Okay, so if you have been following our first project in our new (outdated) home, you know we had a bit of trouble with the floor, namely ripping out rotten particle board. Fun times. Now that the mess and mold have been cleaned up, we set about picking out our new flooring. You stroll through the flooring department, lovingly caressing all the products that you know are waaaay beyond the budget….and maybe there is a bit of drooling involved as well. That’s always a time filled with big dreams and endless possibility, unless your pocketbook is small and far from endless.
I can show you what my flooring dreams are made of….
These images are all over Pinterest, so much so that I tried tracking them down but couldn’t find the originals so if someone knows where the credit belongs, please let me know!
Natural uneven stone, large slabs, worn and weathered, and grout colored by centuries of foot traffic…. swoon! Not something we could handle on our small budget. Someday, someday. Sigh. Okay, so what did we decide on? We knew we wanted to stay with a more natural stone look, not the printed-on ceramic tile. Our local home improvement store just happened to be having a sale on slate tile called ‘Midnight Black’, a little over a $1 a tile. It had almost everything I was looking for in a floor – natural stone, dark, uneven/worn appearance, and the grout we chose, called Oyster Grey, was a perfect muddy looking grey.
After cleaning the floor, we laid down new backer board….
Followed by thin set mortar and tile. Thankfully the room is pretty basic and didn’t require lots of strange tile cuts. The floor register was probably the most challenging….no matter how we tried to work it out, with the tools we have on hand we couldn’t find any other way to avoid piecing the tile around it. Oh well, we are going for a rustic, imperfect style, so it fits, right?
We went with wider grout spacing, which dictates sanded grout, and lots more of it. I’m just not a fan of tiny grout lines – it’s just my personal preference for floor tile because floors get dirty I find it easier to scrub and get the dirt out of larger lines as opposed tiny, tight lines.
Then Aaron applied the grout. I had the job of washing it down.
Something I didn’t anticipate with rough, uneven tile surface: near impossible to get grout out of the fine lines and divots atop the tile face. After four, yes four, washings with a sponge and clean water, the grout was still highlighting the tile surface….
Aaron and I stood there, looking at it, and we both actually kind of liked the look of it. We haven’t sealed the tile yet, so we may decide to get down there with a toothbrush and scrub it all out, but maybe we wont. Also in the above photo, you’ll notice the baseboards…. originally the boards here, as in the rest of the house, were made of MDF, which is paper pressed together. What happens to MDF when wet? It expands, molds, and rots. There is NO fixing it once that happens, so why the builders put MDF in the laundry room behind the washer and in all the bathrooms, I’ll never figure out….well, actually yeah, they did it because it’s cheap, cheap, cheap. In a future post, when we tackle remodeling both bathrooms, you’ll get to see just what rotten, wet, MDF looks like, so stay tuned for that bit-o-fun.
So, with a ban on MDF in the house, we knew that, for behind the washer and dryer anyway, we wanted a baseboard that was synthetic and wide. We had experience with Trex trim from when we applied it to the tiny house on wheels we built. The beauty of this product is that it wont warp, rot, mold, cup, is impervious to water, and lasts forever. In the event the washer ever springs a leak, the baseboards wont be ruined, unlike the MDF. I caulked the tops, corners and bottoms, further insuring no water flowing behind or under the wall.
Next up: DIY rustic door trim!