Monday, September 9, 2013

Project House Update: Step 2 of a Million

So, you know that one friend you have that's really in shape? The one who works out all the time and is all about healthy eating? The one who probably boasts about how they could probably run a marathon if they wanted to? And then they do try, without any training, and maybe made it two miles?

Yep, that's us when it comes to house stuff.

We're incredibly handy and great planners and designers, but in all honesty, we haven't done any of this before. Everything is new to us, even two years in, and we're still ridiculously naive. We've seen the home improvement shows and get paid to work with our hands, so tiling a fireplace should be easy peasy, right?

Anyway, intro aside, here's where we left things. We've gotten all of two tiles on the base of the fireplace.

We ran into two problems very quickly. First, it looks like our floor isn't level so the height of the hearth is roughly five inches on one side and six inches on the other. Second, the hearth surface isn't perfectly vertical. It's like we're trying to tile a thin, crooked strip on a really large cone. And because of this, we kept finding that there was either a gap between the tiles while leveling them with the hearth or tiling at an angle without the gap.

Here's Dan's thinking face as this annoyed the crap out of him.

So, after a stressful few hours, here's some conclusions we made.
  • If you've got a gap between two tile sheets that you can't really get around, remove a couple of the edge pieces and place them afterward to hide the gap and shift it a bit. 
  • Mix the thin set pretty thick to keep it from sliding on the vertical surface.
  • Cut and make sure all the tiles mesh before actually sticking any of them up. 
  • Apply thin set to both the wall and to the tile sheet to minimize possible air pockets and hollow spots. 
  • Once the tiles are placed, secure them in place with painter's tape. 
  • Set the top with an extra bit of thin set, if you're placing tile on the top surface.

When all is said and done, we're starting, just barely starting, to get the hang of this. And doesn't it look pretty, all finished and professional?

You can barely see where two tiles meet. Any gap vertically is shifted to the bottom to (hopefully) be covered up by the carpet when it's installed. The side edges, which Dan just clipped with what can only be described as a giant pair of nail clippers, will be hidden by wood trim.

The next step will be tiling the top. We've been thinking about something like white marble, but Dan isn't sold on it anymore. It will probably take me quite a long time to completely convince him of a tile, so who know when we'll actually make more progress.

(Sidenote: I should state that Dan did do most of this. I really wish I was more helpful, but I did do things like tearing off pieces of tape and handing him paper towels. I'm more of an ideas girl, anyway.)

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