Monday, June 8, 2009

sorry for the delay

There was this tile job, see... well this one was not as complicated as some (ahem), but it has a great story nonetheless.

I got this little tile job about the same time a blog buddy took me up on my invitation to come up and say hey. Thankfully, Leo McCool over at butchgirlcat was amenable to coming to the tile job during her visit.

And honestly? Leo rocked. She's wicked smart (just got her Ph.D.) and can read sixteenths of an inch without being shown which lines those are on the tape. I like that. I guess the best way to do this is with pictures. I'll put them up, explain what they are about and fill in the rest. Here goes.

First, let me say this. Never install wall-to-wall carpet in a bathroom. Never. Never, ever, EVER, you understand? Oh nasty.

This job is going to have some challenging spots I think. I'll have to cut around the back of the commode and around that air vent. Hmmm.

First things first, gotta take up the old carpet and see what's underneath.

Oh, this is interesting. There seems to be TWO carpet pads under here: a blue one with a moisture barrier and an older, yellow one stuck to the floor with industrial grade adhesive.

In case no one you know has ever mentioned this, those carpet pads are really nothing more than large, flat SPONGES! That means they absorb. It's what they do. Putting them in a bathroom next to the sink and the tub and shower makes no sense, never mind the toilet!!!! Ewie!!!

I pulled back that foam and is smelled like a colony of weasels had lived there for a decade. Oh man, it was bad. I had to open the window, open the doors to the house, and take a walk outside for a minute. That wet foam had been under there for years before I peeled it back. It was a new kind of bad. You can see the lines left by various soakings of the carpet and the pads beneath. Yeah. It was bad.

So I got all the foam scraped up and all the nail strips around the edges and I sanded what I could of that horrible industrial glue off the hardwood underneath it all. Yes, that is a hardwood floor. Looks like maple, actually, three-and-a-half-inch-wide white maple. Yeah. wrecked with glue and nasty foam.

It looked like there might be moisture damage to the wood near the front of the commode, but it turned out it was ok. That would have been a horror show to fix!

This is one tight damned corner behind the flush and in the corner. and the glue was extra thick back here. Lovely, I tell you. Just lovely.

Just so you know, it is very difficult to cut a ceramic tile on a curve. Leo and I did our best to cut around this little ogee. What fun. Not.

In order to get all of the carpet bits out and to make sure there was no rot anywhere, Leo and I pulled the toilet out of the room and sanded the floor underneath. The hair dryer was for drying up the water we splashed around while moving the thing. The nuts and bolts were so rusted that we had to cut them off with my Hitachi reciprocating saw. We both grinned.

Leo helped me paint the floor with a pigmented shellac to seal it and cover any stains and smells that got into the actual wood. Then we drew lines on the floor and dry-laid the tiles. We had to make some pretty fancy cuts. Unfortunately, Leo had to head back to civilization before we got them all cut, but she did an admirable job with the wet saw and following directions. Here are all the tiles dry-fit in place.

Notice how the tiles fit around the front and back of the toilet. Those were miserable, miserable cuts to make. On the up side, I only wrecked one tile in the process. Below is a shot of the three most difficult tiles I had to cut. See how tricky that one was that has to accommodate the hot air register? Yeah. Loads of fun. (Actually, I like the challenge.)

And this is what they look like with the grout in the joints. Some of the corners are not as square as I would like, but they do the job and look decent. As for that grout on the baseboards? This is the first in a series of steps to re-do the bathroom from floor to ceiling. The baseboard is going to be painted black, so I did not worry too much about it.

Now look at the cuts in these tiles. Gah!!! Crazy-making cuts, I tell you! I am most pleased with my efforts!

Again, the trickiest ones. That one behind the toilet loops all the way around, and that one with the heat register was delicate going. I was very glad to be done grouting them.

And here's that one by the curvy part of the tub. Damned tricky stuff, I tell you.

Ah yes. The home owners have a puppy. His name is Malachai, which I think means he is the first Jewish Siberian Husky I have ever met. He likes to eat harnesses and then get loose. He's not terribly bright. While I was on this job, he had was his people called his "British operation, you know, the snip & chip." They joked that their dog had a sex change and would soon have puppies and that they had LoJack installed so that the next time he gets out they can call the police, who will activate the identity chip and he will simply lay down and wait for them to come get him.

I work for such creative people!



WOW. My "fixer upper" has taught me barely enough to begin to appreciate what an amazing bit of wizardry you just accomplished. The bit with the curve cuts in brittle tile is absolutely magic, and the bit about following the curve and contour of the tub.

This account of your adventures only reinforces my respect for the breadth of your knowlege, and makes me wish I had a richer man's bank account, that I might someday be able to point to the problems in my "corner of paradise" and ask you to "make them go away". :)

Dusty said...

Joe my Gawd are a miracle worker!!!!

Tricky isn't the word for it..all those cuts were designed to drive you batshit crazy. ;)

Anonymous said...

Nice work, Dawn. But then, I have come to expect no less from you!


Leo MacCool said...

being your tiler assistant rocked! the wet saw might not have been as funny as the anti-vibrating hitachi but it was a lot of fun to get to use. i think the finished product looks pretty darn good, too. thanks for letting me tag along. ;)

Callaigh said...

I just stumbled on your blog somehow, and I was compelled to comment on this post because I am so freaking impressed with this!