Bathroom Reno: Stage 5- The Tile!

So, it’s about time I show some photos of this tile, huh? Especially since it’s been done for…well, you don’t want to know. Let’s just say it’s been done for a while now!

I’m not going to do an entire instructional post on how to tile (Young House Love and Bower Power both have great posts already), but I am gonna throw out a few tips and tricks.

1. Get a good quality mortar. It’s worth it to spend a few extra bucks and not have to re-do the whole project when the mortar cracks/doesn’t stick well enough. (I’ve heard horror stories!)

2. Make sure if you number your tiles, you do it on the BOTTOM. If you number them on the top, the wax pencil marks bleed when it gets wet. And, even though you think you get it all cleaned up before you grout, you don’t, and then it gets all in your grout…I may or may not be speaking from experience. If you mark on the bottom, it never gets seen or dealt with again.

3. Get good spacers. Not the cheapo X ones that you have to peel out with a tool. No, go to Lowe’s and get Tavy tile spacers. They are easy to put in, don’t get shifted around, much easier to get out, and reusable!

4. Don’t freak out about the time limit on the mortar. We were trying so hard to stay in that 30 minute time window that we were making all kinds of mistakes at first. In the end, it took us over 3 hours to tile and the mortar was only starting to get thick at the end. You can always go back and mix up more, but it’s hard to correct mistakes after you lay the tile! So, just relax and get in a groove.

5. Make sure you get the right kind of mortar for the grout. White mortar works best with light color grout, and gray mortar with dark-colored grout. The mortar color can bleed through the grout and if you have a light-colored grout with gray mortar, it’ll darken and dull the color of the grout, and vice versa.

6. Be extremely consistent with how you lay and spread the mortar. I got to where i would do 3 scoops of mortar for each tile, and always spread the mortar with the trowel at a 45 degree angle. This made it a whole lot easier to get the tiles level once they were laid.

5. Don’t buy Home Depot grout. Ever. I love that store, don’t get me wrong, but the Custom Blend grout is no good. The color doesn’t hold and it either winds up blotchy or just a LOT lighter than it was supposed to be. Don’t believe me? Do a quick Google search. Then come back and thank me for warning you. 🙂

8. Get all the grout haze off of the tile that you can with the water and sponge, but don’t freak out if there is still a little haze left (I think it’s impossible for there not to be!). Grab a roll of dry paper towels and go to town buffing the tile. The haze will come off like powder. Or magic. Powdery magic.

9. Don’t forget to read the directions on everything 10 times before you start! You might think you read it right, but go ahead and check. There’s no recovering from mixing too much water into the mortar or waiting 4 hours before you grout instead of 24, etc.

10. Seal that grout! You worked soooo hard to make your purdy new floor, don’t let it get stained! It’s amazing how things that would typically make permanent stains comes straight off the grout with a damp paper towel once the grout has been sealed.

So are we ready for some pictures? Yes?!

Here are some in-process photos.





Now let’s take a look at the old floor (this is the best photo I have of the vinyl…don’t get distracted by the messy cabinet!


And here’s the new tile with grout and moulding.



Hooray! So much better!

Anyone got any good tiling tips to add? We love us some DIY advice!

P.S. I am totally willing to share more information on tiling to any other novice tilers out there. Let me know any questions you have – first time tiling can be scary!


Shootin’ Pretty

We have a new member of the famiy! No, nothing that exciting….we got a camera! You see, the one we had been using is something around 7 years old and barely functional. As in, it takes about 30 seconds after you press the button for it to actually take the picture. And the pictures weren’t very good. Yeah, it was time for an upgrade.

Now we are no photography experts. In fact, we are beyond novices. Chris and I are both artistic in lots of other ways, but photography is not a strong suit. Nor do we know the first thing about operating a manual camera (though we were tempted by the digital SLR’s). So, here’s the verdict: we need a camera, it needs to be cheap, and it needs to take half decent pictures without any real help from us.

Enter: the Nikon Coolpix L110


Not only does it meet our basic requirements but it actually allows you to change a few settings manually on it and has 15x superzoom. Sweet. And the best part? It cost a whopping $230 (on sale at Best Buy). Oh, yes.

So, what I’m saying is, expect some more pretty (I hope!) pictures on this site….which means more regular updating. I need accountability people! I have so much to update on that it’s overwhelming.

So I will leave you with a hint of what we spent 15 hours doing last weekend, and entire week prepping before that.


Yes, my heel has been brown since Saturday.