The thing about working on the floor, is the working on the floor. After the last two days I can say that if I were granted a wish to be a Major League ballplayer, it most definitely would not be as a catcher. My knees and back are stiff and sore as hell after yesterday's 12 hour marathon. The good news though, is that the tile is down, and down pretty. Before doing any of that though, I had to fill the divots and missing chunks in the cement bed.
The bed itself was in pretty solid shape so I elected to keep it there and patch, instead of removing it in chunks and replacing it with new cement backerboard. Less carrying of concrete chunks is almost always a good thing, I think. So by Monday evening the floor was patched, level and ready to go for putting down the tile on Tuesday. I must say, I was feeling cocky and capable when I woke up yesterday. I didn't think it would take too long to put down the tile, especially since this would be the first time I'd have a wetsaw at my disposal. The day ahead seemed spacious and I thought I'd be done by dinner. I laid all tile in its place, dry at first, and determined the amount and spacing of the black hex flower details. Bec and I exchanged some pics and opinions of the arrangement and decided it was set to go.
I drew a map on the wall assigning each sheet of tile a number, including the small pieces for weird areas at corners and around the toilet flange, and this was probably the smartest thing I've done to this point— definitely of the project, possibly of my life.
I would've been lost when things got messy and tired. Next, I wanted to make all the cuts on the saw that I'd need to put down the tile so I wouldn't have to stop and waste valuable workable-thinset(mortar)time, and so I wouldn't disturb my neighbors (power saw cutting rock: loud and shrill). It was 8 o'clock or so at this point, and even though it took longer than I expected, I thought the rest would be cake. HA! wrong. I spent the next 6 hours crouched on the hard floor, meticulously fixing the tiles to the ground according to the drawn map, and my goodness were the black hex flowers a pain in the ass— mostly because they weren't as thick as the rest of the tile, so I had to apply extra thinset to them and then carefully place them in place, tamp them down with a flat board and mallet, then use a tiny screwdriver to remove the squeezed-out thinset. The first couple of these I had only the loosest grip on non-panic, but by 1/2 way across the floor I'd got in a rhythm and did a better job. I can actually see them improve in their application from the starting point at the toilet, to the end at the doorway. I had a small charge when the bucket of thinset I used made it all the way to the end, with barely enough to put down one more tile had I needed. Whew. I made a lot of crunching and groaning noises as I stood up, had a beer and a slice of cold pizza, walked the dogs and went to bed. When I woke up this morning, the apartment was a disaster, but the floor looks great and the tile is all where it should be!
Next up: grout!