room would make that happen, so we started where I wanted to.

Also, somewhere between the second and third rows there is a hump in the floor. Our house is a manufactured home that was delivered in two very long pieces and joined together over a crawlspace. For some reason the seam had always been obvious in this room (lumpy floors have a way of being obvious), so we knew we had to find a way to work around it. I think we did a fine job, but not without a couple of foibles. More about that later.

See? We managed. No sledding hill-sized lumps or bumps here.

I feel like I'm back in my newspaper days being all disappointed that I didn't really take any action shots. But trust me, you do not want to see pictures of me and Sue while we were working. Really. Neither of us would mind telling you it was not a pretty sight. So these photos are about as interesting as it gets.

Moving along.

Did I mention that installing tiles can be a dangerous job?

 I spared you the really bloody picture in favor of a Barbie Band-Aid.

You're welcome.

The cut to the palm was the result of a surprise break-then-drop-and-only-half-catch of a tile. They're 16-inch tiles, by the way. Those are huge. The slash on the wrist? That's what happens when a lefty gets in a hurry and tries to use a trowel right-handed.

What did you think I was going to say, that I was really unhappy with how the project was going?

Fortunately that was the worst of the injuries. The rest was just hungry tummies and sore muscles. But all the aches and pains in this out-of-shape body are so worth it for the end result.

Ahhhhh. Beautiful. I'd like to kiss it, but I'm afraid once I got down there I wouldn't be able to get back up.

Full disclosure: We do still have some cuts to make that we realized we just aren't talented enough to do without a wet saw, so I will be renting one of those in the next day or two. And then, of course, when all the mortar is absolutely positively cured/set/dry/whatever, we will grout. And then trim around the edges. But look! The majority of the work is done. Hallelujah!

Later I'll post some outtakes. They involve broken tiles, two punchy DIY'ers, hyper kids, and freaked out pets.


  1. The floor looks GREAT, Jen! Way to go!

  2. Looks great Jen!! I bet Steve is so sorry he missed out on that project :)

  3. Thank you, ladies!

    Yeah Bobbi, I'm sure Steve is broken up about missing this. LOL! It was quite the undertaking!