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high desert. small house.

Days 332-334: The Tile goes Down

Friday, 6/10
Some good news from Thursday that we forgot to share – Brian finished the polyurethane with 13 cans remaining.  We knew we had overestimated a little when ordering so that we would have enough….but it turns out we overestimated A LOT.  That’s $168 we’ll get back when we return them.

We know roughly the square footage of the arched walls because they consist of 5 rows of 5.5 panels.  That’s about 440 square feet per side; 17.6 cans of polyurethane for both.  There are ~4 panels in the bathroom that do not get coated on the east wall, so that brings it down to ~16.5 cans.

The endcaps are trickier to calculate because they are not rectangular and they aren’t made of full square panels.  Based on counting the panels on the finished walls, our guess is a total of 25 panels between the two walls or 400 square feet total.  That is 8 more cans of poly.  For the whole house, that would add up to 24.5 cans.

We also originally planned to poly the outside of the bathroom, so that was probably 2 more cans as well as 2 cans for extra.  That adds up to 28.5 and so we ordered 28.

Since we changed our mind to using paint for the bathroom and didn’t use our “extra” cans, that takes the 28 down to 24.  But we only used 15!!!  I asked Brian if he thinks he put it on too thin and he said that he applied it as thick as possible without causing giant drips.

So there ya have it.  To the the tiling process:

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They first rolled the Ditra out to cut it to size.

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Then they made some modified thinset to go under the Ditra.  Mapei Ultraflex II.

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With thinset mixed and ready, they started to fling it in their work path.

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Next, roll out the Ditra onto the troweled thinset.

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Ditra is down!

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Unmodified thinset – Mapei Kerabond T – is smeared into the little boxes.  More will also be re-smeared over this tomorrow to set the tile, but this initial fill-in layer will provide a flat surface to help the tilesmen ‘grid out’ with their lasers.

Nice buckets, man.

Nice buckets, man.

Repair splint.

Tenthouse repair splint using plumbers’ tape instead f a bandage.

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With the tent house repaired, Brian was able to use it again for stuff storage.  What nice clear skies.

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*Blink*  A storm has arrived.  The screens won’t keep out all the rain but they’ll help a little. And the guy-lines should give the thing some stability so it doesn’t act as much like a sail in the storm.

3/8" plywood delivered for sealing the insulation under the house.

3/8″ plywood delivered for enclosing the insulation under the house; protected with the blue tarp.

Saturday, 6/11
Day 1 had been devoted to Ditra.  Day 2 was laying the tile.  While the crew worked inside, Brian started working out how to attach the plywood under the house.  His system ended up going something like this –

  • Hammer in two nails along the edge of the girder to create the proper 1/8″ gap
  • Mark on the girder with a sharpie where the joists are (because they’ll be hidden once the plywood is in place)
  • Position the two white tables under the house
  • Slide a 4×8 sheet of plywood onto the tables
  • Move the plywood into position against the nails
  • Use scrap 2x4s and pieces of plywood to elevate the plywood up toward the joists
  • Drive in screws along the edge where the joists were marked
  • Use our big 8′ aluminum beam as a straight edge and draw a line across the middle of the board where the screws will go.
  • Drive in screws along that line every 6 – 8 inches (the screws are fighting the bulging force of the insulation)
  • Move along the board, out from the middle, drawing lines and driving screws along it
  • Remove the nails, the ‘shims’ and the tables

All of the above was done while scooting around under the house on his back.  The rocks are BRUTAL and he ended up with a severely scratched back that night [although he didn’t seem to mind].

He was completing the attachment for the first piece (it ended up taking more than an hour to go through that whole process as we worked out kinks) when I arrived.  We called it a night after that.

Baby quail sighting!!

Baby quail sighting!!  They didn’t really understand that the green fence couldn’t be penetrated.  The nearby parent quail were making very distressed calls as a result of the baby blunders.

This one really messed up.

This one really messed up.

Tile placed in convenient stacks around the house.

Tile placed in convenient stacks around the house.

The tile completely laid.

The tile completely laid.

Close-up of the completed tile; groutless at this point.

Close-up of the completed tile; groutless at this point.

The dogs were enjoying our under-the-house 'game'.

The dogs were enjoying our under-the-house ‘game’.

Brian working on the first piece of plywood. Trooper's rump in the foreground.

Brian working on the first piece of plywood. Trooper’s rump in the foreground.

Sunday, 6/12
We did our typical Sunday routine – up early, domestic stuff, dog duty and then over to the house.  We were there by 9:35 because Jeff and crew were expected between 9:30-10:00am.

The guys started on the grout – we went with a color called “Camel” because our first choice, “Cinnamon Spice”, was discontinued.  Those two were the closest colors to the dirt on the building pad.  We went under the house.

I insisted on using a giant piece of cardboard for scooting around on because I had nowhere near the knee and back calluses that Brian had developed.  It hurt A LOT to move around under there.  Brian agreed and it turns out, was tacitly very grateful for the back protection.

Tile grouted!

Tile grouted!

Look how nicely our grout picks up the flecks in the tile.

Look how nicely our grout links up with the flecks in the tile.

Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) spotted in our tree.

Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) spotted in our tree.

The ____ stored under the house.

The scaffold leg monstrosities stored under the house.

It was often in the way.

They were often in the way.

End of day - 6 pieces of plywood attached. All of the next pieces require cutting/trimming.

End of day – 5 more pieces of plywood attached (total of 6 at this point). All of the next pieces require cutting/trimming.

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