A New Floor

The side porch floor is actually not part of the permit, but having the floor done at the same time as the stairs made sense because they have to work together. Also, well, we were in danger of falling through the floor as it existed.

This morning, bright and early, our contractor and his tile sub showed up and we walked through what I wanted and I brought out some tiles so we could talk through things.

Cement board

They spent much of the day attaching this cement board to the porch floor. As you can see, it's screwed down every six inches. This stuff is a pain the butt to cut, because it's basically cement and fiberglass reinforcement.

Lining up the first tile

The tiles are all lined up to the center of the new staircase. This is the primary way you will approach these tiles, and we have a plan to move the dining room door so that it will line up with these tiles as well. I was very impressed by the attention to detail Jose, the labourer, showed in getting things aligned.

Protecting the new stairs from the thinset

When he was ready to get to work setting the tile, he carefully covered the stairs with plastic (weighed down with tiles, as you do).

Jose setting tiles

Anybody can just slap tiles down, but this floor had a few touchy parts: 1) it's exterior so it's sloped to drain water, and 2) it's set on the diagonal which is always more complicated, and 3) for reasons nobody really understands, the black tiles are 1/16" smaller than the white tiles, even though they are the same tile, just different colours.

Leveling the tiles

So with great attention and care, Jose began laying tiles starting at the stair.

Where things finished off tonight

And at 6:30 tonight -- keep in mind that he was there for the meeting with me at 7am -- this is where he'd gotten. The top step will be tiled black, so for now the tiles end there (I considered carefully and decided I didn't want the black and white to be visible from the ground on the edge of the step). And under the handrail there we'll install a piece of wood as trim, to be replaced when eventually we get the porch to looking more like its original self, with little half-walls all around it.

We are thinking of hiring these guys to do the tiling in the upstairs bathroom, since tile is one place where you can spend a lot of money that will look really bad if you are not super good at it.

posted by ayse on 10/27/14

6 Comments

I love the black and white tile! We need some black plants in the garden to compliment! :)

I'm thinking maybe a black grass along the walk there.

We had that problem too! The store told us that we had to expect IIRC 0.5% of size variation between colours of the same tile but in our case it was definitely more than that. Basically they told us that we should have gotten the manufacturer's OK on mixing colours first before buying the tile as you're not supposed to do that. Lovely, isn't it? Besides, we specifically told the sales lady that we wanted to mix black and white!

At least in this case, it was the sales lady who brought it to my attention and asked if it was OK. I hemmed and hawed over it but decided to go with it because it really isn't very noticable, though it has definitely added to the work.

That's definitely better! We only discovered it when we opened the first boxes of floor tile, after tiling the walls. I think the difference was about half the width of a grout line or maybe even more. In the first room (water closet) we used white grout, that created a visual effect of black tiles floating in a sea of white. In the bathroom we switched to black after a lot of hemming and hawing and that more or less hid the difference.

Exactly so. It was the floating tiles look that I was trying to avoid.

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