Monday, November 14, 2011

Beer Awards and Tile Floor

On a whim, last week Master Brewer Chris entered a brewing competition. He had brewed a Weizenbock (BJCP Style 15C) a while back and decided to enter it into the “Turkey Shoot” competition through MALT, a local home brewing club.

The competition was quite big (over 150 beers) and he came in second place in his category (out of 9 beers). This is his second competition and his second award – last year he won the “Brewer’s Choice” award at Franklin’s. I’m so happy for him but I’m starting to wonder if there is a brewery in our future (it would be a fun type of engineering)!

On to house stuff - at the end of last week we had a bathroom that was full of drywall dust. Chris was able to finish up the last couple coats of drywall compound and to do all the sanding and sponging. We had off for Veteran’s Day and we used that time to prime the walls and ceiling and paint the ceiling while we waited for our tile to arrive. That evening we installed the cement board on the floor.

Our tile arrived on Friday afternoon. It was on one pallet and weighed 650 pounds – and this is for only one bathroom! We put it all in the living room to let it warm up a bit.

On Saturday, we played around with the tile design. For the floor we tried two brick patterns and a diamond pattern.

We decided on the second brick pattern – it will match what we plan on doing in the tub surround. On Sunday afternoon, we finally got to work installing the tile. The bathroom is long and narrow so I ended up spending a good 8 hours having to look at Chris’ behind. I was the “go-for” and the tile cutter.

Chris was a very busy boy laying the tile – and trying to get it even with uneven floors is a challenge!

A friend of ours allowed us to borrow his professional tile saw – this thing is great! The hardest cuts were around the toilet drain and the tiny wall next to the bathtub. They weren’t perfect but they will be covered with a toilet or a piece of bullnose tile.

Over the long weekend the bathroom went from this…

…to this.

I wish we had more of these long weekends!


  1. What progress for just one weekend! That looks great. I like the pattern you picked. It makes the room look wider than it really is. So can I ask what the subfloor is made of? Is there one or two sheets of plywood under that cement board? How thick is the cement board? We're trying to figure out what to use on our bathroom floor.

  2. Thanks! Actually our original plan was to remove the existing subfloor and replace it with the tongue and groove OSB. However, that would have required us to remove two load bearing walls. So instead we kept the original subfloor (1x8 planks on the diagonal) and attached 1/2" plywood (Sturd-i-floor) with seams on the joists. In the basement we added a lot of double joists and blocking to support the weight of the tile. The cement board we used for the floor was 1/4" Hardibacker. I hope that helps! Good luck!

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  4. Disclaimer: I read quite a bit on subfloors and there are many different opinions out there. John Bridge, tile guru, has a pretty good online calculator for joist spans and spacing. However, there may not be a legitimate contractor in the business who would install new tile on this subfloor. I believe the minimum thickness should be 1 1/4" but some say there should be 5/8" over the planks and the screws should not go through the joists. The double joists really help to firm things up. We had some confidence the subfloor would be adequate because the old tile floor had no cracks.

    Regarding the Hardiebacker board: 1/2" is used for walls and 1/4" is used on floors. Use plenty of the special screws and put a layer of thinset between the subfloor and the board. Spray both the subfloor and Hardiebacker with water to prevent both from drawing the moisture out of the thinset before it sets. You want it to set up, not just dry.

    If you look back to last year's project, we completed the tile floor with 1/2" Hardiebacker on the floor. I put this right over the planks with modified thinset and many screws. I was only able to do it this way because there are five floor joists under the 36" wide powder room. There is almost no step between the hardwood and ceramic tile. I was very pleased.

    Good luck!