Sunday, December 14, 2014

Putting the Flooring in the House

 When we were deciding what things we would do ourselves when building this house, one of the things that we chose to do was flooring. I am not sure why for sure that one was decided on but I think it is because we had done wood flooring before and thought it was kind of fun and also I had briefly helped a friend with some tiling and then also watched others tile a few times. We figured it would help save quite a bit of money and so we could get nicer flooring as a result.

  I didn't want any carpeting in this house (I don't like all the dirt and allergens that carpet has and collects) and so we are doing only solid wood and ceramic tile. In the basement we have the cement which I want to look into sealing in some way someday.

   This week has been a very busy one of working on flooring. We needed to push to get it done as the cabinets were arriving and the cabinet guy wanted the floors in first and we certainly didn't want to hold up the cabinet guy as the plumber said we would finally be able to get the rest of our plumbing after the sink cabinets and the flooring by the toilet was done. Currently we have one toilet -which is fine- and then we can get water either from the pressure tank or the outside faucets. A shower with hot water in our own house and a sink in my kitchen- with hot water- are treats we are greatly looking forward to- also a washing machine will be pretty nice. So we pushed hard to get our flooring done.
My brother Peter has this really cool air nailer especially for wood flooring that he loaned to us. The boys loved using it.
The girls were busy helping too but when I went to take a picture they were goofing of so they decided to do this pose for the picture. :-)
Wood flooring can go fast. It was so fun to see it in place. It really seemed to finish off the room. An additional benefit to putting down flooring other than getting things finished is that now we don't have some much dirt filtering down to the basement. Before when people moved and worked and especially when anybody swept tons of dirt would come down through various cracks. One of the main cracks was over my cooking area which made life interesting at times and another was over our bed. We are very thankful for less grit in our food and our bed!

  Another benefit to doing all this flooring is strengthening our muscles. It has been a while since they had been so tired. :-)
Doing a lot of sweeping was necessary before we laid any flooring. It is amazing how much dirt can build up during the course of building a house. On Friday my parents came over for the morning (and brought lunch to eat with us) and helped us with the flooring. Mom did a lot of cleaning up and Dad helped my get started with tiling.
Our first step to tiling (after the sweeping) is laying done backerboard since none of the rooms that we were tiling were on cement. The backerboard that I got had fiberglass in it which left the kids and I all itchy after handling it. We tried to be careful but still this wasn't our favorite job. We had to cut it to fit and then we put mortar down and put the backerboard on top and then we screwed it down, used fiberglass tape to tape the edges together and spread mortar over that. It was quite the process. The reason to do all of that is so that you have a very solid surface for the tile so that they won't break so easily. Hopefully it really is helpful because it was a lot of work and a fair amount of money. I was so glad to have my kids to help though they weren't always so glad to be helping. :-)

The tiling came next. Mara went to work to figure out how they would be laid. Then Dad helped us to fine tune that plan when he came and we got started.

 We have now tried all kinds of methods for cutting tile and none of them are very easy. Oh well - hard work is good for us! Dad put a diamond wheel on the skill saw and used that some. Ken and I found it very challenging to use. It sure was nice to have Dad do the cutting for a day!
Friday we got this upstairs bathroom done. I was happy with how well the paint and tile went together as neither were the color that I had thought they were. I think Ken accidentally ordered the wrong color of tile and the paint was different than I thought from what I saw on the little swatch.

 Yesterday (Saturday) we thought it would be a good time to get the tiled laid in front of our busiest door (the one that goes into the garage) while there weren't any workers here. That section of tile included our main floor bathroom, a small hall, a coat closet and the laundry room. Mom offered to send over lunch, pick up Aaron and Megan and have us spend the night at their house because we would be blocking off our access to the basement. So we went to work.
 This is my cutting crew. We decided to lay the tile diagonally as we think that looks neater and my brother assured me it wasn't hard and gave me some instructions and told me that he didn't think there were really any more cuts. Well - I still do think it looks neater, it wasn't very hard following Peter's instructions but I am pretty positive there are quite a few more cuts and harder ones to boot. But that is all right. Dad had loaned us a tile snapper but his ended up being to small for any of our tiles so Ken got a new one. Once and a while we could get it to work pretty nicely for us but mostly it didn't. There seemed to be a problem with how the scoring part had been constructed. Meanwhile Ken needed to work at his office for the day and so Mara, Jonathan and I carried on working on the tile and hoping to get done by supper time.

