My trouble with cork tiles

Following our recent extension work, I was left with a 1.5-foot gap in the cork tiles where the wall was knocked through (ie. some of the floor around the old wall was removed with the wall, which meant the cork tiles now ‘ended’ 1.5ft from the wall, leaving an unsightly concrete gap next to a doorway.)
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After the builder & co left I had some lino put down in the adjoining room and asked the person doing that to replace the cork tiles (using the spares I had) while he was at it. He pointed out the tiniest of gaps in the level of the floor (where the builder had removed an old levelling compound, making this ‘floor’ now lower than where the existing cork tiles were laid  …got it?)

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Anyway, he recommended this gap first be levelled with a skim of some floor levelling compound, otherwise the replacement tiles would be below the older ones by some millimeters.
“Right-ho” I agreed and left it at that.

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Some weeks pass during which I plan my approach. A good job is worth doing right, I know, and something like this should not be rushed into lightly.

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Floor levelling compound is purchased.

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Some more weeks flitter by and cork tiles and levelling compound become a faint memory. One day they return in a kind of eureka moment and I decide “NOW I shall do it!”

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So off I go, dig out the levelling compound. Empty some into a dish. Add water. “Like baking a cake” I quietly muse to myself. Not too much. Not too thick. Not too runny. Ah just right! I bring the dish to the gap in the tiles and pour.

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Hmmm. It seems I forgot to bring something to scrape it around with and already the mixture is hardening. I use the edge of the (circular) dish and it seems to work ok ( ! ), only now I realise my compound was like a raindrop on a plate -didn’t exactly go all over.

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I mix some more -not too much! Not too runny. Not too thick. Learning quickly, I bring a stick with me this time as I pour. I discover (too late) the stick I brought is a little too long and too thin so I can’t easily use it in a straight line between the wall and the edge of the existing cork tiles.
I make do.
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Afterwards I survey my work and although I know the compound still hasn’t covered everywhere, it seems ok and I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to put the tiles over it the following day. In the meantime I erect a makeshift bridge to avoid any careless footprints. The family is proud of its father and husband and everyone carefully crosses back and forth throughout the day. Although I expect it and am ready for it at all times, nobody cries oops and waits for me to scream from the other room as I leap from my chair to salvage what I might.

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Next day I set to work on laying the cork tiles. Soon I notice ‘pockets’ where the floor is uneven. I toy with the idea of tiling over and see how it goes, but quickly I realise these dips are deep enough to crack a piece of cork with one step.
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So, not one to bawk at a challenge, I return to my bag of levelling compound, somewhat relieved I’m at least getting my money’s worth since I don’t see myself floor-levelling again in the near future and there was still more than half a bag left.
This time I decide I’ll mix enough so there’ll be one full flat surface of wet compound on the floor. Not too much! Not too runny. Not too thick. *JUST* right.

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…I won’t bore you with the further minutiae us masons need to go through in seeing a job to its completion, but needless to say, I now have a 1.5ft gap that is slightly higher than the concrete floor where the tiles were originally set. Also, when I walk on it without shoes I can feel it’s not level or even near-level. If I set the new tiles in place (without gluing) it’s possible to clearly see they are higher, but also uneven.

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To be honest, I don’t think my work was too bad. I think most others would’ve made the same pig’s arse of it. A lot more precision was required than I appreciated going into it.

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But I’m still left with an uneven floor and a gap in my cork tiles. What am I to do!?

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It’s hard to photograph, but you can see my problem here if you look carefully…

…see the tile is level where my thumb is, but bulges up where my finger is (and I’m pressing down as hard as possible).
There are worse things in life, I am aware, but why do I get these stuuupid problems all the time? I can’t exactly ring someone to come lay 5 cork tiles!

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