Every joint and muscle in my body hurts. My knees are killing me and my fingertips are raw. If we still lived in New York City I would say... (think very New York Jewish Mother here) "Oh My God, I've got to see a podiatrist."
Why all the complaining you ask?
Let's start with a 1912 craftsman bungalow, in South Pasadena, California, that I owned and restored twelve years ago. It was a piece of cake compared to 227 north street. Mostly stripping, refinishing and replacing woodwork, floors and bits and bobs that had been "updated" in the dreaded...
Duh, duh, dum, duh.... yes you guessed it... the 1970's. Ah what a tasteful and beautiful decade that was.
During that renovation I did my first and only tile job. Pretty craftsman tile counter tops, laid with mastic (a premixed tile adhesive), and for those of you who DO know how to do these things, I should not have used mastic on a counter top, but what did I know, this was in the days before the world wide web of easily accessible porn... Oooops, I meant information. Would I put tile on a counter top again? No Way! But it was a nice look for that house and the tile was beautiful.
The point of that sentence was not the counter tops, or the porn, but the "first and only tile job" part. So there I was yesterday with an under floor heating mat, a roll of Ditra, a sea of white marble tile and bags of two different types of dry thin set.
(little tiny voice here)
"Suck up and bust"! I know that phrase does not really make sense, but it does kind of express what had to be done. First mix the modified thin set... "How do you do that?" Then spread some on the floor and comb it with a trowel... "comb it?" Lay the heating mat on top of the modified thin set, and rub down with a rubber float. "Gulp", then repeat process using unmodified thin set, unroll the Ditra onto wet mortar, and again rub down with a rubber float... Eeeek!
Ditra is that mysterious orange stuff you see being put down under tile, on television shows. It is a membrane that is impervious to water and allows the tile floor to move separately from the structure, "uncoupling", so as to avoid cracking of the tile or the grout joints. It is a cool, high tech, product and we managed to get it down fairly easily, thin set and all.
Heating mat laid onto the wet mortar.
Phillip with the mysterious orange stuff called Ditra
Butt shot... Hee Hee, at least he wasn't showing crack, Hee Hee Hee
So now the Heat mat is in place, and the Ditra is ready for the beautiful, pristine, WHITE, marble tile.
12 x 6 inch tiles laid in a running pattern like brick. White marble tile? I couldn't choose something else to learn with? I am certain that a journeyman diamond cutter does not practice on the real thing...
Back to an earlier statement, Suck Up and Bust!
With trowel and thin set in hand, I took a deep breath and...
The first Tile, well two actually, its hard to remember to take pictures when your blood pressure has has just gone through the roof!
Well, the first couple of tiles were not too bad, time to move on.
In case you are wondering, the orange Ditra does not show through the stone when finished, or so we have been told...
Six hours after laying the first tile, I was only halfway across the room, it was eleven o'clock at night, and I could not stand up. I am sure it is not advisable to stop the tile job in the middle, but, I could not go on any longer. It is very fussy work as the tiles are not perfect, nor of exact even thickness. The spacers are only 1/16th of and inch and my sore and raw fingers could hardly hold onto them after all those hours on my hands and knees. My eagle eye scanned a gazillion for imperfections, and I cleaned the mortar really well from around the tiles in preparation for tonight's sequel.
TileRama in BiancaVision, part deux
The day after the night before