At this point in our three-room renovation, every item on the to-do feels mountainous. We’d love to say, let’s pick a shower curtain this weekend!, but I tend to make decisions a thousand times harder than they need to be. (Every person who has ever met me is shaking their heads in agreement right now.) First, I think, I must research all my favorite online stores. Then I should pop into a few of said stores to see the fabrics in person. Of course, I’m famous for switching gears, too. But what if I make my own? Yes! That’s what I’ll do. Now to find the perfect textile with the perfect weight in the perfect shade of – gray? Blue? No, definitely a pattern.
Welcome to Scott’s life. (I’m mostly kidding, but also kind of not.)
I feel as though we’re in the middle of this vortex – the eye of the storm, for sure – as our current tasks are things like tile the bathroom floors!, tile the bathroom walls!, install the plumbing fixtures (and hurry, because CC needs a bath, like, yesterday)! and, of course, build the PAX! but first install the bedroom baseboards!
But today I want to talk about completing one of those to-dos, because over the holiday break, we finished tiling the bathroom floor! I mentioned back here that we’d be going with traditional black hex (specifically, these guys), and at the start of this year, we were able to check that one off the list.
Our contractors installed cement board leaving us with a blank slate, but I’m going to start by saying the one thing we wished we would have done different. Below, you can see the obvious seams in the board, and we really should have mortared those areas first. Instead, we applied additional mortar into the cracks as we tiled, but because the mixture was still wet, some of the tiles did dip into those seams. It’s only noticeable closest to the tub, but I made a mental note to mention it so you don’t do the same, please!
Cautionary tale aside, we knocked out the job over the course of four days, starting with DAY ONE: Because we’re not expert tile layers, we like to first do a dry fit. We did the same in our entryway, and we think this is definitely a stress reliever on Mortar Day, especially if you’re using squares of mesh tile. Scott is the resident wet saw master, while I call out measurements, piece together the puzzle and use a utility knife to handle the detail cuts.
You can see below that the dry fit really highlights the individual tiles. Despite this, mortar saved the day (keep reading!), just as it did in our home’s entry.
While we loved the all black floor, I had been campaigning for a white hex border. Before we called it quits on day one, I used a pair of scissors to cut out a 2×2 pattern of white tile (I had ordered one box of this coordinating white hex for this reason) and laid it on top of the black. Scott was immediately sold, and we started DAY TWO by cutting the black hex out and dropping the white hex in.
Because our door jamb is pretty thick, the pattern juts out to create a little entryway! This little detail made us super happy, and YES, there will be a floor transition in our future:
Continuing on with day two, it was time to mortar! We started along the straightest edge in the room (the tub), and without a doubt, the tile gave us fits at time. It’s so easy to become misaligned once you get started, but luckily the mesh backing is really forgiving once the wet mortar is below. We pushed, and we pulled, and we added dozens of little spacers where we needed to ensure an even overall look. (The next morning, our fingers literally throbbed from the pushing. And pulling!)
DAY THREE. All that pushing and pulling allowed us the luxury of waking up to a floor that showed no signs of seams (just one area where it had slightly dipped into the cement board crack, ugh), and we got right to grouting! We chose charcoal gray grout from Lowe’s to blend in with the black, highlight the white and stand up to regular traffic.
DAY FOUR. To get a head start on the wall tile, we installed ledger board around the room. The ledger would give the wall tile a level lip to sit on while also allowing our baseboards to retain their profile. We chose inexpensive MDF to mimic the depth of our 1/4″ wall tile, and once the wall tile is in, baseboards are installed and everything has been painted (baseboards), grouted (wall tile) and caulked (baseboards and tile), they’ll be nice and sealed away from potential water damage.
Speaking of wall tile, we’ve started, and I’ll be sharing a progress report this week!