Thursday, May 24, 2012

Our First Foray Into Tiling

I Am Terrible At Estimating Things
The day we were to go purchase the tile, I insisted that we take two cars to Home Depot in order to transport the tiles home.  I have a 1999 Honda Civic, and Matt has a 1991 Honda Civic so we really are able to transport big stuff easily.  We calculated the number of cases of tile we'd need to be 60 and the sales person started laughing when we told him how we were going to transport the cases.  At 80 lbs per case, I wanted to carry nearly two and a half tons of tile in two sedans.  Plus another 475 lbs of mortar and grout.  You too can now take this opportunity to laugh.  Delivery was $75, and a fantastic choice.  The cashier says we were wise to do this because she had seen more than one person break their car axle trying to carry too much stuff.  I'm not even sure the same volume of styrofoam would have fit in two Civic's because 60 cases turns out to be over two pallets of tile.  Cripes.

Tiling Like We Mean It
Uncle Don and I getting started
Our Uncle Don was so kind to set us up with tile saws, a power drill that can handle mortar, the mixing paddle and most importantly knowledge.  The tiles we bought were 16" x 16" monsters, with some variation between boxes which we figured out after a few courses of tile were laid.  We chose a diagonal pattern because I think it looks more interesting than a grid that is square to the room.  Speaking of "square", our house has only a passing familiarity with this concept.  The corner behind the door in the adjacent photos is probably 105 degrees instead of 90.  This would have been super obvious if we went with a pattern aligned with the walls rather than the diagonal.

At the peak of tiling we had six people working, including Matt's parents Jim and Pat.  To make our lives easier we decided to put off the tiling of the corners and closet for a day until the mortar set on the adjacent tiles.  Tiling the closet was tricky, but we did a complete dry fit to make sure the plan would work.  We didn't get too lathered up about things looking perfect in the closet...because it's a closet and we have plenty of other details to be concerned about.

A real treat to tile the closet
We all went for a dip in the pool afterwards,
getting warmer but it's still "brisk"

Tile spacers, times a million


Molly, happy to be allowed
back into the room
This week Matt and I have been grouting after work, photos to follow. When the home depot salesperson asked what color grout we wanted, I proudly stated "dirt". He politely informed us that this was called "earth". We chose a dark colored grout, because I don't want to spend the rest our lives trying to keep the grout white.

Greening the Neighborhood
Mature White Fringetree
Kim Fuller, a former lab member and current friend and neighbor, is a post-doc at UPenn.  They have a great program where they give away one free tree per year to faculty and staff.  Kim and her husband Brad's house has plenty of trees so they offered the tree to us.  Kim and I picked one up this last Saturday, after a quick trip to a Chestnut Hill bakery for breakfast and cupcakes.  After shoe-horning the tree into the mighty Honda Civic (their new tagline: When you think of large transporting capacity, you think Honda Civic), I was too excited/too busy chatting to pay attention to the speed limit.  I got let off with a warning, thankfully, and crept the rest of the way home at a snails pace.  We chose a White Fringe tree which will grow to ~30 feet high and have an equal spread.  It blooms in late summer with tiny fragrant white flowers.  Matt and I planted the tree yesterday in a spot where there used to be a tree.  The ground was nice and soft thanks to all the rain...but mostly because we had the stump ground a few weeks ago.

Our White Fringetree, landscaping to follow soon  (a keen eye will be able to see our neighborhood bunny, who Molly would love to get to know)

This weekend we will have our first weekend off from house projects thanks to the annual Harper's Ferry camping trip with my extended family (clocking in at ~30 people this year).  I am looking forward to not being covered in paint/mortar/grout for a few days. Its a well deserved break.

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