Bathroom Redo | Part Five - Tile Works

Last week we finished the tile.  Whoop-de-doo.

Honestly it's really exciting stuff, it's just I'm so tired!  We were busy all evening and then at around 10:40 pm we started the last step of grouting the shower.  At around 11:30 we finished the first side.  I wanted to stop there.  But, Mike pushed forward and did the other side.  I really wanted to stop there.  But, Mike persisted and started the back.  This happens a lot.  I told him last night that I'm always appreciative when we're finished that it's done, but I hate him while we're doing it.

Before showing any completed photos, I'll start with the floor tiles, which we finished last week.

I explained last bathroom post that we were working with the wrong tile, but we bought it on clearance, so we had to use it.  Mike started by laying everything out and noticed it was going to be tight, as in we weren't sure if we were going to have enough tile.   When estimating, pretty much any material, you figure out your square footage and add a percentage of waste, for cut tiles that can't be reused, that sort of thing.  Mike figured the everything and even added 10% waste, but for some reason it wasn't enough.  And again, the damn clearance tile made it impossible to ensure we could get the same tile to match.  In the back of Mike's mind he was coming up with ways to make an apron of different tiles near the door or cabinet, in the back of my mind I was atoning for my sins and praying we had enough.

In the end we didn't.  If we were able to use the one sample piece (the one that didn't match) we had we would have been fine.  But we fudged it enough that it's barely noticeable, only to Mike and I, and everyone I point it out to - which is everyone because I'm weird like that and share way too much.

Anyways, I didn't get very good pictures, most were taken with my iPhone while we were randomly doing things, so here's when we started laying out the tile:

We were lucky having the closet as our stock pile area.  As you can see the tile came in 9 x 9 sheets which made it go a lot quicker.

We used dry thinset that we added water to, which wasn't fun.  Along with all the cuts, Mike had to continually run up and down the steps to make new thinset outside.  I was in charge of using the drill to mix the thinset, which I have to admit was kinda fun.  Here's the only action shot I got, when Mike wasn't spreading the thinset, I was placing the tiles (except for the extra tricky spots like here around the toilet), so there was little time to take photos.

Once we got all of the tile in I still wasn't feeling the color.  It didn't help that the all the grout spacing was a dark color which made the tile look more gym locker room than spa.

I also got a picture of the only evidence of the sample tile which we ended up using below the toe kick.  The top three tiles are the original tile we picked out.  You can barely see in this picture that it has less yellow splotches and a more grayish color.

It was at this moment that I also realized we got gray grout to match the sample tile.  Oh sample tile, why do you have to make my life so miserable?  We didn't really have any choice so we went for it.  And, thankfully one gosh darn thing worked out for us, because it looked awesome.

The light gray grout made the tile a lot lighter looking and brought out the subtle gray colors, which in turn tied it all into the walls and all the other details.

We used QuartzLock2 which is a ready-mix urethane grout that is more stain resistant, water resistant, color consistency, crack resistant, and most importantly easy to use.  It also doesn't require sealing - score!


We will have to de-haze once we get everything done, but it's a small price to pay for how quickly this stuff went on.  Mike did the spreading and worked in small areas and I maned the sponge and water bucket.

After the floor grout dried for 24 hours, according to the label we were a go for some light traffic.  Since the bathroom doesn't get "heavy" traffic, we were all systems go.

We took the opportunity to install the toilet, (I'll save all that for another post), and began installing the tile in the shower.  I chose a matte white subway tile with white grout.  After purchasing all of the tile I decided I wanted it to extend up the the ceiling, all our extra tile calculations must have gone into this number because in the end we still had almost a full box of tiles left over.  Thankfully since they're sold by the tile, we were able to return the extras.  

We used a pre-mixed thinset that made the task go a lot quicker.  But, even with Mike and I sometimes working side by side, it took us a couple days.  That was what was so great about the pre-mixed thinset, when we got to a stopping point we were able to throw the lid on and wash the trowels.

Like I said earlier, we were able to grout last week and finished in record time, (even if it was way past my bedtime).  We used the same QuartzLock2 grout, in white, and although it was a little trickier working on a vertical surface, it was much the same as the floor tiles.  The first small side took about 30 minutes to grout, (finished at 11:30 pm), the next side (with the faucet and shower head) took about 15 minutes, (11:45 pm at this point), and even though the back has more square footage combined than both the small sides, it took about 30 minutes (finally ending at 12:15 am).  With clean-up and showing we were in bed at 12:45am.  Not bad for a Wednesday night, (although now that I think about it, Mike somehow convinced me to stain our entire deck on a Wednesday night as well - looks like I'll have to join a book club or something on Wednesday's from now on). 

And the next photo it really bad, but I can't get the whole shower in one frame and neither of the ones above show how awesome all the subway tile looks wrapping around:

We've already installed the shower head and faucet, and we have to clean up the edges by painting (near the ends where I went too far with the color) and adding sealant.  According the the grout label we will wait a full 7 days before we shower or expose the grout to any water, but you better believe come next Thursday I'll be singing in the shower in our upstairs for the first time in almost 7 months!


  1. Thank god for that window being there, huh? Otherwise I think it looks great, a fine shade of vanilla white for a healthy sunny looking home. God bless, and good luck!

    -Irwin Zinkin

  2. Beautifully looking. Im in love with the windows.

  3. The colors, amber, flesh or light brown in shade, these makes the tile color harmonious. Good job and best wishes.