Seems I can never just leave my house as is – I’ve nearly always got some project or other going on. Building shelves, adding a storage room, working on a garden, adding stuff to my shop, building towel racks, repairing stuff the kids break, etc.
The latest project is replacing the floor in my entry hall. When we bought the house, the only real problem it had was that the tiles in the entry hall were loose and some were cracked.
We decided to replace the floor then, but have always had too many other things take priority. Well, now it’s the floor’s turn.
Here is a shot of what the floor looked like last winter, covered in the original 1’x1′ tiles:
Looking past the cute little Elmo-clad kid in the center there, if you look closely you can see that some of the grout has cracked and come out, and some of the tiles are actually cracked in the center as well.
This past weekend I removed the tile from the floor. Many people dread pulling up tile – but fortunately this tile was not installed correctly, and I was able to just pick up the tiles. I started in the living room and just lifted them all right up. There were 3 tiles along the family room edge that had been re-attached with something other than mortar – those took a little prying, but the rest I literally just picked up off the floor.
Under the tile was a layer of thin-set mortar, which appeared to either have been mixed up incorrectly, or poured and partially cured before the tile was laid on top, because it never adhered to the tile, and all the trowel marks were still in the mortar. Under the thin-set was a concrete backer board, and under that was another layer of thin-set, directly on the subfloor.
I’m planning to lay solid hardwood over where this tile was, which means this mess of backerboard and thin-set presents a problem…I’ve got to get it all off the subfloor and make things as level as possible for the wood floor installation to go smoothly.
The backerboard came up relatively easily (pried it up with a hammer and prybar), but the last layer of thin-set was a stickier problem.
I tried scraping it off with my hammer claw. I tried pounding it with my sledge. I tried buying a floor scraper. I tried glaring at it with my evil eye. Then, I tried my brand new belt sander. That worked great, though it ate up 9 belts in a hurry. Here is the result:
I purposely left some of it on there, as it is actually self-leveling compound under the thin-set to help raise up the lower parts of the floor. The wood installation needs this as well, so I just sanded the floor smooth.
I can hardly wait to install the wood on Saturday.