Over the past few months our dining room floor has sat idle, waiting for grout. The cold weather made it difficult to open the windows and let the room air out during the grouting process, so we patiently waited for it warm up again. Spring is officially here and since they are calling for nice weather this weekend, we took the opportunity to get the floor ready to grout.
Before we could start the next step of finishing the floor, we needed to fix a few broken tiles and re-set the tiles that came loose after we set them.
We walked around the floor trying to feel if anything rocked or squirmed under our feet. If we found a tile that was either broken or loose, we marked it with painters/masking tape. The tape served as a way to find the tiles we planned to repair so we wouldn’t spend time walking on every tile each time we fixed one.
After we were sure we found all the tiles to repair, we slowly lifted the loose tiles to make sure we didn’t break anything. Then we used a hammer and chisel to remove the mortar from the concrete. For the broken tiles, they were set a little better so we had to use the chisel to pry them off of the floor. Some tiles were set so well we had to lightly hit them with the hammer a few times to loosen them from the floor. Then we used the chisel and hammer to remove the remaining mortar and tile.
For the broken tiles, we had to replace them with new tiles and throw away the old ones.
We saved a few tiles when we first laid the floor just in case we needed them down the road. We used three of the tiles today and now we have 2 or 3 left if we need them. Once we picked out new tiles from our reserve and cleaned up the dust and mortar pieces, we started replacing the tiles. Before we put the mortar down, we taped off the surrounding tiles to prevent excess mortar splattering on the faces of the clean tiles. Then we spread the thin-set mortar.
For a few of the tiles, we added extra mortar to the low spots to make sure they set.
Then we laid all the tiles and made sure to press them into the mortar to get a strong contact between the mortar and the tile.
It took a few hours to remove the old mortar and set the tiles and during that time, Zoey paid us a few visits. She’s not allowed in the dining room, but she kept coming to supervise and even crossed the threshold to test her limits and run to the open window. She is mischievous!
Now that the broken and loose tiles are repaired, we are ready to fully prep for grout. Our next steps are to seal the tiles again and then wait 24 hours for the tiles we fixed to set up. Then, we grout! Once the grout is finished, we will seal the floor two more times. After we seal, and the floor dries, we can replace the base board. And then, our dining room is finished!
The floor project has gone well so far and although we’re not quite finished, I have a few lessons learned to share with anyone thinking about a DIY slate floor:
1. Do not rush a tile floor. It takes time to do all the associated steps.
2. Make sure you press all the tiles firmly into the mortar. If they are not in the mortar, they will come loose a few days after you are finished.
3. Always take the time to prep the floor before you put tile down. A clean floor is better for the mortar.
4. Make sure you can open the windows when you lay the thin set mortar. It will help keep the overwhelming smell down.
And that’s where we are with the floor. It’s almost ready to grout, we just need to wait for the tiles to set, clean the entire floor and seal it one more time.
More updates to come!
In other news, I also worked on the kitchen pantry this week. I acquired more Target gift cards and used them to buy OXO containers. I also reorganized the pantry and it went from this:
I still need a few more OXO containers for some of my baking supplies and snacks, but it has definitely come a long way from before. There were so many boxes of cans stacked on the floor and now they are easily accessible on the bottom shelf. I also reorganized our food into categories. I tried to keep the breakfast products somewhat together, the baking supplies in one area, the cans on one shelf and the snacks together. Now I can see exactly how many of items we have. And with our snacks in vacuüm sealed containers, they will last longer and I won’t have to throw away stale bags of chips!
That’s all for now! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!