I made a mistake. It was kind of an expensive one actually.
I am tearing up my kitchen floor this weekend.
I’ll back up a little bit. As many of my longtime readers know, I purchased a home in foreclosure little over three years ago, and I’ve been slowly working on fixing it up. I’ve replaced plumbing fixtures, appliance parts, flooring, patched holes, painted, you name it. It’s been a very long process, and it was made even longer when I maxed myself out and realized I needed to do it slowly as the money came in, not all at once.
This last spring I wrote that I wanted to get the work done over the summer so that I could finally (FINALLY!) live in a finished home and possibly put it up for sale next year. It’s been slower than I would have liked, but stuff has been getting done.
Finishing up my kitchen floor was one of the many things on my to do list, as the tile has been down for quite some time, but it hasn’t been grouted. This was my estimate for how much it was going to cost me to finally get this finished up:
Not too bad.
That being said, I’ve been had a sinking feeling about my choice of flooring for a little while now. I thought that once I got it all finished I’d feel good about my choice and that my unease was as a result of living in a construction zone. If you’ve never done it before, I don’t advise it. It comes with its own rather unpleasant set of stresses.
This past week I went over each and every tile on my hands and knees, cleaning off the mortar that had stuck to the top in preparation for grouting it this weekend. By the time I finished cleaning the tile, I had confirmed in my head what my gut had been saying for some time. This tile was a mistake.
There is a laundry list of things that went wrong with it. It’s a thicker tile, so sitting on top of an underlay it sits considerably higher than the flooring in both the living room and the bathroom. Not only that, but when I got around to replacing the linoleum in my bathroom the flooring on the first floor was going to look really disjointed. Some of the tiles are uneven, because I had never tiled before (nor had the people who were helping me at the start). I did my practice tiles under the appliances so they wouldn’t be visible, but now my appliances wobble. It’s a natural stone tile, so there’s some variation in the strength of it. Some of the tiles have cracked at natural fault lines, while others have been chipped as a result of people dragging things across them. They’re bloody cold on the feet during the winter. One of my friends was dragging her feet the last time she was over and stubbed her toe on the edge of a tile. You shouldn’t be able to stub your foot on a floor.
I was pretty convinced I wanted to rip it out, but I was a little concerned The Boy would get upset at me for it. After all, he had helped me finish up laying the tile last summer. About 10 minutes after I finished cleaning the floor he called me, so I asked him what he thought about me ripping out the kitchen floor. He said he didn’t want to say anything before, since it was my house not his, but he didn’t think the tile was a good idea either. That sealed it. Instead of grouting the floor this weekend, we’ll be ripping it out.
The floor in the kitchen and bathroom are going to be put on hold until the spring while I put some money away for it, and I’m going to finish up the smaller odds and ends in the meantime. I’m going to be pulling out the bathroom and front entryway linoleum in the spring (both are damaged). I’ll then install the same linoleum in the kitchen, bathroom and entryway, which will lend itself to a more cohesive look. This also means I’ll have two different floorings on the main level, not four. I feel relieved thinking about it.
It was an expensive lesson to learn, but frankly I’m glad I made this decision. You can’t fix a bad decision by throwing money at it (i.e. grouting and sealing it). Sometimes you just have to acknowledge that you made a mistake, learn from it, and move on. It’s hard to do, especially when you spent your hard earned money on it, but sunk costs are sunk costs.
I’m going to try to make the best of a crappy situation and see if I can reuse the broken tile outside. I’d like to make a little sitting area, and I might be able to use some of the larger pieces to “pave” the space. We’ll see how that goes.
When was the last time you realized you made a mistake and stopped throwing money at it?
Recommended Reading: Multiple Incomes – 2013 Update