Google+ House Revivals: Our Flagstone Floors

Monday, November 11, 2013

Our Flagstone Floors

It's been a while since I talked about the floors at our beach house.  Some of you may remember that we bought a beach house about three years ago that was full of rot and mold and rat poo.  Because, everybody wants those things, right? I know you're going to be feeling jealous when you see this picture, but don't hate me, okay?  Not everybody can have all this....

It had been a foreclosure that sat empty, then someone had tried to renovate and flip it, but had only gotten as far as taking a sledge hammer to much of the drywall.  Rats had moved in. Moisture was taking it's toll. This house was a big mess. At the time, I thought the floors were kind of terrible, too.

There were miles and miles of this natural flagstone -- which I would have loved for my patio, but I wasn't crazy about having to stand on masonry all day.  That can be pretty hard on your feet and knees and back. We got bids to have the floors removed and hauled away.  The low end for removal was around $15,000! Yikes!  That did not include new flooring....  We decided we could live with flagstone.

The problem, of course, was that my new kitchen cabinets were not going to have the same footprint as the old kitchen cabinets, which meant we were going to need to patch the flagstone.  Which would have been fine, except we ended up firing our floor guy.  Then we fired our next floor guy.

Then our daughter, who was staying with us while her husband was in Afghanistan, had a beautiful baby girl, and we decided to just put the rest of the renovations on hold for a year so we could cuddle the baby uninterrupted.  It was the right choice!  Babies are way better than contractors :)  We had some leftover pieces of subfloor temporarily mortared in the space so there wouldn't be a trip hazard.

When our son-in-law returned safely, we began searching for a new stone floor guy.  We found one.  In New Hampshire!  Our niece had recently married a New England stonemason and landscaper and owner of Stone Raven Hardscapes in New Hampshire. He graciously agreed to fly out to Washington to fix our floor (and fix our brick fireplace surround, and do some landscape work).

Now, Joe usually just does outside work, but he was up to the challenge, and got started on our flagstone.

Joe had to patch the floor a little at a time, on two different trips (we also had him doing landscape work in the courtyard).  Since the original floor had been grouted with regular mortar, that is what Joe used.  At first, it looked pretty dark.

The mortar lightened a lot as it cured. Because it would have looked weird to simply patch a rectangle, Joe carefully removed some of the adjacent stones so he could "key" in the new flooring (actually the "new flooring" was flooring that had been saved during the bathroom renovation -- I talked about that stack of stones in this Christmas article),  and make it look as if the new flooring had always been there.

Joe came back a second time and finished up the flagstone patch and it looks beautiful.  I'll share more pictures soon, and I will also share why I am learning to love these stone floors, and how we care for them.