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Home Improvement Discussion

#1  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Mar 21, 2016 7:39 pm

I just became a home owner. As such, I will be spending an inordinate amount of time wanting to talk about fixing stuff, renovating stuff, building stuff, and decorating stuff.

While we have some threads on this forum which are about parts of home improvement (such as gardening), I didn't find a "home improvement" thread when I did a search. So now I'm cluttering up the forum with one.

To start out, I just laid about 390ft2 of tile downstairs. It's bronze-age technology, I thought. Should be easy, I thought. They worked hard in the bronze age. My back and knees are wrecked, and it looks like the tile was installed by an amateur. Because it was. But I'm still proud of it and will post a picture as soon as I've a working computer at home again. 18" porcelain tiles, mix of stone-looking ones that I found on clearance. I like the mixed look. It's boring when all the tiles look alike.
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Re: Home Improvement Discussion

#2  Postby Onyx8 » Mar 21, 2016 8:06 pm

I'll play.

What was the substrate for the tile?
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Re: Home Improvement Discussion

#3  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Mar 21, 2016 8:21 pm

Well, okay. We didn't plan to lay tile right away, but the downstairs had the most attractive (read least un-attractive) carpet and we coveted it for our Master Bedroom. So we pulled it up and cut it to fit and put the old carpet from the bedroom out to be collected.

Under the downstairs carpet and pads were nasty olde-tyme seventies linoleum tile with some kind of permanently-bonded and hideous and possibly toxic glue on top, which I presume was there to hold the carpet pads down, but it didn't. Under the seventies tile was black mastic, under which is the concrete subfloor. Some sources stated that you can lay ceramic tile on top of linoleum tile as long as there's cement underneath, and old black mastic often contains asbestos, so I wanted to leave it alone, plus I'm lazy, so I decided to give it a shot. I tried out a couple of test patches of mortar on top of the glue and on top of exposed linoleum tile to verify that it would stick. It stuck pretty well to both surfaces, so I gave up my futile efforts to scrape the glue off the tiles and decided to clean the surfaces really well and bury them for the good of humanity.

Thus ends the story of the substrate for the tile.
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Re: Home Improvement Discussion

#4  Postby Onyx8 » Mar 21, 2016 8:30 pm

That sounds good, as long as the tile was still firmly attached to the concrete.

I was concerned maybe you tried to put tile down on a wood frame floor without checking for strength. If you have any more tiling to do this forum is a wonderful source. http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/
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Re: Home Improvement Discussion

#5  Postby The_Piper » Mar 21, 2016 8:32 pm

I'm going to pull up my 80's living room carpet and go with the 1930's tile underneath. Home improvement. 8-)
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Re: Home Improvement Discussion

#6  Postby Onyx8 » Mar 21, 2016 8:34 pm

:grin:
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Re: Home Improvement Discussion

#7  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Mar 21, 2016 8:59 pm

1930s tile IS an improvement. I don't understand why they had to make everything so cheap in the 60s-70s. Oh, and just about any other flooring is an improvement over carpet.

My wife informs me that when my knees and back have recovered I will be replacing all of our existing carpets with hardwood and/or parquet floors. And tiling the kitchen and any remaining areas that currently have linoleum in them. So I'm going to have to save up for appropriate backer board for the kitchen- which can cost about as much as the tile itself. That's why I was so glad to see that it's okay to make an exception if there's concrete underneath. I expect it would be wise to do some structural improvement before tiling our kitchen, because that part of the house has settled a lot and we've had termites. So I'm not confident that something like tiles would be a long-term investment without firming up the subfloor quite a bit.
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Re: Home Improvement Discussion

#8  Postby The_Piper » Mar 21, 2016 9:34 pm

ScholasticSpastic wrote: Oh, and just about any other flooring is an improvement over carpet.

I agree, they're dust and grime collectors. My hypersensitive lungs will be happy. I don't know if the tile is actually from the 30's, I'm just being funny. Probably no later than the 60's though. It's definitely from a by gone era. It's like displaying antiques! There's only one minor spot with glue on it, otherwise it looks no worse than the rest of my house. Most people would give this place a total makeover inside and out, but I don't have the money for that.

You're lucky that you can do it yourself. My knees and back can't take kneeling for very long. Plus I don't know what I'm doing.
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Re: Home Improvement Discussion

#9  Postby Boyle » Mar 21, 2016 9:50 pm

The most important thing about DIY home improvement is that you spend as much money doing it and repairing it and buying one-off tools as you would have to hire a good contractor to do it right the first time.
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Re: Home Improvement Discussion

#10  Postby Arnold Layne » Mar 21, 2016 9:53 pm

Can't stand carpet, All our floors are wood or tile.