  We used the snapper and then the nibblers to get the cuts we needed but it was a very long and tedious process. We got the bathroom done but were just starting on the hall when supper time came. I called mom to let her know we wouldn't make it for supper and called Ken to tell him that we needed his help and some pizza. He came and brought the pizza and went to work trying to help us and promptly decided that our cutting methods just weren't going to work and that we needed a wet saw. So off he and Jonathan went (Jonathan was pretty happy for a break) and they found a fairly inexpensive one at Home Depot.
 Tiling started going faster with the saw to cut things and Ken to help do the measuring. It was still a pretty late night but we did get everything but the laundry room done. That will be a job for sometime this week. I do still need to put the grout in (and did some prepping for that this afternoon) but it is good enough to walk on.

  By the way- our walls really aren't that bright yellow - they are a really creamy yellow but photos in the evening can really do funny things to colors.

  This week looks to be another busy week of flooring but tomorrow I first plan to take a drive to the stone place to pick out my counter-top slab. That should be rather fun and probably one of the most expensive shopping trips I'll ever go on.

  I hope you have a great week! If you have any flooring tips I would be happy to hear them. If you want to come help me tile - that would be okay too. :-)


Martin Meffert said...

Abbi, can imagine, how busy you all are doing the work now, since we ourselves have finished the flooring activities in our own 90 years old house just a few weeks ago. For our new conservatory we have used tiles, but for both living room and kitchen we have taken a vineo design flooring, which is currently quite common in Germany. Everything is alright now and we are very happy about the good quality of the different sorts of floorings. Now we can celebrate christmas in our renovated house. Wish you that a lot of work in the interieur of your new home will be finished until christmas eve. But anyway, don`t worry if not everything will be 100% perfect until then.Best wishes from Germany and have a wonderful christmas. Rgds Martin

Nola said...

I think that is so great you can all help do the flooring. I don't know anything about sealing concrete floors, but check into if its similar to painting them. Painting them is not a good idea. We re-painted concrete floors once that were previously painted and it wasn't looking very good, and we discovered why it didn't look good. Paint on concrete floors doesn't last well if there is any moisture at all that comes into contact with it. I didn't know there was moisture that comes through the ground a bit in some basements even though its concrete. I was told it needs to be able to "breathe". The paint bubbled and then came off in some spots and got to looking awful. I don't know if sealing the concrete would do the same thing or not but I wanted to bring this up just in case so that you wouldn't make the same mistake. Definitely don't paint it!

Diane said...

You amazing! We want to do this in our basement, but I don't dare. Our hardwood flooring is worn out from 5 kids and dog ...ughhh. I only wish we could do it ourselves!!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I have installed one tile floor in my life- about a year ago or so. The one thing I think I would have done differently is to not buy the grout and the sealer in the same product. I found it dried faster than my inexperience could handle and then made cleaning up my mistakes harder. I think I would use grout and seal it when it was all done if I could do it over... As well as use bigger tiles :-) -someone in ND

Abbi said...

Martin, Thanks so much for the encouragement! It is neat to hear about what you all did for flooring in Germany. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! Our house wasn't done inside by then but done enough to be able to use it and enjoy it.

Abbi said...

Nola, Thanks so much for the info about painting the cement floor. I definitely will have to really check into things before I try putting any sealer on it. Thanks again!

Abbi said...

Dianne, Thanks for the encouragement! I am sure you and your family could do it too. Watch some Youtube videos, get some books from the library ask for advice and then jump in. It might not be perfect but you can do it! :-)

Abbi said...

Someone for ND - You made me feel very thankful that I didn't get the grout with sealer in it! They tried to sell it to me but I decided I didn't want to spend the extra money. Now I am very thankful for that decision. I do still need to put the separate sealer on it - I have it but just haven't gotten it on.


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