Monday, August 5, 2013


We spent this past weekend working like crazy on our master bathroom- surprise, surprise.  Is it odd that we wake up earlier on weekends than we do on weekdays because we are just that excited about starting in on DIY projects?  I kid you not- sorry for the noise neighbors.
Saturday at the crack of dawn we were up and planning out our floor tile preparation approach.  Just a little background when planning to tile:

  • Planning starts with what you currently have down as a "floor"- ie. cement or subfloor.  In our case, we have subfloor, which was actually in good shape.  Small miracle!
  • When you have subfloor, you can take a couple of different approaches- lay mortar and metal screen on it, or mortar and screw down hardy backer.
  • We chose the hardy backer approach because we thought it would better stabilize our subfloor therefore eliminating future cracking of our new tile.
So, here is how we made it happen.  We started by building our shower lip.  We did this first so that we knew where our hardy backer flooring had to go to in our toilet/ shower room.  To do this, we simply cut three treated 2 x 4's to the desired length and attached them together (and to the floor) with decking screws (so that the nails would not rust) and liquid nails.  You can also have your shower lip made out of poured concrete, but the 2x4 approach is perfectly sufficient and even better than that, it is free because we could do it ourselves.

Note- the final shower lip should be three 2 x 4's stacked.
 We took care to make sure that every board was screwed in straight, which sometimes required a bit of work.

The final step was to make sure that it was perfectly square with the studs of the opposing wall.

With that done, it was time to move on to the flooring.  We started by doing a really good sweep and clean out and then began laying down hardy backer and measuring.

My biggest recommendation with this is to get all of your hardy back laid out (leaving 1/8" spacing between hardy backer sheets) prior to even mixing up your mortar.

We cut the hardy backer both by scoring it with the tool seen below and also with a circular saw.  Scoring it is very easy though and you can just break pieces right off.

Getting all of the hardy back laid out took us about 1.5 hours.  Not bad!  Then it was time to mix up the mortar per the instructions on the bag.  We spread out the mortar for each sheet individually (so that we did not have to worry about drying time) using a 1/4" trowel.  Then we would just lay down our hardy backer sheet and screw it in place using the screws specialized for hardy backer.

I recommend using the designated hardy backer screws for this because they are both rust resistant and they are made to really grip, which means that they will not pull out of your hardy backer and subfloor (I pity the future homeowner that decides they want to change out the tile.  This floor is in here to stay).

After getting the entire floor done, it was time to tape and mortar the joints.

This is just like taping drywall, but the tape is made specifically for cement boards.

It doesn't have to be all that pretty, it just has to keep out moisture!  With the joints done, we had concluded day three of bathroom work.  Little did we know that our work had just begun...

That evening, Eric and I were pretty wiped out so we decided to get to bed early.  Around 9PM Eric took Chloe out to go tinkle when all hell broke loose.  About three minutes later, I heard the back door slide open and Eric say, " Ahhhh Melissa, I think we have a problem".  I of course ran into the room panicked and was greeted by an incredibly fowl smell.  Chloe had apparently had a run in with a skunk...  Five baths later, I am happy to report that Chloe is now once again allowed in the same room as Eric and I.  She still has some lingering skunky odor, but we are hoping that the skunk oils start to just break down and dissipate.  Whew, what an experience.  It is one that I hope never to repeat.  I did find though that a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish soap really helps with skunk odor.  It would have done the trick for Chloe, but the skunk got her up by her face and I couldn't chance putting the mixture up by her eyes.

We will be back later this week with the final step in floor preparation and our lighting work done Sunday.

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