Today’s a tile sharing day. Not to be confused with a style-sharing day… that was Tuesday (booya… bringing it home for the win). So yeah… tile’s not particularly sexy… but it makes SUCH a difference in a space.
I think this powder room might actually accommodate people one day. Making progress! The current status is disheveled, but headed in the right direction. The wallpaper is removed and I’ve given the walls a good scrubbing to remove the residual fabric softener. The toilet’s gone and I’m focused on the floor.
As a reminder, this was the loveliness that was the powder room floor before. Ironically, this is my favorite color. But somehow it didn’t work for me here. I needed a change.
Something more neutral and chic and less ‘let’s pull up a tray to eat our TV dinner in front of the Sony Trinitron.’ If you follow me on Facebook, then you saw this informal tile survey I took. The choices were evenly split, but I opted for the penny tile for a couple of reasons. 1. We have the hex tile upstairs and I wanted to try something new. 2. I thought that maybe the smaller tile would be easier to work with in this tiny space (read: less CUTTING), and 3. I love a penny tile.
- rubber mallet
- liquid nails
- concrete backerboard
- backerboard screws
- tile (I used this from Home Depot)
- grout (sanded)
- trowel suitable for your tile (I used a 1/4″ x 1/4″ square notch)
- buckets (lots and lots of buckets in case you mix too much thinset and grout and have to just throw away your buckets…)
I’ve never removed tile, but this came up as well as can be expected. My technique involved lots of banging and hammering. I worked my crow bar under the tile and gave it a whack. Over and over.
What I learned was that the tile was set directly on top of the old vinyl floor which was right on top of the plywood subfloor. Thankfully the subfloor was in great shape. But… best practice for laying tile is to lay it on a concrete backerboard.
To give you an idea of how small this bathroom is, I only needed one sheet of backerboard (they’re maybe $10?) and… I needed to trim it down. I just used a circular saw, but you can also score the backerboard and break it where you scored.
Use liquid nails or thinset to adhere your backerboard to the subfloor. Make sure you keep it level. Follow the directions on the backerboard, but basically screw it in every 8″ or so with special backerboard screws. Countersink your screws or else you’ll have little blips in your tile when you lay them down.
I laid out my tile first. With penny tile, the one thing I read was that you want to stagger your sheets to make it less obvious where they are meeting. With so many little tiles, it’s easy to misalign one sheet and end up with crooked rows or gaps. The walls in this room are a mess, so I plan to add some base boards and molding… meaning, I could be lazy about my tile edges and didn’t bother to cut any of the tiles for a perfect edge. These particular penny tiles are from Home Depot and are fairly small, so… the edges don’t have large gaps anyways.
Once I arranged the tile, I mixed my thinset. Specifically, I mixed enough thinset to retile the Taj Mahal. I used a mixing paddle on our drill and mixed the thinset until it was the consistency of toothpaste. Or creamy peanut butter. Or pudding. Too runny and it won’t stick to the backerboard enough to support the tile, too thick and the tile won’t set down into the thinset enough.
I was a one-woman show for the messy parts of this room so no pics, but you’ve seen the youtube videos… spread your thinset across the backerboard and then use the teeth on your trowel to scrape away the excess thinset. Press your tile down into the thinset being careful to keep everything smooth and level. This penny tile is small so the thinset quickly oozed up around the tile. I tried to clean off the thinset and went back with a bamboo skewer after a few hours to remove any excess thinset from around the tiles.
I didn’t mix quite as much grout as I did thinset, but… I still mixed about 25x too much. Lesson learned. The grout was easy peasy. Messy as all get out, but easy. Plop a handful of grout down and pull it over your tiles with your rubber float. I wore rubber gloves and used my fingers for some hard to reach places. Go back over your grout about a million times with a large sponge, rinse and repeat until the tiles are clean.
These ‘big reveal’ pictures aren’t super impressive. Yet. Even without the rest of the room finished, no question these gray penny tiles are SOOOOO much better than the 70s turquoise. Next up? Vanity and… walls!
Ready for the glamour shot? Here ya go. No? Not glamorous. I know. It will be.
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