Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Floor Hints part 2

Now for the last hint that was invaluable to me, and of course the "ahah!" moment didn't happen until pretty much the whole house was done, but still - I WILL remember for putting in the trim! A wonderful lady over at Sew Many Ways does a write up on some nifty gadget or thingy she has found and what she uses it for - not necessarily what it was intended for! She calls it Tool Time Tuesday here is a link to one of her thingy's ;) a pull tab from a creamer carton into a pincushion ring! Way too cool - you gotta check out her blog (and her craft room!) Anyway, she reminds me all the time to think outside the box, and it must be working, cause I thought of this:

A skateboard to use as a caddy for the tools I always leave at the other end of the room!!! Now I have no problem whatsoever on getting down on the floor (I fall all the time!) getting up on the other hand is tricky business. 

So this whole time we have been working on the floor I would sit down and STAY down. Son &/or daughter would do the running for more tile or to take the tile to be cut etc. etc. And son would even pull me from one end of the room to the other - whhhheeee!!!! (just take note not to do that on the sub-floor, make sure you are on the tile! ouch!) 

Well, it never failed that I would forget half my tools, mainly pencils, all the way on the other side of the room, when I FINALLY thought of using my nephew's skateboard! I Kept all my tools on the skateboard, and when I was done with the cutting and fitting at the start of the wall I would roll it on down to the end of the row (not too hard as I didn't want to mark the wall) and it would be there where I needed it once done laying all the other tiles for the row! It worked great!!!

So that's it for the floor tiles I think. Next "big" project is the trim. 

Now if any of you are going to be doing this, really and truly the change is amazing and SOOOO worth doing it yourself. It may seem scary and overwhelming (it was to me!) but it really wasn't that bad :D I know I complained about the unsquareness and things, (yes I know that is not a word), but I did enjoy the challenge of trying to figure those angles and curves, it was by far the biggest puzzle I have ever done :)

So let me know if you try this, and I would be happy to answer any questions on it! I am by no means an expert, but I think momma's house threw up so many different scenarios that I can safely answer a lot of questions! 

And just cuz I get so few pictures of my kids together:
My sweet helpers!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Floor Hints part 1

Some hints for you if you decide to lay your own floor:

These tiles had 2 patterns on them, sometimes the glue strips would be reversed, but still only the 2 patterns. Now because I have OCD, I used a minimum of 3 boxes at a time, which had 8 strips of tiles, and stacked them to match in their own piles; I did this for several reasons.

First I will try to show you the patterns:
See the two marks?

Well this one doesn't have those marks, it has this distinguishing feature though. You will need to zoom in to see (at least I did ;) )

Here is what I mean saying the glue strips are reversed

It has the same exact markings but notice the glue strips? If I match the markings, then the glue strips didn't match.

So I made four stacks as to me it was easier to make sure first I had the right piece in the right direction THEN make sure the pattern wasn't going to be side by side :) This is only 3 stacks, because I had already gone through 3 1/2 boxes! So as you can see not all the boxes switch things up.

I would open at least 3 boxes so I could have a good selection and not repeat the patterns so obviously, also staggering or stair-stepping the joints helped to not repeat too. 

See how it is stair-stepped?

Another reason to use multiple boxes is because sometimes the dye lot is not exact. Kind of like when buying yarn, you need to get it all the same dye lot or it may not match perfectly. It’s the same for the flooring, the colors may be off by just a hair, but if you use multiple boxes and switch them out etc., you won’t have a darker or lighter patch of floor.

So if you stack your tiles according to pattern & the glue strips etc., then as you’re laying the floor it can be a no brainer and you just get one from each stack at a time. And with stair-stepping you REALLY don’t have to worry about repeating yourself.

Starting the floor.

My uncle started laying the floor at the beginning, now I am not bashing him, as he admitted he had never done this before either; however, he didn’t even try to read the directions for the floor! So our starting point was where he had left off (he had been called back to work) and we then had to work around those issues. We DID pull up the floor just laid in the dining room and kitchen as I showed in this post. And I keep kicking myself for not going ahead and pulling up the floor in the den – which was basically completed so we worked the rest of the floor off that.

The problem was he had squared up the floor using the outer walls, when we should have used the longest inner wall. Then the wonkiness of the walls would not have been so obvious. But mom is ok with it and is happy with her floor… but it’s my OCD kicking in ;) So when you start laying your own floor use the longest inner wall to lay your chalk lines to guide you (there are all kinds of tutorials on how to do that).

One of the glaringly obvious issues that happened because of it, is having to put a threshold where the hallway meets the kitchen. I can’t believe I did not get a pic of it, but den leads into the dining room which leads to the kitchen that then leads back into the den – it makes a circle… which didn’t meet well J hence a threshold.

