Grouting the kitchen floor tiles

My hands are shredded, from the cleaning of the grout I think. So can’t type much as most of the tips of my fingers are cut.

The floor is looking good. It’s surprising the difference the grout can make. Makes it look finished I guess.

Saxon invades the fresh grout…

For people wanting to know, it took about 2 and half hours to grout and do the first clean up of approx 7.5 sqm. I didn’t have a grouting float, I just had a squeegee. I’m not sure if the float would’ve been better, I suspect so but they were pretty pricey.

fridge and freezer floor done

I’m off to Budapest for a few days. Wow, 5 days without doing a thing to the house. How odd!

When I’m back I’ll clean up the tiles properly and put the fridge freezer and under counter freezer back, to their permanent position! I can then grout the rest of the floor. I’ll get around to ordering and attaching my cooker splashback then too.


Dining Area Fully Tiled

Was away last weekend and ill in the week, so back to the tiling Fri and today.

Bought a wet saw and it is genius. I got pretty soaked the first night because I didn’t use the wheel guard as I wanted to see what I was doing. When I used the wheel guard I got far less wet!

messy face…

The saw is brilliant for cutting accurate straight cuts and L cuts. The regular straight cuts take longer using this than the regular dry cutter, but the dry cutter wouldn’t work with my tough tiles and the wet saw cut through the tiles with ease. It’s pretty fun too!

3rd day of tiling

The dining area is complete and ready for grouting. I’m very pleased with my first tiling efforts 🙂

ready for grouting

Anyone would think my cats have moved in…


Tiling Virgin, No More

Tiling the kitchen floor – the first job that I’ve been scared off!

I set out the tiles one night, was happy with them… double checked again the next night… and then triple checked before I laid my first 4 rows last night.

Was much more relaxed after that. Yes, it takes a lot of fiddling, checking the spirit level across each tile 6 ways, checking the tile against the surrounding tiles, checking its in line with the row two behind (brick layout). But I did it! 🙂

Last night I laid my first ever tile and then another 11.

My first 12 tiles

Tiling straight would be so much quicker, but the brick layout was def needed as my kitchen is so long and narrow.

Today, after 9 and half hours of tiling my body is destroyed, but I’ve laid half the tiles – 45 whole tiles and a few cut ones. I couldn’t do any more or I would have boxed myself into the end of the kitchen for the night!

end of day 1

I’ve done double what I expected by the end of the night. By the end of tomorrow I should be three quarters finished. I can’t move the washing machine yet… as the worktop isn’t fixed so I can’t move the dishwasher any further. DOH.

How to Remove Bitumen from Wooden Floorboards

So I had what seemed like an impossible task. Stripping the bitumen from the original Victorian floorboards.

Back in the Victorian era people used to put a large rug / carpet in the middle of the room and paint around the edges with a bitumen / tar type substance. This is a massive challenge to strip back.

Sanding doesn’t work

Sanding it doesn’t work. The tar melts and smudges and clogs up the sanding belts. I searched Google for days looking for some help, but there wasn’t a lot of info. People ask the question, but don’t really get a real answer.

White spirit doesn’t work. Nitromors strips a tiny bit off but not a lot, plus it’s pretty darn expensive.

Tonight I’ve found something that works.

TAR REMOVER is the answer. It cost me £1.99 for 375ml from B&Q. The Nitromors was about £12 for the same amount.

How to remove the horrible black stuff

Tar remover is your friend (test an inconspicuous area first jut to be sure!)

tar remover

Step 1: Pour some tar remover onto the abrasive side of a kitchen scourer

pour tar remover onto scourer

Step 2: Rub it into the floorboards vigorously

rub into floorboards

Step 3: Scrub the floorboards vigorously with a wire brush

scrub floor with wire brush

Step 4: Use a shave hook on worse areas

scrape with shave hook

Step 5: Brush the wood shavings away

brush the evil stuff away

Step 6: Repeat steps 1-5

Step 7: Wipe with white spirit



It takes a LOT of elbow grease. I probably did the equivalent to one whole floorboard in 2 hours. You have to scrub like crazy, but it actually works.

This should now be good enough to sand. If not, repeat it all again.


  • Ventilate the room as much as possible
  • Wear a face mask
  • Take a break to get some air

Because after working for a couple of hours my eyes, nose and throat are burning.

Almost a house…

My worktops arrived Friday.

Over the weekend my dad cut them to fit, the hob is in it just needs connecting. Unfortunately at about 7pm Sunday night we found out that the tap thread connector is too short for the 40mm worktop… gutted!

kitchen solid beech worktop fitted

cooker hood, hob and microwave in place

The worktops do look great though.

Plumber no. 2 and my lodger better be careful! They are the two most expensive things in the house.

Dad fitted the cooker hood too, which again caused a bit of a headache as the ducting wasn’t long enough and it took a while to source another bit of ducting that wasn’t several meters in length (we only need 350mm). Plus where I bought the original 125mm ducting from only did a 100mm vent. Screwfix saved the day.

I bought a mitre saw for the coving and architrave, but didn’t have a 14mm spanner so couldn’t assemble it. I bought the spanner today, so I can set it up tonight and have a play. Once I’ve gotten to grips with it, it will make cutting the coving and architrave a lot quicker.

I bought a tile cutter too. I’m ready to start tiling the kitchen floor. I just need to set aside a LOT of time. The setting out will need to done carefully, due to the room stepping in part way up. As the room is long and narrow I’ll be doing a brick pattern to trick the eye.

The floorboards are giving me grief. Victorian houses had a carpet/rug in the middle of the floor, with a black/brown edging painted in bitumen/tar. This gunge clogs up the sanding belts in no time, and melts with the heat so then smears over other floorboards.

Time to try some chemicals, rags and a scraper… I’ll experiment with white spirit tonight, if that doesn’t work I’ll try turpentine and then some sort of stripper. Petrol is another suggestion but I don’t really like the thought of that.