Friday, July 11, 2008

Veni, WEDI, Vici

Intellectually, I know that I should accept the collective advice of the local experts. They've 'been there, done that', and more than a few times. I took the opportunity to ask Billy and Julian during the outing with the Leran Walking Club: "How do you install tile around a bathtub if you can't get concrete backerboard (Hardiboard) here in France"? It seemed like a perfectly OK subject to be discussing while meandering down farm lanes.

I had already posed the same question to Alan from Quillan, who is working on Nigel's place in Leran. So far, everyone was in agreement. It wasn't an ideal situation, but they all used "greenboard", or water-resistant drywall. And, thus far, knock on tile, they had never had a problem with tiles falling off. But, they said I should talk to the real expert---John the Aussie. Over lunch at Le Rendezvous after the walk, I captured John's attention and asked my question. Sally overheard me, apparently couldn't believe I was still dwelling on this trivial matter, and suggested that I 'get a life.' At the risk of sounding obsessed, I pressed on. John reduced things to their most simplistic form: "It's not rocket science".

So, what was my problem? Am I a tiling prima donna, a skeptic or someone harboring a bizarre neurosis of 'fear of falling tiles'? I searched for answers in my tiling books and, of course, the Internet. Some of the tiling guru websites weren't reassuring, confirming my gut-level fear that "all greenboard should be torn down "! When I dreamed that night about tiles falling off the walls like giant raindrops, I knew I needed a different direction. I scoured the catalogs from Tout Faire, Chausson, Mr. Bricolage, La Peyere and BricoMarche, looking for something......
Then we happened to be in a carrelage magasin (tile store) and they had a display of Wedi board---a waterproof tile underlayment. Parfait! Different thicknesses, depending upon what it's going over, a foam-core sandwich board encased with thin layers of fiber cement. It's much lighter than the US cement board, which makes transporting it up three floors much easier. The board itself was somewhat expensive, but the mastic, waterproof seam tape and screw kits were killers. Screws are screws, aren't they?

Now I'm having another nightmare. If the tiles fall off now, what can I possibly blame it on?


Anonymous said...

Sometimes I only barely know what you're talking about! I do know about falling tiles of the winters when I was living outside Chicago (before migrating to sunnier Texas!) we had temps of 25 below and the pipes burst on the hot water heater in the apt above mine...and I walked into my bathroom and saw the tiles flying off the hot wall into my tub!

I hope your nightmares will cease and you will never see your tiles falling off your bathroom wall...if they do blame it on Sarkozy! HA!

Kate & Tony Euser said...

Peggy says press on with the tile situation. (Somehow, Kate created the heading "kate and tony" and my comment showed up with that. You are probably surprised to find that I am not in complete command of the finer points of posting comments.)