But still not finished. I must have put in the equivalent of 5 full 8 hour work days over the course of last week, doing any last minute prep and then tiling the shower surround and bathroom walls.
As far as last minute prep: I caulked the seam around the window opening between the cement board and old window frame (which becomes the rough opening for the new replacement window) and then painted the waterproofing membrane over top once the silicone was dry – one cannot be overly waterproof. I also caulked the joint where the cement board meets the tub, running my finger along the bead of silicone to make sure it wouldn’t dry proud of the cement board and effect the tiles adhering flat.
And then it was time to bust out the wet saw and mix up mortar. I also purchased a manual tile cutter, because I thought it might be faster for straight cuts on these small tiles, but a wet saw is the only way I know how to cut corners or grind rounded shapes in a piece of porcelain tile. And sometimes I just need to shave the slightest sliver away from a cut, and the wet saw is the best for this also.
For mortar, the tile store sold me Full Flex Premium thin set mortar. They explained that it would be the best product to use for everything – the shower walls, bath walls, and floor. I roughly followed the mixing ingredients, until it was about the thickness of cake icing. Although the professionals will trowel it onto the walls in a small section at a time, I kept finding it would dry too quickly that way (lots of cutting tiles, then re-cutting tiles, and before too long the mortar wasn’t sticky any more). So I switched to using the back-butter method, where I lather up each tile, scrape with a notched trowel, and then push the tile into place. It goes slower, but I felt it was cleaner and gave me more control.
The large areas went fairly quick.
I started with the tub side wall, under and around the window. Rather than get fancy with the corners, I simply tiled the side wall all the way to the corner and then butted each row of the front and back wall up against the corner once again. Once its all grouted, it will just be a straight line in the corner rather than a weave that a professional might make by doing one row at a time and alternating each row.
Above is the closeup of the corner. I also left an 1/8th inch gap between the bottom row and the lip of the tub, as instructed by the TileMasterGA via YouTube. Rather than grout this line, it will be filled with white silicone to seal the space and create a waterproof line so water cannot get beneath the tile or behind the tub.
The wood trim attached to the wall provided a straight edge to begin tiling this wall, level with the ledge of the tub. This way, each row would meet in the corner and the grout lines would be aligned.
The second wood piece is just slightly below what will be the top edge of the vanity cabinet. Since I expect the cabinet to be pretty permanent, I went all cheap scape and decided I didn’t need to tile the area that would be hidden behind the cabinet. Seemed like a waste of tile and time.
Around the window, I cut the ties flush with the inside edge of the wood frame. The new window will be a snug fit inside this frame, and once the window is installed I can place the marble ledge for the window sill and use bullnose edge tiles up the sides to finish the inside edges.
Above is a sneak peak of my floor tile, I plan to start that next week. Although it will have a simple border along the walls, it should go much faster being 12×12 inch sheets and a simple square floor area. It was the trim pieces and corners and anything needing cut after cut which took longer. A few days later, and this is the result:
This last photo shows the top details where the tile meets the painted drywall. Black line, mini subway tiles, a 2nd black line, and then a decorative chair rail cap. I finished the wall tile late tonight, but I still need to scrub some excess mortar out some of the joints so that the grout will be even. I’m thinking super pale gray grout for the walls (just slightly off-white to provide some contrast), and medium gray grout for the floor tile to give that antique floor look. But I’ll get the floor fully tiled first, and then I’ll begin the grouting step. My inspiration for the floor:
Since last weekend, I put a 2nd coat of primer on the bathroom walls, this one was tinted gray to ready the walls for the final paint color.
At this point, both the walls and ceiling are ready for paint!
So it was time to select the final paint colors. I basically knew what I wanted, but I have the unique ability to choose 50 paint samples (that anyone else would say all look identical) and mull over just how different they each look!
But our local Sherwin-Williams store was having a sale this weekend only – 40% Sale on all paints meant I had to make a decision! Although I considered almost a dozen wall colors, I decided to go bold or go home – Black Magic is the color name. For the ceiling, I chose a very pale gray named First Star, because I want the ceiling to be a bit in contrast to the white crown molding around the room. Both the ceiling and wall paint are Duration in Satin finish, which I’ve used in the past and really enjoy painting with. It’s like painting with whipped cream – it rolls and brushes on smooth and covers really well. And rather than white right out of the can for the trim, I went with a soft-white titled Snowbound, which I think will look a little less stark. For this, the store manager recommended ProClassic for trim & woodwork. It’s their best interior enamel, and supposed to dry to a super smooth but very hard finish. I like woodwork to be just 1 step shinier than the walls, so I purchased a full gallon in Semi-Gloss knowing I might use it in other rooms as well.
