Sunday, January 17, 2010

Houston, we have tile

Friday, our friend Alexis and his wife very kindly came from Houston for a day to help us get started with the tile in the house. Since the hubby and I had never tiled before, we were pretty hesitant to get started, but Alexis has done a bunch of tile and has all the accouterments, so he offered to show us the tricks of the trade.

The day started at Lowe's, where we realized that the tile the kids had picked out for their bathroom would be way too dark for the size of their bathroom. We quickly picked out another option and hoped that the kids would be OK with it. We went with an 18 inch tile instead of the 12 inch because apparently bigger tile is more "in" these days. We also snagged mortar and tile spacers for the job.

Once at the house, we started by cutting a single tile in half diagonally, since we were doing a diagonal lay. Despite all the tile books saying to start in center of the room and tile outward, Alexis assured us that in such a small space, you could start along one corner and work your way from there. So we started out in the back right corner, by the toilet, and worked from there.

After cutting the first half-tiles, we marked where we needed to cut out on the tile to fit around the toilet. Alexis showed the husband how to use his amazing water-cooled tile cutter, and holy cow is that thing cool! It makes really quick work of cutting tiles, both in straight lines and in curves. We cut and fit the first two half-pieces, then worked on toward the whole pieces around the toilet. We put spacers in between each piece as we went, and cut each tile to fit as we went.

Drawing a line on the tile as a guide for cutting it in half.

The husband with the tile saw. Having the right tools makes this job SO much easier. Thank you Alexis for loaning this stuff to us!

Halfway done cutting and fitting the tile.

After we cut every tile for the bathroom, we moved the entire thing to another room and reassembled it on the floor.

T. mixing the mortar (women with power tools... be VERY afraid!)

First two corner tiles laid and mortared in. You can see how we had to cut bits out so that they would fit around the toilet.

We also ended up putting in marble trim around the tub to make the transition from tub to eventual tile surround. We chose to do this in part because of the fairly large gap between the backerboard and the tub itself.

You can see the marble transition better here.

An embarrassing picture of me laying tile. Fortunately it's not entirely a "plumber" pic, otherwise it would not be appearing on this blog.

The finished product. It's starting to look like a real bathroom!

We still have a lot of work to do on the bathroom - putting in the grout, running the wiring for the lights, putting up the drywall, tiling the tub, etc., but this is really a huge step toward having a usable bathroom. It's very exciting!

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