Q: The kitchen floor in my house needs recovering. I plan to do the job myself, using self-stick, cushioned tiles. The house is built on a concrete slab and the kitchen floor already has two layers of tile on it, neither of them cushioned. Both layers are stuck tight, except for a few narrow pieces in the border of the top layer of tile. There is also one small area that has no tile. I would like to put down the new tile without removing all the old tile. What can I use to fill in the areas where there is no tile, or where the top layer is missing?
A: You are taking a chance putting cushion-back tile over two layers of old tile, especially with some areas missing or in need of repair. Resilient tile shows impressions of the undersurface irregularities in time, and cushion-back tiles are even more likely to do this. In time, all minor irregularities in the undersurface will show through the new floor covering.
If you want to take the chance, your bet is to cement some new tiles, as close to the old in texture and thickness as possible, in the areas where tiles are now missing. You may want to use latex floor-patching material in thin layers to level off any minor irregularities that are left when the extra fill-in tiles are installed, or to correct other irregularities in the existing tiles.
Q: Our house has a damp, full, unfinished basement. The first floor of our house is quite cold and I decided to put insulation on the ceiling of the basement (under the floor). However, I have been told that this is not a good idea because the furnace is in the basement and heat from that escapes up through the floor to help warm the rooms above. What do you think?
A: There is some truth in what your adviser says: Some of the heat lost by the furnace does come up through the floor and would be wasted in the basement. The best way to minimize heat loss is to insulate the walls of the basement, or at least that part of the walls that is above ground level. Put up some 2-inch by 3-inch studs as a framework, then install the fiberglass between these. You can put some type of panel over this if you wish, but it is not necessary.