Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kid's Bathroom Tile Renovation Details

So I've given you a couple sneak peaks of what we've been working on, but I wanted to back up a few steps and show you exactly what we've been dealing with.

Without further ado, I present to you our bathroom before, untouched:

The floor is (was!) a vinyl linoleum which is a fine option for some folks and can truly look good if you pick the right color, quality, etc.  Unfortunately, this linoleum was making us cringe every time we walked into this bathroom.  There were several spots that were peeling up plus, the pattern and color was just not our thing.

We started by tearing out the baseboards using a chisel and hammer and we didn't even try to save them.  We knew from our master bathroom  renovation that the baseboards tend to split & crack really easily and a lot of times it would have just been a lot more work repairing them instead of just buying new (which is definitely what we have done). 

Once the baseboards were off, we pulled up the linoleum flooring:

We were very unsure about the glue from the linoleum interfering with the mortar for the concrete board subfloor so we took the safe approach and ripped up all of that all the way down to the subfloor.  Plus, this would eliminate the added extra height to the floor.  Once we got that up, (using a crowbar was the best method we found, by the way) it was time to rip out all of the staples using needle nose pliers.  

If you haven't guessed yet, ripping out all of this junk creates quite a mess so every little chance we had, we were using the shop vac to clean up as much debris as we could.

Once we got a nice clean surface to work with, we spread some mortar down on the subfloor, and fit our concrete board down on the floor and secured it down with concrete board screws.

Okay, so this is the most important part about tiling!  Listen up!  You need to lay out all of your tiles.  Adjust.  Re-lay the tiles, and be sure they're going to be centered nicely without a row of tiny sliver pieces in a high traffic area. (Don't forget to include the spacers in your measurements when laying everything out!)

Once we figured out a good balance for our tile cuts, it was time to actually make our cuts!  We used our Ryobi Tile Saw to make all of our cuts.  We love this tile saw!  The only problem we have run into is it not being quite large enough to cut the very large format (12x24") tiles.  Unfortunately, my first tile choice for this bathroom was only available in the large tiles (which is a look I really like) but it wasn't worth it to us this time trying to track down a larger tile saw that we could rent or borrow.

Since this is our second tile job, (what a difference a second time makes!) things went a lot faster and smoother.  We decided this time to cut, lay, & space all of our tiles first.  Then we numbered them, stacked them, and then finally set them in the thin-set.  I don't know what we were trying to do on our last tile job, but I'm pretty sure this is the only way to do it from now on!

Once all the tile was placed, it was time to be sure the thin-set didn't squeeze through the cracks.  The easiest way I have found is just using a phillips head screw driver while the thin-set is still somewhat wet.  If you wait until the next day or several days later, you'll be spending a lot of extra time cleaning out your cracks!

Then, yet again!! It's time to bust out the shop vac!  

It's super important to get things nice and clean before you start grouting, otherwise you could have chunks of thin-set and dirt stuck in your grout.  Not a good look!

The tiles have quite a bit of texture to them even though they are made of porcelain.  We liked the texture because it should be slightly less slippery as the kids are getting in and out of the tub.  The draw back?  It was definitely more difficult to grout than a nice, smooth tile.  It wasn't a huge deal other than just needing to take some extra time to scrub each tile.  Attention to detail will save you a lot of elbow grease in the future.

Our biggest grouting tip (since we're practically professionals now haha) is to change the water in the bucket very often and use as little water as possible on the floor.  Do a very good job wringing out the sponge each time so that there is no water dripping.

A word from the wise: Don't freak out about the grout color until it's had plenty of time to dry.  It looks super dark in this picture but any grouting we've ever done (this is our 4th color) it always lightens up substantially.  It has now turned into a much lighter grey instead of this dingy, dark brown color.  Whew!  Because we were definitely freaking out at this point! :)

So, we are working on putting the baseboards & quarter rounds up as well as painting the walls and wood work.  But even before the polishing touches, I personally prefer the look of the tile way better!

Are you a pro at tiling? Or are you just stumbling through this adventure like we are?  All I know is practice makes perfect so I think a backsplash in the kitchen would be a good way to perfect our skills.  Right, honey? ;)

Looking forward to showing you more updates that we're working on in this bathroom, soon!


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