Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Since The Last Time

I've been quite busy on several projects since I last posted. I believe I mentioned that I completed the final finish on the living room rafters and ceiling. I'll try to get photos of that soon. I spent most of Monday trying to gather material for the house. I was partially successful. I did get enough to install the slate floor in the bathroom though and am very happy with the result. Please excuse the photos however; the color is way off. I have the window in here temporarily boarded up and so the bathroom doesn't get good light.
Well, first Allen installed the Durock over the plywood subfloor. It is 1/2" cement board and he glued it and screwed it down in about a 12" grid pattern. This gives you a very stable surface to adhere the tile to because with stone or ceramic tile ( anything you would grout), you don't want any movement in the floor when it's walked on. We kind of had to piece it as we were being real conservative in buying material so we put that area, in the upper left hand corner, where it will be under the sink.

For the remainder of the project I was on my own! Allen got me started and then went to mow but I wanted to do this myself anyway. I have never installed stone flooring before. So, I got all my slate together and found the pattern. Fortunately, I had presence of mind enough to save this diagram from 8 years ago that comes on all boxes of tile that call for a certain pattern. Now, most real stone setters would probably laugh their butt off at how I did this but I felt it was this easiest way for me. I have no idea of the "proper" way to set stone but that leaves you free to create your own system. Yeah. Ok.....
Next, I just laid out the whole pattern in the room, making sure to center it both ways. I was so lucky that it just worked out right. I had about 1 1/4" margin on either side (against the wall). It fit perfectly long ways. It was like the tile was just made for the room and I had just exactly enough! I drew a control line down one side to keep that straight and checked it for square every so often. There is some humoring in here and there with this. You want it square off your walls for the most part because that is where it will show up. I kept a 1/4" grout joint throughout.

Once I had the entire room laid out and situated like I wanted, I would remove a small section at a time and lay down my thin set with a 1/4" notched trowel, then reset the tiles. Once they are back in place you can float them around some to get them exactly where you want them and make sure that they are pressed down to about the same height. You don't want to press hard on the tiles, their weight will be enough to secure them to the thin set. Also, make sure your floor is very clean before you lay the tiles down because if there is even a small speck of rock or something under one and you step on it, you can break the tile. Obviously, when you set tile in sections like this you have to pay careful attention to which areas you have set and do not get on them!

I had to make several cuts around the toilet flange but that's easy. Make sure that at least some stone or tile is under the flange ( but don't get in the way of your screw holes) so that it is resting on top of the flooring.

I let this cure for almost 48 hours I guess before I grouted it. You could do it after 24 hours but that's just what worked out for me. I finally picked my grout color; what a pain, and mixed that up. I just flopped it out on the floor and then used a rubber grout float to squish it in the joints. Never use a metal float or something like that 'cause you will scratch the stone and drag it diagonally across the joints to screed off the excess. I let it sit for about 15 minutes and then went back with the first wipe down. With very clean water and a big sponge, wipe the excess grout off the tiles. I wiped it 3 times I think, letting it sit until it was starting to form a haze in between each time. At this point, it should be fairly clean but if you keep wiping you are just wiping grout out of your joints. It's going to form a haze but the grout has to cure. I'll go back tomorrow and clean it thoroughly. I thought it came out really well.
I got the paint for the bedroom today so I'll be working on that tomorrow and can soon start to trim out the windows there! Things are going great but I still haven't heard much about when I will go back to work. I love having this much time but I am anxious to start work also for the money. It won't be long that I will need some big bucks to buy material with.


pablo said...

Well, if I had the means, I'd hire you. That floor looks great!

Floridacracker said...

Are you just eyeballing that 1/4 inch grout joint? I don't see any of those cool joint spacer thingies like I use.

I was nodding my head in agreement the whole way through. I've tiled three different rooms (learning each time) and your lesson was right on.

edifice rex said...

Thanks Pablo!

Hey FC! Yeah, I just eyeballed the joints; those spacer thingies don't seem to work as well on natural stone to me. Like I was saying, you kinda have to humor stone a little but I'm not a stone mason either so they may laugh at me for what I did.

Anonymous said...

You better believe it looks great.
My sister can do ANYTHING! :-)
Love ya!

P.S. I hope this is right. I don't know how to blog, but I think I stepped in some once.

edifice rex said...

Hey Markie! You did fine. I'm almost ready to set the toilet so you can come visit me!!