Finally moving on to the floor tile in the bathroom. This will be the last step of the bathroom renovation I share before all the finishing touches are in place and I can do a proper before and after. The reason I am doing this post is because I think laying tile is something anyone can do. I’m certainly not saying that it’s easy but instead that it is a skill that can be learned.
We laid our bathroom tile with the help of this awesome blog Remodelaholic. We knew we wanted to do black hexagonal tile in the bathroom with some kind of design with white hexagonal tile. You can get lost on the web looking up different patterns for hex tile and they’re all amazing. Derek has done some ceramic floor tiling before, but it was with large slabs. While searching around we stumbled on this blog that demonstrated step by step Installing Hexagon Tile for Beginners. This post was written by blogger Kim Woodward from Newly Woodwards. Actually, looking at their before and after I’m realizing that we bought the exact same medicine cabinet haha. Check out their blog too, they have lots of home projects featured.
We had initially thought we might try a border, and then logic kicked in about the time it would take to do that plus I think it would just emphasize the fact the bathroom floor space is small. Much improved don’t get me wrong, but I wanted more black on the floor that went end to end rather than the space being made smaller with a border after spending all that time making it bigger.
So we dry fit the tile as suggested by Kim Woodward. We had similar difficulties fitting our tile since the room isn’t perfectly square and it’s older so nothing is perfectly level either. Getting those spacers in was almost as much of a pain as spacing the tile in the bathtub/shower surround and there was gravity to contend with there.
We cut all of the tile that needed to be cut to fit by the wall and the bathtub. We also labeled the tiles we laid with numbers. The pieces that were cut were also bundled the plastic the tile was separated with in the box and numbered with the corresponding sheet. As we removed the tile from the floor we numbered to floor underneath with the corresponding sheet. There was lots of numbering happening.
Derek and I had high hopes like “this is gonna go waaay faster than the bathtub tile” and “this first sheet will be easy to lay, no extra pieces”. Once again we were wrong. We ended up slapping that mortar down and smacking that tile down only to realize we had applied the wrong numbered sheet! Ah what was all that labouring over numbering everything?! Come on guys get it together! The problem with living in a constant state of renovation is that you run out of fuel really fast and when you’re tired you make really stupid mistakes.
We pulled that first sheet off, I washed it in a bucket with water to get the mortar off only to realize that the water dissolves the glue holding all those little tiles on the sheet. So naturally a bunch of tiles fell off in the bucket. The bucket became cloudy with mortar and there was a freak out that we were missing some tiles only to realize they were in the bucket. Phew. It was a long night haha. But we got it together in the end. We quickly stopped being cocky and just started to try our best. After laying the tile we sealed it twice with our chosen sealer because I do believe the tiles we have are unglazed. Then we got to grouting.
Grouting the tile was by far my favourite part. It went fairly quickly. It was definitely hard work and demanded a lot of elbow grease. We had a good system. Derek would put in the grout and I would wipe it off with a sponge several times to cut down on the fog it leaves across the tile. I’d also make sure the grout was evenly distributed and if it wasn’t I would take a gob on my finger and fill in any areas that need correcting. It worked out quite well. Grouting was the stage where you can really see it coming together. I liken it to the feeling when you’re in a dark room finally developing those pictures and you see the image appear before you. It’s magical. We chose a soft grey grout. We wanted there to be contrast with the grout for both the black and the white tiles and also using a grey grout keeps the tile from looking dingy over time if it gets dirty. That’s my hope anyway.
It’s certainly not perfect. Some tiles are further apart than others, but all in all it’s small tile with a lot of pattern happening, so when you’re standing you can’t see the differences. And Derek and I are closer to the ground than most people so if we can’t tell, people taller than us won’t be able to tell either. It looks good now so I can’t wait until everything is together. I will be able to finally shower in my own home! There will most definitely be before and afters. Here’s to looking forward…