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While I thought the backsplash was a royal pain in the ass, the floor tiling went better, but it's still an incredible amount of work. Since I've never done this before, that made it even more difficult. Lots of mistakes were made, but most of them fixable.

The tile I got was only $2 ft2 and I had 156 ft2 to cover, so that price was not bad at all. This tile was also porcelain (denser, tougher, but a bit more brittle) with a light glaze. This is going on top of a concrete slab which has zero cracks, so nothing else to put down as I can cement the tile directly to the slab. Cementing was a real chore. Mixing was even harder. The mixing tool I got for my drill did not fit (chuck not big enough) and it overheated my drill with the rig I had in place. So, I ended up mixing by hand--not fun. I also learned it's MUCH easier to mix cement by pouring in the water FIRST and then slowly pouring in the cement. I later got a wire type mixer and that was much easier on the drill and perfect for the job.

Oh, while I could have gotten the pre-mixed adhesive, it was $45 for a 3.5 gallon bucket compared to $12 for a 50 lb. bag (about the same coverage). I needed 2 batches, so you do the math. However, one advantage with the pre-mixed stuff is that you can start and stop at anytime as it will keep for up to a year properly sealed. The 50 lb. bag stuff only has about 2 hours of working time.

Grouting was a bit easier, but still hard on my back. I ended up not finishing all of my grout before it started to dry and had to stop. I grabbed another bag to finish it off and it went a bit easier now that I have the "wiping down" process mastered compared to the first batch. The first batch also came out very white due to efflorescence allowing a white powdery surface to appear on top of the grout that you can't brush off. Using too much water to wipe down the tile exacerbates the problem. The key here is to rub the grout down with cheesecloth about 1-2 hours you have laid it down. I'm still researching on how to deal with this. There are suggestions of using muriatic acid, but there are warnings using this stuff anywhere near porcelain tile.

Anyway, here's the end result (still needs another wipe down to get the last bit of haze removed)...

I've come to realize that tiling is like artwork. There is no perfect tiling job where every little smudge, dribble and cut is perfect. Imperfections is what gives it character and variation depending on what you are doing.

My back is almost healed from this vary labor intensive work, but it has been worth it. My brother and his girlfriend came by Sunday and thought it looked like a professional job. Now I know why tilers get paid so much as it is really hard work and take some skill to be proficient at it.

At long last my stove (now in the garage) will go back in place along with my fridge (it's been in my den!) and my kitchen will be MUCH more functional returning a little more normalcy to my abode.



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 9th, 2009 04:41 am (UTC)
It looks great! Your hard efforts have paid off.
Jun. 9th, 2009 04:43 am (UTC)
It looks fantastic Joe!
Jun. 9th, 2009 08:07 am (UTC)
Nice job, Joe! :)
Jun. 9th, 2009 12:10 pm (UTC)
The kitchen looks beautiful and you should be very proud of the work you did. I could NEVER do that. Now you have a fall back career. Enjoy!
Jun. 9th, 2009 12:43 pm (UTC)
It looks great! I wish that I could do the same thing here.
Jun. 9th, 2009 01:40 pm (UTC)
I was about to say, but spatts beat me to it...
there's another career possibility for ya somewhere.

Heck, I just paid the guy who replaced the garage siding on the house $US40/hr + materials. Something to think about.
Jun. 9th, 2009 02:57 pm (UTC)
Looks great. I'm amazed at your ability to be that patient and your courage to tackle a job that big. You can save a ton of money tiling yourself, but as you point out, it is a LOT of work.
Jun. 9th, 2009 04:22 pm (UTC)
Looks great! I really like the floor tile too.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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