First floor tile project part 1



When we built our house 25 years ago we did a lot of the work ourselves.  This included all of the hard surface floors – ceramic tile and hardwood, which make up all of the flooring aside from the bedrooms.  We were on a hard schedule and basically treated like any of the subcontractors. The foyer, hallway, half bath and laundry room were all tiled. However the color of the tile was not exactly what we thought we had ordered (much debate here). Due to the time constraints, we put it in and hoped for the best.  However the color was always a sore point for Teal.

Now as a proper engineer I had laid down the substrate -two 3/4 ” layers of ply wood glued and screwed together with a zillion screws. This proved to be substantial and after 25 years of abuse there were no cracked tiles or grout.  So the thought of ripping it out and replacing it was never on my list of fun projects.   The tile was set in thin set mortar as well.

Tile Project Start

Teal is persistent however and wanted it replaced.  So my thoughts turn to how do I minimize the back breaking work and get this done?   The answer was “more tools” . After a fair amount of research I stumbled across the Harbor Freight Long Handle Air Scraper –   The reviews were good, so I got one. I also needed a better wet saw as this area has an amazing number of required cuts and my old “toy” wet saw was not up to the task.

So we get home and I try out the air scraper in a closet and it WORKS GREAT.    So the next day we rip out the foyer and hallway tile.  The thin-set mortar adhered well to the tile and the plywood.  However, the topmost layer of plywood (not an entire ply) would usually pull loose. So about 80% of the mortar pulled up with the tiles.

Note that the tile edges are extremely sharp, much like shards of glass and work well for removing skin from finger tips or slicing them open even with gloves.

So, now armed with the knowledge that the tile removal was feasible without professional help and now being committed, we proceeded to shop for the new replacement tile.  We were disappointed  with the selection at Home Depot and Menards and went to the Tile Shop, where we had gotten most of the tile when we built the house (not the pinkish tile which was from Lexco).   We made our selection and ordered it along with all of the other goodies (thin set, grout, spacers, etc.).  The tile we wanted was on  back order at the time so we thought things would work at a leisurely pace.

Detours 1

Now the “detours” would start. No good project plan goes unpunished. The next day Teal says the “washer won’t spin”.   It had been noisy for a while, but now it was unusable and we had just spent a pile of money on the tile.

So it was back to the internet and Youtube to see how to fix a Maytag  Performa washer that won’t spin.   Videos look good and a parts order to Appliance Parts Pros is made.  A few days later the parts arrive.  Washer is disassembled, tub and transmission removed and the new parts installed. Not too bad to do except for re-installing the darn e-clip on the end of the shaft. More bad words and damaged finger tips. However, it is reassembled and works. I should add that a second detour did occur as well. The faucets for the washer were locked up and better yet the wash sink next to it had no shut off valves. So 4 new valves were procured and installed. It “only” took 2 tries- still had a leak on the first one.

The next day we get a call and the tile is ready for pickup – about 2 weeks earlier than expected.

To be continued…