Get yourself some knee pads and a back support belt, worth it to save long term problems.
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Re: Home Improvement Discussion

#11  Postby Mazille » Mar 21, 2016 9:53 pm

Looking forward to those photos, SS.
Also, can anybody give me a reason why carpets you stick to the floor and hence can never really get clean again were ever considered a good idea? Apart from the obvious drawback of all of them being aesthetically lacking, they get really fucking nasty really fucking fast.
Just thinking of the several decade old dust we breathed in, when we ripped out the carpeting in my grandparents' house, when mum and dad took it over, gives me an itch all over my body 15 years after the fact.
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Re: Home Improvement Discussion

#12  Postby jamest » Mar 21, 2016 9:57 pm

You can't beat a nice soft carpet under your [shoeless] feet, imo. To be honest, we got the carpet fitters in. I've never even considered fitting my own carpets, especially in irregular rooms. Is it easier than I imagine? Maybe I'll give it a go next time.

I've got my decorating head on. I'm painting, mainly upstairs at the moment, though may end up doing the whole house. I thought it would be a lot easier than it has been, but of course there's more to painting walls & ceilings than just painting. Moving furniture and messing with dust sheets and preparing surfaces and cleaning rollers/brushes (not least yourself!) is a pain in the wotsit.
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Re: Home Improvement Discussion

#13  Postby The_Piper » Mar 21, 2016 10:02 pm

Arnold Layne wrote:
Get yourself some knee pads and a back support belt, worth it to save long term problems.

Great advice. And a good dust mask.
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Re: Home Improvement Discussion

#14  Postby Mazille » Mar 21, 2016 10:03 pm

jamest wrote:You can't beat a nice soft carpet under your [shoeless] feet, imo.

I'm not a fan of carpets myself, but I can see the appeal. It begs the question, though, why not just throw a rug on your normal tile, wood or even linoleum floor and pick it up and have it cleaned once your cat/dog/kid/partner had their first wee/poop/puke/wine-spill on it? Why stick it to the floor and guarantee that you have a breeding ground for everything you don't want to touch with your bare skin?
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Re: Home Improvement Discussion

#15  Postby Boyle » Mar 21, 2016 10:13 pm

We had carpet growing up because it was cheaper than real tile/hardwood and fuck having a place that's just linoleum.
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Re: Home Improvement Discussion

#16  Postby Onyx8 » Mar 21, 2016 10:16 pm

ScholasticSpastic wrote:1930s tile IS an improvement. I don't understand why they had to make everything so cheap in the 60s-70s. Oh, and just about any other flooring is an improvement over carpet.

My wife informs me that when my knees and back have recovered I will be replacing all of our existing carpets with hardwood and/or parquet floors. And tiling the kitchen and any remaining areas that currently have linoleum in them. So I'm going to have to save up for appropriate backer board for the kitchen- which can cost about as much as the tile itself. That's why I was so glad to see that it's okay to make an exception if there's concrete underneath. I expect it would be wise to do some structural improvement before tiling our kitchen, because that part of the house has settled a lot and we've had termites. So I'm not confident that something like tiles would be a long-term investment without firming up the subfloor quite a bit.



Yeah, do your homework on the structure. That website I recommended has a handy little tool for finding out whether the floor is strong enough (both the joists and the plywood) for supporting tile, both ceramic and stone. You'll almost certainly want more plywood and then some kind of backer board or membrane, assuming the joists can handle it.

I've had work replacing failed DIY tile jobs for customers due to insufficient rigidity under the tile, usually with a very grumpy man and a very pissed off wife.

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Re: Home Improvement Discussion

#17  Postby kiore » Mar 21, 2016 11:32 pm

Boyle wrote:The most important thing about DIY home improvement is that you spend as much money doing it and repairing it and buying one-off tools as you would have to hire a good contractor to do it right the first time.


Ha! But sometimes your one off tools get used twice.
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Re: Home Improvement Discussion

#18  Postby The_Piper » Mar 21, 2016 11:36 pm

kiore wrote:
Boyle wrote:The most important thing about DIY home improvement is that you spend as much money doing it and repairing it and buying one-off tools as you would have to hire a good contractor to do it right the first time.


Ha! But sometimes your one off tools get used twice.
Best power tool for home improvement I bought for my place in Australia was a cheap electric chainsaw, bought for tree trimming, last time I was back the old pergola attached to the veranda was sagging and rotten. The bolts were rusted in and I was reluctant to climb onto it to start wrestling with them. The answer? Chainsaw, and some rope to pull it away from the house as it collapsed.Once the structure gone you can wrestle with the remaining stubs.

:dance:
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Re: Home Improvement Discussion

#19  Postby Mazille » Mar 21, 2016 11:38 pm

Yeah. SS should watch that movie.
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Re: Home Improvement Discussion

#20  Postby kiore » Mar 21, 2016 11:39 pm

The inventor of the chainsaw should have received the Nobel for awesomeness.
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