May the roof above us never fall in
And may we good companions beneath it never fall out.

~Irish blessing

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Breaking Rock

One of my close friends has a paleontology background and occasionally volunteers during the holidays at a fossil site in Inverloch which is affectionately known as 'the dig'. Over the years I've been privy to many exciting post-dig discussions centering around 'breaking rock' and the interesting things that may have been discovered that week such as a prehistoric bird bone or carnivorous dinosaur tooth. 

Sometimes I like to think that renovating a house built over 100 years ago draws some parallels with this kind of excavation. In honesty, it's mostly  the newer extensions that we're dealing with - the kitchen and two ensuites - and while the peach and gold tiles at first suggested a renovation in the 1980s, we found things weren't necessarily so. The former owners had no idea when the extensions were built, being at least the third owners since then, and at the time it didn't really seem to matter. It wasn't until Tom started removing the kitchen splashback that it occurred to us that we didn't know if the cement sheeting we were decimating was asbestos, and without knowing what year the kitchen was built, it was very difficult to find out. After examining the fibres and comparing them to various online pictures we decided to err on the side of caution and stopped work until a lab provided us with an analysis proving there was no asbestos in the board. Still, we went on thinking the rooms were probably done some time in the later 80s until we started demolition of the first ensuite and found a clue. It was about half a page of newspaper behind the gyprock, date torn off, but still complete with a movie review of a highly anticipated feature film about to open nationally... it was 1993 and the film was no other than Jurassic Park. I had a good laugh with my paleo friend about 'dating' our bathroom with that one.

Anyway, fast forward six months to this past weekend and the mystery deepens. We always assumed that the 'peaches and cream' ensuites were the originals and therefor the extensions were done in 1993, but when Tom pulled up the cream floor tiles this weekend he revealed an older slate tiled floor. 

I know there must be builders and other experts reading this and thinking if we just looked at the bricks, mortar, roof etc we could clear this all up in an instant, but experts we are not, so in our Scooby Doo-esque detective style we continue to speculate on what we've found.

 I don't think it can be very old, but it does suggest something was there before the 1993 peach revolution. The tiles are in pretty good nick except for one or two, and we're thinking we like them and may ditch the white penny mosaics, buy some sort of slate sealant and leave it as it is.

I did a quick google search of bathrooms with slate floors and these two lovelies caught my eye. 

So what does everyone think. Should the slate tiles stay or should they go?


  1. They should stay! (if you haven't already done away with them). I have some (new) slate floors in my house and it's a very forgiving thing to live with.

  2. Thanks for the input PP :) Unfortunately they are on their way out though, only because on closer inspection some were very damaged and it seemed like too much of an ordeal to find a match to patch it all up. I did love their earthiness.