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Saturday, April 21, 2012

T is for Tile and Tired

T is for Tile and Tired  because doing a renovation job with  ceramic tile can be tiring work.
 I'm at it again. Remember the wall?  The wall and door chewed up and scratched away by our mischievous pups Tilly the Tall and Ebony the Short?
  Well, this time it's the floor.
 No, our loyal pups did not  dig holes in the floor.  That old self-stick composite  tile is 30 years old.
 It wore pretty well and used to look nice.  Everything looks nice when it is new, doesn't it?
Some tiles loosened off a bit around the edges and pieces cracked away.  It curled a bit in places too. Old stuff is enough to curl your hair and crack your mind sometimes.
 We have to rip out the old composite tile and install new ceramic tile.  By the time I'm finished this job, I will also be tired.  Good thing I have a wonderful helper who is also the supervisor, planner, coffee-maker and cookie-baker.  
See how nice this old floor was?  It took a terrible beating with water, snow melting and mud being ground into it every day for 30 years. Not bad for being so old.
  This was the best section. It almost looked good as new, but not quite.   Heating the tile with a hair dryer to soften the glue was a brilliant idea,, but it really didn't help much, and the exposed glue smelled terrible!  A much better idea became obvious. It had to come off one way or the other.  We chose the other.
Cold, it came off in bits and pieces.  No worries.

 The tile came off in bits and pieces with this handy little thin-edged tool!   Notice how the pattern of the old tile is still on the floor? Don't kid yourself, even if composite or vinyl self-stick tiles are tightly placed, they shrink a tiny bit, and water eventually works it's way into the cracks, staining the floor. Surprisingly, the sub floor plywood is still in good, solid condition.

A pile of tile.  Rubble trouble.  Unfortunately, it has to go to the landfill. The brittle old composite tile with it's old glue is not usable for anything.  We do not have a recycling facility for such horrible stuff.


  The old glue sure smelled awful! Outdoors it went!
Off to the landfill it will go on garbage day.
Tilly the Tall inspects the trash, but Ebony the Short didn't like that stinky stuff very much! Time to schmooze on that remaining nice cool snow instead.

 We checked  the plywood carefully to make sure it is still solid. If you have any doubt, poke it with a sharp penknife.   The stains look terrible but the wood is still perfectly solid.   I ran the belt sander with #80 paper over the seams to remove any remaining lumps of glue, broken, sticky bits of tile, or other old unidentifiable guck.

Next job is to cut off the door trim and door jambs to allow just enough room for the tile to fit under it neatly. You have to remember space for the thin set tile cement!
Trimming the doorjambs

 That handy little battery-powered  oscillating Multi-tool made short work of that tough job!  We used a short piece of board just the right thickness for a natural guide to get the right height above the floor, enough to allow for the thin set and new tile.

 What a mess! Now the floor has to be vacuumed up perfectly again,  and the new ceramic tile laid out.  I know, this should have been called T for tough job instead of  T for Tile and Tired!  

 The layout and installation of the new tile will have to wait until there's more energy available.
  I think it's time for a snooze!  

 Is that incoming I hear?


  1. Wow! That is a lot of work. T is for terrific for doing such a bang on job RK...Now don't forget to show us when you finish so we can all ooohh and ahhh about how good it looks. Good job.....VK

    1. hi Vk, it is a lot of work. I will gladly show everyone when it is finished, I'll be so tired I'll need a cheering section...":) Thanks for visiting! ~R

  2. I can't imagine anything more tedious than tiling the floor. This sounds like something I'd gladly pay a contractor to do :)

    1. Katley, tedious isn't the word for it, but the hardest part is done already. I would gladly pay a contractor to do it too. It's always the $ isn't it, and I do know how to do it. Good thing...(raucous laughter)... ~R

  3. You had your two supervisors to keep you hopping, Tilly and Ebony. :-)

    1. Glory, wasn't that nice? They are SO helpful...haha!~R

  4. This is one of the jobs I hate the most...not the demolition...the recovery.

  5. hi Red, it's all in the mix. Thanks for the comments. This is going to be a tough one. A lot of work. ":)

  6. Demo is always fun. Swinging the sledge, hearing the wood crack and the feeling house shake as you rattle it's bones.

    Cleanup is no fun, but I don't mind laying tile. I sort of like it. Will you lay the new ceramic right on the plywood, or put down a cement backer first?

    1. hi Mike, welcome! I don't mind the wrecking either, the cleanup can be a pain, especially with old fiberglass insulation, 30 years of dust, etc.

      I'll lay the new ceramic right on the poplar underlay plywood in this instance, it's in good condition. If it was questionable, I would remove the 1/4" underlay entirely and just install cement backer. With acrylic-modified thin set cement you can put it on anything except Luan plywood which causes adhesion problems.

  7. This is hard work.. I know as we had something similar when we moved into our home and Hubby set himself the task and a half.. and wished he hadnt.
    Looks like you are doing a fine DIY job Raymond, my hat is off to you..

  8. Hi, Sue! Renovation is hard work! We did our bathroom completely a couple of years ago, 'just to replace the toilet gasket, and then 'just to do the floor' and ended up doing the whole floor and the walls too, had to move the plumbing for the vanity, so we redid the plumbing completely, floor, walls, everything in ceramic tile including the tub surround, so it was a big job. I have to do the hallway and the kitchen yet! ":) The problem is the cost involved..it costs so much to do it now! Thanks for the encouragement, Sue! Much appreciated! ~R


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