Renovation and Restoration of a 1930’s House (16) On The Tiles

Some weeks, despite the flurry of activity progress appears to be slow. The preparation, planning and installation of the drainage system and bathrooms are all necessary, but not much visually to show for efforts made. It’s the big things which offer the impact and excitement. However, they’re all necessary in the bigger picture, and will save time in the long run.

The bathroom and en- suites have been plumbed in dry. This means without being connected to the water supply. Although the boiler/ plant room is now under construction we still only have the outside mains to work from. So we all have to continue to use the hired portaloo and get water from various hosepipes being used around the site. It can be time consuming trying to fill the kettle! These rooms have been tiled and all fitted with sanitary ware. I had wanted to have metro or subway tiles to full height in the family bathroom, with a black mosaic border. However, the time to plan, cut and lay these tiles brick style is considerably longer than other tiles, thus adding to the cost. (Laying porcelain tiles is more expensive than ceramic due to the extra time required for cutting and drilling). I achieved a similar look for less cost by buying larger rectangular tiles to be laid brick style. I used white grout, but grey would also work well.

Choosing tiles can be difficult with the vast choice available. Try and have an idea of the sort of colour and design you prefer, and of course budget, prior to visiting tile showrooms. Look for ideas in magazines, and think about how you would like the tiles laid, portrait, landscape or herringbone.  Porcelain  tiles are stronger, take longer to lay and are more expensive to buy, but better quality.  Ceramic tiles tend to be cheaper, and are easier to cut and lay. Marble and natural stone is a classic and popular choice, but expensive and can require sealing after laying. Large tile warehouses offering  discounts may not be offering the best deals, or value for money, so shop around. Specialist tile companies may offer better deals, discontinued or end of lines in sales, but do ensure you buy sufficient for your needs by adding 10% extra for cutting and possible wastage. There’s nothing worse than running out before finishing the job and having to hunt to find more tiles. Also ensure that the tiles are the same size and depth. Crazy as this sounds tiles are not always uniform, which can cause difficulty in laying. Choose a grout to enhance the tiles. There are many grout colours available, and having a colour other than white in a shower may save time in cleaning the pink discolouration which occurs from shampoo and body wash. If you have a stud wall, you maybe able to build in a recess to house toiletries, thus avoiding chrome storage, which are susceptible to rusting.

The flooring can be anything so long as it’s waterproof. Tiles are durable, but choose a non slip surface. Under floor heating laid prior to the tiles, either piped ( only in new laid screed floors) or an electric matting system, gives warmth. Electric matting is independently switched to provide heat even without the central heating on. You have to register your system with the manufacture after installation.

Vinyl is easy to lay and warm underfoot, without the need for extra heating. Amtico  http://www.amtico.com/ or Karndean   http://www.karndean.com/en-gb/floors are more expensive but equally durable. Waterproof laminates are another option, they are also available is a wide range of designs and colours.I opted for a good quality vinyl, which I ordered a few weeks before needing it. The plan being it would arrive when the bathroom installations were finished. I went to collect my order, but discovered the shop had only ordered one and not three. I had to reorder the other two again. The shop, although apologetic couldn’t explain what had happened. The flooring had been on sale when I originally ordered, but was no longer on sale. The shop were going to charge me full price, until I pointed out how unfair this would be. However, they refused to waiver the extra charge for my express delivery! I will go elsewhere for my carpets I think.

The side plant room went up very quickly, once the foundation depths had been agreed. The plans stated a depth of  2.8 meters, but we couldn’t get a digger in the space to dig out the required depth. It would take a long time to manually dig a trench this deep. The engineer had stated these depths due to next doors fir tree. After emails, calculations and liaising with Building Control it was agreed to lay a concrete slab and then beam and block the floor. The  roof was felt and battened to make water tight, and the new back door installed. Our roofer then went on holiday, so we were unable to finish the roof at this point. This did not hinder progress though, we could now install the mega flow and boiler and connect to the heating and domestic plumbing. Now having plumbed in dry, it’s very stressful when the water is connected, as a leak could occur anywhere in the house. A lot of people were running all over the house looking for potential problems. There was one small leak, which was rectified quickly. We now have working inside taps and flushing toilets – luxury.

The roof on the garage has been built and the porch erected, both being felt and battened in readiness for the roofers return. This means, in theory that all the rooves can be completed in a few days.

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