Got a conversion to do? Building project? Got questions? Need Answers? Offering a product or service? Visit our forum...

My Barn Conversion


canadian pharmacy
About | Shop | Privacy | Forum | Gallery | Contact Us

Downstairs tiled floor

Category: Barn Conversion Journal February 18th, 2010 by mbc

The tiled floor that runs through the whole of the downstairs of the barn took a considerable investment in terms of both time and money in planning, sourcing and then fitting. It’s been completed for a while now (since August 2009), but I thought that a post summing things up would still be worthwhile and an opportunity to show off!

In terms of cost, the rather crazy numbers split pretty crudely three ways …just over third of the cost was to buy and get the tiles delivered, another similar amount to get them fitted and the rest went on the expensive adhesive, grout and chemicals needed for preparing the original concrete floor and cleaning, sealing and finishing the travertine tiles. I never thought when I bought the travertine for a pretty reasonable price that the total cost of the floor would come anywhere near the final figure. Certainly a budgetary lesson has been learnt.

As you may have guessed I paid my builder to fit the floor for me. I did consider doing itself my self, but based on past productivity I’m pretty sure I’d still be working on in now…

We’re very pleased with the finished floor. I’d worried about getting the colours right – not so dark as to spoil the lightness and airiness of the barn and no so light as to dazzle. The colour of the tiles also need to be in-tune with and complement the white walls, oak stairs and furniture and rough lime pointing of the internal wall, all of which I think we achieved with the choice of travertine.

Now I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking…

From Downstairs Floor
From Downstairs Floor
From Downstairs Floor
From Downstairs Floor
From Downstairs Floor


Posted in Barn Conversion Journal | No Comments » « Leave Yours

Tiling again

Category: Barn Conversion Journal February 4th, 2010 by mbc

I’ve been meaning to mention, I’ve been tiling again…

From Barn Conversion 2010

Hope that doesn’t mean I’ll be grouting again…


Posted in Barn Conversion Journal | No Comments » « Leave Yours

Tiling – Starter for 10

Category: Starter for 10 August 24th, 2009 by mbc

From, often painful and time consuming experience, whilst not claiming to any kind of authority, I suggest the following sequence to tiling (others may have differing guidelines):

Tiling Tips
  • Get a level consistent floor. (More below…)
  • [optionally] Skip this step if using glazed tiles. Seal / stain-guard tiles. If expecting a really messy job, or tiling an awkward space you may want to seal or prime before fixing to save effort later.
  • Layout tiles.Check for colour and size variations. (more below…)
  • Fix tiles with adhesive.
  • [optionally] Prime or seal tiles. Protecting the tiles before grouting may sometimes be in order but you’ll need to grout neatly and not use any strong cleaning products later on.
  • Grout your tiles.
  • Clean your tiles. Apply plenty of elbow grease or opt for a chemical (alkaline or acid based depending on the material your tiles are made from) cleaner.
  • Skip this step if using glazed tiles. Seal / stain-guard tiles. If expecting a really messy job, or tiling an awkward space you may want to seal or prime before fixing to save effort later.

Starter for 10

The 'Starter for 10' series is my way of sharing some of my experiences.

I'd love to receive any hints, tips or advice you may have that will add to those already given. Any that are worthy of inclusion will be added with appropriate acknowledgements.

Just post your suggestion as a comment below... thanks

When tiling on existing timber floors, install a plywood liner to provide a level and even floor on which to tile.

Some adhesive manufacturers will recommend priming the surface to be tiled with PVA, if so follow those instructions, if not, then don’t!

A blindingly obvious statement, but worth making – Ensure that you have sufficient tiles, spacers, adhesive and / or grout prior to starting work – it’s easy to under-estimate and frustration when you do so.

Start tiling from the centre of the room. Don’t be tempted to tile from an edge of the room towards the centre, starting with a whole tile – the visual effect won’t be quite right. The centre of the central tile must be in the centre of the space being tiled.

For natural stone or unglazed tiles you may want to seal them before fixing or grouting to help prevent excessive staining or marking from the tile adhesive and grout. However, you’ll need to be very neat as you shouldn’t then use a chemical cleaner to remove dried on adhesive or grout at later stages of your installation.

For tiles that vary in thickness, height and / or width (more likely an issue with natural stone tiles) it is important to take time prior to fixing to ensure that you getting a uniform finish – that the dimensions only change gradually and individual tile colours blend across the entirety of the area to be tiled. When tiling a wall you may wish to start with the thicker tiles at the bottom gradually working up to the thinner tiles at the top. For width and height variances you need to ensure that you keep your joints between tiles neat, tidy and (somewhat) uniform. ‘Shuffle’ your tiles to avoid noticeable variances in colour or finish. All this takes preplanning and whilst time consuming can pay dividends and avoid unsightly variances in the eventual finish.

For pitted tiles like natural slate or travertine you may want to protect those pits with strategically placed pieces of tape to prevent the grout or adhesive from blocking the pits.

Mosiac Tiles
If you have problems with individual tiles not sticking despite having sufficient adhesive behind them (this can be caused by the weight bearing down from tiles above, or simply becoming detached from the wall before the adhesive has fully dried) then consider using a wooden baton screwed through the gaps between tiles to hold the wayward tiles in place until the adhesive has full dried.

Where using a white or pale grout be cautious when sealing tiles after grouting. Brush on the sealant and clean the grouted joints, before the sealant dries, otherwise you may end up suffering the purgatory of resealing.

Posted in Starter for 10 | 1 Comment » « Leave Yours
Tags: ,

My tiling has soul!

