Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bathroom Renovation: Laying Floor Tile

When facing the reality of our two bathrooms that needed everything from light fixtures to sinks to flooring, we both wondered for a minute what exactly we were thinking when we started this whole project.  To keep from getting overwhelmed, we told ourselves we would just finish the master bathroom and the hall bath could always wait-- one step at a time.

The first step, before installing a toilet or sink, was to lay a new floor down on top of the subfloor and old linoleum that covered part of the room.  We love the idea of a using tile, but it's a project we had never dared tackle before... After lots of internet research and even a class at a neighborhood tile store, we decided to go for it!  If we could pull it off, we'd save on installation fees and improve the value of the bathroom addition.

Shopping for tile was a fun, new experience, and we both fell in love with some of the patterned marble options available.  Aren't they gorgeous?

In the end we made a more sensible choice, though, and went with one of the cheapest possible tiles-- this way, if we really messed things up and had to call in professionals to rip everything out, we wouldn't have wasted too much money.  When trying a big project like this for the first time, I like to keep the stakes, and the pressure, low!

Here was our general inspiration, hexagonal mosaic tiles for the center with a black and white border around the edges. 

What we used:

Backerboard sheets- enough to cover whatever surface you're tiling, along with tile backerboard tape for the seams and thinset tile mortar.

A multi tool.  These little machines can do so much for you!  Sanding, sawing, grinding... You'll be glad you got one. While some tools you can afford to skimp on (and buy the cheapest possible version of), since a multi tool is so useful for a variety of projects, you will want to spend a little more on this one.

An angle grinder for cutting the tile.

A tile installation kit is a great buy, since they include a bucket, sponge, notched floor trowel, float (for spreading the grout), and tile nippers (for trimming off small pieces of tile).

We also chose our tile, of course, and a matching grout (they come in lots of different colors).  

Before laying any tile, it's important to insure that your surface underneath is pretty level, smooth and water resistant, since the tile will be handing lots of moisture over the years.  Lowe's and Home Depot sell large sheets of Hardi Backer board that provide a barrier between any water and the subfloor beneath, preventing leaks and mildew (yuck).  

Using a crowbar, we gently removed the baseboards and set them aside for later reinstallation.  Nailing in the baseboards on top of the tile allows you to cover up small imperfections in the seam where the floor and the wall meet, so we were sure to take them out before we began.

We started by positioning our first piece of backer board in a corner and worked out from there.

The door frames had, of course, been cut to the right length for the previous floor, but we now needed to be able to slide both our backer board and a layer of tile underneath the door trim to be flush up against the wall.  Enter our handy multi tool!  With a little saw attachment, we quickly sliced through and removed the extra piece of wood at the bottom of the frame.

Once all of the backerboard was screwed into the subfloor, the seams needed to be covered with tile tape, and then we were ready to spread a layer of thinset mortar.  Using a trowel to spread out the mixture, we draged the notched edge over the surface to create the ridges that will help the tile to adhere.

Starting from the center we laid the first sheets of tile on top of the mortar, lining them up with the center line we had snapped in chalk.  From there, we worked our way out to the edges, where the real fun begins! Using the angle grinder to make larger cuts and the nippers to clip off small edges, we made the tiles fit the spaces along the outside of the room.

Getting some help along the way from an interested observer:)

I'm not going to lie, this project was not an easy one and took some time and lots of backbreaking work (being on your knees that long is not easy!), but it was so much fun and totally worth it.  I can't wait to show you the final steps and reveal on Thursday!




  1. AMazing and you look beautiful tiling too!!

  2. I'm with you. Looking for a tile that will fit your home is a fun experience! With all the designs available, I'm sure that you thought any tile would fit your home! LOL! But your choice of hexagonal tiles is quite fitting. I personally love it, and what I love more is your effort to get the rough things done! That is, indeed, an experience to cherish! :)

    Alana Geikie

  3. Nice article and great knowledge. Thanks for the share. I love this story and enjoy with your words!
    Hexagonal floor Tile

  4. nice work.Thanks for the share. Great stuff, just nice!
    Hexagonal floor Tile

  5. Nice article and great knowledge. Thanks for the share. I love this story and enjoy with your words!
    Hexagonal floor Tile

  6. Best of luck to your work, can't wait to see the finishing touch.

  7. I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked your site to check out the latest stuff you post.

  8. This is too good article. i read it and got many positive ideas that can be implemented.

    bathroom renovations calgary

  9. I have to thanks for the efforts you get in writing this informative post. For more information click here


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...