Also another issue that popped up is the tile was laid long ways, the trailer is rectangular. This is also a double-wide, so the seams of the two halves run straight down the middle long ways. The tiles are also rectangular and they were laid to run the length of the trailer. It would have worked MUCH better to run them crosswise instead. It would have laid better over the seam of the two halves of the trailer and also would have been able to avoid using a threshold.

Enough about that, just if you should decide to do this, please really sit down and THINK about layouts and such!

On to other hints…

DO NOT throw out your “waste” until you are DONE with the floor!!!! When you “stair step” your seams sometimes you have to follow a wall and cut off portions of your tile to line things up correctly. 
Starting a row and trying to line up grout lines while trying to stagger seams
Same row, finished and in place - note seam from previous row

What you cut off of one end or side of the tile may be able to be used at the other end of the room! 
The rest of the tile from above to start a row was used to finish the row

Or you may need just a bit of the glue strip for a very small section – these tiles are expensive! You don’t want to waste a WHOLE piece just cuz you need a 1 inch strip!

For example:
This is a bit larger than one inch - but still to waste a whole piece of tile for that little bit to finish the row? Also see how there is only half the width of the tile along the wall?

Now just need to mark where to cut for the wire coming up and will fit right in place

Here are our piles of “wasted” tile, you also get an idea of why I said when you order your tiles, get about 15% more:

Mom ordered 80 boxes of the tile, kept one box along with some of the “good” “wasted” tiles and returned 4 boxes. Each box covers 24 sq. ft., which means 1800 sq. ft. was either used or trashed. Her house is 2028 sq. ft. including the deck and approximately 1750 sq.ft. of living space... So we did GREAT on keeping the waste to a minimum! At $52 a box, WOOT!!!!  She was going to be charged about $10,000 for installation because they charge for each angle and cut they have to make plus the square footage, and as you can see in the pictures, there were a LOT of angles to cut! Also when she returned those four boxes, she got $220 back, which paid for her new trim. Altogether, she is very happy :) 

Tomorrow I will show you one hint I am really proud of… besides figuring out to use the dremel for cutting, actually laying the floor, mom and sister not noticing there were only 2 different tiles, measuring without being able to see a tape measure, and not killing myself in the process!

So check in tomorrow for this new use of something TOTALLY not intended for this purpose!

Monday, April 23, 2012

New Floor updates

The new floor. I don’t know where to start with this. I love the floor, and even better, mom loves the floor! But I have to say, it was tough work, and if it hadn’t been for ALL of us working together it would not have gotten done. Son was absolutely amazing with the detail cuts and so very patient when my “measuring” didn’t work out and he would have to recut. Also, like I said before, the walls are NOT straight! Here is a perfect example:

See how this is straight on? This is a door jam:

Look what happens at the base…

How the door shuts and still not play peek-a-boo I don’t know, but this gives you an idea of some of the wacky things you will comes across should you decide to DIY your floors!

Here is a look at some of the wilder cuts we (hehe – ok, SON) had to do:

This is a closet door jam:

 We put something black under the cut so you could see what the shape is

Son figured out a technique to cut curves also with the dremel, we did not have a router attachment and all we had was the cutting wheel, which does NOT like to do curves! And mom did not want to pull the toilets (after a few other mishaps with major appliances <cough, water heater>) she was a little leery of tempting fate, so we had to cut around the toilets. Now I would LOVE to say I know how to measure out a curve and get it right etc, but I don’t. I did do some measuring, ie: curve starts here, the middle is here and ends here, otherwise I drew it freehand and tried to match as close as possible. It worked :D
Here is son’s technique for curves:

 The cutting wheel - it does not do curves well and will break off. We went through several trying to cut this curve before we thought of doing this:
 We had 2 Dremels, so changed out the sanding bit in one and changed it to a regular drill bit and drilled holes around the inside perimeter of the curve.

 Then came around with the cutting wheel and instead of cutting like a saw, he cut it more like you would with a miter saw by just cutting down INTO the tile instead of across the tile.
 Can you see how that worked? He is just going IN instead of across and with the drilled holes the width of the wheel, it helped define the curve, which was more like a LOT of straight edges gradually making the turns.

 See :D beautiful work!
All thats left (besides the rest of the tile!) is to caulk and then good to go!

Because all this is going to be very pic heavy, I will post more again tomorrow! (Really, I will, cuz I am “scheduling” it to do it! Woot!)

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I am still alive guys, the floor is DONE and it has kicked my butt! I will try to post this weekend some of the little tips and tricks I figured out. Mom said she swept and mopped yesterday and she absolutely loves her floor... I am so glad!

Next up is putting in new baseboards...