Bathroom Remodel, Part 2: Tile





I sheathed the bedroom side of the wall with a 1/2″ plywood.  I will still put drywall over it, but I happened to have the plywood and I’m really going to try to deaden the sound as much as possible going through this wall. This will be our baby room later, and I don’t want to wake up a kiddo while I’m trying to shower at night! I have also tacked together some 2 X 4’s to make a little brace to hold up the tub.  The next step is flooring, so I need access to all of it.  Another way to do this if you don’t have these open studs to attach to is to set your tile on half the floor, wait until it dries and then move the tub to the other side and finish tiling. I don’t have the patience for that, and I’ve also got these nice exposed studs to attach to!


Because I don’t want to advise anyone on things like plumbing (in the case that you mess it up and get mad at me!), I won’t say much else except that I have now got the plumbing worked out.  This includes the (moved) toilet drain and supply line, vanity drain and supply line, the new tub drain and supply, and the new shower drain and supply.  This photo is a shot from the basement looking up.  I used pex tubing for the supply lines and ABS for the drains (all standard these days). As a side note, I went ahead and just replumbed all of my house since I was already at it and all I had left to do was the kitchen. If you have a good Lowe’s/Home Depot associate to talk to, you can figure all of this out.  Pex is about like putting Legos together, and ABS is about like that too.  Plumbing is very easy if you look at the process with some basic critical thinking.


Here is the beginning of the travertine on the floor.  I used 3/4″ backer board to go on top of the diagonal floor boards that were in previous photos and then began setting my travertine. This is how we’re looking so far. One method I have found that I like when setting tile is to put in all of my full pieces one day, then come back and spend the next day just doing my cut pieces. Also, make sure to stuff something in your toilet drain so it doesn’t get any big chunks of anything down there that can clog it up later.  The other ABS pipe you can see in this picture was left way too long on purpose. I’m not quite sure where it needs to be yet, so I left plenty that I can trim up later.  The vanity drain and shower drain are not visible in this photo.


Now that the floor tiles are all in place, I am ready to move onto the wall tiles.  These are also travertine, but they are brick-shaped so they will be distinguished from the floor. Since I have cinder blocks exposed from removing the old plaster, I have gone around with a bubble level and made sure the mortar lines are all level and square with the floor, which they are! I can use them as a basic eyeball guide when I’m going along with setting these, but I still used a chalk line to mark out my first few rows. I am also using mastic thinset instead of thinset mortar for my vertical tiles.  I almost always use mastic for vertical tiles because it has a stronger initial hold on the tile and I get way, way less drooping with it. When using regular thinset for this, you may find that you have to tack a straight stud board up under the first row to get everything to stay in place. I prefer it this way.


Tera just got home from a business trip to Ohio, and she’s checking out the progress.  I have a happy wife so far!


I am, again, only placing all of the full pieces right now, and will come back over it for my cut pieces.  Travertine is especially irritating to cut because you cannot use a score-and-snap tool to make your straight cuts in the room you’re working on.  Everything has to be done with an angle grinder or a tile wet saw outside or in a garage, etc.  Also, leaving the cuts until later does not require you to wait until it’s dry for vertical tile, since you don’t have to stand on it to reach the cut piece areas.


I’m really knocking it out tonight! Now I have the arch over the window that we wanted, and I’m almost done with all of the full pieces.


After staying up pretty much all night, I’m waking up to this sight.  I am much more motivated to feel happy about this project now! It’s starting to form up to a point that I can see where we’re headed.  I can’t wait to bathe here instead of over a floor drain in my basement that I set up temporarily. Now we need to grout, which isn’t my favorite thing to do, but it does go fairly quickly.


I’ll start with the vertical tiles and move back to the floor. Here’s the color we chose.

Ok, getting there…


…and now done with the wall.  I haven’t sponged it off yet, so it has that whitened look to it.

All done with the wall grout!

Here is a “before and after” of the window.  Grout really does make everything start to pop like we want it to! On to the floor grout…


…and there’s that. Always keep in mind with tile that you will have a hazed look to it after installing the grout.  I just get it off as best I can with my sponge, wait about 24 hours and then sponge it off again with light soap.  We will also be treating this stone so it looks wet all the time.  I can’t wait to see it treated!


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