Archive for the ‘How To’ Category

work-5Our cute house on 8th Street was in major need of a kitchen overhaul (as I wrote about previously.) Both David and I had never tiled before. David did all of the research and consulted with the book, Stanley Complete Tiling, for advice. After mulling over the selections at the various tile stores, we ended up choosing natural slate tile. We thought it complimented the stone fire place very well. Because no two tiles are the same, we opened a few boxes of tile and spread them out along the floor.

work-7Setup and preparation is key for a good, level tile job. First the old linoleum floors were removed, then subfloor was reinforced and additional screws added to eliminate any squeaks or soft spots. For low areas, 1/8 inch board was used along with a self-leveling product. An edge sander was used to knock down the high spots. 1/8 inch tile backerboard was then added. Finally, after all that setup, we were able to lay the tile.

work-9We decided on a simple ‘brickwork square’ pattern. This allowed us to stagger the joints, which was important because natural slate can vary in size and depth (unlike ceramic tile). We chose a premixed thinset mortar, which is the adhesive that holds the tile in place, to speed things up but it does cost a little more than the dry-mixed mortar. We also decided on 1/4 inch spacers between each tile (a good match for the 12 inch tiles).

work-10Here is the almost-finished product. We allowed the thinset to cure overnight without walking on it. The following day, we were ready to apply the grout. We chose unsanded grout in dark gray. We bought a grout mixer for the hand-held drill and it was like stirring up a very large quantity of batter in a five-gallon bucket. David applied the grout, and I quickly followed behind with a damp sponge (that I rinsed often) to clean off the excess grout from the tile surface (important). Later, we used a liquid product to remove the ‘grout haze’ from the tile.

work-11Lastly, a tile sealer was applied throughout. Finally… the new floor was safe to walk on… or else this Black Lab would have been in big trouble!

kitchen-1And the kitchen ended up looking pretty snazzy! David took the leftover 12×12 slate tiles and cut them into 3×6 tiles and used them for the backsplash. Of course, we had to buy a wet tile saw (a good, basic saw starts around $80 and was well worth the investment… so there will be tiling in our future).

Kitchen2Can you believe how dark and dingy it was before?

Kitchen floor removalAnd we also had some help along the way. In this picture, my dad and David are removing the old linoleum.


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Our house on 8th Street had wonderful hot-water heat. Our 1000 sq ft heated up quickly with our 6 radiators, but they were a bit on the unsightly-side. So we got to work to create some radiator covers to spruce things up a bit!


Here are 2 of the radiator cover in progress without paint.


A metal sheet was installed behind the radiator to reflect the heat before installing the radiator covers (see what I mean? It’s kinda ugly).


Here is the dining room radiator cover before it was primed and painted. David notched out the top piece to fit the pipe.


Here is the completed radiator cover in the guest bedroom.

And that’s all for the 8th Street house radiator project. However, our Elmwood house also has radiators- 10 of them! I’m sure some more radiator covers will be in our future!

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