Sunday, March 13, 2011

It is Nothing like the DIY Network!

Our upstairs guest bathroom remodel has begun.  We decided that a lot of the remodel was going to involve a significant amount of tile work.  Being an avid DIY Network watcher, I thought doing tile was going to be a pretty easy task.  I know that they do time lapses on those shows, but I really thought it would be row by row of tile easily installed with no mess.  Boy was I wrong!

We started on the floor first.  We put down Hardi Backer first to act as a support for the floor tile.  Nate cut the pieces down to size with a circular saw.  We used an old tube of my lipstick to mark the edges of the toilet wax ring and pressed the Hardi Backer down to create a mark so that we knew where to cut around the ring.
HARDI BACKER BOARD CUT AROUND THE WAX RING.  Remnants of the Lipstick trick remain.
Once the Hardi Backer was screwed into the plywood sub-floor, we used a tile trowel to trowel on thinset.  We then began installing the floor tiles from the Tile Shop.  We chose a tile called Arcturus.
We loved the idea of doing a larger tile on the floor because the wall tiles were going to be small.  We chose a dark 12"x24" tile.  You can see from the photograph below that we needed to use weights to push down on some of the tile to make sure that it was level.  In retrospect, the large tile was a bit difficult to level in the areas where the two pieces of Hardi Backer board abutted; However, we made it work.
FLOOR TILE WITH WEIGHTS
Nate did the majority of work installing the floor tile, while I marked the centers of each tile.  I put tape on the tile and marked the center of the long sides with a pencil.  Marking the centers helped Nate to make sure that the tiles were being staggered perfectly.  We used 3/16" spacers between the tiles to make the grout lines even.
Once finished, Nate grouted the floor (a day that I worked late so there are no photographs).
COMPLETED FLOOR WITH GROUT
The next tiling task was the subway tile on the walls.  This is where I thought that the time lapse video was really going to be true to life.  Not so much.  We first needed to install the tile "base moulding".  We laid it out to determine where we wanted to make the cuts.  We decided that the corner that will be hidden by the vanity would be the best place to hide the cuts.
LAYING OUT THE TILE BASE MOULDING.
BASE MOULDING
We used thinset again on the walls to apply the tile.  We used an 1/8" spacer on the walls for a smaller grout line than the floor.
Once the base moulding was installed and leveled, the rows of subway tile went up.  We applied the thinset with a smaller notched trowel than the one that we used for the floor.  We then pressed each tile on and set the spacers to move onto the next.
WALL TILE GOING UP
ROW BY ROW AND QUITE A MESS!!
We spent the majority of our Friday evening getting up the subway tile.  We had accomplished the base moulding on Thursday night.
FAKING MY HAPPINESS
Once the tiles sat on the wall for about 10 minutes we took a warm wet sponge and began wiping down all of the tiles to get any thinset off of the faces of the tile.  We also used a screwdriver to get the thinset that squeezed out of any of the grout lines.
Saturday morning it was time to test the height of the vanity to make sure that our tile height was appropriate.
TESTING THE NEW HEIGHT OF THE VANITY.
When we first put the vanity into the bathroom, Nate and I both realized that the height of the vanity was too high.  We decided to cut down the legs to make it a more appropriate height for guests and future children.  By cutting down the legs ourselves, we were also able to make the vanity countertop line up with the top of the last row of subway tile.  Out came the vanity, and we proceeded to install the penny round tile accent band.
The penny round tile came on a 12"x12" mesh.  We decided to use five rows of the tile for our accent band so Nate used an exacto blade to cut the mesh into the five row strips. I applied a very thin layer of thin set and began setting the penny rounds.
PENNY ROUND ACCENT BAND
We used the 1/8" spacers again to make sure that there was a grout joint between the subway tile and the penny rounds.  This process went along pretty quickly (finally!).
PENNY ROUND FINISHED
The last step was to add a bullnosed subway tile at the top of the penny roundS to finish it all.  This step was a pain in the you know what and Nate took the reigns of this task.  He put a level on the top row every three tiles to make sure that things were level.
Once the top row was on and everything was sponged down one last time with warm water, we were done for the day!
Sunday was grouting day.  We had two rubber grout floats that we used to apply the white sanded grout.
RUBBER GROUT FLOAT
We each chose a wall and started to grout.  This was an extremely messy process.  Nate taped off the floors first to prevent us from getting grout between the base moulding and the floor tile.  After we had a section completed, we waited ten minutes or so, and used a warm water sponge to wipe off the excess grout.  We made sure to rinse the sponge and change out the water often.
BEFORE BEING WIPED DOWN
NATE WIPING THINGS DOWN
CLOSE UP VIEW AFTER GROUTING
TILING JOB FINISHED!
We continually wiped down each wall with a clean sponge to get the grout film off of the tile.  We wiped each wall about six times with a really warm wet sponge.
We still have a lot of work to do in the bathroom but the tiling project is complete!  It was a lot harder than either of us expected but the result is better than we both imagined.

We will be sharing the next part of the process as soon as it begins!

2 comments:

  1. I noticed you just applied your tiles directly onto your existing wall. I thought you would need to install some heavier type of drywall first to accommodate for the weight of the tiles. Glad to see that is not necessary. Great post and beautiful tile job!

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  2. Hi Michelle and Nate, I came across your blog through Young House Love and I love what you've done with your house. I had a question on your bathroom remodel. How did you prep the walls to install the tile? I've read in several places that you can't tile a painted dry wall. Did you skim coat the walls, sand them, etc. before you applied the thinset and the tiles? Thanks in advance for your tips.

    Leanna

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