You get to a certain point in the renovation process when two things happen: You feel like you’ve … been … working … forever, and you realize that in order to keep making good progress, you have to work on 5 different things in the room in one day. I’ve been writing this series for 7 weeks now, so you’re probably thinking that we finished long ago, but in real life, our 10th day of active room reconstruction took place in mid-late-January … about 30 days after I began gutting the room. We’re doing this renovation on days when we don’t have to work or have other plans; a DIY-lovin’ life needs to be a balanced life.
The things I was most excited about doing (like the shopping, and the shower tiling) were behind me, and I knew that I had a bit more tedious work to perform before I could actually install other exciting things, like a vanity and toilet (I whole-heartedly miss that running water). Remember how I thought this would take 3-4 days beginning to end? I was so wrong. Or I am so slow.
What I’m getting at is, do you want to come over and help me install some floors while I take a break and go get some lunch? No? Ok, we’ll eat dry turkey sandwiches and leftover cous-cous again. Progress is progress.
Keep on reading to what we accomplished on Day 10!
The vinyl resilient concrete tiles are burning a hole in my … guest bed (convenient current storage area). I’ve been really, really excited to get these tiles installed, because I think now that the shower is done (and almost ready to use), the new floor should pull the room together nicely, and take it from whoa to wow! But before I was able to break into the tiles, I had to clean up the floor and prepare the necessary underlayment. This underlayment had been leaning against the wall in my dining room for a month, and it was about time that it made it’s way upstairs. The underlayment installation mean that tiling the bathroom floor was inevitably close, so I was understandably excited about this step of the job. I was also tired of walking on plywood and ragged floors that had been beneath the old foor.
It was an unseasonably warm day for January in New York when I got to ripping the underlayment apart, so we set up shop on the deck.
In an effort to cover as much of the floor as we could with one single board, I started out by carefully measuring the floor, from the end where the toilet sits, back towards the entry where the vanity would sit. The 4′x8′ board was long enough to extend all along the front of the shower; it’s always nice to not have seams in a place where you’re stepping or bouncing on daily (not that we all bounce in and out of the shower and in front of the toilet, but it’s a common place to stand and walk around, and loosened staples on seams would really compromise the floor situation).
Using our drywall t-square to create long, straight lines, we employed the circular saw and jigsaw to make all necessary cuts. Cutting the first board to size was initially intimidating (I couldn’t mess up without going to buy another board that can only be brought home loosely tied to the top of the Jeep). Board retrieval itself was quite the adventure on a snowy evening. I digress. Cutting the hole for the toilet plumbing was a little nerve-wracking.
Having repeatedly measured for this plumbing hole and the incoming pipe that provides toilet water, we rocked, because the cut was accurate on the first try. That’s pure Pete
pride in this next picture.
Cutting the last pieces of underlayment to size were quick and easy in comparison. When it came time to install, we used the air compressor and staple gun to blast 1″ staples on every single “X”. The staples are the only thing holding the underlayment in place, no glue, no adhesive, but considering the hundreds of staples that we popped into place, it should be well-set for years to come.
The installation was very quick and easy with the gun. We followed this tutorial
offered by the SurePly manufacturers with no problem. Lots of good tips, actually!
We doubled up the staples for added reinforcement around the entire perimeter of the room and along the cut edge of every board.
With the underlayment in place, I pounced on the opportunity to prime the floor while it was clean. The primer, a VOC-free floor enhancer shown here, is designed to help self-stick tiles adhere to flooring, and was especially advised for me as I was installing directly over brand-spankin’ new underlayment. At $5, it’s worth the investment to keep those tiles in place really well.
The instructions advised me to paint the enhancer on the floor with a thick-nap roller, not unlike how you’d paint the walls. Applying it evenly and not giving it much opportunity to puddle, I laid it on thick. Half of the bottle went further than you’d think, the liquid was like milk, not like paint. I have half of the bottle of this primer left (for future tiling projects, if this one here goes well).
I rolled myself right out the door, and left the room for 3 hours to let it cure and set.
You really wouldn’t know by looking at it that the finished floor that any treatment had been done, but it feels a little different. A little more sealed than it did when it was raw, and I guess that’s what helps the self-stick tiles adhere so well.
And speaking of curing and setting, I finished the shower tile too. After the grout had set for 24-hours, I cleaned up the surface of the tiles with a dry rag and then conditioned the exposed grout to repel stains and water. I may have been squeezing the bottle with the brush a little too hard, as I had a lot of over-run down the walls into the tub, but I wanted that tile to be sealed. Really sealed. I went through two bottles of the stuff, whereas I thought from the instructions that one bottle would have been enough for the whole shower.
After Day 10, I was ready for two things:
Flooring! And Showering! Both of which happened on Day 11. Check back next week, I’ll look much cleaner in the photos.
Catching the home improvement bug at an early age, Emily Winters is a now a devoted DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects she covers on her blog Merrypad range from painting a wall to building a deck, so it’s only natural she landed at DIYNetwork.com. You can follow Emily on twitter at @merrypad and like her on facebook at facebook.com/merrypad.