A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

Well, Hello Gorgeous!

2015010106This is where I left the bathroom floor last night after less than 5 hours work.

Of course I couldn’t wait to get back to work on it today! I can be a little OCD when it comes to certain things, and this qualified. Sooooo satisfying when the tile pops up cleanly and leaves little residue, or when the thinset or cement chips off in a nice big chunk.

After doing a little research on how to clean the tile, I decided to go with Barkeeper’s Friend and a Scotch-Brite, both of which I had on hand.

Quite a difference between the left and right side.


Lookin’ fabulous after only a little scrubbing!


Not to say it’s all beautiful. Here is the crack near the sink that we’d have to deal with (or maybe just cover with a rug).


And there are a couple of holes plugged from the old upright radiators. The previous owner replaced those with baseboard radiators a long time ago (still a boiler system). Note the rust stains on the floor here.


After a little elbow grease, stains are virtually gone!


There were two corners that were a bit of a problem. Both were built up with cement before the tile was laid so they were much more difficult to chisel away. This is by the tub, which is where the water leak was. It also appears that the wall where it jogs was moved back a little bit, so there are a couple inches without tile. I think we can work around it when we rip out the wall tile and redo the walls (can’t wait for that!).


I found that the small chisel worked pretty well for thicker chunks, but a 4″ putty knife worked well for the thin, feathered layer of cement. By tapping it very gently, the vibration of the knife seemed to release the bond to the tile and the cement flaked off.

Then I discovered that if I let a damp towel soak the area, it softened the cement a little and helped it chip off easier. In the opposite corner next to the door (below), after I soaked it for a while (about 10 minutes) I started chipping away the cement when I noticed an all-too-familiar smell: cat pee.



Ugh, I really didn’t expect to come across that smell in this house again. I now have a towel soaked with Nature’s Miracle in that spot (luckily I had some left over). I think once the newer tile and cement are gone the smell will go away.

In any case, I think this is gonna work! I’m so happy!

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