Back to the laundry room:
As I noted, this project includes several experiments - aspects of remodeling that we might want to try elsewhere, but since this is the laundry room
, it is a fairly small space, and it won't matter too terribly much if we make a total mess of it.
This experiment was a ceramic tile floor. I had already taken the linoleum off and spent a month scraping the adhesive off the concrete floor. Kate has a much better eye for what looks nice than I do, so she picked out some 12X12 ceramic tiles and grout. She also felt she wanted ceramic baseboards, but there were no tiles she liked that could be used that way. So we decided we could rent a saw and make pieces that were about 3" wide from the 12" tiles. Of course, that would leave a raw edge in the most visible spot on the baseboard, so she also found a rather unusual quarried rock trip. I'll try to describe it, and post pictures when I'm able. The material is a brown porous rock, and in cross section it looks like the letter "D." It was intended to be used as a trim between other tiles. It's about 3/8" wide and about 1/2" to the crest of the rounded edge.
So, we spent four figures on tiles for the laundry room
, and I set out to find a tool rental place. Now, I spent most of my life in one suburban town in southern California, and I got fairly used to what was available there, including a handfull of tool rental places. These guys realize that do-it-yourselfers operate on the weekends, and go into the office on Monday, so they are open on the weekends. Not so in these heah pahts of the saouth. The first rental place I found closed at noon on Saturday. It's worth noting that I get every other Friday off, because I put in nine-hour days, so I was able to get the saw and use it overnight, but naturally, we started putting down the full-size tiles first, then cut to fit when that became necessary. A big rush job on Saturday morning trying to get the saw back to the rental place that was fifteen miles away.
We had determined that the tiles would overlap the sump by a few inches, which was fine with us because the hole in the floor is really a bit larger than the bucket anyway, and it would give us a little more room for the washer and dryer.
After I returned the saw, we were ready to grout. We had used plastic spacers between the tiles to keep everything regular, and they worked well for that purpose. My big mistake was believing the instructions on the grout bag about cleaning up. They said to let it dry, then wipe up the residue with a towel.
I spent another two weeks laying on the floor, picking the excess grout out of the texture of the tiles with a sharp awl.
The night of the installation of the tile was the only other night we didn't have use of the washer and dryer, because we didn't want to move them onto the tiles while the mortar was not set.
So after all that, we still needed to put in the "baseboard" tiles. We went to another rental place that was open until 5PM on Saturday, giving us a little more time to get everything to fit. We had saved our trimmings from the floor tiles so we had part of the material already, but we did need to cut up several more tiles in order to make the baseboards. We attached them to the wall with the same thin-set mortar we used on the floor, and spaced them off the floor with the same spacers. We were able to line up all the baseboard tiles with the tiles on the floor, since they started off the same size.
The top trim was not as long as the tiles were, so they do not line up. It doesn't seem to be much of an esthetic issue, although Kate was upset when she realized that her idea of having everything line up wasn't going to happen. We fastened the trim pieces to the top edge of the baseboard tiles with the same thin-set mortar, but did not attempt to space them up at all for a grout line. They are spaced apart from each other, but not from the tiles.
We had a few interesting issues with outside corners. As you know, the room is not simply a box, it has a niche where the equipment resides, so there is an outside corner to address. The trim made quite a lip on that corner, but I was able to file it down so it's almost round with a tile file. There's another place I haven't yet described where there's what is essentially a small closet covering the water pipe coming into the house. That's where the main shutoff valve that broke earlier is. It sticks into the room about eight inches, and was the reason for quite a bit of the cutting and fitting we had to do with the saw. Anyway, that edge I made look something like a picture frame, with a trip piece on top like every where else, then another piece on the edge going to the floor. That actually turned out pretty nice, if I do say so myself.
This time, when we grouted, we cleaned it up before it dried.
Since it is a room where it's entirely possible greasy clothes and rags could sit on the floor waiting to be washed, I also sealed the grout. That's just a bottle of liquid with a brush applicator you spread on the grout, let dry, and repeat twice. It's supposed to keep any staining liquids from penetrating the grout. So far, so good.
I will say that the floor looks good, but we will never again try to fab up a tile baseboard. That was just too much work, and grouting that trim was painful, to say the least. The grout gap is almost as large as the grout thickness, and since it overhangs the tiles below, getting the mixture to not fall out was occasionally quite a challenge. A very dry mix is required, and be careful about getting it wet when you're wiping up the excess.