Putting down new Floors

vjrntsNovember 18, 2008

We have a sun porch that has extreeeemely damaged vinyl tile on the floor. This tile is not only in awful shape, but the underlayment is also roller coastering all over. I have an elderly dog, too, who has chosen this room to be his emergency bathroom. I clean up and use Nature's Miracle, but eventually, for all these reasons, the floor will have to be replaced, and we want to replace it with square terra cotta tiles (about 6x6). They're in sun porches on a lot of homes of this vintage around here. We have a tiny little powder room, too, that has inappropriate vinyl tile and we'd like to replace it with hex tile.

I got a quote on having both floors done, and good golly, Miss Molly! I was wondering how hard it is to put down new underlayment and lay tile myself. In the summer I'll have lots of time, so I can do it slowly; time is not an issue.

I'm tempted to ask "How hard can it be?" but that's a question that forces Fate to show you how hard it can be!

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I've had tiling done several times. The first time, it was with expensive tiles imported from Italy, and I went through the flooring store's subcontractors. You are right......Good Golly. They did a beautiful job, but that one floor cost more than all the rest of the vinyl and carpet in the whole downstairs of the house.

The second two times I had it done, we purchased the tile ourselves from a home improvement box store. Lovely tiles, really and although not cheap, weren't exorbitant, either. We had a friend who is a general contractor install them. He did a beautiful job, just as good as the tiling professionals, and charged us a very reasonable per hour rate. It was cheap enough, I woudn't have done it myself to save the money involved.

No, tiling is not hard, but it involves good sub-floor preparation, using a wet-saw, some advanced planning so you don't end up at the walls with slivers to install, being careful with lines and spacers, and perhaps going to a one of the programs your local home improvement stores offer on skills might not be a bad idea. I love tile floors and given the right choices on surface and grouting, they can be not only attractive, but low maintenance, and last forever. (well, outlast any other flooring you may think of installing)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 12:04AM
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I agree that is gets pricey. A nice middle ground is to find a friend or even a handyman who would come over for a day and help you get started. You'd learn the "right" way to do it and avoid some mistakes.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 12:09AM
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We've done our own tiling and are doing the tiling in our renovation - it isn't hard at all. I agree going to a class at Home Depot or Lowe's first - we had a friend who knew how to do it help us with the first time, the other two times we did it no problem on our own.

I agree that it's important to have good sub floor preparation - if your floors are wavy the tile will eventually crack. I can't help you with preparing your sub floor, though. Our first time was a bathroom gut and we leveled the floor (with shims) before laying the new sub floor - maybe have someone else do that for you and then do the tiling yourself.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 7:57AM
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Yes, our underlayment will have to be replaced. The subfloor looks ok, at least what I can see from the basement. I'm thinking that if the subfloor is all right, the underlayment should go down flat.

I don't know, maybe I should just bite the bullet. But gee WHIZ, it was twice what I was hoping to spend. He broke it down into material and labor, and the labor was pretty high. Not that the workman doesn't deserve to get paid, of course he does. But if I can do the work myself, it would save a lot of dough.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 4:20PM
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