Monday, September 3, 2012

Bathroom Floor - Part 1: Before Grout

Kerry and I finally decided to get new carpet downstairs in the basement.  The old carpet had stains from the previous owner...and from Stout, too.  We were going to wait another year or so, but I just couldn't stand the carpet anymore. So, along with the carpet came two changes to the basement as well.

The first is the bathroom floor.  80's linoleum. Ew.


It had to go.  If we were going to get nice, new carpet, the bathroom needed to get a nice, new floor.  We couldn't leave him out of all the fun.  

Our new neighbors tackled the job of tiling their bathroom as well.  They still had the exact same linoleum as us.  How lucky!  As I watched her tile, I figured I could too.  So I went and got the exact tile as they did (still matching floors !) and got to work.

First, I got a screw driver to pry off the quarter rounds at the bottom of the baseboard.  Once all those were off, I used a hammer to take out any nails that didn't come out with the quarter rounds.


Then, I pried off the metal transition piece between the rug and the bathroom floor.  After that, I used a box cutter to pry up a corner and just started to pull the linoleum up.



The linoleum was pretty easy to pull up.  Every so often I had to take a putty knife and scrape under it to help it a bit, but other than that, it came up fast.


Once all the linoleum was up, I called my trusty assistant to help remove the toilet.  We did some research and of course YHL came to the rescue and had a good tutorial.  Kerry did a great job !


After that, I continued to scrape away access linoleum adhesive/backing for a while until most of it was gone.  


Once I was finished scraping, I could start tiling.  The night before I started tiling, I laid out the tiles to see how I wanted them to look.  I am very glad that I did this, as it saved my butt from making some mistakes. I practically laid down tile on the whole floor, just to be sure it was how I wanted it to look.


Once it was time for me to start tiling, my neighbor came over to assist and oversee me since this was my first floor tiling job.  

I used Keraflor gray mortar and Roman Stone tiles.  All purchased from Lowe's.




















I also bought a big plastic bucket to mix the mortar in.  It was helpful.

I often wondered how tiles were always put so perfectly into the floor, with straight, even lines.  Well, let me tell you about the coolest invention ever!  The people who thought of these are geniuses!  Tile Spacers!!


I borrowed these from my neighbor as well. 

Now, to the fun part.  I mixed the mortar with water as directed by the instructions.  It ended up being like a cake batter consistency - not too think, but not watery either.  The bag has you using a "mixer" type tool - I just used my neighbor's fancy serving spoon that she used to mix hers.  It got the job done.  Mixing does require some muscle though, so be prepared for a workout !


Once it was mixed, I plopped it down using the spoon that I mixed it with.  I used the spoon to spread it a little into the corners, then took the trowel to spread it more. Once it was spread over an area, I flipped the trowel to the grooved part and made the grooves in the mortar.  A spackle knife also came in handy for those hard to reach corners. 


Then it was read for the tile.  I just started from the back left corner and placed the tile.  Then I put one next to it and under it, placing a tile spacer in between them.  Then I used a level to make sure that one tile was not taller than the other.  This you will need to do often.


I tiled almost the whole bathroom floor except around the toilet hole, back right, and the bottom right before I actually had to use the tile cutter to fit pieces in.  How lucky was I ?!  


I used the same scorer from my neighbor that I used when I tiled my fireplace.  This time, she was here to help.  It was definitely a two person job for these tiles - only because of the way I had to cut the tile.  I only needed to cut about 1/2 a centimeter off the edge.  This was hard, because the scorer works best when cutting down the middle.  Not an edge. 

So I drew a line where I needed to score and then scored the very edge.  Then I used the tile snippers, with the help of my neighbor's foot, and snipped off the edges.   She would press down with her foot as I clamped and pulled up with the tile snippers.  Make sure to wear goggles or close your eyes.  Tile pieces will be flying !


We did break a few tiles in the wrong spots, so make sure you have extra to work with.  We edged off only five tiles to finish it off the front right.  After that, I took a break until Kerry came home to help with the back right.


Once Kerry came home, we pretty much repeated the same procedure.  Draw a line and score.  BTW, I found this video very helpful to guide me in this tiling expedition.


If we were lucky, we'd get a cut that looked like this:


If we weren't lucky, it looked like this: 


And we had to do the whole foot/snipper thing to get it to fit.  We cut tiles for the back right, in front of the doorway, and around the toilet.  For around the toilet, we just cut pieces in hopes that it would fit together like a puzzle.  It pretty much worked out OK.  We actually accidentally cut a few tiles that were curved when we scored, and they fit perfectly around the toilet hole. 


Then I slapped some more mortar down and finished the floor.  The hard part was finished !


It's amazing how different the floor looks already, and it's not even grouted yet !

What big DIY project have you taken up?

Now you can Do It Yourself Too!

~Stephanie

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