Tony the Tiler

While I was building my window table, Tony was tiling the floor in the master bath. You may remember what a great job he did on the walls!>

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Tiling is a tremendous amount of work, and Tony did the whole room over a three day weekend… All by himself! I swear, I did offer to help! Lucky for me, he didn’t take me up on the offer. Also lucky for us, Tony’s coworker let us borrow his tile saw. Thanks LeBar! Tony would lay a few tiles, then he’d go out back and cut a few, then he’d go back upstairs and lay those. And repeat all day for three days!

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When he finished, the tile looked fabulous! I was so impressed!

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I knew that once the floor was finished, the rest of the bathroom project would just fly – we could start installing fixtures and this thing would be usable. And believe me, I was ready for usable! So I let my little imagination run wild with how speedy we were going to be at completing this project… which didn’t quite happen. Our floor progress suffered several delays – some positive and some negative.

Our positive delay was a trip to Tony’s hometown of Winner for the Family Reunion/Memorial for Grandma/Paint Grandma’s Old House Weekend. We don’t make the eight hour drive very often, so we packed a lot into the three days we were there! When we drove into town Grandma’s house looked like this:

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This paint job was probably 10 years overdue! So the next few days we got up early, before the family reunion activities began, to scrape, prime, and paint. Then we’d join the fam, most of whom I’d never met before, for games and meals later in the day. Yay for Mafia!

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The weekend was a great success on all fronts, and Grandma’s house was much improved! Won’t it be cute with a big front porch? That project’s several years down the road though.

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After our hiatus from the bathroom, it was back to work! Tony did take me up on my offer to help grout. It’s too bad I forgot to take a picture of myself with those hot knee pads on! Grouting went great – use the float to squish sandy stuff into the cracks, then wipe it off. We were done in no time, or so we thought. Grouting always creates this gray haze on tile which has to be sponged off a few times. I think it took 5 or 6 wipes on the wall tile. After 5 or 6 swipes on the floor though, they didn’t look any different. My beautiful gray tiles, which Tony had painstakingly laid, were completely obscured by this foggy gray blah-ness no matter how hard we rubbed. We tried vinegar and water, a method oft-praised online. Nothing. We tried specially formulated haze remover, scrubbing it into the tile on our hands and knees with oversized toothbrushes. Still no improvement. Finally we went for straight cleaning vinegar and large scouring pads – victory! About three scrubbings with the vinegar lifted the haze so we could finally seal the floor and add the baseboards. This process set us back at least a week, mostly because our knees could only take so much time on the hard floor. Here’s the result though, with the baseboards installed, caulked, and a final painting complete.

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Here you can see our really tall baseboards. We have a chimney buried inside one of these walls, so we had to match the height of the existing trim that goes around the chimney. When you go to Home Depot looking for 7 inch baseboards they practically laugh at you, but as politely as possible. The solution was to choose two separate pieces of trim and layer them one on top of the other. I like it!

Once all that (tile, grout, and trim) was finally done, the rest of the bathroom did fly together. It’s almost ready to show you!

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3 Responses to Tony the Tiler

  1. Nancy Clewell says:

    Very nice!

  2. Pam McNicoll says:

    I am blown away by your determination!! And proud as punch of the job you are doing on this precious old home!!!
    Love, Mom

  3. Nancy Kline says:

    Wow, love the floor and baseboards. Tony did a great job with attention to detail. Looks better than any professional’s job. Mikel has tiled two of our bathrooms so we know how long it takes. Just beautiful!!

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