House Week 29: Let the Tile Begin!

House Wk 29: Floating the Shower WallsSome progress was made this week despite the attempts of Mother Nature to yet again literally rain on my parade.  Even though it’s not that cold here in the Easy Bay, living less than a mile from the bay coupled with all of our rain has made the air completely thick with moisture.  So thick that another episode of “i can’t believe it, this stuff won’t dry” is occurring in my house (see previous drywall adventures).  I feel bad for these guys like i should have warned them about my family curse that all things must take twice (or more) time than usual.  Oh well, it sure is helping me to build a high tolerance for patience!

Last week they “floated” the floor and this week began working on the walls.  Why do i want my floor to float you ask?  It’s period appropriate for the house (my logic).  It is extremely solid increasing the stability of the floor while allowing for give to help reduce the pressure directly on the tiles to reduce tiles cracking under the weight of things like a 400 lb bathtub full of water and a human body (Dad’s logic).  The list goes on, but those are the basics.  Floating is not as common as it used to be 25+ years ago as home owners look to cut costs reducing both duration of the project as well as materials, also new technologies developed over the last 10~ years can offer the same type of moisture protection between the tile and sub floor that previously was only obtainable with a mortar bed and with other layers.  Also newer flooring types have been introduced recently to simulate the floating step without having to lay the layers, allowing the floor tiles to move and shift with the life of the house, more common in engineered wood flooring that tile.


Floating consists of building up a base for the tile to sit on (Layers shown at the left).  This is also where it comes important to remember all of those floor joists my father placed in my kitchen and bathroom (every 6” on center), which are to support not just the weight of my enormous bathtub but also all of the layers to build up the floor for the tile.  We also placed the plywood floor throughout the house so the tile guys start with the membrane layer which adds protection to the subfloor (plywood) from moisture.  It’s amazing to me how much of building is trying to prevent moisture/mold!  Okie, next layer is usually a hexagon wire “chicken wire” to give the mortar bed something to grip.  Mortar is then spread over the entire floor using some “floating strips” as guides for to keep the bed a consistent depth.  Strips are removed and filled in with the mortar compound and a bonding coat is placed over the entire floor for the tile to sit on top of.

House Wk 29: Finding the right spot for the daisies

Once the surface is completely floated and dried then they get to actually lay the tile, which by now is easy as you have a completely level surface to work on.  We have actually made it this far on the floor, but the moisture filled air is really holding up the walls.  They told me the compound was actually FALLING off of the walls!  Crazy!  Below is a picture of the floor “set”, which is to say glued to the base coat but not grouted and set permanently yet.  This weekend i get to mark off the daisies and borders which i guess they will go back and “pop-out” the white tiles to replace them with the navy?

It’s looking so fantastic, i can’t wait to move in!!!!

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