Posts Tagged Tools

Everyday I’m Tiling

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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It took several long days, hundreds of trips outside to the wet saw to cut (and then re-cut – and then cut my fingers on sharp edge of the tile), but the large areas went pretty fast.P1030771 B

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:

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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:

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Bloggers Block?

Let me put any fears to rest.  I haven’t necessarily been taking a break from blogging, I have just had a lot on my to do list which fell outside of blogging material.

Firstly, my tag-line now needs clarification.  For the past month, this blog has actually been “the adventures of an employed designer.”  Not as a designer, but employed which is quite important.  After a few phone calls and an interview, I undertook the role of Communications Assistant at a local family-owned company.  Although a temp position, the internship atmosphere of the work has allowed for growth, learning and confidence building.  The people I work with each week continue to make the experience extremely enjoyable as well.

You will remember from my post on removing woodwork, which you can read here, that for the past few months I have been living in a house with entirely exposed window frames.  After four house calls from the local lumberyard to measure, re-measure, double and triple check our rough window openings (I had to respect and admire his attention to detail and accuracy) our windows were ordered and arrived just before Christmas.

After a short trip to a nearby home store, I now have wood shims, fiberglass insulation and self-adhesive window wrap to begin installing the windows.

To help remove the old windows, I went ahead and purchased a reciprocating saw so I wouldn’t have to borrow my grandfather’s once again.  With 15 windows to remove, I felt it was time to have one of my own.  I purchased one of the more inexpensive models, but the same brand as my random orbital sander which I have used heavily for several years.  Not exactly contractors grade, but definitely DIY approved.

The weather forecasters are predicting a warm-up this weekend.  I’m forecasting a utility room window replacing adventure.  Stay tuned for updates.


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It’s Alive!!

A cheeky Halloween title to this post, but I was truly excited to bring my orbital sander back from the dead.  Back a few posts I mentioned how I burned up my orbital sander while removing the old varnish and stain off of the cabinet I salvaged from a yard sale.  One evening while sanding I noticed constant blue sparks visible through the air vents in the side of the orbital sander.  Although it didn’t quit working while I was using it, the next evening when I plugged in the cord and switched the sander to ‘on’, I was immediately surprised that nothing happened.  The sander just remained a dead wait in my hand.  I tried a 2nd (and 3rd) outlet to be certain, but eventually came to the conclusion that my sander had died at the young age of only about 6 years.

Of course I was distraught, that sander and I had gone through so much together; my first endeavors in drywall repair, speeding up the pace of furniture sanding, even prepping dozens of cabinets for painting.  Without a doubt I knew I had gotten my money’s worth out of that sander.  In the week after its death, I already began researching brands, models, and comparing prices from stores and online shopping sites.  But I didn’t throw the dusty old sander out yet.  Although a designer, I believe I have a bit of an engineers mind.  My immediate thought when the sander didn’t turn on was something like, “Ooh, I am going to take this thing apart screw by screw!”

Now let me admit I know very little (or nothing) about electrical motors.  After talking with my grandfather, an extremely knowledgeable Jack of all trades (actually, his name is Bob), I had quite a good understanding about how an orbital sander works.  He encouraged me to take the sander apart (as if I needed any encouragement) and thoroughly blow out all the dust inside of the plastic housing.  I did just as he recommended.  As he described, I found two small metal brushes on springs that had become gunked up with dust and weren’t making an electrical contact.

After making sure these two small pieces were springing like new, I reassembled the sander to find it works once again!  (Ok, in reality I had to reassemble it twice because I thought I was finished until I found a spare metal piece and had to take it back apart).

The un-dead in most movies always seem to wander in search of fresh brains…  If I wake some night to find it staring at me I may get nervous.


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