Today I’m back with another progress report on the Nevada house renovation, this one focused on the flooring! Two weeks ago I shared we chose to remove the old carpet and tile and replace it all downstairs with Daltile’s Forest Park in Sugar Maple (see the "before" here).
As I mentioned in that post, if the downstairs floors had been all plain white porcelain tile we might have kept that tile but because it was mixed with three kinds of dingy carpet we decided it all had to go to achieve a seamless more contemporary look from room to room.
Matt and I considered demolishing and installing the flooring ourselves for about 45 seconds, then came to the sane conclusion that professional demo and installation was a much smarter idea. 1,100 square feet of demo and tile installation would surely send us to both marital and physical therapy.
Also, these floors have to be perfect. The kitchen is a pass through and is located in the middle of the house with the living room on the right and the family room/breakfast nook on the left. Connecting the tile through the kitchen and around walls without anything wonky happening was essential and that made us nervous to tackle the install ourselves.
Someday I’ll write a post about when we DIY and when we hire out but this flooring project is the perfect example. We gathered three bids and chose the one we felt could do the work in the most timely and professional way and for a reasonable cost. Demolition began with the carpeted spaces and baseboard removal.
Tile removal is a lot harder, first just getting the tiles off the floor takes strong tools and muscles…
The first tool the crew used was a heavy pry bar and the tiles popped off pretty fast but broken pieces went flying everywhere (protective eyewear necessary!). We really appreciated that before starting demo they papered the freshly smooth textured walls (that burgundy paper shown), it was conscientious of the hard work from last week.
Another tool they used was a hammer and crow bar to pop them off one by one.
My Dad wanted a piece of the action with that pry bar so he took out the tile under the fireplace in an oh so appropriate shoe choice for tile removal. :)
For thinset mortar removal, the crew used two tools, the first was a scraper, they used a sander to sharpen the edges a few times throughout the day.
This smaller scraper works well for removing old thinset mortar and scraping down to the slab concrete foundation. I volunteered to do a 4′ x 12′ section myself to get a feel for it for future projects. Therapeutic and a great arm workout but I was sweating buckets!
For more stubborn thinset they used a small jackhammer and it came off easily.
Once the tile and thinset were gone we came back in with a Shop Vac to clean every bit of dust off the floor to prep for the tile that was coming the next day.
After much discussion we decided the best place to begin was in the most visible line of sight in the living room on the left wall. It’s the first place your eye naturally goes when you enter the home and where the walkway will be so it made sense to start on that wall instead of the opposite.
The crew is using chalk lines to measure the distance between walls and to ensure the tiles run straight and a level to make sure the floor remains smooth across the long surfaces (not shown, forgot to take pics!) They are weaving their way from the living room/entry through the kitchen and hallway and into the family room.
The 9 x 36" tiles are being installed in a random pattern much like real hardwood planks. The product recommendation calls for 1/8" spacers, though I personally wanted to use 1/16" for slightly thinner grout lines. But since both the installer and the manufacturer recommended 1/8" we went with that. We chose a grout that’s a match to the colorbody so those lines will be far less visible when the floors are grouted.
We’re thrilled so far with how it looks in the house, we’re getting everything we want, a wood look product in a cool contemporary porcelain tile with a seamless flow room to room throughout the downstairs.
I’ll share the final pictures of the flooring next week once the tile is grouted and cleaned and once we install the new white baseboards, so far we absolutely LOVE it!
*Disclosure: all Forest Park Sugar Maple tile for this project provided by Daltile™. (We paid for the demolition and installation.) All opinions are my own!