Monday, March 22, 2010

Bathroom, Floor (with heat!)

As much as one may procrastinate, eventually the piper must be paid and unsavory tasks accomplished. This is how I feel about the floor. It's not that I really don't like tiling, I think what was stumping me was the radiant floor heat. I had never installed it before and needed to wrap my head around it before diving in. There came a point, two fridays ago I think, when it became apparent I really could put off the bath floor indefinitely so that prompted me to suck it up. First thing I did was the shower floor, no mat there so it was relatively easy, aside from the drain. Now I could feel like I've started the floor without tackling the part intimidating me. After a few days of basking in the shower floor glow of accomplishment, I was ready for the radiant floor heat. In the mat installation instructions, first thing to do is test the "resistance" of the mat (and then two more times during installation). Um, ok. So off to HD to get an ohmmeter or multimeter. I found a multimeter. Followed the directions and took the reading. The display was kind of all over and I hope this is normal but it did pause on 53.6, so I'm hoping that means that's the reading. There's also a "loud mouth" tool that you clamp the wires for the mat to and if there's a break in the line during installation, it buzzes. Good thing since the mat is embedded in mortar and a bit hard to get to once installed. Next it says to lay out the mat, being careful of the purple wire (that's what heats the floor) and staple or tape it down. Taping sounded like a bad idea so I tried to staple it. Apparently stapling into cement board is not possible, no matter how much you swear. Ok, tape it is! The mat came with some hard-core-we-hold-the-space-shuttle-together-with-this double sided tape. (during installation, my sock stuck to it and I almost fell over trying to leave the room, fun) Once I laid the mat out and cut the mesh where needed, I realized it was going to be one row short, which sucks because that means a cold spot. So I was creative with the purple wire and hot glue, the result can be seen in the photo. I also ended up putting down one layer of the pepto on the floor as an anti-fracture membrane underneath the mat. I know that cracking is probably not an issue with the small tiles that we used but I had it and it only took 20 minutes (and allowed me to put off laying the mat for another day) and who knows with the heating and cooling of the floor? The vanity is along the same wall as the toilet and you don't want the mats under those so that's the unheated space along the inside wall.

The tile we chose was an HD stock item. I can be a little impatient when it comes to buying supplies, and prefer things carried in stock (this also makes dealing with miscalculations easier). We narrowed it down to two choices, all white octagonal with squares or white octagonal with black squares. I wasn't thrilled with either but compromised with a "peppered" floor. I cannibalized the black square tiles and artistically scattered them into the all white tiles. I prepped out the 1'x1' sheets beforehand by cutting out the tiles I wanted to replace so once it was down it would be easy to place the black tiles. I reused the loose octagonal tiles for the edges and odd spots and ended up with only 10 superfluous octo tiles, but a good number of white square tiles left over. The full sheets were to returned to HD.

I'm ready. Tiles are prepped, warming mat is taped down, floor is vacuumed, I'm ready. I mixed an obscene amount of mortar, determined to slap down half the floor in one sitting. Come to discover, filling in the areas between the wires on the mat takes a lot of material and I only got one and a half rows done. 4 1/2 full sheets. Only 29 sheets to go. Depressing. After 3 days and yet another trip to HD for yet another bag of mortar, it's down. The floor is tiled. I'm going to let the mortar set for about 6 days before grouting due to the thickness of it, plus, that puts it on a weekend and Wino is really good at grouting. It looks a little odd right now with the red and grey peeking between the tiles, but I think I'll like it once the white grout is in. I hope.

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