Basement Renovation 06 – Powder Room Sub-floor

A couple of weeks ago I took a short staycation with my wife to get some work done around the house. Top of the list of things to do was tile the powder room floor. It proved to be more trouble than I expected. I rarely remember to take pictures even when I’m not really frustrated so I don’t have really any shots of the process. But I did keep a meticulous minute-by-minute journal, like I do.

Friday, 1:00 pm; I have the afternoon off! Let the staycation begin! First thing’s first, gotta lay this tile. Good thing I bought exactly the right stuff and the floor is properly prepared, just need to sweep it clean of dust. Should be done by the end of the day today, then I can seal tomorrow, grout on Sunday, seal again and set the toilet on Monday. It’s a perfect plan! My biggest decision is going to be whether I want the base on top of the tile or beside it.

BR06_Base Option A

BR06_Base Option B

Friday, 1:03 pm; I like the second one, with tile beside the base. Hmm, that means I’ll have to build the toe kick before I can get started. I’ll have to think on that. I’ll just get to sweeping.

Friday, 1:30pm; Hmm, it never occurred to me before but that black stuff doesn’t look great.

BR06_Cutback Adhesive

I wonder if this mastic will stick to it if I just go right over it.

Friday, 1:31pm; It won’t.

Friday, 2:15pm; Now I’m a little bit worried about moisture. I know I sealed the back wall, but I think the slab could be damp. We just had this problem on a project at work. So mastic is probably not the best bet anyway. Alright, new plan: head out to Home Depot, buy a vapor barrier, some thinset, and a good scraper.

Friday, 4:30pm; This Schluter Ditra thing looks like just the ticket. It’s expensive, but it solves all my problems. I’ll just buy it now and read the package later, what could go wrong.

Friday, 5:15pm; Well shit, this mat doesn’t work on tile that’s smaller than 2″x2″. I’ll just return it tomorrow and buy this goo instead. In the meantime, I can scrape up this black stuff.

Friday, 5:19pm; No I can’t. Well …

Friday, 5:21pm; No, I can’t. That’s really on there good. I should just buy some of this black stuff, I bet it sticks to anything.

Friday, 5:22pm; … because it’s made of asbestos. Cool.

Saturday, 10:30am; Goo acquired! Now to read the fine print!

Saturday, 10:32am; Yeah, this ain’t gonna work.

Sunday, 2:05pm; This is the best plan I’ve had in all my life. I’ll just buy some 1/4″ cement board, which will cover up that black stuff and get me up off the damp slab.

Sunday, 4:15pm; Now I just need to screw this stuff down to the slab with some blue screws. Let’s break out that trusty drill bit. Just you and me against the world, drill bit. Let’s do it!

Sunday, 4:16pm; Noooooooo! Broken on the first screw!


Why?! I had you since I bought the drill. We drove so many screws together. You’ll be missed.

Sunday, 8:20pm; The funeral services were very touching. I’m pretty emotionally drained, I’ll just get a fresh start tomorrow.

Monday, 10:15am; Brand new drill bit, time to slam these screws in and get tiling.


Monday, 10:16am;

Monday, 10:18am; Sent Angela to the hardware store since I was too ashamed to go twice in the same day for the same thing. I told her to buy every drill bit they have. These drill bits are a weak species. They  must be exterminated.

Monday, 10:35am;


Monday, 11:05am; It’s done.

Monday, 11:06am; I still have to build that fucking toe kick.

The end. For now! It basically took me all of a long weekend just to get back to the point I thought I was at when I started. And when was finally able to lay the tile down, that turned out to be it’s own hassle. But that’s another diary for another day. Go Pens!


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