Hey friends, hope you are all doing okay. I meant to post earlier this week, but I just couldn’t find the enthusiasm to do it. I’ve been making a lot of good progress on the basement bathroom since mindless distractions have been very welcome, and I’m feeling very confident in my decisions as I go along. I take that back, I’m feeling really amped up, and proud of how this is coming together! I’m excited that soon I’ll be installing the sink and beginning the tile in the shower. As of right now, I’ve nearly finished installing all the subway tile in the “sink area”. I have hopes of finishing it up this weekend, as there is only a little bit of tile left to be installed, and then I can move on to grouting and getting that sink in there! I’m also waiting on some special order bullnose tile to be delivered so I can finish up the edging on the far wall.
Let me back up a little bit though. Since I’m doing a things a little bit out of order, I wanted to make sure everything would go smoothly with no hiccups along the way. This involved lots of checking, second guessing and dry runs. My main concern was allowing enough space for the cement tile flooring that I am waiting to be delivered (still weeks away). After double and triple checking I allowed a gap of 3/8″ for the tile plus and additional 1/4″ for thin set. My trim was 7 1/4″, and allowing 5/8″ for the tile and thin set I installed a ledger board 7 7/8″ above the floor. My laser level really came in handy for getting the ledger board squared away — I can’t recommend one enough. My idea is, once the floor tile is installed, I will install the baseboard around the perimeter of the room, if need be I can always scribe the bottom of the baseboard to fit the floor. This seemed like a reasonable solution to my out-of-order tiling woes.
This planning and double checking took a lot of time. Finally I felt confident enough to begin, and after starting the tile, things progressed quickly. In the past, I typically back butter my tiles, because it gives me a lot of control and I don’t have to worry about the thin set drying out. I did this for the first few rows before deciding to get crazy and apply the thin set straight to the wall. Once I began doing this the tiles went up super fast. I would tile three or four rows at a time. After the tile was up I’d take my laser level and tripod and double check to make sure all rows were level. This is really easy with tripod because you just give the lever a few winds to elevate to the next line of tile. It takes seconds to do and saves a ton of time. Next I wiped everything down with a sponge making sure to remove any excess thin set. I had two buckets going at all times, one bucket for wiping down the tile and another for cleaning my tools as I go. Your tools will get messy, and I felt regular cleaning kept everything running smoothly. My favorite tool is the 3″ multi tool, part scraper, part straight edge, part screw driver. I would scrape off any mortar from tile with the wide 3″ side, and the thin part of the tool works really well for scraping out any thin set that might have seeped through the cracks. After that I clean up any residue with clean water and a sponge.
I’m hoping that within the next week the rest of the bullnose tile will be delivered for the edges. The bullnose is on the short side of the tile which allows the pattern to run right up to the edge of the wall instead of having to finish the corner with a vertical border. I like the look of that better, and with a bead of caulking it will look v clean and finished. I want to grout this entire area, and then install the sink. I’ve got my fingers crossed that the sink won’t be too hard to install since I already did a dry run with all the plumbing. Anyways, there will be lots to share!