Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Unpacking and Getting the Floor Ready For Tiling

Well before I go on, I didn't show you the front view of the kitchen which includes an unfinished raised eating area in front of the sink:

So the counters that are being installed will be two levels in the sink area. I decided that it was worth it to splurge an extra grand on having this because it's nice to have a kind of shelf in front of the sink  and it also helps hide the mess of dirty dishes or other clutter when looking from the rec room.

My youngest brother came into town today from LA for a visit. So while my other brother picked him up and visited my mom, I unpacked as much kitchen stuff as possible and I laid down the cork underlayment.

It was like Christmas all over again. After 10 months of using my brother's kitchen materials, I had forgotten a lot of the kitchen items that I had carefully chosen. It was much more of a delight than I expected.

But this is also when I realized how little cupboard space I had. There are no wide drawers at all. So I am limited in what I can put in each. The cupboards, which are very high thanks to the removal of the bulkheads, are just that -- very, VERY high. The bottom two shelves, no problem. But because there are no wide shelves, it will be necessary to put some regularly needed items high enough that I will need a foot stool to reach them. 

Ultimately, this is considered a "secondary kitchen" -- one used to store stuff to entertain in the rec room, or a kitchen built for a downstairs tenant. And since I'm just one person, all my items will find a place to go, regardless of the slight awkwardness I am experiencing at the moment.

I will probably do an overview of the cabinets in another post, since this one is getting long. There is lots to review about the good and the not-so-good.

When I cut the cork underlayment for the floor, I was careful to leave around 1/2" on the borders as directed by the sales lady at the cork store. This allows for possible expansion of the cork.

When you step on the cork, it is as warm as a heated floor. I could hardly believe it! I expected it to be a sort of neutral temperature, but it was actually warming my feet! It makes me wonder if I would have gotten a similar sensation with the cork flooring. But I digress... 

Unfortunately, that warm doesn't translate through the tile. Porcelain, as expected will always be cold to the touch. The difference however, is that it is no longer bone-chilling cold going through my legs as it did when I stood directly on the cement. It's a "nice cold" the kind you want to feel when it's blazing hot outside. I can live with that!

Two tips we were given about the tiling. 
  1. Solomon our contractor suggested that we start the tiles from the middle of the room and fan out. The reason for this is because even if a corner may look like a right-angle, there's a 99.9% chance it isn't. Thus if you attempt to start tiling from one wall to the other, you may end up with a trail of squares that eventually lay crooked rather than a straight parallel line to the walls in the rest of the kitchen.
  2. A friend of my brother, who lend us his tile cutter after tiling his bathrooms, suggested considering some pattern other than straight up and down. This is for the same reason Solomon suggested, that even if we start the tiles from the middle they will eventually reach the edge of the "not right-angled" wall, and resulting in the line of the tiles laying slanted next to the baseboards. This makes it obvious that the room is not a perfect rectangular. So my brother suggested a diamond layout as it will appear less "flawed" at a glance.
Solomon suggested to us to lay out the tiles on top of the underlayment to get a sense of where each tile will be. It also gives us the ability to play out how we will cut the remaining tiles and distribute it in the remaining spots. Of course, when we begin tiling, we will still start from the middle, but it takes the guesswork out of how many tiles we will need, and what it will look like in the end.

Again, you can't tell from the picture, but wow, the colour of the tile matches all the kitchen decor. We REALLY lucked out on that sale!!

Oh and just in case you were wondering how the patch job went with the light switch, here's what it looks like now.

NOTE TO SELF: Stop taking pictures at night!  (sorry for the poor colour)

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