Category: Architecture June 26th, 2009 by mbc

I came across this quote from one of my favourite authors on architecture and design, Christopher Alexander, author of A Pattern Language in a book about software design – ‘Patterns of Software – Tales from the Software Community’ by Richard P. Gabriel (‘Patterns of Software’ is worth a read in its own right if you’ve any interest in software and is available free on the linked page.)

We have become used to almost fanatical precision in the construction of buildings. Tile work, for instance, must be perfectly aligned, perfectly square, every tile perfectly cut, and the whole thing accurate on a grid to a tolerance of a sixteenth of an inch. But our tilework is dead and ugly, without soul.

In this Mexican house* the tiles are roughly cut, the wall is not perfectly plumb, and the tiles don’t even line up properly. Sometimes one tile is as much as half an inch behind the next one in the vertical plane.

And why? Is it because these Mexican craftsmen didn’t know how to do precise work? I don’t think so. I believe they simply knew what is important and what is not, and they took good care to pay attention only to what is important: to the color, the design, the feeling of one tile and its relationship to the next—the important things that create the harmony and feeling of the wall. The plumb and the alignment can be quite rough without making any difference, so they didn’t bother to spend too much effort on these things. They spent their effort in the way that made the most difference. And so they produced this wonderful quality, this harmony … simply because that is what they paid attention to, and what they tried to produce.

* The house referred to is the House of Tiles in Mexico City.

So now when I look at my less-than-perfect lines and consider my easy-on-the-eye approach to tiling I can put a name to that previously unidentified factor that let me get away with it all … my tiling has soul

Posted in Architecture | No Comments » « Leave Yours
Tags: , ,


Autumn 2013

Right that’s the summer over with, now I can get on with some real work without the distractions of other things (like holidays and playing with children, all that enjoyable stuff that gets in the way of progress)… With few major jobs (painting, boxing in – nasty stuff!) left inside, mainly fiddly things that need […]

I’m having a moan on twitter…

A lovely Flemish barn conversion

I love the interior of this conversion and the great use of horizontal slats on this conversion. I retains the essential ‘barnyness’ of the building… flemish-barn-by-arend-groenewegen-architect

Coming soon, my barn conversion guide… Interesting earthship greenhouse project on Kickstarter

I really like this Kickstarter project >> The Farm of the Future: Earthship-Inspired Greenhouse This project is “Prototyping the First 100% Off-The-Grid, Affordable, Low-Maintenance Greenhouse using Earthship Principles and Aquaponics“. If any of those words meaning anything to you you’ll be interested in the project if not, pass it by… It’s already funded so I […]


Barns Gallery on Remodelista

There is a lovely gallery of barn related inspirational photographs available on Remodelista.

Barns – the Long House

Situated on the North Norfolk coast, this is a building to admire…

Barns – the Balancing Barn

A stunning piece of architecture, although not entirely to my taste…

New fast-track planning permission for the development of barns proposed

The Daily Mail reports on a new fast-track route through planning controls for the conversion of barns…

De-assembled, re-assembled, re-cycled barns

“A bit like a private sector, modernising, repurposing St Fagan’s…”


What is a shadow gap?

A shadow gap – a mysterious dark place between two plains…

Your barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Thoughts on making YOUR barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Building Regulations, Approved Documents Part D – Toxic substances

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents Part D – Toxic substances

Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part C Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part C Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture

Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part B Fire safety

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part B Fire safety


Your barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Thoughts on making YOUR barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

The Stirling prize 2012 winner – the Sainsbury Laboratory

The 2012 Stirling prize was won by a outsider, the Sainsbury Laboratory…

The Stirling prize 2012

I think that this years Stirling prize has some exciting projects on the shortlist…

Our engineers … our architects – Le Corbusier

The efficient, shiny world of construction in 1923…

Design in Storage

When designing a layout it’s easy to forget to plan for storage…


Green Deal slow beginnings?

Oh dear! The green deal hasn’t got off to a very auspicious start… As reported in the Telegraph today since it was launched nearly a year ago just 12 homes have taken advantage of the Green Deal with a few hundred more in the pipeline. 71,210 households had been assessed for Green Deal measures such […]

The property roller coaster – planning reform to be rethought

Eric Pickles vague compromise on planning reform keeps the house happy (for now).

Energy policy, smoke screens, fracking, confusion and big bucks

There seems to be only one thing that is certain in the world of energy policy and that is that costs will rise annually above and beyond anything that inflation can currently throw at us. Beyond that, smoke screens & confusion seem to reign. Take the recent news for example… It’s reported today that the […]

Flanking manoeuvres and good design…

It seems that the government are undertaking flanking manoeuvres on the green belt…

Green Deal Launch

The Green deal launched in the UK on Monday of this week. Fanfares? fireworks? a deluge of marketing? … read more …

Plaid Cymru’s Green New Deal promise

The leader of Plaid Cymru has promised a “Green New Deal” to rejuvenate the Welsh economy and help maintain Wales’ position at the forefront of Green policies.

Permitted development extension limits to be doubled

The government is due to announce a temporary increase in the maximum depth of extensions that can be built under permitted development rules.

Lloyd Khan, making shelter simple.

I wanted to share an interview with Lloyd Khan that I recently found…

Just what is ‘sustainable development’?

Sustainable development – with the term now enshrined in planning law, what does it mean?

Sir Patrick Abercrombie – “It is a matter for serious thought…”

While reading up on the response of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) I came across this quote from Sir Patrick Abercrombie…