Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Operation Hearth Re-Tile - Demo Time

After I received all the inspiration I needed from The Tile Shop, I was more than determined to demo the heck out of our old, outdated hearth.


To get things started, I used a hammer and flat head screw driver to pry up the front piece of wood trim that surrounded the hearth.  I slowly, and carefully, worked my way across the piece of wood...focusing my efforts where each nail was shot into the wood.  By prying things up in those areas, I had less of a risk of splitting or cracking the wood.


Once that piece was up, I put it to the side {keeping the nails in place so I could easily hammer the trim back down in the future}.  I could now see that the tiles used were super thin, and the concrete bed they were laid in was almost two inches thick, and the edges of it were crumbling.



To remove the super thick concrete bed, I busted out the crowbar.  I lined the edge the bar up with the bottom of the concrete.  After hammering a few times, I pulled back on the crowbar, and the concrete buckled.  Luckily, the majority of the hearth came out in a few huge chunks.



Once that layer was removed, I was left with a very jagged and uneven bed of concrete. 



It wasn’t exactly a flat or smooth sub-floor to build off of.  At this point, I started questioning things.  Why the heck did I think I could do this project?  How the heck would I smooth things out?  How am I going to build the surface up enough so it’ll be flush with the wood trim again?  I’m. In. Over. My. Head.  Soooo at that point, I went to bed. ;)

After I slept on things, I woke up with renewed confidence I could get it done.  To solve my issue, some people recommended using a self-leveling compound, but it just didn’t seem right to me.  The gap to fill was too big, and we were on the second floor.  If the compound seeped through any cracks {and believe me, there were a ton}, it’d go right through the floor and onto our furnace and hot water heater.  No bueno.  Instead, I turned to Henry’s Floor Patch and Leveler.  This stuff had the right consistency for my needs and was made to bond to concrete.


Following the instructions, I cleaned the concrete so it was free of any dust or debris.  {I also put the front piece of wood trim back on so all sides were the same height.}
 


Then I worked in sections...dampening the concrete with a sponge and then applying the floor leveler with a trowel.  I went through a few buckets of this stuff, and applied it in several thin layers {over several days}...gradually building up certain areas without piling the product on too thick.  After each application, I left things to dry overnight, and by morning it was always rock solid.


To figure out how high I needed to build up the base of my hearth, I took into account the thickness of my marble tile, plus the thickness of thinset to be used when installing marble mosaic tile.  Of course, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get the hearth perfectly level, but I could account for any inconsistencies by using more or less thinset to keep the tiles flush with each other during installation.

Thankfully, after a couple applications of Henry’s and a ton of patience, the hearth was finally ready for some new tile!


I couldn't believe how long it took me to get to the tiling point of this project, but I was so happy to be there!  I just wanted to get on to the pretty stuff. ;)

Anyone else question their ability halfway through a project?!?!  Did you keep going, or hire a professional?

32 comments:

  1. I am the same way, i rip something out or paint the first coat and im like what the crap!!? but most of the time...i end up talking myself through it...otherwise husband comes to the rescue! i am anxious to see what is next!

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    1. That was me...I ripped it out and was like, oh noooooo haha. Thankfully, like you, I was able to push forward with it! :)

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  2. That sounds like a nightmare (I probably would've cried to Joe). Thank goodness it was an easy fix. I can't wait to see it with the tile :)

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    1. It definitely was a little scary at first. I thought I was in way over my head haha!!

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  3. You're a beast. I totally mean that in a good way. ;) I'm impressed with your skills. I'd have thrown in the tile after looking at the tile and need to remove it. ;)

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  4. Can I just say you're amazing for tackling this in the first place? I'd have taken one look at that sub floor and yelled for my husband to see if he could help me salvage the project!

    And YES. I totally know what you're talking about. We (ok, my husband) installed some shutters this weekend. After a long long weekend we decided we are never doing it again. We got it done but hated the entire process and the final outcome. Professionals all the way for the remaining windows!

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    1. Aw, thank you so much, Berennisse! :)

      I'm glad I'm not the only one who questions things, but yayyyy for at least finishing up your project...great job!!

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  5. Brave girl! Who would have thought concrete would come up in such huge chunks? It's going to look amazing, way to power through!

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  6. I probably would have freaked after getting up the old stuff and seeing what I had to work with. I can't wait to see the end results!

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    1. I definitely did a little bit haha!! Can't wait to share them with you guys! :)

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  7. WOW you went to town...crowbar and everything! Sweet!

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  8. I love breaking out the ol' crow bar and doing some demo! Can't wait to see that beautiful marble tile in there!

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  9. I'm just so impressed you're willing to do this kind of stuff on your own. I'm too intimidated so I just pester D till he does it. :/

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    1. It definitely is intimidating, but if I can take it on...so can you! Although I completely understand you pretending like I never said that and just letting D continue on... ;)

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  10. That's some serious prep! Glad you found the right product!

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  11. Dang. That is some legit concrete. Nicely done, girl!! I question my ability with pretty much every project....because pretty much nothing goes like I planned it in my head. Ever.

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    1. Yea, they were messing around when they laid the hearth the first time. For such tiny tile, they didn't skimp on the concrete bed haha.

      I'm glad I'm not the only one, Cindy!! :)

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  12. Wow! I'm pretty sure I would've just sat on the floor and cried when I got to the "in over your head" spot. Glad you persevered!

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    1. Bahahaha! Believe me, I thought about doing that once or twice. Me too...thanks Sarah! :)

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  13. Wowsa, You tackled a crack on the wall, and now you have turned into Mrs. Handy Person. I've got to give you credit, I would never had started on this project, and if I did, I would be hiding in a corner, crying. Cannot wait to see how it turns out....btw...if we move to NJ...I'm hiring you to fix the house ;)

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  14. Wow! Look at you: fixing cracks, demoing concrete, and leveling floors. You rock! Keep up the good work!

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