Friday, December 30, 2011

End of Year and the Projects are Moving Along

Someone asked me what I was doing for New Year's Eve.  I answered, "I am working on my kitchen and bathroom."  Oh, that's nice, was the reply.  Then they asked, "What is the most difficult thing you are doing?"  After a bit of thought, I answered, "The planning process...and working with Polly on the planning process."  ;]

Ok, all kidding aside, we really do anguish over the details a bit too much.  Fortunately, when one of us is on the ledge (Polly mostly) the other can talk them down safely.  The bathroom tile is one of those times for Polly.  More on that later. 

Below are images of moving the kitchen fan exhaust duct. 

Not the prettiest cut, but screwed and taped successfully.

Vent pipe moved 4" closer to the wall.

Finished waiting for the hood.  Note the clamps on the cabinet--The side was finished with a thin plywood skin to bring the side flush. 

Also today we had help!  Butch, Nelson, and Robert (painter/plaster guy) were in to assist.  The tiling job in the bathroom is giving Polly nightmares  I am sure it will turn out well, but she keeps over-thinking it...We'll make it work one way or the other, and it will look as if it intended to be that way.  ;]

Robert working on the crown molding and wall.

Nelson on the cabinets...Shims are your friend...

Butch and Polly called ahead to decide on matching work outfits

Polly and her tileHowever, not one wall was square to another.  They are mostly plumb, fortunately. 

Installing the top sill for the window

Close-up of marble running accent tile

Crown molding finished off at the kitchen.  Came out nice, huh?

Close-up of the crown--wood-filler to close the joins.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tile on bathroom floor

We managed to get the tile sized up and laid down on the bathroom floor on Sunday am.  Polly, again, doing the dry-fit and template measuring of the window, niche and floor tile.  I received nicely marked pieces of tile to cut.  Teamwork.  ;]

Cutting out the hole for the toilet flange

Marked and cut with a grinder fitted with a diamond tile blade on both sides--the first tile I tried snapped in half along the center line, side to side.  The second tile was the charm.

The same teamwork came in handy as we actually laid the tile--I was in charge of the thin-set, getting it mixed and applied to the Ditra and buttering the backs of the 12"X24" porcelain tiles. 

"Buttering" the backs of the tile.

Here is the finished product.

We'll remove the clips this evening and clean the tile--then grout.  No sealant this time on the tiles; just on the grout only.

Cutout for toilet flange

Kitchen tile used as the ledge for niche and window

Monday, December 12, 2011

bathroom finally prepped for tile; drywall finished--ready for primer

Dry-fitting the Kerdi

This took Polly about 4 hours to get all 18-20 pieces measured out and thumb-tacked up

Finished product.  We figured out how to tile the window--see notes below.

Bathtub taped off for tiling coming next.

Wall niche sealed up and waterproof.

Finished product--took about five hours to complete with two people.
So we finally got to placing the Kerdi on the walls of the bath-shower area.  We used about 2/3 of a 50# bag of thinset (Laticrete 317) and it took Polly and I nearly 4.5 hours (closer to 10 hours when you really figure in the prep of cutting and dry-fitting the Kerdi, actual set-up,  and final clean-up) to get it all on the walls.

Some notes:  
  • Measure and cut the Kerdi first.  Never would we have gotten this done sanely without doing this. 
  • I used a couple of tools--a small mason's pointed trowel to initially apply the thinset; a 1/4 X 3/16" V-notched trowel to remove excess thinset; a 8" drywall taper's knife, and a 6" plastic putty knife--both to smooth out the Kerdi and squeeze out the excess thinset and air pockets.  the metal taper's knife was useful to really get the Kerdi into the corners--holding it in there and then pulling at the surface away from the taper's knife with the plastic putty knife, thus creating a tight, and smooth corner.  Finally, a drywall "hawk"was helpful to hold the thinset on while I used the small trowel to apply it to the wall. 
  • keep your tools and work-area clean--clean as you go.
  • have patience with your spouse! ;]
Next up is tiling.  We are going to use 3"x6" Daltile mat-white finish subway tiles with a Carrera marble accent row.  The window will get a treatment of porcelain tile from the kitchen floor leftovers.  The window is not plum or really square, and the easiest thing to do seems to use 6 pieces of the 12"X24" floor tiles cut to fit the uneven opening and sill/top-plate.

Monday, December 5, 2011

kitchen cabinets going in; need to re-order two...

We managed to unpack all the cabinets this past Sunday.  We dry-fit the lowers, and decided that we were definitely an inch plus too long for the space.  The cabinet on the end by the window is a 15" we swapped in for the 18" we originally ordered.  Sigh--back to Lowes we go...and we will wait another 3-4 weeks before the replacements (upper and lower) can be made.  This will delay the counter-top, but hopefully not the electrician and plumbers.

Polly looking over the situation

Nelson looking at the peninsula

Ledger board in place

All lower cabs wrapped up and out of Robert's (the drywall guy) way so he can finish the taping

Polly measuring for fridge fit.  Fortunately, the width of the kitchen is fine for the cabs we ordered.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

kerdi on the kitchen wall for backsplash

Kerdi cut and placed on wall for backsplash

Cutting around the outlets; I needed to cut the Kerdi in half for ease of install...

Kerdi installed

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

grouted; waiting for curing to finish before sealing

Mixed slightly thinner than the thinset--more like soft-peak eggwhites

What goes on top of the tiles and not into the cracks, must come off...

Finished next day

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ready for grout tonight

The process of tiling the floor took slightly longer than we anticipated--and we made a few mistakes along the way--mostly involving not removing the thinset which had inadvertently gotten on the tiles/excess in the grout joint voids...

Needed one of these to remove the excess thinset...

Polly in thinset removal mode...

Our answer to tiling around the heating riser.  We will place a "toe-kick" heater under the cabinet, which will blow hot air onto the kitchen floor.

Sealed floor awaiting grout.

But the end result was pretty satisfying.  We will grout tonight!  :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Late night tiling

Name:  midnight_finish.jpg
Views: 4
Size:  62.6 KB
We started about 3pm in the afternoon, and finished what you see just after midnight...
Last night we finished about 85% of the tile work.

Bob, a professional tiler on the forum suggested the Lacticrete 220 medium "thinset." It was was fantastic. mixed up like a dream--good pot life, and spread just like the 317 did. Kudos to you for the tip!

So, today, we took on the rest. This is how it turned out--

Name:  finished_floor_plus.jpg
Views: 4
Size:  40.3 KB

We used the clips and plastic "ramps" to keep the tiles in place--the floor was not a flat as I originally thought...

We'll seal and grout tomorrow. We went with the 511 Impregnator, and tested it on a half-cut piece of the Provenza Q-Stone, and it proved to be an improvement on the water beading and added a bit of color "depth" to the porcelain that we liked.

The boss has gotten into this project--and I for one, am glad for the assistance!

Name:  construction_boss.jpg
Views: 4
Size:  41.7 KB

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

funny colors make great products

I've started a thread on a "pro" tiler's forum ( seeking advice with the remainder of the kitchen and bathroom projects.  You can look at the forum post-thread here.

Someone commented on the color of the "green board" we were using.  Yes, it is "tennis" green, but upon looking up the product, it seems to live up to its colored hype.  It is a Lafarge product called Mold Defense® Type X 

From the website:  "Lafarge Mold Defense® Type X is a gypsum board enhanced with glass fibers to provide greater strength and fire protection for interior walls and ceilings. It provides enhanced protection against mold and mildew, both of which can cause material deterioration and staining."

Now with the caution-cone orange color of the Ditra, we are ready to dance an Irish Jig!