Last Friday we had a company-wide day off, called a “day of reflection”. For what I’m supposed to be reflecting on I don’t remember, but I reflected on finally installing the tile floor in our sunroom. It’s a project that’s been looming heavy for some time. I want to say I’ve had the tiles almost a year.
Must be because we bought them with our COVID funny money.
But first I had to level the floor. If I had known what I know now, I would’ve had the sunroom people pour a whole new slab instead of cutting out and pouring just the foundation. Because it wasn’t even.
So I bought some floor leveling stuff and went about mixing it with my half-inch DeWalt drill. The drill did like this one bit, because I didn’t remember what I saw on YouTube about how to mix the stuff, so it suffered. Smoke pouring out your drill is a bad thing. But it seemed to take it well notwithstanding. I actually did the floor leveling the weekend before so that I could spend my Friday putting in the liner.
DITRA liners are new to me. Last time I did ceramic tile I simply bought the plastic goop in a bucket and stuck them down. But after consulting the tile guy on YouTubes I found the pros used Thin Set Mortar. The liner compensates for floor that may shift due to temperature changes. Keeps the tiles from cracking in other words. You put that down very similar to tiles; you throw down some mortar and squish it into place.
That was tough on the shoulder and back, I tell you what.
I made a major mistake of celebrating a little too much after installing the liner Friday. And I was in pretty rough shape Saturday to start the really hard work. First thing out the gate I had to run and go pick up a tile saw. I’m a tool slut, but I’m not that slutty that I need a tile saw in my kit. So I picked it up and took it home and got busy, shooing the dogs away from the saw. I don’t know what it is. They have water bowls everywhere but somehow the water in the tile saw is better.
So I started mixing mortar with my long-suffering drill, wrongly, which resulted in a lot of smoke and burned up drill. So I mixed what I had by hand and started laying tiles and wondering what I’m going to do after that. So I waddled back up to Home Depot to see if they had a mixing drill, or even just a big rotary hammer something I could rent. No Bueno. Maybe Plano has one, the guy said.
So I go where I normally go in a situation like this; on the web to Harbor Freight, of which had the very drill I wanted in stock for like 60 bucks. It was cheap enough that I bought a replacement hammer drill while I was at it. And back I went.
I only got done about half of what I hoped to get done. And along the way realized that I’d miscalculated and was going to be short tiles and mortar. So I’d have to pick those up before I got started again.
The next day, Herself helped. Turns out that having somebody hand you tiles and cleaning as you go is a great thing. It took a fraction of the time to do the second half, at least to a point where we would have to kneel on the freshly laid tile to do the rest.
This week I’m going to cut the tiles that I need in advance, since it’s only like three rows. That way I could knock it out probably Friday night.
So what have we learned?
I learned that I’m way too old for this.
It’s Tuesday night as I write this and I still am aching. Although the last floors that I put in I was in better shape, and I was in a lot more pain afterwards.
I’m also not that great a tile work. Even though I leveled where the foundation was, I made a poor assumption that the rest of the slab was level. It isn’t. That said, the tiles are 4’ x 8” porcelain that looks like wood. So the floor looks… Rustic.
But it will be done this weekend and I can move on to more enjoyable projects like my garden.