As part of the barn wood remodel on our family room Tom and I decided that it was best to also replace the flooring in the family room before adding the barn wood to the walls. The wood is thick, 1 inch thick, making the boards stick way out away from our drywall, so changing the flooring after the wood is hung is a little more challenging than doing the floor first and setting the wood on top. So we agreed that gray barn wood would look great with slate tile. Barn wood and slate tile have unpredictable texture and color variations that makes them work well together. The natural feel of both the wood and stone with my leather furniture should give the room a rustic feel that we hope to slowly bring into the entire house.
So to achieve the new look we took out the old flooring. The house came with a white Berber carpet at one end and a rolled linoleum at the other.It took a whole day to remove the old tile and carpet and the hundreds of staples and nails that were in the old flooring.
After a much-needed rest Tom began to install the cement board that would be the base for the tile. It is a water-resistant and mold guard product used for bathrooms, kitchens and in this case sticky floors.
The Hardy Board comes in sheets like plywood but much heavier. Each board is a cement fiber mixture to make it stiff, hard and water-resistant. I could barely lift one board at a time. Tom guesses each board weighs about 25 pounds and is 5 feet long making moving them very inconvenient. So keep in mind that you will not want to move them once you have them home. Mine took up a large portion of my kitchen floor for the two weeks we had to wait for the tile to arrive.
Then finally the tile arrived, all 30 boxes and I got to unload it alone. Where do you store them I thought as I drove home from Lowe’s…. In the kitchen with everything else, of course. We are still cooking in the kitchen but eating is getting a little hard at our small 4 person table.
The next thing was to prepare the tile for installation. Slate is a natural stone product and not factory made so it has some funny characteristics.Each tile is different in color, texture and thickness. Some will be close to matching but almost nothing is really the same. When you first open a box you discover the slate is brittle and flaky and the boxes are full of chips of stone and are very dirty from the cutting process. So dirty that you hands will change color in a matter of minutes while handling the tile. So before sealing the tile, to prevent staining to the tile in the future, I washed everyone in the sink with a scrubby to remove any loose flakes and dirt. That is about 300 tiles and about two full afternoons.
The water really brings out the wonderful colors in the tile and we can glaze the tile after installation if we decide that we want a shiny tile surface. I let the tile dry for about 2 hours and applied the liquid pre-grout sealer. I let the tiles dry for 4 more hours and Tom installed them on the floor.
He started last night with getting his center of the room measurements and his chalk lines on the floor and setting the corner stones for the floor. Now he will work back to these tiles and fill in around them as time at night allows. We are hoping to have the floor finished this weekend or next and the wood for the walls started by the first week-end in May.The final touches should be finished by the end of June, mostly light fixtures that Tom and I hope to make for this room. One will be a multiple colored mason jar chandelier and a wall mounted fixture that we need desperately over by the computer desk that I hope to also convert to a mason jar globe.
This is so far my favorite of all projects we have done as a family and I am looking forward to doing more tile in my kitchen. The colors are wonderful and I am so happy with the speed that we are moving forward. I know we still have a lot of work to do, but if all goes this well,I see a slate floor in my kitchen very soon.
I will post a more photos when all the tiles are down and we get the furniture back into this room. I also think I will use some of the broken tiles to make a mosaic top for the old coffee table we had in this room at some point over the summer. We should have enough broken pieces(one whole box is either chipped or damaged already) and I should have some mortar left over from the floor so it will only cost me some time to make. So in the future I will have two posts about how we are making a mason jar chandler and one on a mosaic tile top for an old table.
I cant wait to see what this room looks like with one cohesive floor and wall covering. Over the years the room was divided and I want to feel that the kitchen and family room are large open rooms that connect in style and function. So “Out with the Old and In with the New” in a couple of summers the house we envision should really start to come together.