We had dug down from the packed earth original floor and prepared for the concrete pour
All; fine and dandy so far but that’s where it started to go wrong and the pour was too dry and the bloke didn’t stop quick enough and before you knew it we were struggling to get anything even remotely level and ended up with a floor that didn’t look much better than the rock below it. I think Mrs Bentleys exact words were “For fucks sake it looks like a ploughed field”
However on survey it was only about two inches out in the worst area and Derek who lives nearby used to be a flooring contractor told me not to worry as we could sort it out “old school” quite easily using a near dry mix cement screed.
First we had to nip off the rough edges of the concrete floor and here is MrsB doing exactly that
Mixed at 4 to one and quite dry possibly only 2 liters of water/pva 8 to 1 to a mixer full and then floated on and tapped down to level a meter square at a time. He is the best part of 70 years old and was only supposed to be showing me the technique but ended up doing it himself as he said it was easier for him to do it than show me how.
We found the highest area and started there getting a level from there and then working in about a square meter pads proceeded with a spirit level as he went to cover the floor.
He said that years ago if there was a gang of them laying big floor they would have two on the screeding and then behind them would come the tilers and they used to just sieve (using a kitchen flour sieve) cement dust onto the damp screed and lay the tile direct on, by morning they would be set solid
Anyway I digress this is how it looked when done
On the right you can see the start of the island in the kitchen
Now comes the second problem which was when we (Derek) had laid the screed the dog walked across it and left little pits and also that night and un-forecast the temperature plummeted to a frost.
The combination of the two meant that when I went to sweep the surface the next day gert big holes appeared where the dog had walked which I tried to patch with some of the same mix but I would have had more luck trying to shove poo back up my butt.
I was rapidly loosing patience with the floor and MrsB was also getting a bit impatient that we should have it tiled for the visit of the family at xmas. In short we were pushing on a bit too quickly and not applying our normal care and timely work ethic.
So the only way forward now is to put a thin cover of self levelling screed on and tile to that but I was getting worried about the height we were adding and we had already had to design in a “mat well”
After a bit of U tube tutorial and some advice from Derek my son Zak on the float we set about tidying what I was now referring to as “that fucking floor” once again.
You mix it as per instructions including wild hair and go go dancing as demonstrated here by Mrs Bentley
Then you pour on a load and just use the float to move it into the corners and sort of even it out.
When you pour out the next lot you overlap it a bit and sort of work towards yourself.
It is quick and easy to do as long as you don’t spend too long fannying about with it although in the photos it looks a bit odd
On this one above you can see some of the holes in the cement screed left by the sweeping after the frost and dog walk episode.
Anyway soon the whole floor had been screeded we knew it wasn’t going to freeze and so we left it for 48 hours to go off before starting tiling.
Two mistakes were made at this juncture in that due to the weather we should have left it another couple of days to totally dry out and I should never had bought the pre mixed tiling glue recommended by the chap where we bought the tiles.
What I should have done is gone to proper tile place and asked for their strong floor tile glue that was fast setting. (cant remember what it is in French now)
The difference is gobsmacking the proper stuff comes in 20 kilo sacks and you add water and mix about a quarter of a sack ata time and get it down and get the tiles on. Two hours later they are set and probably earthquake proof. The sh!te in the tubs doesn’t like the cold, takes forever to go off in the cold, and doesn’t stick very well after its gone off in the cold (can you see a theme here). Never again will I use the pre mixed stuff and when I told the person in the proper tile shop that I had used it she shook her head emphatically and said “non non non, pas pour sol” (Not for floors)
Ah well here is some pics of the process and soon I will be able to put up the time lapse video of the floor tiles going down. It took about 6 hours from start to finish.
Here is tile one going in
The grout when put in is grey and the area outside the borders will be done with a tile of the same colour either the red, grey, or cream of the tile, or it may even be done with the pattern tiles cut to fit wherever it needs to go.
The island will be tiled in a different but light shade and I will post up when we have moved that step closer.
We decided against trying to make the border go round inside the galley bit as it all looked a bit squashed Likewise around the main fire place it all looked to bitty so we ran the borders to their natural conclusion and did the one near the island as though the island is piece of furniture on it. That might sound a bit odd but when it’s all tiled in with the edges done as well as the island, with the range in place etc and you see the full result I am sure it will make sense.
The tiles came from Castorama in Vannes and were about 56 euros a square meter (averaging the border and corner tiles as well).
The tiles for the room cost approx. 1600 euros and cover about 28 square meters and it is fair to say that we are rather chuffed with them.
Love and Peace