Tuesday, February 16, 2010

House Interrupted - Tile Installation

Okay, our tile job is almost done. It has been crazy - so many other projects have come along in the process! For now, I'm here to share the installation process. I'm not going into serious detail about how to lay tile because I'm no expert; but I have helped on jobs before, and it is totally possible for a homeowner to do their research and read the product directions and do it themselves. Two of my favorite blogs are helpful; Bower Power gives some good floor tiling tips here and explains the process thoroughly, as does Young House Love on both shower tiling and floor tiling here.

But we have a tiler in the family, so we weren't on our own. Here's our tiler and brother-in-law, Paul, and Ty laying the Schluter Ditra...

I know; the what? Schluter Ditra is a flexible plastic base that is adhered to the floor using thin-set. Then the thin-set and tile on top of that are able to flex seprately from the floor if the house settles, so the tile and grout won't crack. This is especially good for our house since it's about 70 years old and we have posts and beams under our house, rather than it spanning a foundation. This product will make it so the settling of different areas of the floor shouldn't cause cracking.

They finished installing the Schluter on the whole area, and it can be walked on immediately, so they started laying the tile in the brick pattern I chose...

After the thin-set cured (over night in our case), Mark and Paul went around taking out all the spacers. Then it was my job to 1) Gouge out spots like this where the thin-set squeezed up...

2) Vacuum out all the cracks to get them clean and ready for grout, and 3) sponge down the entire floor to remove any thin-set that may have gotten on the faces of the tiles. Yeah, after crawling around twice and bending over vacuuming once, all around a 320 square foot area, my back is killing me and my knees are so sore! I don't know how the guys did it for days! Strong men!

We're getting closer. Now comes the grouting... except I didn't get any pictures. And grouting is the best part! It was 8 pm, the kids were fussy and Ty and our nephew were there to help Paul, so the kids and I promptly received the boot. I went and put the kids to sleep at the MIL's apartment basement. And pouted because I didn't get to help. Then I ate a Valentine cookie from my mom. Then I watched HGTV (which we don't have at our house), and I felt better.

So, now, for 5 days I have to mop the floor every day to help the grout cure. During that time I have 1 down and 3 more painting projects to complete while the baseboard trim is off. Then I get to roll on sealer. THEN I get to put my trim back on and get my house in order and take after pictures and blog about it!

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