In our initial first floor walkthrough post, we included a picture of some white tiles peaking out from under the brown laminate flooring that Kripa noticed:
I went over one weekend while we were waiting on permits to dig a little deeper, see if anything was under there. Lo and behold, using a paint scraper to pry up the edges, I found this:
Very exciting!! I went back the next weekend to try and make some more progress so Kripa and I could decide whether it was worth keeping. Ideally it would be like HGTV and we’d reveal an amazing work of art, but we also knew it was as likely that it could reveal incomplete/crappy/broken tile.
I made three miscalculations when I went to go work on the tile:
- The heat hadn’t kicked on that day during a Chicago winter, and when I got there the inside of the house was 29 degrees.
- I only had thin gloves – I had forgotten my work gloves.
- I decided to work on the tile in spite of items #1 and #2.
Three hours later, my legs were stiff and cold from being on the tile floor, my hands were killing me from the cold and holding the pry bar as I hammered it to pry up the tile. On the up side, the pattern had started to reveal itself!
By my calculations, at this rate I’d need another 21 hours of work to finish revealing the tile. As I mentioned my heroic labor of love to friends, the unanimous response was “Get a heat gun.” So I got a heat gun for $19 and went back again.
2.5 hours later, here’s where I was:
Much better progress! My new calculation was only another 4.5 hours of work and I’d be done!
At this point we got our permits and demolition was about to start (more on that in another post), and I didn’t have time to do any more on it. I came back after demo started to take a look, and my first thought was “OMG, they destroyed the tile!!!”
I caught my breath, and after sweeping away the dust I could see the tile was still there. Phew.
Fast forward to present day: last week I went and took a look, and the all the old laminate is removed!
Our contractor, Martin, told Kripa that they started removing the laminate and it was slow, so they grabbed a blow torch and had it done in 5 minutes.
Our plan is to clean it up once we’re closer to completion. There is a crack in ~10 of the tiles across the top left, so we might need to replace those. I’ll post pictures when that happens (I’d guess that will be in about 3 months).
I love the pattern, especially the border. Part of it might be covered by the new walls, but we’ll keep as much of it exposed as we can. We haven’t been able to keep too much of the original house, so I’m really stoked to be able to keep this original entryway tile!
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Veena Hampapur says
That tile is awesome! What a cool discovery!
Brian Cody says
Thank you! Yeah, the whole process felt very archeological/excavatory, which is super fun. “What COULD be under here?!?”