Our bathroom is basically original. Over the year items have been replaced the wore out (the faucets were updated, though with mid-century compatible versions and about six or seven years ago my grandmother replaced the original tile floor with linoleum (I will be replacing that soon.)
The tile was in great condition and is installed the classic way – “mud set” – but when you have grouted tile you do have to do some basic maintenance on it – particularly fixing the grout. Ours wasn’t terrible, but you could see some spots where it was cracking, and there were a handful of tiles that had become loose. A few weeks ago I got ambitious and took care of it. Working with some small tools (mostly a small screwdriver), I cleared out bad grout and pulled loose tiles. There was one small section that had some issues (see pictures below), but for the most part everything was good. I re-grouted the shower – a task that you can do several ways, though I just chose to do it by hand – and then sealed all the grout. I’m pretty happy with the results:
I like to learn to do all sorts of random things. A few weeks ago, I got sick of looking at the bottom ledge stones of the Family Room fireplace. The floor in the family room has settled significantly, and that shift in the floor resulted in the base those stones were set on shifting downward, pulling the stones away slightly. My grandparents had just dealt with it as long as I’ve been around, but I had it on my to-do list for awhile, so I bought some mortar and got to work.
Here is where it looked like before. You can see the stones pulled away and not level:
To start, I removed all of the existing mortar and got a nice, clean base to rebuild on. Once the stones were out I could see exactly what had happened: the block chimney hadn’t settled at all (the house walls are built very well), but the outside edge of the stones rested on the four-inch slab of the downstairs floor. This floor had a design flaw (from investigation, I believe a poor base was put under it – mostly sand for heat absorption for the radiant heat) and it sagged significantly. At the point it met the chimney, it was down almost an inch from where it was originally constructed.