First floor tile project part 2

As I mentioned previously, we had gotten notice that the tile was ready earlier than expected.  Tile shop also provides the order weight (to 3 decimal places) so we went to pick up the 1300+ lbs of tile, mortar, grout and assorted accessories.

So next step was finishing  the tile removal, including the last bits of thin set mortar.   The new air chisel worked out very well. My air compressor is complaining a bit (air chisel requires 10 cfm @ 90+ PSI) . It has not worked this hard since I built the boat.    At the end, we have a full big rubbermaid wheelbarrow full and countless cat litter buckets of old tile.  It will probably take 6+ weeks to get this taken as part of the garbage. Here is a shot after the first 3 loads have been “given” to the garbage men.

So we pick up the tile and deposit / stage the boxes near where they would be used.   The woodwork trim also got 2″ masking tape  applied to minimize mortar and grout being stuck on the woodwork and possibly staining it.

This was after the first day of tile removal.   You can see that the majority of the mortar has come off with the tiles.  The rugs are in place so we don’t track huge amounts of grit around the house.  There is no bypassing this area.

Thursday afternoon. All of the tile has been removed and the last bits of mortar have been removed.   Lots more time spent with the air chisel to scrape the entire floor to get the mortar off. HEPA rated vac was used to get most of the dust & grit picked up. However, we still needed dust masks while we were doing it.

Laundry room area.  Teal wanted to paint it a new color: mint-chip ice-cream green. This was another of the project “detours”.

The next day (Friday) the tile work starts.   Plan of attack is to proceed down the hall towards the foyer and then work into the closet and back round the foyer.  This was the first time I had a spiral mortar mixer paddle – what a treat compared to doing it by hand as we had in the past.  Another huge help was a big old box fan. Teal kept moving it to cool me off. This was hard work on a humid day. Given that I was kneeling down, bent way over leaning on my left hand, annoyingly sweat kept dripping into my glasses.

Saturday is spent cutting and laying the rest of the tile.   On Friday I had bypassed laying some of the tiles with the more complicated cuts so as to stay ahead of the hardening of the mortar. However, there were 2 tiles that were impossible to get in under the door jambs without splitting as the cut was basically U shaped and the tile had to fit under the door jamb.   A partial plunge cut with the wet saw into the back of the tile made for a clean break and nearly invisible joint line.

Sunday was spent grouting. I was able to get the entire area done with just one bag of grout (3 batches).  This is another time where having good quality tools paid off. We had bought the premium QEP grout float rather than the economy foam ones we had used originally. The firm rubber edge meant I could squeegee off most of the grout. This both saved material and greatly simplified clean up as it took fewer passes to clean off the excess.     As I was grouting, I had on some sandals that I don’t like (not caring if they got all messy ). However after an hour,  my toes became irritated – little toe hooking on the sandal. So I had the bright idea of doing this barefoot.  This were going well for a while but the tops of my toes were starting to hurt and I was getting pink streaks on the tile. I looked at my feet and the tops of my big toes had been ground down leaving dime sized raw spots which were now bleeding and getting grout or cement grit in them.  The sandals went back on.

Monday I woke up and I can barely move my left hand. No grip strength, some tingling in my little fingers.  If I had been scuba diving, I would have thought I had gotten bent.  Checking with my daughters who are both NPs the initial diagnosis was tendonitis. Googling for more info I found that it is common in house painters and tile setters.   The odd stance of kneeling and leaning way over on my left hand for 3 days in a row must have triggered it.   Lets see how long this takes to recover.  One week later it is still weak but getting somewhat better.   We had to wait a week before cleaning the haze off the tile and then putting on the trim, etc.