Part 2 of 'To spot the expert, pick the one who
predicts the job will take the longest and cost the most.'
Murphy's Technology Law #27 1/2.
flooring in the home was sheet vinyl. In just three years it had become gouged,
stained and badly worn. The first step was to cover the entire floor with
3fs-in. plywood. The plywood subfloor was securely fastened with 1 3/4 steel
drywall screws driven every 8-10 in. It's important that the subfloor be
perfectly flat and smooth.
snapped chalk lines to form a grid of 2-ft. squares. These layout lines
establish the pattern and ensure that the tiles are laid perfectly straight
especially with more difficult but much more interesting diagonal pattern.
Before snapping the lines, the best place was chosen to center the pattern. For
this job, it was centered on the 22sq.ft. center area where the kitchen island
was planned. This created a visually balanced design leading to and from the
front and side entry doors.
Next the mats were
unrolled, cut, folded, cut and folded again and holes were drilled thru the
floor to have all 6 connecting wires from 3 mats to appear on the basement
ceiling for the easy connection later. The same was done for the programmable
thermostat floor sensor. At this stage to be sure everything is OK the mats
continuity (for the ground wires) and resistance (for the heating wires) were
checked with the electric meter. Next the measuring, sketching and taking
pastures were done - just to know exactly where the heating mats are before the
floor will be covered.
Instead of doing the
installation in one step - we chose to do it in two - first to cover the mats
and metal mesh installed everywhere were mats weren't with smooth finished
Two days later - tile installation started.
The tiles were set in a bed of thin-set mortar. The mortar was
again mixed in a wheelbarrow using a hoe. For each 50-lb. bag
of latex-modified mortar, about 1 1/2 gal. of water was added and then
mixed thoroughly and then we let it slake (rest) for about 15 minutes to
allow all the chemicals to dissolve. The mortar was applied to the subfloor
with a 1/4-in. notched trowel. Each 50-lb. bag of mortar covers about 100 sq.
ft. The mortar was applied to one 3x3-ft. area at a time. Four tiles were
pressed into the mortar along with smaller pieces, and then the adjacent 2x3-ft.
area was mortared.
To maintain uniform grout joints, 1/4-in. rubber spacers were
placed between the tiles. Tiles that needed to be cut were trimmed to size
with an electric water saw. Both the standard cutter which we occsionally
had to use and the water saw can be rented for about $10 and $90
respectively. Once all the tiles were laid it was the time for the break -
the area was left undisturbed for 48 hours. Then sanded grout was forced
into the joints between the tiles with a rubber float. The directions
on the grout packaging were read. In our case for the 50 lb. bag of grout we
also decided to use 1 gal. of latex additive and mix it well. The latex will
icrease me grout's strength and flexibility. W allow the grout to set for about
30 to 45 minutes (depending on temperature and humidity), then wipe off the
excess with a special pad and a damp sponge. Once the grout has cured fully
(about 21 days), seal all joints with a silicone-based masonry sealer.
THE NEW FLOOR LOOKS LIKE A MILLION BUCKS and so does the
whole new kitchen
INSTALLING THE MAT(S):
CUT THE HEATING WIRE!
THE FIBERGLASS MESH CAN BE CUT, NEVER THE HEATING COIL!
THE DISTANCE BETWEEN HEATING COILS!
is NOT OK:
IS THE ABSOLUTE MININUM. 2"-3" IS BEST.
remember: Electricity can be deadly and wiring done incorrectly can kill and
start deadly and destructive fires even when "just replacing one small
ARE DEALING WITH LINE VOLTAGE, not low voltage!
EVER attempt to work or even touch the inside of the electrical components
without being 100% sure that the power is
you are not an electrcian and if you have the slightest doubt about your wiring
ability, please contact a licensed electrician and/or repairman before
doing any diagnosis, repairs or installations. The products shown here
are deemed SAFE and sound by various testing authorities but the wiring
process can only be SAFE when done with safety precautions. Please
read manuals and/or ask pros when not sure. Most of the simple
installations shown here can be done by yourself or you can have someone
qualified do it for you and THEN have the electrician check it and connect it to