A girl really grows tired of storing 4’x8′ underlayment boards against the wall in the dining room. If you’ve ever renovated any part of your home, you’ll appreciate that the whole house sort of gets flipped inside out in the process. I’m getting more and more eager to return to a place of normalcy, getting the toilet off the workbench in the basement, removing the tall stack of floor tiles from the guest bed, and exploring/assembling the vanity that’s still stored in the attic.
And don’t get me started on the number of tool bags, cans, and garbage bins that are dispersed through the office and upstairs landing… it’s a home improvement war zone.
One thing at a time. On Day 10, we came a whole leap closer to being able to have a finished bathroom floor once again (and we’re thisclose away from being able to shower again too).
The vinyl resilient concrete tiles are burning a hole in my… guest bed (convenient current storge re). I’ve been really, really excited to get these tiles installed because now that the shower is done, the new floor should full the room together nicely and take it from WHOA to WOW. Before I was able to get started on the tiles, however, I had to clean up the floor and prepare the necessary underlayment. This underlayment had been leaning against the wall in my dining room for a month, and it was time that it made its way upstairs. The underlayment installation meant that tiling the bathroom floor was inevitably close, so I was understandably excited about this step of the job. I was also tired of walking on plywood and ragged out flooring that had been beneath the old vinyl tiles.
It was an unseasonably warm day for January in New York when I got to ripping the underlayment apart, so we set up shop on the deck.
In an effort to cover as much of the floor as we could with a single board, I started out by carefully measuring the floor, from the end where the toilet sits, back towards the entry where the vanity would sit. The 4’x8′ board was long enough to extend all along the front of the shower; it’s always nice not to have seams in a place where you’re stepping or bouncing on daily (not that we bounce in and out of the shower and in front of the toilet, but it’s a commonplace to stand and walk around, and loosened staples on seams could really compromise the floor with time.)
Using our drywall t-square to create long, straight lines, we employed the circular saw and jigsaw to make all necessary cuts. Cutting the first board to size was initially intimidating (I couldn’t mess up without going to buy another board that can only be brought home loosely tied to the top of the Jeep). Board retrieval itself was quite the adventure on a snowy evening. I digress. Cutting the hole for the toilet plumbing was a little nerve-wracking.
Having repeatedly measured for this plumbing hole and the incoming pipe that provides toilet water, we rocked, because the cut was accurate on the first try. Pure Pete pride in this picture!
Cutting the last pieces of underlayment to size were quick and easy in comparison. When it came time to install, we used the air compressor and staple gun to blast 1″ staples on every single “X”. The staples are the only thing holding the underlayment in place, no glue, no adhesive, but considering the hundreds of staples that we popped into place, it should be well-set for years to come.
The installation was very quick and easy with the gun. We followed a tutorial offered by the SurePly manufacturers with no problem. Lots of good tips, actually!
We doubled up the staples for added reinforcement around the entire perimeter of the room and along the cut edge of every board.
With the underlayment in place, I pounced on the opportunity to prime the floor while it was clean. The primer, a VOC-free floor enhancer shown here, is designed to help self-stick tiles adhere to flooring, and was especially advised for me as I was installing directly over brand-spankin’ new underlayment. At $5, it’s worth the investment to keep those tiles in place really well.
The instructions advised me to paint the enhancer on the floor with a thick-nap roller, not unlike how you’d paint the walls. Applying it the evening and not giving it much opportunity to puddle, I laid it on thick. Half of the bottle went further than you’d think; the liquid was like milk, not like paint. I have half of the bottle of this primer left (for future tiling projects, if this one here goes well).
I rolled myself right out the door, and left the room for 3 hours to let it cure and set.
You really wouldn’t know by looking at it the finished floor that any treatment had been done, but it feels a little different.
And speaking of curing and setting, I finished the shower tile too. After the grout had set for 24-hours, I cleaned up the surface of the tiles with a dry rag and then conditioned the exposed grout to repel stains and water. I may have been squeezing the bottle with the brush a little too hard, as I had a lot of over-run down the walls into the tub, but I wanted that tile to be sealed. Really sealed. I went through two bottles of the stuff even though the bottle indicated that one bottle should have been enough.
To read more stories about this renovation: