• Energy-Smart Details
    Energy-Smart Details
  • 7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
    7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
  • How to Install Housewrap Solo
    How to Install Housewrap Solo
  • The Hobbit House and More
    The Hobbit House and More
  • Buyer's Guide to Insulation
    Buyer's Guide to Insulation
  • 7 Small Bathroom Layouts
    7 Small Bathroom Layouts
  • Play the Inspector Game!
    Play the Inspector Game!
  • 9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
    9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
  • The Passive House Build
    The Passive House Build
  • Electrical Articles & Videos
    Electrical Articles & Videos
  • Clever daily tip in your inbox
    Clever daily tip in your inbox
  • Video: Build a curved step
    Video: Build a curved step
  • Shorten a Prehung Door
    Shorten a Prehung Door
  • All about Roofing
    All about Roofing
  • Master Carpenter Videos
    Master Carpenter Videos
  • Remodeling in Action
    Remodeling in Action
  • 12 Remodeling Secrets
    12 Remodeling Secrets
  • Read FHB on Your iPad
    Read FHB on Your iPad
  • Tips & Techniques for Painting
    Tips & Techniques for Painting
  • Magazine Departments
    Magazine Departments
  • Deck Design & Construction
    Deck Design & Construction
  • 7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
    7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
  • Basement Remodeling Tips
    Basement Remodeling Tips

Build a Wood and Slate Basket-Weave Floor: Finishing and Tile

Sand and oil the wood, then infill with tile to complete the project

Now that it’s all sanded down, I’m going to finish the new floor with Waterlox. I like this stuff because it’s easy to use. You don’t have to screen it afterwards. It looks beautiful no matter how you wipe it on.

Typically it’s a three-coat process. We’ve got two coats of the gloss finish, which I’m putting down right now, and then one coat of the satin if you want to knock the sheen back down. I’ll apply the satin coat after the last tiles are in.

Under normal circumstances I would not have oiled the floor at this stage; I would have laid the whole weave; put plywood blocks in the tile spaces as temporary fillers; laid the rest of the wood floor; and have the flooring sanders to do everything at once to blend it all together. But for the purpose of demonstrating how to do the entire project, we’re going a little out of sequence, but it will work fine either way.

The next step is to install Schluter Ditra mat in the spaces where the tiles will go. Ditra is an uncoupling membrane that allows the subfloor to move with changes in temperature and humidity without compromising the integrity of the tile above. Back-buttering small pieces of mat the way we do to fit them into the small square openings is not in the Ditra installation manual, but it work well for this application. We’ll let the adhesive under the Ditra mat set up overnight and we’ll come back in the morning and start setting tile.

It’s day two of the tile phase. I’m going to dry fit each tile, see what the fit is like, and put the adhesive on accordingly. I’m using a 1/4-in.-notch trowel to apply the adhesive to the back of the tiles. This is a modified mortar, which is going to be elastomeric and allow things to move a little bit.

The last thing to do is caulk all of the joints with a sanded caulk, which can handle the expansion and contraction of the wood floor better than grout. After that, it’s finish the rest of my house, and I can move in.


Become a Fine Homebuilding Member

to view this video

Learn More