September 28, 2018 – February 9, 2019

I should have made post as this project went along, so you may want to get some snacks to get through this one.  September 28, 2018 was the first day I started laying tile in the first floor bathroom, with the goal of having one fully functioning bathroom before I moved in.  February 9, 2019 was the day it officially became a fully functioning bathroom.  I still need to hang the doors, finish the medicine cabinet and touch up paint, but I no longer have to chose between the upstairs or downstairs toilet when I’m on the first floor and I no longer have to use the kitchen sink to wash my hands.  Heaven on earth.

With the exception of letting a plumber connect the shower diverter and drain in tub and having tub professionally reglazed everything else you’ll see I did by myself.  It truly is the most ambitious tile project I have ever undertaken and it tested my resolve, patience, and stretched my skills to a whole new level.  Pinterest can get a DIYer in trouble.  The idea to create a rug affect on the bathroom floor came to me via a picture on Pinterest.  I started with a very easy step, applying the RedGard to the floor and walls

The original floor was all white 1″ hexagon.  It was filthy, but otherwise in great shape.  I hated tearing it out, but the floor joist where really compromised from years of water leaks, so I had no choice, but remove.  I got the floor tile from the Tile Shop in Oakley.  I found a great sales person in Cari Branden.  From there I did a dry fit to make sure the black tile was centered and balanced.  I didn’t lay out the entire floor, just enough to

to know I had cut the mosaics to the right lengths and widths.  It was early in the project, so my confidence was high.  I put together my new Ridgid wet saw and got started.  I had the first row of white and the upper black down and at that point had planned to do all the outer white and then all the black, so I could grout the black.  In hindsight I should have used gray grout for entire floor, but I had my vision set on white on white, black on black.  Things weren’t lining up with the thinset as they did with the dry run as I realized the sink wall was not straight.  I abandoned the idea of laying all the black and just started laying rows, backing my way out the room.

Next was the white grout, trying to be careful not get any in the areas meant for the black grout.  It was November 12th when I reached this stage.  I had sold my house and was packing for my November 17th move.  I turned my focus on the walls (still had not done the black grout) as I had Miracle Method scheduled to refinish the tub on November 15 and they said I needed to have the tile work around the tub finished before they could do their part.  I had already rescheduled them twice.

Followers of my blog have read this statement many times.  My goal was not to renovate, but restore.  The orignal bathroom had 4×4 white tile and tile chair rail on all four walls.  Originally it only went up about 4 feet as there was not a shower, just the gorgeous, deep cast iron tub.  I’ve never worked with a chair rail or cove base tile and they don’t make now as they did back then.  All the wall tile came from Lowe’s, American Olean.  Just before I started this project I got to go to a training at French Lick Resort and stay in their West Baden property.  I had heard so many wonderful things about that property and it did not disappoint.  Highly recommend.  The bathroom had the same chair rail and 4 x 4 tile I had purchased.  I asked management and they told me it was American Olean.  I got geeked (did I just age myself).

I was taught to start in the center and work your way to the sides, so that each corner has the same width tile.  With the corner round I had to start on the outer corner.  It amazingly was easier to work with the corner pieces than I thought.  Even the beveled cuts for the chair rail went off without a hitch. Since I added a shower, my tile went up 7′ around the tub and it seemed like the boxes of tiles were multiplying as I was laying them.  After a full 8 hours I hadn’t put a dent in the tub area, but I had done enough to keep the tub refinishing appointment.

Miracle Method reglazed my master tub at my former house.  My friend Joan had used them and was happy with the outcome, so I didn’t shop around.  They did a good job on Inner Circle, so I became a repeat customer.   They started right after I had my bad 20181115_120545experience with Roland Hardwoods where I didn’t speak up when I knew the work wasn’t right.  For the plumbing rough-in I had to put a drain in for the water test.  Since that tub was going to be reglazed I bought a cheap one from Home Depot and it was still in place.  The young man doing the work was adamant he was not allowed to remove the drain, even though I told him it was temporary.  I knew there was rust under it, but he insisted that area didn’t need to be treated and I could remove it later.  I let it go, as I had to leave due to fumes, but when I saw the tub the next day I knew I was

right as could see that once I removed that drain it was going to compromise the edges around the drain.  I called their office and raised a fit and he was instructed to remove the drain and treat the area underneath.  Instead of buffing and finishing in 2 days he had to retreat the area and I held off the final, buffing, until after my move.  SPEAK UP is the important lesson I learned when your gut tells you something is not right.

Several people told me I could have gotten the reglazing done cheaper, they charged $650, but the final product looked awesome and I’m not knowledgeable enough to know if one process is better than another.  I would use them again despite lower pricing elsewhere.

Since I’m through about half the pictures, I will make this a two-parter.  Stay tuned as you haven’t seen the hard part yet.