Downstairs floor investigations and inglenook hearth

By Andy the stuff doer

Another decision point, what to do with the floors downstairs.  It had already been decided to get rid of the existing floor tiles but there was one thing left before we went any further.  To find out if any old flagstones had been covered over.

In the kitchen I took up some tiles and chiselled a test hole through the concrete slab.

hole int concrete slab to investigate

Nothing but sand and gravel under the kitchen floor slab

So I didn’t find anything worth diging the slab up for, it could be stripped and re-tiled. I managed to save enough of the old tiles to reuse in the wash house. Re-Tiling was a fairly standard job although using large tiles isn’t very forgiving on an uneven floor. Contours can’t be followed as the edges end up being on different levels. Rarther than raising the floors even more leveling compound I took down the high spots and slight slope to the wall under the cooker using a angle grinder and chisel.

Result after the grouting is spot on.

Tiling on kitchen floor

Re-tiled kitchen floor

Also note the at the top of this picture the angle where a skirting had been. This indicates the floor had a serious slope to in the past.

The Inglenook hearth had 6″ square vitreous tile that where trying to look like old quarry tiles. These came up without too much trouble. Under those was concrete that raised the hearth slightly above the rest of floor. When the concrete was coming up we first discovered some flags but as more came up and rubble stack got higher the true extent of condition was revealed.

old hearth revealed

Damaged flagstones and brick revealed under the tiles and concrete

The slabs where cracked, soft and it looks like they where chiseled to give a texture before being concreted over. I also had a look further in to the room but that is all concrete as we suspected from previous test holes.

The decision here was to use new stone slabs. Re-cycled Yorkshire flags would have been very nice but expensive so going with the philosophy that “if its new it can look new” we found some great looking large slabs at our local builders merchants. I was quite surprised when I actually got the bill at end of the month to discover they where only around £20 per square meter.

flagstones in inglenook hearth

inglenook fireplace hearth with new flagstones

An angle grinder and some NHL mortar was all it took to fit them. They still need sealing then grouting in but thats another bit off floor sorted.

I also investigated the hallway to see if the levels could be brought down enough to use the same stone here. Yes I think it will be fine.

The rest of the floor in the downstairs room will be oak over a layer of insulation bring the floor level up the that of the kitchen, hearth and hallway. So now I know what I’m doing Iv’e just got to get round to doing it.

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