I put the sample board together to show what all of the room finishes will look like together:
The wood represents the dresser I will transform into a vanity, as well as the bathroom door. I went through my stash of salvaged doors – (what, doesn’t everyone have a stash of salvaged woodwork, doors, light fixtures, and other random antique home parts and pieces?) – and I have a 5 panel door that should work great. It will need cut down about 2 inches in height, but the width is almost perfect. I’ll probably have to re-align the hinges, and perhaps the striker plate too. A few dings and chips, but it will look great with a little patching, sanding, and some stain to even out the imperfections. Almost all of the hardware in the bathroom will be brushed nickel – silver with almost a pink/gold hue. And how about that light bulb? I had a very successful shopping trip to two different architectural salvage stores in Fort Wayne. I mixed and matched some vintage light fixtures and cylindrical globes to assemble what will be an awesome pair of wall sconces once refurbished. Not exactly what I was picturing, but $15/sconce feels so much better than $100/sconce – and they will give much the same effect. But for now they are safely stored away until the walls are ready. Now begins the week of bathroom tile!
Tonight after work I swung by our friendly local Sherwin-Williams store to ask which primer would be best for fresh drywall. There’s nothing worse than spending hours prepping and painting a room, only to see each and every patch once the paint is dry because the primer didn’t prepare the walls like it was supposed to. Drywall paper will absorb paint differently than sanded joint compound, and I wanted to make sure I used the right primer so that these areas wouldn’t be noticeable with the final coat of paint.
Although they do carry a primer specifically for drywall, the friendly saleswoman assured me their Multi-Purpose primer would work great for the drywall and the existing ceiling both. Sure enough, the can lists that it will work on everything from glossy surfaces to patched surfaces to fresh drywall. Winner.
I already had roller covers and brushes, so I immediately went to work. I was a little apprehensive to prime the walls, because there is no hiding the imperfections of my drywall seams and patching once the primer goes on. Not to say I couldn’t fix those spots later, but it would point out any areas I hadn’t paid enough attention to.
But in reality, I had very little to be worried about. If I do say so myself, I am quite the drywall master! I barely did any sanding, yet the seams turned out almost invisible, and there are just a few tiny little areas of bubbles or lines that I might go back and put a thin layer of joint compound over. But even if I don’t, the areas are so small and hidden that probably no one except me would ever notice them.
I did not tape the seams between the walls and ceiling, because I know I will line the room with crown molding, which will end up covering this gap. That also means not having to prime all the way up to the ceiling.
The perimeter of the attic opening looks a little unfinished, but that’s because I removed the trim pieces since they were so caked with thick ugly layers of paint. I’m not going to strip them down to natural wood, but simply sand them a bit so they aren’t so crude looking. The attic opening will be painted white to look the same as the rest of the trim in the room.
The primer I used is pure white. This will be ok for the ceiling, which will be a very pale gray. But for the walls, I’m going to apply a 2nd coat of primer that has been tinted gray. Painters recommend a gray tinted primer for most dark colors and even when painting reds, as it helps the actual paint color come through. I’m planning on very dark gray – almost black. Below is almost exactly the look I’m going for: dark walls, lots of white tile, black framed artwork.
It’s monochromatic, but in no way is it cold or dull. It’s masculine and bold, minimalist yet timeless. The only difference is that I’ll warm up the space with a stained wood vanity – (because if I went with just a pedestal sink, this bathroom would have almost zero storage space) – more on the vanity cabinet soon And maybe a stained wood door. Haven’t fully decided yet. And that is a whole separate conversation – I don’t have a bathroom door. The one I removed was a cheap hollow core door, with a few holes and about to fall off of its hinges. The one bedroom doesn’t have a door at all, so I want to find a style I can use for both. But more on that later. I mean, come on, without a working toilet why would I need a door yet?