Light Townhouse Rehab - Project #6, Weeks #8 and #9

Not much progress has been made on the townhouse, so I'm going to combine 2 weeks work of work into one update. In Week 7, we had predicted that the house would be ready by the end of July, but there is little chance of that happening now. It's mid-July, and some other properties took our attention away. We had a vacancy in one property to fill (You can see it at and some repair issues pop up in some others. On top of all that, I got sick. This took another week off the project. Delays are a bad thing - at this property, we eat $500 for every week the property is vacant. So of course we want to finish it and get it filled!

While I was ill, Pops stayed busy laying the tile in the main bathroom. On the day I got back up to the townhouse, here's how the floor looked.

After removing all the little tile spacers, the next step in the process was to add the grout. Grout is basically colored mortar that is forced in between all the tiles with a rubber tool known as a float. While holding the float at a 45-degree angle to the surface, the float is pushed across the tiles to fill the gaps. When complete, all the gaps are filled, with a thin layer of excess grout remaining on the tile surfaces, as seen below:

After letting the grout set up for about 45 minutes, a wet sponge is run across the tiles to remove the grout from the finished surface of the tiles, and to smooth the grout that gets left between the tiles. The sponge is made specifically for this purpose - it has rounded edges and corners so that the sponge does not dig into the gaps between the tiles. A bucket of clean water is needed to rinse the excess grout picked up by the sponge.

In the picture below, the tiles to the right have been cleared of the excess grout. Notice the plywood sheet I used to kneel on - this prevents my toes from digging into the grout that is between the tiles. Also notice that the plywood is laid down so that the edges are supported by the finished face of the tiles, as not to disturb the grout that needs to remain.

Here's how it looks when the sponging is done:

Once the grout has dried, it is nearly the same color as the tiles themselves. There is also a haze on the tiles that will be buffed off with a clean, dry towel. Notice the granite threshold to bridge between the carpet that will be in the hallway and the tile of the bathroom.

The exact same steps were taken in the master bath to float and finish the grout, as seen below:

Downstairs in the 1st floor powder room, the tile installation process was repeated. First, the wonderboard was installed and the seams finished with mortar.

Pops came back by, and the new tiles were installed and given overnight for the thinset mortar bond to cure.

The tiles were then grouted and finished just like upstairs. There was one tile next to the toilet flange that got cracked, so that was pulled up and will be replaced.

With the bathrooms coming along, I brought my son over to help prime the bedrooms for paint. It's a great chance for him to learn some skills and earn summer spending money! The prime coat will help hide the color coats that are in some of the rooms, as well as highlight spots that I missed while doing drywall repairs. On the walls, we are using Kilz® latex-based primer. Here's a picture of the master bedroom getting primed:

In the "right" bedroom, here is Thomas "cutting in" the edge of the wall and ceiling:

And the "left" bedroom all primed up. This picture is of the same wall shown in week #1 with the two large tears on the surface of the drywall. Oh, and that dark spot in the corner is from my camera. If you look back, the spot starting appearing the pictures a few weeks ago. The lens is clean as a whistle, so some drywall dust probably made it inside the camera. Guess I'll need a new one when this project is over!

While Thomas was busy priming upstairs, I worked on getting a primer coat rolled out in the kitchen. I want to get the kitchen done as soon as I can so that I can start showing the place. While potential tenants can look past a lack of carpet or finish paint in many of the rooms, they just can't seem to visualize how a torn-apart kitchen will come back together!

This is the end of weeks #8 and #9. I will probably combine weeks #10 and #11 into another update, since there is not much to show during painting. After all, the second coat of paint (when needed) looks a lot like the first! Come back soon to see the progress that is made!

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