Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bathroom Redo: Part 6 - Tom the Tiler

Is "tiler" even a word? Yeah, I have no idea, either. Regardless, I'm totally using it. Cuz ya know, I'm cool like that.

Anyways, so far the bathroom was looking spectacular (with all the planning, demo, spackling and painting we did) - except for one last big thing: the floor.

We knew from the start that we were sick of the nasty old peeling linoleum that used to reside in the bathroom and wanted some nice and sturdy tiles in there. After looking at all the tile options out there, it was down to either a classic black and white octagonal look (anyone know the real name of that tile?), or some larger off-white more contemporary ceramic tiles.

In the end the larger contemporary tiles won out, partly because they were 1) cheaper, 2) larger (which will hopefully make the bathroom feel larger), 3) more contemporary, 4) more closely matched the tile throughout the rest of the house and finally 5) Tom was NOT excited about grouting all those smaller grout lines in the tiny octagonal tiles. Can't say I blame him (I remember grouting all the subway tiles in our kitchen backsplash like it was only yesterday).

Anyways, so we picked out a nice neutral off-white tile with subtle brown and gray veins throughout, and a nice greige colored grout to go along with it. When redoing permanent and expensive areas of our house, we like to keep things a nice neutral that way we can change things up pretty easily whenever we want with a new wall color and/or furnishings, and also for when we sell the house in the distant future. Gotta love a nice neutral.

So after Tom ripped out all the old linoleum and plywood flooring, and fixed the starting-to-rot wood in the corner, it was time to get to work with the tile prep!

First he installed a new (not rotted) plywood base over the subflooring, to make sure things have a nice and secure foundation to build on.

The next layer involved some cement board. When tiling over wood surfaces, it's always best to use cement board as well, because wood tends to bend and warp with temperature fluctuations which could potentially cause the tile job and/or grout to crack. And that's just never a good day right there.

So after the two new flooring layers were in and screwed down securely, we Tom could finally start tiling! Hallelujah.

Before laying the tiles, Tom (and another handy friend who offered to lend a hand - thanks, Jake!) cut the tiles and dry-laid them to figure out the best arrangement. This was by far the most time-consuming step of the process.

And the hardest cut to make (that Tom agonized over for hours, no joke) was the toilet hole cut. Yikes. Just how in the world is a cut like that even possible? He was considering hiring the entire job out at this point or getting that tile laser cut, when I had an idea.

Just make straight cuts and then knock off the small slivers of tile you don't need. The toilet will cover up the cuts, so no worries about looks. And whuddya know, it actually worked. Of course that was when I found this youtube video in which the guy demonstrates our exact same method. Too bad I didn't find that earlier - I could've saved us from a couple hours of headaches. Sigh.

Anyways, after lots of hard work, Tom and our friend got all the tiles cut and dry-laid, and then it was time for some adhesive mortar! (note: make sure you buy tile adhesive appropriate for your job - because there are 2 different types: one for walls, and one for floors.)

One hour later and the tiles were all set with adhesive using a 1/4" notched trowel (for more detailed instructions on how to tile, read our How-To-Tile Tutorial).

After letting the tiles set and the adhesive dry for 24 hours (which required us to drive across town to shower), it was ready for grout. Tom mixed the grout and applied it to the tiles using this method.

And this is what I came home from work to:

What a difference, huh? Much kudos to Tom the Tiler (who has a newfound appreciation for tilework now, I believe) and our friend for helping us out! We LOVE the new tile floor - and we can't wait to finish up some other odds and ends in here now and get this bathroom functional again! (sleeping in the guest bedroom is really getting a little old for this pregnant lady!)

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  1. WOW! Looks amazing, you guys are just cranking through the reno!

  2. Looks fantastic- what a huge difference the tiling makes. You're definitely inspiring me to tackle our bathroom (one day in the future). Can't wait to see it all back together.

  3. This is looking good... especially that toilet hole cut! Seriously, you two are great!
    Hugs, Aunt Lois


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