Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Don't Try This at Home

Our extreme heat for the past few days has forced me to work on indoor projects.  Project #1 on my mind is still the basement bathroom.  (No, it's not finished yet ... but I'm getting closer.)  I painted the walls and ceiling yesterday.  Yesterday's item on the To Do list was cleaning the floor ... the only original feature in the room that was fit to save.

What it looked like before the demolition began.

A close-up of the filthy floor.

The floor is encaustic tile (a super hard, matte finish tile, where the color goes all the way through), and it had every assortment of dirt, crud, rust, and whatever else on it.  To make it worse, the drywall guy didn't use a drop cloth, so there was drywall dust ground into the grout.

In this photo, I've already scrubbed the upper right corner.

Here is my arsenal of floor cleaning supplies.

You're not seeing things ... that IS a palm sander.

I tried the usual floor cleaning products, and was dissatisfied with the results.  The crud was really stubborn.  In desperation, I tried 220-grit sandpaper with a spritz of 409 ... it worked!!

Scrubbing the floor with sandpaper by hand was going to take WAY too long ... so that's when I grabbed the sander.  This is definitely not a suggested use for this particular power tool.  It reminds me of a teeny little floor buffer.

This is miles better than it looked before cleaning ... pretty good for a 70-year-old floor, don't you think?

It's still taking a while to get the floor clean.  There are paint splotches and drips from prior paint jobs, and other crud that requires scraping.  After scrubbing with the sander, the final step is to use a scrub brush and work the last of the caked drywall dust out of the grout.

I should have the floor all finished by later today.  Next step:  baseboard and door molding!

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog)


  1. I sure don't envy that task! My knees hurt just thinking about it. It sure does look like you are getting a handle on it. Lookin' good!

  2. Its such a lovely floor! So cool that you live in such an old house! My mom always says that her grandfather lived in that house until he was 2 years old, but i'm not certain if thats true... interesting though.

  3. Oh my gosh... what a lot of work you are undertaking. I guess the heat is good for something since it forces us to take a look at our indoor projects.


  4. I love this floor and admire your hard work to clean it. Can't wait to see more of what it looks like. I guess the heat keeps us in doing something else!

  5. Wow, I just came across your blog through another and I'm glad I did. Your home and roses are just beautiful.
    We moved to the Chancellorsville, Va area about three years ago from Mt. Vernon. It has taken me awhile to get used to the country life but, it sure does slow you down! I have added your blog to my favorites and plan on visiting often. My eldest daughter just graduated from Longwood University and hopefully, she will help me create my own blog (I'm a little behind the times). By the way, my sister lived in Stafford - I don't know any of the road names but I do know that her daughters attended Hartwood Elementary. She now lives in the "Woodlawn" neighborhood in Stafford. Anyways, have a good day and try to stay cool!


  6. Hello: I just saw your post on "Smoothing Out the Wrinkles" and thought I'd stop by. I was born and raised in Virginia (Roanoke). Then I saw your greyhound post and am smitten! We lost our beloved second dalmatian a few months ago. We are very fortunate to have been "adopted" by our third dalmatian, Oliver. He's our first non-puppy having come to us as a three year old. He's been in our hearts for a little over two weeks now. What joy a dog brings into lives. I look forward to exploring both of your blogs further.


  7. Just a few replies:

    1. I never get on my knees, if I can help it. I would much rather scoot along on the seat of my pants.

    2. Your great-grandfather was born in this house ... we'll talk.

    3. 'Lots of work' is really the only way I know how to do things. It makes for a better result in the end.

    4. With all the heat outside, I'm making steady progress downstairs. The cool thing about encaustic tile is that it's practically indestructable ... which is why I can get so aggressive with cleaning it.

    5. Suzanne, you're practically in the neighborhood. You didn't leave an email address, so I can't contact you directly. Email me.

    6. Bonnie, we've always adopted adult dogs here. I admire anyone who can raise a puppy into a reasonable dog ... I doubt I could.


  8. Even though it is a lot of work, that floor is definitely worth the effort! Do they even make flooring like that now?
    I raised 2 pups from 4 weeks, they are not reasonable. I love them anyway
    Can't wait for the bathroom reveal!

  9. Impressive work. I love it when I can use power tools for housecleaning. I've been known to use the leaf blower to clean the area under the island. Dog fur, you know.

  10. I love that 70 year old floor, you're doing an awesome job restoring. Looking forward to your finished bathroom project... I'm STILL drooling over your living room. Drooling, I tell ya.

  11. It's looking wonderful, I love that basketweave tile! And you guys are chugging right along on your bathroom, I can't wait to see it all finished!

    Kat :)

  12. GIANT SECRET TO TELL YOU ,go buy some of them clorox sponges,the ones with the MR CLEAN guy on them ,buy a bunch of them ,they will cut your scrubbing time by 3/4 plus they some how get in ever teeny tiney nook and groove that I bet you still dont have clean right now after all your other attempts ,serious ,try it ,I will be following your blog for the results . Well I am headed back to reading more of your posts ,wonderful blog !!!


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