Friday, 9 December 2011

Skirting boards and tiles

The floors are all in now, except the genkan and the bit outside the front door. Not sure when they're doing that.

Downstairs is all tiled, which looks great. 

A while ago we noticed, quite by chance, that they were going to use tiles at the bottom of the walls rather than wooden skirting boards. Tiles going up the walls is a good idea in a bathroom or outside, where water is being used, but it's not really necessary or aesthetically pleasing for a living room, where wooden skirting boards seem to me obvious. We managed to fix that.

Also we realised, in time, that they had been planning to put the kitchen units in first, then tile around them, as if they were laying a carpet. We managed to fix this problem too, so the whole floor is tiled, except under the pieces of furniture that look like pieces of furniture on the west wall, and under the back of the tatami room. At least if we, or whoever, wants to move the kitchen around in a few years time, they won't need to re-tile the whole floor. 

We also noticed that the skirting boards went on first, and the tiles went down after them. It seemed to me more logical to put the tiles down first, then use the skirting boards to cover up the gap and any unevenness along the edge between tile and wall, but apparently they don't do that here. To me, and perhaps also practitioners of western building, that is the function of the skirting board. The site foreman told me that the problem with doing that is that the skirting boards shrink, so if you put them on top of the tiles, a gap will form underneath them. The skirting board, apparently, is to protect the wall from being damaged when you're using the vacuum cleaner. 

Of course if we hadn't noticed that they were going to use tiles until later, and we had been able to stop them in time, we may have ended up with wooden skirting boards going on later.
I don't wish to say that one view is right and the other is wrong, but it's interesting to see these different perspectives, and a good idea to be aware of these issues when building between cultures.