Tile Prepping

I wrote that I painted the bathroom last week and we were ready for tiling.  The truth is I'm about to paint the third color in there, (I'm having a major case of color commitment - more on that later), and we had a lot more to do to prepare for the tile.  The good news is we made a lot of progress on the prepping, and painting only takes a day.

The first thing we did to prep for the tile was to build a window sill and trim.  I left the detailing for Mike, then I painted.  The reason we had to do this before the tile was because of the placement of the window, the right edge of the trim will sit against the tile.  Previously, the little bump-out for the shower just cut the trim off and it looked a little funny.  Mike and I decided to add the complete trim edge and work the tile in around that.  The truth is, the shower curtain will cover this edge and no one will probably ever see it or appreciate it, but Mike and I will know.

To keep everything cohesive, we wanted to match the trim in the bathroom to the rest of the house, including our thick base trim, (which will go in after the floor tile).  So, Mike used the window in the hallway right outside the bathroom as a guide to build out the window trim and sill.  It involved a lot more work and pieces than a traditional window trim, but it was worth it to keep everything looking the same.  Here's the window after Mike worked his magic:

You can see how the right hand edge will be cut in with tile:

Here's a detailed shot of the profile of all the trims:

And, here is the hallway window that Mike used as his guide.  Thought it was the after picture didn't you?  Yeah, he's that good.

We had a little snafu when Mike used some silicon caulk to fill the holes and seal the edges on the right that would sit next to the shower.  The problem was the silicon was non-paintable.  Yeah...and we didn't realize it until I started painting.  Imagine a lot of cursing and then tense moments of silence to control the urge to throw my paint tray in Mike's face.  To be fair, silicon caulk resists mold the best, Mike just didn't think they would make stuff that wasn't paintable.  It wasn't a complete disaster though, it just meant a lot of sanding for me, and a lot of apologies for Mike.  I was able to finally cover everything after 2 coats of primer, and 5 coats of white semi-gloss.

The next step in the prep was to put down some DensShield tile backer, which prevents damage to the sub-floor if water gets through the grouted tile.  I was a little late for the party and only was able to get pictures of the last piece going in, (Mike hates stopping in the middle of steps so I can take pictures).  Basically it's like laying drywall on the walls, but you put a layer of thinset on the floor first then put the cut pieces of DensShield on, then screw down.  After this cured for a couple of days, Mike then used some grout to fill in the seams of the DensShield on the floor and in the shower, (I didn't get a photo), to further waterproof it.  It was the same way he muds drywall seams.

Here's the thinset on the subfloor:

Then placing the DensShield on the thinset:

And, a little shimmying to get it in place:

The next step to prep was the door transition strip.  The hallway is hardwood and the bathroom is tile.  When we moved in the hall was covered in carpet and the tile in the bathroom was built up to meet that.  So when we removed the carpet, the tile was almost an inch higher and everyone tripped over it.  Mike used the hardwood as his basis for the thickness for the tile, thinset, DensShield, and subfloor so there would be no more depth difference, and no more tripping!

The hardwood floor also didn't have a straight edge, so the first thing Mike did was cut the boards for a uniform edge.  I was holding the shopvac to keep the dust to a minimum, so I didn't get photos.  He had a little piece catch on the blade and splintered, but once we sand and stain the new piece we shouldn't be able to see it.  For a nice clean look, we picked up a piece of oak 1"x2" and Mike installed it at the threshold.  He started by routering some biscuits into the floor boards.  (We had to buy a special router tip because the biscuit joiner we have didn't fit after we installed the DensSheild, next time we know to do that first!) Then he added biscuits to the piece of oak.

He then glued the edge of the oak piece with some wood glue, inside and around the biscuits:

Then used some caulk on the subfloor where the piece was going:

Then fit the biscuits into the notched holes:

He then added a couple screws into the subfloor to hold the piece secure while it dried.

What we were left with was a piece of oak that, once stained, will be a seamless transition from the hall floor to the tile.

Since Mike did all the nitty gritty stuff, I guess it's only fair to finally get my act together and pick a darn color.  I'll be back soon to show you the third and final, (I promise), color.  

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