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Laying the Groundwork

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Sorry for the absence of updates recently.  I was a little under the weather this week, so it was hard for me to focus on a post.

Last week was dedicated to the cement board. You may recall the cement board hell we were put through while tearing up the cement board that was previously on the floor.  We made sure to put in the cement board correctly – so no one would have to suffer the same fate in the future.  For those who do not know, cement board is placed underneath tile in order to protect and strengthen the sub-floor.

Before we screwed the cement board in place, we laid out all the boards. Unfortunately, you cannot lay them out so that the ends of the boards all line up. If there is a section with four edges, it creates a “weak spot” in the floor that eventually will lead to tiles getting lose and/or breaking. Therefore, cement board not only needed to be cut so that it fit around the cabinets and vents, but also so the boards were not all ending at the same spot.  Jim started this while I was at work on Tuesday.  I came home and joined him that night and we finished about half of the floor.  The next day, Jim finished the rest of the job himself!  With all the pieces cut, we were ready to screw these boards in place.

Cement board laid out

Where we stopped the first night

Other side

Cement board throughout the whole kitchen!

Long view

Since our sub-floor was ripped apart when we took up the previous cement board (the glue tore up the wood), the entire floor was not level.  This poses a problem to the tile – a floor that is not level will eventually cause tiles to break. Jim found that using mortar under the cement board would help level it and keep it place. Unfortunately, mortar is not super easy to mix. Jim bought an attachment for the drill the helps mixes the mortar (think super large blender).  Even with the attachment, it was hard to get down to the bottom of the bucket to ensure the mortar had enough water and the right consistency.  Jim started the mortar and putting boards into place on Thursday, but with the slow mixing, he only got the first two rows down.

Friday we continued to secure the boards.  With two of us, the job went a little quicker. Once the mortar was put into place, we could place the board down together. I would then screw in the board while Jim moved to the next location. We had a good system down.

Jim putting the mortar down

Making cool ridges in the mortar (this is to make sure it is all the same amount, not for the design)

We worked for a few hours and saved the rest for Saturday. Once the boards were all in place, we needed to put mortar in the cracks of the board and this wiry tape over the cracks to keep it in place. We woke up early Saturday and we were done before we needed to take a break for lunch (even if we had lunch at 2pm). I didn’t take any pictures of the secured cement boards because it didn’t look much different from the previous pictures.  The cement boards were secured and the best part was we didn’t need to walk on a torn up sub-floor anymore! (We each had our share of splinters these past few months) Almost all the floor was level. There were a few spots that weren’t perfect so we plan on correcting those sections before tiling. More on that as it comes.

Sunday was dedicated to finishing up the island.  All the cabinets were in place, but we needed to make the island look like one long unit. This could be accomplished by adding a backboard.

Island before the backboard (you can see the secured cement boards in this)

There were large panels we needed to cut so they were the correct length and height.  Unfortunately none of the panels were long enough to cover the entire island so we needed to deal with two panels and make it look like one. Once the panels were measured and cut (using utility knives, which wasn’t that easy), I held the panels in place while Jim stapled them in place. We also used some wood glue in the places where we couldn’t hide the staples.  In addition to the panels, Jim ordered piece of wood that would add decoration. I am sure they have a name, but I don’t know what that is.  There were four pieces to be spaced equally along the island.

Jim used the extra panel to map out his design

The panel without decoration - the blue tape shows where the panels will go

Using tape to help hold the decorative panel - I also held it while Jim screwed it in

We placed and screwed the decorative panels four times and we ended up with:

Finished product!

We used Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to shop for counter tops and tile.  A functioning kitchen is in sight!

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2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Everyday I’m Tiling, Tiling… « Maibe We're Crazy

  2. Pingback: Two Weeks of Work « Maibe We're Crazy

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