Life with the P's

A young couple living life – remodeling, diy projects, and everything in between!

Spare Bathroom – Reveal!

Check out our main guest bathroom before here. Well, we have some good news! That bathroom looks A-M-A-Z-I-N-G now! If you wanna talk budget, the total re-do cost about $1,500. Pretty steep price tag, I know. That is counting everything, though. The only thing that stayed in the bathroom was the tub (just the tub, not the surround) and the drywall. That total includes: all of the tile and tile supplies (including new Hardie backer board), vanity and vanity top, tub and sink faucets, shower curtain and rod, all towel holders, mirror, toilet, and light fixture. Phew, I think that is all. ANYWAY… time for some pictures!

Here is a pictures that provided some inspiration for us. We wanted to tile half way up the wall all the way around the bathroom and have a nice border on top of that. I am not sure where this picture came from, so I apologize for stealing it!

Here is the master plan, and yes, that picture was taken halfway through the project. The mosaic-type tile was from Lowe’s and came in a 12″x12″ sheet for just $2.50 FOR THE WHOLE SHEET! We cut each sheet into 3 pieces of 4 rows tall (not sure that makes sense). The bull nose piece was $5 for a 12″ piece from Floor & Decor Outlet here in Houston. The wall and floor tile came from Lowe’s also. Wall tile was $0.67/piece and floor tile was $2.13/piece. The floor is a rather small area, so we went with the 18″ tile that was a little more expensive.

Not that anyone cares, but this is how we cut/lay tile floors (and walls). We start by figuring out the center tile in the room, then lay all of the full size tiles that require no cutting. Using mortar, we put all of the no-cut-needed tiles in place and then wait about a day to do anything else. The next day (or a week later, whatever!) we mark all of the tiles that need to be cut and number them with their location on the floor. Sorry for the blurry picture, but hopefully you get the idea:

If you have a mixer you don’t like, here is what you can do with it: MIX YOUR GROUT WITH IT! That isn’t cake mix in that bowl! We have decided that we prefer unsanded grout and the smallest grout lines possible (typically 1/8″). And that mixer did a great job on the grout!

Here are some more in progress pictures:

We have had our share of issues with this bathroom:

  1. The plumbing was all copper and Aaron had a hell of a time getting it soldered with no leaks.
  2. The door that was on the bathroom didn’t close after we put the tile backer board and the tile on the floor. It was installed with the linoleum, so we had to cut about 1/4″ off the bottom of it in order for it to close properly at all.
  3. Our last major complication was that we are dumb didn’t think the vanity through all the way. We thought we would be genius and save some green by buying a kitchen sink base. Two kitchen re-models/construction later and we still didn’t think this one through. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the kitchen sink bases are deeper (about 2″ to be exact) than the normal bathroom vanity. After about 24 hours of consideration, we busted out the table saw and cut the vanity down ourselves, saving about $140. And if you ask me, you couldn’t even tell. I think we might use the in-stock kitchen cabinets for our master bathroom also, only we shouldn’t need to cut those down because we will be getting a custom counter anyway. Not sure about that one yet, though. Here’s proof of the door rigging, but I don’t have proof of the vanity re-sizing because it took both of us to unsafely maneuver a 36″ vanity on a table saw.

OHHH! And another lesson learned – if you are doing a border all the way around the room, put the border up first using nails or boards to hold it in place. We should have done this to ensure a perfectly level border and then tiled from the border down to the floor since we had to cut the tile along the floor anyway. Our border is a little off, but overall, we can’t complain. Just one of those things that you live and learn.

Here are some detail pictures of the “after” bathroom:

And here is what the bathroom looks like now:


I am always a sucker for “before and afters”, so here ya go!

Can I add… what a difference GE Reveal blue lights make! Look at those yellow tinted before shots! Luckily and with a lot of hard work, we finished before Aaron’s parents arrived for their visit in early May. All that we have left is to paint the door (bleck!).

Finally, I Have some tips for tiling. These are just some tidbits that we have learned along the way that you don’t always hear/read about when you look into the how-to’s.

Tips for Tiling:

  • Install any decorative border first using nails or boards to hold it level and in place.
  • Use small grout lines. You want to show off the tile, not the grout.
  • When tiling floors, find your center tile and stick (for lack of a better word) down all tiles that don’t require cutting from the center to the outer edges of the room. Let this part dry for 24 hours or so before coming back to finish the cut pieces.
  • When tiling vertical surfaces (walls), your mortar should be the consistency of peanut butter (Dave’s analogy!). This definitely makes a huge difference. Mud that is too thin will cause your tile to slide down the wall.
  • When tiling vertical surfaces, only tile a couple of feet up at a time. We wanted to ensure that the tile stayed in place, and putting up too much to quickly could have resulted in more shifting.
  • More mortar is always better. It may be messy, but 100% of the back of the tile should be sticking to the floor/wall with mortar to prevent any future cracking.
  • Use tape to hold bull nose pieces in place until the mortar dries
  • ALWAYS wipe excess mortar up before you finish for the day. It is such a pain if you wait.
  • Use patterns such as a staggered brick-like pattern or diagonal (diamond) pattern <–those are my terms, not real terms.
  • Clean out your mortar bucket or it will be junk. We have thrown away numerous buckets because of this. You would think we would learn!

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