Aug 20

Nesting Project: Tiling the Bathroom

It’s been a little while since I’ve sat down to write a post about my building adventures.  The “tree house” has kept me very busy since we moved in back in January.  I have about 10 projects in the queue that I am looking forward to sharing soon.  Well, there’s no better place for me to start than one of Kelli’s main “nesting” projects that I was assigned: tiling the bathroom.

As usual, my friends Google and YouTube got me started off on the right foot.  I have a wee bit of experience with tiling during our days in Sidney, but I’m still considered a beginner since we used porcelain tile this time instead of vinyl.   Also as usual, I had a buddy helping me out. You will see Thayne in a couple of the pictures.  He is the man!

He and I have a good partnership going when it comes to house projects. We are both blessed with amazing PREGNANT wives, so while they kick it on the couch and watch trashy tv, we work on each others houses’.  They are due about a month apart so we both have been given very similar lists.  It’s worked wonderfully in getting things done.
So let’s get started on Nesting Project: Tiling the Bathroom Floor





First Step: pull up the existing floor.  We found out that it wasn’t just one layer.  1st layer – carpet, 2nd layer – padding for the carpet and the tack strips.


3rd layer – vinyl tiles


4th layer – cement board that the tile is glued down on.

IMG_6822 5th layer – laminate from the 90’s in bottom left of the picture above. 6th layer – Honeycomb laminate from the 70’s in the picture below.  I tried to talk Kelli into going retro in the guest bathroom.  She veto’d.   IMG_6878

And lastly, pounding in the top of staples.

We were able to pull up the toilet pretty easily and then proceeded to leave the “throne” in the dining room, for easier access, obviously. 😉

There was a little bit of prep work we had to finish before we started putting the new layers down.  The first was to cut the door trim high enough to fit the cement board, 1/4 inch of motor, and a 1/4 inch tile.  We went with the logic path to make this easy.  We put the cement board down and then two tiles on top of that, which would equal the total height.  Then we took the best tool ever, the oscillating plunge saw, and cut the trim up to the correct height.

These aren’t all the measurements, but it does map out our toilet area.  When I jump into projects that have a lot of measurements, I find it easiest to make a drawing and then list all the measurements I have.

Originally, when I was thinking about cutting cement board, I was at a loss on what to use.  Luckily, my dad had just got done doing a tiling project and had a great recommendation of below blade on a jigsaw.  I’m not sure what the exact name is for this blade, but it worked great!  Thanks for the recommendation Dad!



And there she is!  We used cement board because it is very rigid and it doesn’t mold.  We put a lot of screws into the floor, mostly around the outsides of each piece.  It is very important to not let the cement board move at all since that is what the tile sits on.  If it moves it will crack your grout and you will have to start over.

We weren’t sure if this was the best way, but Google told us to mark the line with a chalk.  It worked really well in keeping us straight after we started laying the tile.



Before we started laying the tile, we put mortar in the cracks of the cement board.  I think this again helps with a complete moisture barrier as well as keeping the floor stationary.

The other thing we did before laying the tile was laid out the entire floor.  This was THE MOST CRITICAL STEP for us!  This let us make sure we didn’t have any tiny pieces on any of the ends throughout the entire floor.  I think the professionals could start without cutting every piece, but for us beginners cutting every piece is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  If we wouldn’t have done that, we would have had dry mortar, terrible cuts, and all kinds of other issues.

My engineering highlight was using a kitchen bowl as the stencil for the toilet hole.  I was pretty impressed that I figured that out on my own.

We had never cut tile, but this is what it looks like.  I used a wet tile saw to make all of our cuts.  Pretty easy, but it can be a little dirty.

Here’s Thayne laying the mortar and then the tile.  We would put down enough mortar to lay about 2 rows.  Just in case you didn’t know (because we sure didn’t at the beginning) when your tiling the bathroom or any room, you want to start from the furthest corner so you never have to step on tiles you just laid.

Here’s what the tiling looks like after we get them all spaced and laid down.  80% of the time we spent on the project got us to the picture below.  Once the tile is laid it needs to sit for roughly 24 hours to firm up before you walk on it.


The next step is to lay the grout.  We had a lot of the tools from the last time we grouted, but we used a foam trowel, bucket of water, and a grout sponge.

When laying the grout, the ultimate goal that I was trying to achieve was to make sure all the grooves were completely full of the grout.  TIP: fill the gaps in at a 45 degree angle like the picture below.



TIP #2: Try to get all the grout that is not in the grooves off the tile. If you don’t, sponging the grout off is a ton of work!  It’s already a shoulder workout without adding more difficulty to the project.


We’re getting close!! The last couple things I had to finish up was to spray the grout with sealer and to re-install the baseboards.



And…it’s complete!!!!!  I was pretty proud of how it turned out since I’ve never laid “real” tile down before.    I’m not sure if this is true, but I feel like I could attempt just about any tile project now.  The cool thing about getting one of these projects under your belt is that you feel like you could really try anything tile-related.



Kelli had me put a couple floating shelves to give the walls a little flavor.  She’s the creative brain behind all of our decorating.  She’s a very gifted lady when it comes to decorating.  And I’m a very gifted man when it comes to doing what I’m told….which ends up looking amazing.  Kuddos to you Kel!

Until next post, which on my current writing trend, will be a couple months from now.  Annndddd Kelli and I could have a new member of our family by then!


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1 comment

  1. Jann Lawler

    It looks awesome. Reminds me of some of our home projects when we had our first house and were expecting Madi. You and Todd should have compared notes before you guys moved. Hope all is going well with you guys. Miss you in Sidney!

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