Tiling Time

Spent some time today at the Fox House in the future master bathroom. It’s just shy of being eight feet across and somewhere around ten feet long. As far as bathrooms go, it’ll be pretty great once it’s finished.

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We don’t know when for sure but the house has undergone several renovations over the last hundred years. At one point the house had a back porch that ran from the back door across the master bedroom. At some point, they made the porch into a sunroom with windows running across two walls and a bathroom where the back porch had been.

This all would have been fine except that the previous owners didn’t properly insulate the bathroom from moisture. So the entire bathroom had to go and the sunroom became the master bath. Removing the bathroom was pretty easy (sadly). It only took us a day to rip it apart. Making the new bathroom, on the other hand, has taken forever. First, we had to level the floor with new cross beams. Then we put down a new subfloor. Put new 2×4’s into the walls to bring them up to code. Put on new siding, installed insulation, plumbed and wired everything.

At which point I stopped working on it. Nothing personal, but the room wasn’t as important as getting the main bathroom, drywalling the bedrooms, and getting some insulation in the attic. It became a store room for all the boxes we hadn’t gotten around to unpacking.So fast forward. We needed to move out briefly because of hazardous winter weather. Then we just didn’t move back in when it warmed up. I wanted to get that master bedroom suite all done so we only had to make one big move. Part of this was finishing that bathroom.

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After cleaning out all the junk I had crammed in there, I gave the floors a good cleaning. Then I went to work laying out concrete board. We had a 3/4 inch plywood sub so I opted for a thinner 1/4 concrete board to go over the top. I placed it all out and screwed it to the floor with coated outdoor deck screws. Then I put down flexible mesh tape and thin set on all the joints. When that hardened, I sanded it, mopped the floor, and put down more thin set. I think I put three or four coats on it. When it was smooth and solid, I picked out some tile with my wife. We got one-foot by two-foot tiles.

Once it was all prepped, sweep, mopped, and measured–I made up a big batch of thin set to attach the tile with. It went really fast since the tiles are so big. I’ll put a tile down softly. Use spacers to make sure it is in the right spot. Then I sort of hit it gently with my fist to make sure it is set down. Last, and I think this isn’t good advice, but after it sits a spell I very carefully put some weight on each one to make sure they are laying correctly. When it’s all done for the day I try to wipe each one off to make sure they are clean of any extra concrete and I let them finishing setting up.

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I’m pretty happy with the result so far. I have to let this group finish setting cause I need to get some 2x4s before I make the shower pan. I didn’t want to guesstimate length on the ones that would be to the shower. So for now, I’ll grout what I have so that I can get a second toilet and sink running. After this project, I’m going to put down a second layer of hardwood flooring in the master bedroom (so both floors are insulated and the same height). After that I’ll sand and refinish the wood floors and move back in. Here’s hoping that all happens in like the next month or so.

Thanks for reading!

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