Skip to content

DIY: Girls Night Out

September 15, 2010

The stripped and naked floor


We gathered at Deana’s house for the FIRST Women’s DIY Repair Club to lay vinyl flooring in the entryway/closet. A few glitches, lots of laughter and decidedly different ways of figuring out the process led to an evening full of adventure for us all. 

Among the adventurous was Sue, a novice DIY’er (a virgin – so to speak), Linda, a seamstress (showing us up with her calculations), MaryLynn who has the heart and soul of a DIY woman, Deana wants to learn more, and me (ToolBox TomGirl). 

Our tools were a cutting board to use when making a cut, a level to use as a straight edge and our razor knives for cutting the tile. Later we would find that these were not sufficient and would cause us considerable pain and suffering. I assumed that Deana had the tools I do (yes – I do know what that means). I promise it will not happen again (smirk). 

Deciding whether to start from the center or the edge of the wall was put to a vote. Center won (focal point) and work out to the sides. The cut tile side goes against the wall and corner molding will cover up rough edges. Simple, right? Well maybe, sort of. It was a hesitant start (smile). Of course, even with a vote, the real decision was up to Deana. 

We started against the steps and worked toward the door. All arrows on the back of the tile were facing the same way. Linda’s math calculations helped to determine the center of the floor and Deana put down the first tile. Success! MaryLynn jumped right in and worked with Deana to lay the first couple of rows. 

Uh Oh – now we were at the part where we needed to cut tile. Not so much fun anymore. Had we been thinking straight we may have made the decision to start with the easy cuts first – but, no – being the REAL women that we are, we started with the hardest tile first. Holy guacamole. We spent a while figuring out how to cut the damned tile. Cutting a pattern was suggested but then you have to figure out how to flip the tile to make reverse cuts. We all seemed a little challenged when it came to thinking in reverse (hmmm – which side of the brain is that type of thinking done with?). We tried several ways and a group discussion. Finally we caved and called for help (yes – REAL women ask for help). We called our favorite handyMAN (Friday and all handyWOMEN have dates). 

Did I mention our blades were DULL, not a little dull – REALLY dull! We couldn’t cut the tile. And our level was not a good straight edge because it would not stay put when we told it to. When the handyMAN arrived his knife and blade were not any better than ours. Whew – that made us feel a little better. Of course he started out by saying we had the wrong “equipment” to get the job done (no hidden meaning there ladies). 

So with the handyMAN’s help that crazy intricate piece of tile got cut. But let me tell you that he was sweating, and showing us plumber’s crack, by the time it was all over. He admitted it was not an easy task and offered to help us with the remainder of the tiles. NO WAY. Thanks – we are on a mission and just needed to “see” how it was done. 

MOST of Deana’s tile floor is done. She and I went to our local hardware store and bought a knife made to cut vinyl flooring and a metal straight edge. We also decided that a grease pencil or dry erase pencil will work better than the pattern. She is going to draw on the front of the tile and cut it quickly and cleanly with the sharp blade. 

As of the writing of this she has finished the tile and only needs to install the moulding. 

We look forward to next month when we challenge something new. How about you? What is your next challenge and how will you handle it? Will you have the guts to ask for help if necessary? If you are a REAL woman then you know you sometimes need a little help when learning something new – don’t be afraid to ask for it. Go forth and conquer your DIY project. WE have faith in you.  

We did it!


 Let me hear from you – send your questions to and join me on the ToolBox TomGirl facebook page.!/pages/Pasadena-MD/ToolBox-TomGirl/112027705482244
  1. September 17, 2010 9:09 am

    I’m so proud of you women! Thanks for giving me the nudge to try some stuff on my own…..

    • September 17, 2010 3:20 pm

      Hey – sometimes it takes a small village to put in a floor but with women in the village it won’t take but a skinny minute and then you can move on to the wine and guacamole. We sure had fun and we ALL learned some lessons. I hope you will join in when I am at your house next time.

Comments are closed.