Monday, October 31, 2016


Where have I been? Who knows these days! Probably tiling our porch floor. ... And then scrubbing all this stupid grout haze off. Welp. I definitely learned some quality lessons the hard way on this project!

So worth it though, because the porch is my new favorite room!

Sidenote: I haven't figured out what to call this room. Porch? Sunroom? Enclosed porch? Three seasons room? Playroom? I think I like "sunroom" the best... Except that it's not really a sunroom. 

But I can call it what I want because it's MY house, right? :)

Here is the ultimate before photo from the online listing when we bought the house. As you can so clearly see, the carpet does not fit. And there are numerous mysterious stains. And there were numerous mysterious odors to go along with the numerous mysterious stains.

Now onto our porch journey!

I suggested we take Todd's truck... but he insisted upon taking my CR-V. So this happened. Selah is in there somewhere.

Lots of cement subflooring, tiles, grout, thinset, etc. These are the cheap-o standard tiles we picked out. I wanted a beige-ish color to coordinate with our beige walls. And something with variation to hide dirt, of course.

And here are some more before pictures!

So people say tiling a small room is a weekend project. Well. Maybe if you worked all weekend and didn't sleep. This thing took us weeks to complete. Granted, we took many breaks to eat, sleep, and go to our jobs. And watch Selah. But still.

So many odd stains. And cords coming out of everywhere. I swear, the old homeowners had a TV and landline phone in every room. 

And surprise of all surprises... there was ANOTHER FREAKING CARPET underneath. (Ok, so not really a huge surprise.) But it was way grosser.

And then there was the lovely foam padding that basically served no purpose except to absorb and retain more odors.

And finally the plywood! This was in pretty good condish, so we kept it.

And off to Lowes! A project would be incomplete without at least 44 gazillion Lowes trips.

She's such a goober.

We installed the new cement subflooring. I measured the outlet holes (one outlet in each corner of the room), Todd cut them out, and Dan (Todd's awesome dad), cut all the straight cuts on the ends of the room, along the walls. Todd and I screwed all the boards into the plywood as well. Easy peasy. The dream team, I tell ya. 

Our lil' helper just couldn't stop investigating! Can't stop, won't stop.

This corner was comprised of several scraps. We didn't want to cut into a new board if we didn't have to! Yay for store returns!

And we had to add some weird, awkward trim since there was a huge gap between the plywood and the wall. Hm... I think once it's all caulked up and painted a bright, clean white, it will look a lot nicer. And a lot less weird and awkward. 

Darn floor electrical outlets. Four of them. Darn them. ... But look at my amazing measuring skills, right?! 

We didn't quite start in the center of the room like you are supposed to. Dan laid out all the tiles in two perpendicular rows to see how they looked. They fit pretty well and the room wasn't too crazy un-square, so we decided to just start on the far wall and work our way to the door. If there were any crooked cuts, you would't really notice them since they would be closest to the door... The nice, full sized tiles would be on the far wall, what you would see when you are walking into the room. Hope that made sense there.

So let's start tiling! We started out with Dan applying the thinset and tiles, and with me observing. Soaking in all the knowledge. Todd was in charge of mixing the thinset and watching Selah. It helped that Debbie, Todd's mom, came over during her lunch break to take Selah for a walk so we three could focus and knock out as much as possible. I eventually took over doing the thinset and tiles. Not rocket science people. Just make sure that you are applying it nice and even so that your tiles come out nice and even. What's screwy is that the subflooring we used wasn't all that level. 

We did 1/2 inch spacers. And we left all the special cuts for another day. We also used a quick-dry thinset, which worked out really well.

Our lil' helper again, helping to pick up all the spacers and put them back in the bag!

Todd and Dan worked on the special cuts and installing the special-cuts-tiles one afternoon a few days later while I watched Selah. We practiced her walking back and forth on the back deck and watched. :)

And now the grouting nightmare begins.

I had a day off of work so Dan watched Selah at his house, while I grouted by myself. Wow. Ok. So it took WAY LONGER than I ever anticipated. And I was rushing, so I could have done a better job. I should have done a better job to save myself a headache later, but it is what it is. A lesson learned. I was rushing because I was leaving in a few hours for a church retreat, and I wasn't packed for my church retreat. Eesh.

Lessons learned.

1. Grout dries really, really, really fast. It would be beneficial to have one person mixing small quantities and one person applying.

2. Remove ALL grout haze as you go. Leave nothing behind. Have the grout-mixer-person also be the clean-water-fetcher.

3. Grout haze is evil. Remove it all. While it is WET. As in, not completely dry.

Since this isn't really an insulated room, I did a damp cure on the grout. I let it dry for 48 hours, then I wiped it down with a damp sponge every day for 3-4 days. This also helped to remove some of the grout haze. Having your grout dry slower (by dampening it every few days) helps to strengthen the grout.

Then I sealed the tile. I bought some cool applicator bottles which made my life easier. What a great investment. What a great invention!

And ta-da! There is STILL some grout haze (especially around the joints) that will not budge. I have spent endless hours scrubbing it and scraping it (with a plastic scraper)... It is slowly, slowly, slowwwwly going away. So please ignore the grout lines; they will be taken care of (eventually), and let's just enjoy the new floor! 

And I need to clean all the tracks in the sliders. The doors. The windows. All the sliders. Bleh.

Yes. I know my lamp is crooked. It came like that. Every time I look at this lamp, I regret not returning it right after opening the box. And I look at this darn lamp a lot.

 Still need to paint that trim!

And the playroom side! This. girl. is. spoiled.

So nice to have the toys out of the living room. I am sure they will be dragged in, especially when it gets too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. But it's the perfect hangout spot in this fall weather!

And a nice place to eat and play games while enjoying the fall breeze through the sliders and the tree-lined view!

My clearance Target pillows that I got because some young, inexperienced Target worker placed them on like 90% off by accident when they first came out. Always shop the clearance sections people!

And our lovely Ikea rug, that is now discontinued.

And our cheap-o Walmart rug.

And my awesome, most beautifulest family. We are missing Todd's parents in this picture, but this is the best team ever! Thank you Todd for all the heavy lifting. (Those cement boards and boxes of tile are no joke!) And then for all the heavy lifting again, as we hauled all our overstock back to the store to return it. And Todd's friend, Fontaine, for helping with some of the lifting (and pizza eating). And Dan for his expertise and knowledge. And getting down on the floor to measure, cut, install tile, etc. What a good sport! And Dan and Debbie, for watching Selah. I learned a lot and am pretty sure I could tile another floor by myself... maybe. :)

Selah loves her new playroom! So bright! And much cleaner than it was. (Am I a bad mom for letting Selah play on the mysteriously stained carpets?)

And now I will leave you with this cute face. How can you resist those big, round, hazel eyes? (And now you know why she has so many toys.)

What projects have you been working on? Leave me a comment; I'd love to check out what you all have been up to!


  1. Hi Lindsey! I take my toque off to you, for taking on such a HUGE job all by yourselves! The results are Fantastic and you and Todd must feel VERY PROUD of your efforts because I know I am! :D
    And as for Selah- What a CUTIE PIE, she is sugar and spice and all that is nice! :D


  2. It looks so good! Makes your sunroom so bright and fresh! I can't wait for play dates now!

  3. Renovations are alwayas hard work, but they're definitely worth it. This looks great! :)

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  5. Here in the UK cement board comes with a warning that the dust from cutting it can cause cancer so always wear a dust mask when cutting. That being said, it is still the best material to tile over and wont rot or expand like timber. The floor looks great and it looks like you guys enjoyed the whole tiling process which is how DIY should be done.

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