Archive for the ‘tile’ Category

Prepping for our own tile

May 6, 2007

Boy, are we ever NOT used to manual labor! I have a blister on my finger as I’m typing this. We decided that, rather than pay $600 for the professional people to install sheet vinyl in our laundry room & under-the-stairs closet, we would do it ourselves. The flooring people come a week from tomorrow, so, acting on my father’s advice, we decided to prep the floor for our vinyl tiles today, in order to have it ready to lay these down by next weekend. The reason for this is that we would like to lay our vinyl flooring down before the transitions are put in, so that we don’t have to try to pull up the transitions and put our flooring down under them.

Today, we bought a scraper and some sealant and went out to the house to scrape the concrete piles and drywall spray off of our laundry room & closet floors. In retrospect, we should have bought one large scraper and one small one, so that we could have worked simultaneously, instead of taking turns. In retrospect, we should have worn goggles, so that the flying bits of concrete didn’t get into our eyes (we used our sunglasses). In retrospect, we should have bought dust masks, instead of depending on the chance that our painters had left an unused pair there (they had – huzzah!). In retrospect, we should have brought a broom & dustpan (we borrowed our neighbor’s broom). In retrospect, we should have brought an empty vacuum bag, since our vacuum bag weighed about 10 pounds when we’d finished! In retrospect, I should have put mosquito repellent on my face, not just on my arms & neck. The mosquitoes are nesting by the dozens inside our house, and they swarmed all over my face. Apparently I am one sweet woman.

Here’s what we did right: we brought our vacuum. We bought the floor sealant. We bought a paint roller that had a tight foam roller, rather than a more absorbent, hairy one. I did at least have mosquito repellent on my arms & legs. We brought very optimistic attitudes, as you will see by our plan for the day.

We planned on sealing the floor this morning, then heading out to the Earl of Sandwich for lunch and the Gap for some summer clothing shopping. Ha! We were caked, coated, and crusty with white dust after 2 hours of work, so we instead went home and took a shower.

After that, we were in no mood to fight the Disney traffic, so we headed to Tijuana Flats for lunch instead, and then went grocery shopping and came home, ready to go to sleep by 4 pm!

Here is what the laundry room looked like before we began:

Here are some photos of us doing our first manual labor in I-don’t-know-how-long:

I will post some “after” pictures once we get the vinyl flooring laid down next weekend. We are just going with the 12″ square, stick-on vinyl tiles from Home Depot. We’ve used these before, on our floor in New York, though that apartment floor was cardboard and so thus didn’t require the manual labor that this job does.


Drywall is done!

April 29, 2007

Our drywall is finished, and we are ready for painting. It’s amazing what a difference it makes, to have the walls all up and finished. It really looks like a house, and I think it’s a lovely house. I’m very excited that we’re going to get to live in this beautiful creation.

Here is a photo of our great room wall, all drywalled up:

And here is a better photo of our finished door with matching transom window:

In our upstairs shower, the tub surround upstairs, and the downstairs bath, the builders used Durock:

This picture is of our downstairs bath, with octagonal window visible.

When we came to visit our house on Saturday, the drywall was all up, but had not had the spray sealant put on it. However, when we came back on Sunday morning, it had been sprayed, so the texture was visible. This was the sign that the drywallers were completely done and we are now ready for paint!

The reason we came by on Sunday as well as Saturday was to drop our paint choices into the Doc box. I thought we did this rather cleverly, though I’m sure millions of other people have done the same thing! We had an earlier draft of the floorplans, not showing the ICF walls, but that would be suitable to use for this purpose. We color coded every wall, showing which colors we wanted, so that there would be no possibility of error. Can you tell I’m a teacher? I anticipate confusion arising, and try my best to prevent it. We stapled the sheet with our various color choices, including manufacturer, color name, and color number, to the front of our color-coded floorplans.

We wanted our trayed ceiling in the master bedroom to have a ring of the iceberg blue wall paint around the tray area, so that is what’s color coded at the top of this page. And, of course, as part of the green building process, we are using low/no VOC paints.

Our builder, Woody Dortch of Classic Structures, Inc., has been hard at work continuing to install the James Hardie Board siding onto our house:

The first floor is almost done, and, on one side of the house, he’s finished the siding entirely. Huzzah!

