January 16, 2011 @ 18:07 EST

Strippers are not always sexy

Back in October, I ripped out the old carpet in the florida room of my house. Two hundred square feet of very well-worn and very heavily-stained once-beige carpet ended up on the curb, and overnight the house smelled much better, to say nothing of my allergies improving.

My original intent was to have the room finished by Thanksgiving, but due to my personal life self-destructing, I made little progress on that project. Originally I wanted to put down a dark hardood, such as palisander, but at ~$10 per square foot, it was well outside my budget.

I could have put down something cheaper, such as the awesome bamboo I've put down in two other areas of the house, but as that room sits lower than the rest of the house, I realized I needed something that could handle excessive ground moisture. That meant either putting down a sub-floor and wood on top, or, better yet, tile, which is about as durable and moisture-resistant as it gets.

Unfortunately, the surface prep for tile is much more involved; I have to strip the gunk on the floor away to expose the bare concrete foundation, or else the mortar won't adhere properly. I then have to level the floor, scraping down and/or filling in any variations, and only then can I put down 200 square feet of tile, caulk along the baseboards, and then finally put down grout.

Last week I got all the surface mold cleaned up from the mess that Tropical Storm Fey left behind. Today, I got about 2/3rds of the paint stripped off the floor, stopping only because I ran out of paint stripper. I'll pick up some more tomorrow and pick up where I left off, getting the majority of the surface gunk off. Then I make another pass on any spots I've missed (and along the baseboards), and finally, I go over the whole thing with a stiff brush and mineral spirits to get rid of the residue. With luck, that'll be it, but I suspect I may end up needing to sandblast what's left to get to the concrete. That dark gunk oyu see in the picture is a sort of tar layer that I think was laid down as a moistture barrier and if the mineral spirits don't get it up, then I'll be picking up (or renting) a sandblaster. Joy!.

Once the surface is prepped, I need to buy and install new baseboards, and then pick out and pick up some tile. I should have no problem finding something really nice in the $1-2/sqft range. Total investment so far in this flooring project is approximately $80, but assuming $2/sqft tile, I'm guessing a total cost around $700 by the time it's all over, assuming I rent/borrow (and not buy) the tile saw and sandblastin gear.

After I'm done with this project (and the still-not-done hole!), I'll finally throw the house warming-over party that's two years overdue now. Maybe by Valentine's day?

Posted by Solomon Peachy | Permanent link & Comments | File under: Photos, Life and other BS