Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tiles and Tribulations

It seemed like a good idea to tear down the old backsplash tiles and replace them with new glass mosaic tiles. They do it on TV all the time. How hard could it be?

One month ago, we went to the mecca of tile stores, Olympia Tile, to choose some tiles for our backsplash. We selected some nice glass mosaic tiles at their outlet store at a greatly reduced price. The clerk set us up with the adhesive and grout too. I asked an installation question and she replied – “I don’t know, I’ve never installed tile”. Well, I’ve never given birth, yet I give parenting advice all the time. So, I guess that I should trust her.

Finally it is time to install the tiles. On Saturday, I found this great mosaic site with a photo tutorial, and I studied every word of it. This is how I learned that you should not use mastic adhesive on glass tiles under any circumstances. They even explain the danger of ignoring this advice: mould, discolouration, etc. Well, I don't want that! I looked at the stuff that Olympia sold me, and guess what - it is mastic. Well, maybe this website is over cautious? I know that you can’t trust everything that you read on the Internet. So, I called the store, and they confirmed that indeed I cannot and should not use this product to install glass tiles. Without apology, he repeated that it was the wrong product and that I should exchange it.

We trek all the way up to Lawrence Ave on a snowy Sunday, noticing en route that we were charged for two tubs of mastic, yet only received one. We walk into the showroom, and there is our sales rep, who flatly denies that it is not the wrong adhesive. Her attitude sours, so instead of an exchange, I request a refund, deciding to shop somewhere that the staff has experience installing tile. She made me wait for some other guy, who after a few glances at the crowded showroom, decides that they don’t do refunds on Sundays. That is when I lost it. I had one of those out-of-body experiences when I realized that the shouting person demanding a refund was actually me. Next thing I knew, I had the princely sum of $10.41 in my hand and we were out the door.

While Hardware shopping, we discover that ThinSet with the additive is a whopping $60 and comes in HUGE quantities. But what can we do now? We have the damn tiles, and we need to stick them to the wall somehow, so we lug the powdered thinset and liquid additive to the cash and with the swipe of a plastic card, they are now ours. A few days have passed, and they are still sitting in the same spot on the floor. Now all we need is a big bucket, a mixing paddle and the courage to start cutting those glass tiles. I’ve got to stop over thinking it and just do it.

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