Monday, August 30, 2010

Double, Double, Tile and Trouble

The past two weekends I have spent teaching myself to install ceramic wall tiles. I opted for all white, no special tiles, no fancy patterns - just straight forward white tiles. I figured this would help make it easier to install for a first timer. Good thing. It took me FOREVER! And it is a messy job - at least I'm a messy tiler. This was definitely a case of sweat equity in the making.

Using knowledged gleaned from the internet and watching hours and hours of HGTV, I began by finding my centerline and adjusting the end tiles accordingly so each one would be of equal width. Once I got this figured out, I began with my first row and went up from there.

First Few Rows of Tile

The task of tiling was complicated by two things; a window and the ledge on the end wall. Thank goodness for the wet saw the woman at Lowe's talked us into getting (and for less than half price!) I had many cuts to make and the saw made easy work of them.

I ended up buying wider tiles for inside the window opening which reduced the number of cuts I needed to make. Plus it made for a cleaner looking job.

The hardest part of installation for me was the ledge and the outer corner of it. Rounded edges on three sides and three tiles coming together. After doing a dry fit and wasting one tile due to a poor cut, I felt okay with the method to my madness. Right or wrong, I was going for it. Face it...I'm a rookie learning as I go!

By the end of the first weekend, I had the tile installation complete with the exception of the top row inside the window opening. I was short the two small corner pieces with the rounded edges.

Tile Installed (Almost Complete)

I installed the missing window pieces on this past Saturday. With a minimum six hour cure time for the adhesive to set up before grouting could commence, I was done for the day. Tiling, that is.

Sunday morning the real fun began. Not. I learned I do not like to grout wall tile. You are dealing with a vertical surface and gravity is not your friend. Even though I read the instructions - twice - for mixing the waterproof grout, my first batch came out very stiff. I put too much sand in with no way to thin it down.

Try pushing thick grout into 1/8" joints with a grout float. Fighting gravity. Not easy. Not fun. I ended up doing alot of finger application of grout into the joints. I think my hands still hurt. The second batch for the other half of the tub was mixed correctly and I was able to apply the grout much faster and easier.

Then it was wait, then wipe, flip sponge over, wipe, flip, rinse, wipe, flip, rinse, new bucket of water and vinegar, and wipe, flip, rinse, wipe, flip, rinse, then another fresh bucket of water, and more wipe, flip then rinse. Over and over! Ahhh, but the end result was worth it! Even the difficult ledge corner.

Grouting Complete!

Tricky Corner of Ledge

I also installed a tile backsplash around the bath vanity countertop this past weekend.

Vanity Tile

All that is left is to caulk where the tile meets the tub, window and walls and also the corners for good measure. Call me paranoid. I need to finish up the paint around the tub enclosure (change of plans during installation) and my work in the bathroom will be done until we decide on baseboard material.

Now it's bring on the plumber!! He'll be in on Wednesday to do the final plumbing hookups. Yay!! I might even have functioning toilets this coming weekend. Running water and toilets. Oooh boy!


Karen said...

Nice job their sis!

Linnea W said...

You're braver than I am! Looks beautiful; congrats! I love white tile - so clean looking - and it looks great against the blue paint.