Sunday, May 20, 2007

Floor Tile Continued

With all the cement board down, I could turn to today's project of laying the tile. I kicked around a couple of layouts to see what would work the best and result in the fewest cuts. I found that by using the back wall of the house and the wall on the right side of the picture below, I could end up with full tiles in the most visible locations and also the fewest cuts. A lot of tile pros tell you to snap a chalk line grid to help lay out the tiles. I didn't listen to them and used my Ryobi laser to check both grout lines as I did each row. Basically, I just worked to make sure the grout lines were straight. It was surprisingly easy to do - probably because I'm just so damn good at this tile stuff.

As said, I used this wall as a main line for the grout lines. As said on a previous post, I am doing all the full-size tiles now and will come back and do all the cut-tiles when I can walk on the tiles. Then comes grout. As I laid the tile, I tried to mix up the colors and patterns on the tiles to avoid an area made up from all one color. I mixed up 9 boxes of tiles in the process, and am happy with the result. I also worked to keep the "grain" on some of the tiles from running in the same direction. I wanted a random look.

Once I got away from the edges I was able to move at a pretty good speed. I put down enough thinset to lay 6-8 tiles at a time.

At this point, I've put down as much tile as I can without first putting down more cement board. Five hours later I pulled the spacers from the tiles I could reach. I could have (should have?) left them in place until the thinset dried, but I can't leave it alone. Even without grout I'm very happy with how it's turning out.

More Travertine Flooring

It's cold and crappy outside, so what better reason to get away from the landscaping and start on the new kitchen flooring? I'm going to do the kitchen in stages, since we sort of need to be able to use the kitchen while we live here (it's where the microwave is, afterall). Stage One includes about half of the kitchen area, and covers the dining area and pathways to the back door, basement, and 1/2 bath. I'm planning on a full weekend to get the bulk of the work done on this area. That work should include laying the cement board and getting all full-size tiles installed. After this is done, I'll worry about the cut-down tiles and grout - probably to be done over the next few days.

Step one was to take care of the cement board underlayment. I went with Permabase 4'x4'x1/4". I was concerned with removal of the existing layers of vinyl flooring, as I'd bet that at least the older layer was made with asbestos. Instead of removing the layers and risking the health issues, I removed the loose areas and leveled it with thinset before installing the Permabase. Once each sheet of Permabase was installed, I used screws (a LOT of screws) to hold everything down. Yes, I know that having four corners of cement board coming together at the same place isn't the best layout.

Step two was taping the joints. I liked step two, because it took only a few minutes. Step one was the better part of the day and left me with an aching back from being hunched over for hours.