Woody said something which really struck me this week, and I thought I’d mention it, since it’s indicative of the type of builder he is. I was telling him that we’d heard horror stories from other people who had new construction homes, about what a difficult and traumatic process it was. Woody said, “When you’re building a house, you have to expect that problems will come up. It’s how you handle it that makes it a good or bad building experience.” I thought that was remarkable, since it was exactly TRUE.

For example, Woody spoke with the propane guy, who said that the ugly propane vent on the front of the house could be moved, but that he (propane guy) was not going to move it (jerk). So Woody told us that he would move the vent himself, and was going to pay to replace the entire sheet of metal for the roof, so that we don’t have an ugly patch job. His pride in the finished product, as well as his dedication to us as his customers are truly remarkable. As a teacher, I generally have a low opinion of people’s integrity, but Woody’s honesty & integrity are striking!

Finally, we resolved the issue of our overly expensive floors. Woody found another vendor for us, who is going to give us just what we want: brown tiles for the kitchen & master bath, black & white subway tiles for the downstairs bath, frieze carpet for the master bedroom, and bamboo flooring for everywhere else, for very close to our budget. Here is a photo of the exact bamboo flooring we’re using: Columbia Flooring’s Ivory Bamboo.

Next steps: the interior will be painted; Woody will continue installing the Hardie Board siding; our garage door will go up; the flooring will go in; our cabinets will be installed.

Flooring Choices

April 11, 2007

We had our hearts set on bamboo, throughout this entire process. But far be it from us to go against the recommendations of local suppliers. Presumably, they know more about a product’s fit for our climate than we do, so we bowed to our supplier’s knowledge and let our dream of bamboo floors go. Sigh.

Our supplier is a company called Absolute Flooring, run by 2 men named John and Brad. When we need to choose floors, John and Brad drive up with their trailer full of samples. They give us samples within our price range (ostensibly!) and then we borrow them, think about them, photograph them, and make our final decisions.

Right now, we have a few choices, depending on how the pricing shakes down, but here are our first choices.

This is a photo of our first 2 flooring choices. The tile, which is Bella Porcelain by MasterCraft, Himalaya, color Brown, would be for our kitchen, master bath floors, tub surround, and shower walls. The hardwood floor, which is Johnson AMZ-E12509 Brazilian Maple (Ivorywood), with a natural finish and 5″ wood, would be for our great room, dining room, foyer, downstairs hallway, and 2 downstairs bedrooms.

We like this hardwood flooring for 3 reasons. 1. It looks beautiful, and it has an aluminum oxide coating for durability. 2. It is engineered wood, so it is more durable in our humid Floridian climate and it uses less Brazilian maple. 3. Johnson, the manufacturer, farms their trees in an environmentally sustainable way, getting 1/3 of their wood from fallen trees and another 1/3 from old or unhealthy trees that prevent the younger trees from growing.

This next photo is of the carpet we’ve chosen for our upstairs landing and master bedroom. It is by ShawMark, from the Home Again series, and the color is Going Abroad. I made a red circle around the color we wanted, which may or may not show up in this photo!

If you can’t see the circle, it’s the brown swatch just to the right of the green swatch.

Finally, for our downstairs bath, we have a distinct vision. That vision involves black and white tiles, pictured below on the bottom left:

We also met with an interior designer, Tim Rounsaville of Avec Designs. He was very helpful to us in choosing our colors for the house. I lugged the flooring samples out, and he mixed, matched, and came up with something that we think we will be happy with. Without further ado, here are our choices:

Sherwin Williams, SW6435, Gratifying Green, Guest Bedroom

Sherwin Williams, SW6798, Iceberg, Master Bedroom

Sherwin Williams, SW6498, Byte Blue, Great Room, Dining Room, and Kitchen

Sherwin Williams, SW6147, Panda White, Foyer & Hallways

Sherwin Williams, SW6800, Something Blue, Downstairs Bath

We now sit back and twiddle our thumbs, while we wait for pricing estimates for our flooring choices. We will then probably be back at square one, trying to find something affordable that we can love!