Beach House Kitchen – Floors


We bought both the hardwood floor and the porcelain tile a few years ago during the downturn for almost nothing. We used the tile in the bathroom and laundry, and the wood is in the main areas. We had just enough of both to finish the kitchen.

I brought the hardwood up to and around the bar. The floor underneath it is old-growth douglas fir, but in very poor shape. I glued and nailed the new flooring to the old, which holds really well. Also, I nailed the Doug Fir down every 6″ just ensure each board was solid. I feel sorry for the person that tears this out one day. 

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I could have tried to lay the tile directly on the fir floor, but I didn’t think it would last. So I tore it out. Once out, I found the sub-floor by the door was rotted. 

Someone obviously covered it up years ago, chosing not to fix it.

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In my mind, you should fix anything you find. So it came out. 

I patched it with 3/4″ exterior-grade plywood. From the under side, I glued and screwed plywood patches between the new plywood and the old diagonal floor.

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Once the sub-floor was patched, I glued and nailed OSB over it. 

I have a Ryobi battery operated caulking gun, which I love – it saves my hand muscles. I used about 6 tubes of construction adhesive for two and a half sheets.

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I could have used screws, but I prefer to use 1.5″ ring-shank roofing nails. I think they hold just as well, and it takes a lot less time to drive them in with a roofing nailer. The floor was very stiff once the glue set up.

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I put 1/4″ backer board over the OSB with thinset, again fastening it down with ring-shank nails. Image 2016-06-19 - 1770

I added acrylic fortifier to the thinset. I improves bonding to various surfaces, including wood. I probably didn’t have to use it, but it’s just a bit more insurance against failure in an older house. It’s typically about $20 a gallon, but I found it at the ReStore for only $2.

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The tile went in easily with a minimum of cuts. I laid the tile out so the step on the right would be a full tile, and the cuts would go under the toe-kick of the cabinets that will be on the left. The only real precise positioning was where the tile butted up to the hardwood. Other than the step, everything else goes under trim or cabinets. This layout keeps it easy and will look clean.

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I ran out of time to grout the tile. Once it’s in it will look just like the bathroom.

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Time and Money:

  • A day to repair the floor and put in the OSB and backer board.
  • A day to lay the tile.
  • Tile – $2 s.f. for about $120.
  • Backer board – 5 sheets for $60
  • OSB – $25
  • Thinset – 2 bags plus fortifier for $25
  • Construction adhesive – $2 at the ReStore for $12
  • Grout will be about $10.

So 2 days and $250. And you need a tile saw.



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