Yep, they’re in! Our twinkle toes are now touching new hardwoods and marble. I can officially say I won the battle-of-the-flooring. Ryan wanted carpet. I wanted hardwood. He likes a soft feeling under his toes, I like the easiest way to clean up dog vomit. Not that dog vomit happens a lot, but it does happen and it’s much easier to clean wood floor (in the dark, at 3am) then carpet. But anywhoo… This is what we were working with in the hall/bedroom.
Half of the master contained hardwood flooring that I believe was original to the house. The other half was carpet with sub-floor beneath. Why half and half? Remember that brick wall we torn out? That was an addition by the previous owners, hence no wood floor in that space.
I’d like to think I am a very gracious winner. Since I won the battle-of-the-floors Ryan got to choose the hardwood. We headed to Lumber Liquidators just to “look” at their inventory, but of course made a purchase that same day. Ryan chose Acacia. And here’s the reason: It’s known for strikingly dynamic grain and knots (which he loved) and it’s one of the hardest woods in the world (which I loved), so it was good for dogs. Win-win situation. We loaded (and unloaded) 21, eighty six pound boxes of this stuff. Lift with your legs, not your back.
The floor was required to rest for 2 weeks in the house. The wood has to acclimate to the humidity, temperature, etc…in your home. We really thought deeply about DIYing the floors and installing them ourselves but in the end we didn’t want our first hardwood installation to be a 450 square foot test-zone. So….we hired out. The contractors made our day when we were told they could install the new floors right over the old ones….hurray! We had to make a few patches where old walls use to be (especially in the closet) and we were good to go.
The guys were super-fast. They completed the job in a day and a half. Ryan stayed home with them while I went to work. Throughout the first day he teased me with these iphone photos….
Hello beautiful Acacia! And here’s the walk-in closet:
We didn’t stand and stare too long. Shortly after our gaze-fest was over we covered them back up. I wanted to keep them protected during the bathroom marble install…which we did DIY. So without a breather we went right back into it. Ryan mixed the mortar and laid the 12×12 tiles while I ran the tile saw.
We’ve never worked with Carrera Marble, but it really wasn’t any different than the ceramic tile we’ve laid previously….minus the weight and cost. I began to get a little nervous when the marble started to turn dark grey. Ok, not a little nervous…a lot nervous. The reason I picked this certain “Bianca” marble was because of how white it was and how grey the veins were…eek! After a little googling, I found out this porous stone soaks up all the moisture in the mortar when it’s laid but will eventually dry out. So we turned on a few fans to help the process go a little faster. Issue resolved.
Since I share the good and the bad, I’ll admit to one little snafu….
When we first started laying tiles we kept pulling from the same box…BIG MISTAKE. We were supposed to randomly pull from all the boxes (which we knew) so the tiles are laid in a random pattern. It just so happened that that first box contained pieces that were more “white” than “veiny”. We noticed this issue fairly soon into the process and immediate started rotating tile. We lived with the floor for a few days, but Ryan decided those first 7 tiles needed to go. It was like staring at a bunch of misfits.
Ryan and Carpenter Al took hammers to those beautiful marble tiles. They did a smash and grab kind of job. The marble won’t pop out in whole pieces so crushing is the only option. In 20 minutes, all 7 were out and ready to be replaced. (For the record this was not at my request. This was all Ryan. He said something about me complaining five years down the road and to him this was the easier option… I have no idea what he is talking about). Luckily, we had plenty of leftover tiles so it didn’t really cost us extra. (notice how those 7 tiles are way darker from the rest of the floor? that’s the moisture I was referring to)
Once everything was completely dry (about a week) it was time to grout and seal. I used Mapei brand unsanded grout from Lowes in ‘warm grey’.
To be honest, I’m kind of disappointment in the grout. It looks nothing like the color on the bag. When it dried it was almost white, not the warm gray the bag advertised. We are definitely going to use a different color on the shower walls. It was dark when wet which led me to believe it would dry a warm grey.
After a few days of dry time, it was finally time to seal-her-up. The online reviews said to use standard stone sealer, but I decided to invest in the more expensive “DuPont Premium Stone Sealer”. More expensive = better, right?! Not sure if that theory will apply to our marble, but we’ve put so much hard-earned dinero into this project, why skimp on $40?
I don’t have any pictures of the sealing process because I was by myself, but It. Took. Forever. I think I started at 6pm and finished around 930pm. I did two coats and applied it with a roller, per printed directions. It wasn’t hard, just time consuming. And I was trying my best not to ‘seal myself into a corner’.
It’s amazing a). how long this project is taking b). how much I love pretty floors and c). how much toilets cost. (Yep, commode was picked up from Ferguson’s today!)
Maybe one day in the near future I’ll break out the Nikon again and stop taking iPhone photos…sorry they are all so grainy! oops. #blogger_fail.