I bet you’re all thinking, “Geez, how long will it take them to finish that darn bathroom?” The answer is pretty long. We are finally at the point where we can start laying tile. Woohoo! Well kind of. Haha that was mean. Well it was an awakening for us.
Gord had finished all the drywall. It was up to us to prep everything else. Derek and I are not sure how long we will be in this house. We were kind of thinking for as long as it works for us. So possibly forever. FOREVER. Anyway, we wanted to do the renovation the right way, the best way possible so it can last for as long as possible. This meant that for every step we thought we had to do there were ten additional steps that would need to be done in between.
At Gord’s suggestion, putting up a moisture barrier between the wall and the tile would work best to keep things dry. So we used this stuff called Kerdi. It’s basically like felt. It’s a wooly fabric that comes in sheets. Just to clarify it’s not made of wool to my knowledge the feel and look of it reminded me of wool or felt. What we had to do is measure and cut the sheets to size with holes in the correct places to fit over the bath plumbing and apply the sheets to the walls using mortar. This really was time consuming. It was best to cut everything beforehand though, it would have been disastrous otherwise and possibly could have taken twice as long as it did. It was labour intensive but it seems that this membrane will protect everything from water damage. If anyone else has experience with the product please let me know your experiences in the comments. I had never heard of it before.
After that was done we could start tiling the bathtub/shower surround! Yay! This is the part I had been looking forward to most. Doing some research online before hand, we found that as first time wall tilers the best method would be to spread the mortar on the tile as opposed to the wall to keep the mortar from drying out. When watching all kinds of home reno shows spreading mortar on the wall seems so simple. Don’t let them fool you. It’s definitely a skill that takes lots of practice to fine tune. Spreading the mortar on each individual tile may have been time consuming but it made things a lot less stressful. We weren’t racing against the clock as much.
I must admit Derek did all of the tiling himself. I did try to help from time to time, but I confess that I have zero patience. When it came to spacing the tile gravity was our worst enemy. Every time we inserted a spacer we rejoiced, only to recoil moments later when applying the next tile and inserting more spacers and the spacers from the previously set tile would fall out along with all of my hair. Just kidding. I found it really irksome so I was mostly a hinderance. I decided my efforts were best put forward outside in the yard.
Here’s Derek in action laying the first row of tile.
Yay! Good job Derek.
Of course then there was grouting. That took much less time, but was stressful for fear of the film from the grout staining the tile forever. I went around afterwards with a regular nylon kitchen sponge to scrub all the film from the grout off each individual tile. We used a sanded grout because apparently it allows for less movement of the tiles or will expand or contract because of the moisture from the shower or whatever.
Then step number 1041. Seal the tile. Now I think the reason Derek landed on this particular sealer were from reviews and information online. I was given the most stimulating task of going over all the grout lines with the sealer using a paint brush. It was a pretty unsatisfying job and often mind boggling because I often lost my place. But knowing that sealing the grout lines would make cleaning easier it was necessary.
I had a little helper, his name is Charlie.
Here is what the whole thing looks like. We still need to caulk everywhere that needs it, but you get the idea. We just need to tile the floors then sand the walls, paint, have the plumbers come in and install the faucets, sink and toilet. Gord will install the outlets and the sconces. Just a few more steps right?