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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Replacing the Kitchen Laminate with Tile

I'm taking a short break from my garage conversion project (these posts) to help some folks with their kitchen floor while they are out of town on a brief vacation. They were ready to replace the laminate floating floor that (sort of) looked like tile, with the real thing.

The first step was to remove the shoe moulding and take up the old flooring. These floating floors are not attached to the subfloor, they are just 'snapped' together. The main thing is to find the last piece that was installed and start un-snapping it from there. It worked well for me to tilt the entire row upward to free it from the adjacent row and then tilt each individual piece up to un-lock the joints.

With the old flooring out of the way I cleaned everything up and installed 1/2" Hardibacker through the kitchen/dining room over a layer of thinset. This will give us a solid surface to act as a foundation for the 13" ceramic tile. If you're doing very much, you'll be glad to have a roofing nailer on hand to put all those nails in. Galvanized roofing nails are acceptable for securing the Hardibacker, as well as special Hardibacker screws.

I was able to cut most pieces with the score-and-snap technique similar to drywall except you need a special scoring tool with a carbide tip. Your utility knife will not work for this and may drive you to insanity if you try it.

For notches and odd cuts, I like using a carbide tip (like you use for cutting tile) in my jigsaw. Make sure you do it outside because it does create a lot of toxic dust that you don't want to breathe. For this unusual piece (below) I snapped the long angle off and then used the jigsaw to cut out the notch for the doorjamb.

The clock is counting down. I have to be completely finished by Monday at 2:00...
No problem, right? :)


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