Finally, my last bathroom is getting an update! Time to rip out the carpet and the awful, cracked white tile flooring. Like most of my projects, one day I get an urge to redo and start the process. The first step in my process is convincing my husband that now is the perfect time to start the project then demolition begins. After getting up the carpet and tile there is still so much prep work to do. Craig busted out all the floor tile and mortar underneath while I ripped out the carpet, floor tacks and pulled up any staples that were sticking out. This has to be the worst part of the process. Keep in mind that before ripping out your flooring you will need to turn off your water, remove the toilet and make sure that the valves are closed before turning your water back on and getting started. The sub floor was in great shape and we are tiling a small area so now we will start laying the tile.
Before laying the tile you want to make sure you start with a clean surface and then plan out your tile pattern. Tiling a floor may sound intimidating but is not that bad once you get into it. I wish I could say it gets easier with every project but if you are anything like me, you change something up to challenge yourself a little more each time. I learned from a previous bathroom floor that I will never lay slate tile again. Each piece is not created equal. Some may be thicker and even slightly a different size which creates a headache when you are searching for perfection. Another difficulty with slate is that when you apply the grout, it gets stuck in all the crevices and uneven surfaces of the tile which is a little grueling to get off. So bottom line is to research what tile you are laying before you buy it.
I chose to use a 4X12 porcelain tile that I will layout in a herringbone pattern (this is where the project takes a more difficult turn). Any time you run tile at different angles like in this pattern you will end up with more difficult cuts on the edges since the tile is not running straight across.
When laying tile, its best to start from the center of the space and work your way out. I started by laying out my pattern in the center to make sure the angles were straight and correct and ran it through towards the enclosed area of my bathroom where the shower and toilet are. Once my mortar was mixed and ready to go, I spread some mortar evenly on the floor with the metal trowel then used the tooth like side of the trowel and dragged it across the mortar to create lines. You will then do the same to the back of each tile before laying it on the mortar that was just spread on the floor. Having the mortared texture on both the floor and the back of the tile allows them to bond together tighter. Try pulling up a tile right after laying it down, it immediately grabs to each other. Continue this process until you have to make cuts. I laid down as many full tiles as I could in one area and then started to measure and mark any edge pieces.
What was so helpful in this process was having Craig help me along the way. While Craig was cutting a group of tiles for me I would work on making the cut marks on the next group and would lay each group as he brought them to me. This smaller enclosed are of my bathroom was the most grueling. Cutting the correct angles all around the edges and the toilet area definitely made my head hurt. I knew that once I got past this part the rest would go by much faster. For the most part of one day I laid all the tile in the shower/toilet area and all of the full center pieces for the rest of the bathroom. The next morning I attacked the rest of the edge pieces that needed to be measured and cut. Whew, that was rough. Note to self: These long tiling projects make your whole body ache!
Once the tile had set as instructed on the mortar bag, It was time to grout. Grouting goes by much faster but can be pretty messy. Mix the grout as stated in the instructions (consistency is key). You dont want it to be too thick to spread but you also don’t want it to be so runny that you can’t pick it up with your float. Spread the grout across the tile and be sure that you don’t leave any holes between the tiles. Its okay to have a little more because you will wipe away the excess. After your entire area is grouted you will have to start the process of wiping the floor with a large sponge to remove all the excess grout (follow the grouting instructions on the grout packaging). You will have to wait until the grout no longer comes off on your fingers when touching to start this process. After wiping it downy the first time you will want to wait another 30 minutes or so before wiping down the tile again. Once done I let mine sit overnight and do a final cleaning to remove any haziness and then the floor is ready to be sealed. Check out that lovely yellow shell sink and countertop (they are next to go).
We then installed our new toilet which I believe has been in a box in our basement for a couple years now.Our last step was to tack down metal carpet strips where the tile and carpet meet. Seeing this new beautiful tile on my floor makes me feel so happy inside! Not too bad for a mom of three. Now to start Part 2, the ugly yellow painted sea shell counter top. I’m so in love with these floors!