We've been remodeling the bathrooms. As seen in the previous post, the master bath was finished a few weeks ago. Two weeks ago, we worked on our main bathroom. The bathroom itself was already pretty decent. Unfortunately the linoleum was worn, stained, and coming up around the bathtub which caused extensive water damage on the sub-floor and the hardwood under that!
I had a friend who was moving out of state, who offered us her brand new 16" tile so she "wouldn't have to pack it". It was a very kind thing for her to just give it to us and we were really excited to be able to use it to replace the yucky, never-to-come-clean linoleum.
I am by no means a professional and there are probably other ways to accomplish cutting and laying tile, but listed are some helpful hints that I learned from an architect and builder, a fix-it-man, a contractor, YouTube, and just plain trial and error. Hopefully it will be of some use to you on your tiling project.
- Use cardboard to make templates for tricky areas. Draw what cuts you need, cut them from the cardboard and then trace them onto your tile.
- Borrow or rent a high quality tile saw (especially if using heavy floor tiles - these saws run smoothly and even though they are large and it's intimidating to use them the first time, they are easy to use and relatively safe with no kick-back).
- Slow and steady is the trick with tile cutting. If you try to move too quickly, you'll break the tile. (My first tile, I had to cut three times or use three different tiles - I was glad I had so many! If I had of been short on tiles, messing up one cut that many times would have been disastrous because I didn't know where my friend had purchased them or if the store even carried that color/style anymore.)
- Cut and "dry" place your tiles first; once you know that all of them will fit correctly, take them all up and put in a safe place. Then you can start putting down the thin-set or mortar. In the first bathroom we did, we tried to cut the tiles after we had put down the mortar and it was almost dry by the time we finished that little 4x8 floor. So, dry place them first! (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this, but we dry placed each tile and then put them on my son's carpet while we put the thin-set down.)
- When cutting circles or even small "holes" in the tile, make strips like pictured below. After making the strips, if they don't come out on their own while your cutting, you can gently knock them out or cut them with a tile cutter.
- In both bathrooms we used an epoxy grout for the floor and loved it! Here's a great tutorial. I liked using the epoxy because it eliminated the wait time for sealing it (because you don't have to seal it). Some things about it though, is that you have to clean it off the tiles with a mixture of vinegar-water. In the small bathroom we accidentally waited too long...like 8 hours too long...instead of the 1 hour it suggests. Which leads me to the next helpful hint:
- If you're like us, a little messy or negligent in your grouting, you can easily go back and clean it with a piece of tile - the same kind that you're putting down. In other words, use tile to clean tile. The tile will scrape off the grout without scratching the surface because they are the same surface.