Banner Haven B&B and Cabin Rentals has completed the renovation of their kitchen and “topped” of the new look with radiant floor heat under the ceramic tile.

Although the work has been going on for several weeks, the floor has been one of the last pieces of the puzzle.  The the tile grouted and the radiant flop heat installed, the appliances have been put back in place and the kitchen is ready for meals; however, unlike most B&Bs Banner Haven doesn’t cook breakfast for the guests, instead Banner Elk Cafe provides breakfast any time before 11am.  The innkeepers, Greg and Amy Gardner, will provide fresh muffins, baked goods and a few other options, but the real cooking is going to be left to the professionals.  As the summer progresses, other breakfast partners will be added, allowing guests a larger breakfast selection with multiple restaurants.

The radiant floor heat is being installed in top of the pre-existing floor, which was covered with Hardibacker Subfloor Panels.   These 3′ by 5′ pieces can be seen in the above photo, under the blue heater coils.  Hardibacker is easy to install.  Greg and Amy simply cut the pieces to fit the whole floor, after they removed the old cabinets and before the new ones were put in.  While this is the easiest way, Harditbacker can also be installed around existing cabinets.  This may require a few more cuts and a little more time but works just as well.

Once screwed in place, the subfloor becomes the mounting location for the radiant floor heat.  There are many types of radiant heat, from electric “(shown above) to water-filled lines heated with gas, oil, or solar.  This method is simple and doesn’t require any plumbing.  The rolled coils have an adhesive backed mesh attached.  The mesh holds the coils in place until the tile (or other flooring) is installed.

In this case, the flooring was ceramic tile from Lowes.  Thinset Morter is used to adhere tiles to the subfloor and covers the heater coils.  The mortar is applied with a hand trowel before the tiles are positioned.  AS you can see, in the above photo, spacers are used to make the tiles even.  Many different types are available.  Greg and Amy chose these for cost and ease of use.

After the tiles are installed, you’re ready to grout.

Grout is usually mixed from a powder and can be poured on the floor to apply.  As you can see, Greg is using a “float” (handled sponge) to spread the ground and fill the space between each tile.  This is what give the floor its finished look.  Structurally, the grout does little for the tile, but it keeps anything from getting caught in the cracks and make cleaning easy.  The color Banner Haven is using is Mocha and contrasts well with the tile.

It can take several hours to clean the tile, after grouting.  If you clean too soon, you risk removing the grout from the space.  If you wait too long, it can take Muriatic Acid to remove the grout.  It’s best the let the grout sit for about 30-45 minutes before cleaning the first time.  Spread the grout and wait for it to haze over.  Try to keep large clumps to a minimum.  A wet sponge can be used to clean the tile but it takes several times of allowing the floor to dry.  3-5 cleanings will take care of most tile floors and get up most grout.  Stubborn places may require a grout brush to remove but the final look is well worth the effort.

Next time you’re in the High Country, stop by Banner Haven to meet Greg and Amy.  Take a look at the tile floor and see how it feels on your feet.

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Banner Haven B&B and Cabin Rentals
A Banner Elk North Carolina Bed and Breakfast
Innkeepers – Greg and Amy Gardner
509 Beech Mountain Parkway
Banner Elk, NC 28604

Rates starting at $55 per night (including breakfast)