Hall Bathroom. Revisited. Tile Triumph!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

So that bathroom tiling thing!  It's done.  Thank goodness.  It is done.  Rrrraaaaarrrr, I did it!  Yay!!  #yougogirl

Well ok, it's not perfect and Mike noticed instantaneously what was not perfect and I could see the wheels turning in his sweet ginger head whether to say something or not but kindly he didn't, obviously so as to not rain on my Tile Parade.  So I brought it up.  He kindly merely, yet subtly, nodded twice.

"Nice, babe.  I might turn this into my bathroom."  Which really, that's the bigger compliment from him.  He likes schmancy things so if he wants to be in it daily, that means I did good.

So how did I do this?  Because as we last left off, I was mired in a tile cutting quandary.  Big tile saw rental, sucked.  Couldn't rent other saw, too heavy, sucked.  Manual tool, sucked.  How was I going to get these twelve by twenty four tiles cut, in both directions no less?

Standing in the shower, thinking, a jig, a guide concept blew into my wee wet head.  I have got to get me some a' these shower notepads,* stat.  Yep, using the itty bitty teeny weeny not butch tile saw.  Because it seemed to me, if I went slowly, didn't rush, was really really careful, the saw would do it.

And it did.

Shocked, I say, agog I was.                  ......Right?!

Thank goodness I was clever a' way back when I built those workbenches, one being lower than the other.  That was the key here.

Off the workbench came my fancy spiffy miter saw,* down went the tile saw,* and so began-eth my success.

First I screwed down two pieces of 1x2 to the table, one at the back side of the saw to keep it from moving that direction, and another on the side to keep it from shifting.

wet tile saw wood block
Yeah sorry, I couldn't see what I was photographing but you get the gist.
Next, build the jig, the guide.  I used some leftover trim from the first floor bathroom cabinets, aka the straightest wood I own, and a piece of plywood.  Attached those together forming a funky L, drilled two holes in the plywood then counter sank* them so the screws holding it to the table would fall below the surface.

Next, I blanketed the table, draping up the walls with a plastic tarp,* clamping it to wherever.

An insanely inordinate amount of time measuring and skootching and measuring and skootching and remeasuring and re-double triple quadruple checking then occurred.  Hey, measure five million times cut once, amiright?  Abso-freaking-lutely as I was oh so tired of wasting tile.

But startlingly, I got it set perfectly at 12” on center with the blade.  And yes, then I was afraid to touch anything.

But lo and behold.  Holy cats and dogs.  I, I, had created a tile saw jig.

wet tile saw jig plywood
And holy poops myself, voila, it's a freakin' tile saw guide jig whatever thingie!  Whatever, this is rockin'! 
Off I trolled in search of a busted tile piece to test....not hard, trust me.

And with bated breath.....

It worked.

successful tile cut half
That, my friends, is a 12x24 piece of tile cut right in half.  Using an itty bitty teeny lil' 4", 3/4 HP flippin' tile saw.  Ha!
I have to say, I was truly astonished.  Considering the workbenches stand on a wonky not level floor therefore wobble despite shims, the tile saw does not even have one horse's worth of power, and I've never made a tile saw jig before, this felt like a sheer, straight up, blow out monumental victory.

This too was probably the biggest butt wiggle dance I’ve done in a good while.  And wiggle that a** I did, all over that freakin' basement.

Using the fancy pants layout I had drawn, I counted tiles and cut all the halfsies.

So I was off to the races and the first piece of tile went up with ease right on center.

tile half center wall adhesive mortar cement board
Haha, I know, it doesn't look right but trust me, it is.
Next, two full pieces on either side and I'm about tinkling my pants in excitement.  Never did I think "tile" and "excitement" would end up together but whaaaaddya know.

shower tiles half whole
Omg.  Omg omg omg.  Tile!  On the wall!  And my design is working!
The reason I cut all the short halves in advance was that I knew I'd need to reposition the saw for long way cuts darn well immediately after getting a few tiles up on the wall.

All I did here was spin the saw ninety degrees counterclockwise, tack down the same pieces of 1x2 to keep the saw in place, and used the guide that came with the saw.  With a few alterations (aka clamps) as it would no longer screw itself down tight anymore.

Yeah it made for an awkward cutting stance but so the f what.  Slow and mo' slow and careful I went.  My solution here was free and it worked.  Sheering off a 3/4" sliver of tile was now possible.

I was on a hot and heavy roll now, people, and it was magnificent.  I wasn't even noticing how many times I was up and down the stairs.  Tile after tile hitting the wall, piling up, bringing this project closer and closer to fruition!

tiles cement board waterproofing
Ack!  I'm dyin'!  Am I really doing this?!?!
Thaaat's when I discovered the walls were not framed square.

Ohhhh-mg.  Seriously?!  Wtf.  How, as a carpenter, do you not own a square, a level, an old timey plumb?!?!  How do you.....how do you not even check your work?!  Omg.  This was a problem my cement board would not have fixed and was unnoticeable until now.

Is there anything that dumb a** flipper and his roving band of dysfunctional idiots did correctly?  Come. On.  Nope.  Have yet to find one single darn thing.

As such, tiles were fitting weirdly in corners; my cuts, despite being accurate to what I measured and remeasured, somehow were kittywampus by the time I got back upstairs and slapped the tile up.  Luckily grout would save my butt and every error would be hidden.

Except for the top edge.  Maybe my math was off, I forgot to account for an extra line of grout.  But weirdly things did line up in some places so I don't get it.  That is messed up.

At this point I didn't care anymore, I wanted to be done.  Day one, the main wall and a side wall are tiled.

shower tile vertical 12x24 large format
I definitely was tempted to go all in and finish but it was like 7 pm here and I was whooped.  And whooped = mistakes.
The next day....

After a laughable attempt with the tile cutter I had used for the cement board, off I ran to Menards for a diamond hole saw bit* though this in particular, the Brutus 1 3/8" is what I purchased.  Had I been smart and preplanned, I coulda had a whole set for the price of one I see now.  Neat.  Grrrr.

That cheapie gizmo did work at first but I mistakenly stopped to see how it was doing and the whole thing fell apart, tumbled to pieces, henceforth became unusable.

That diamond hole saw though, whooie, I'll tell ya, having the correct tool for the job hahaha is brilliant.

tile hole saw
It came with this water cup/guide thingie and stickers to hold it which, great in theory, were a complete fail.  But the cut was bea-u-ti-ful.  Wowza!
So in short order then, the tiling was complete.  What a huge sigh of relief I took; I think I sucked all the air out of the house.

cutouts tile shower faucet
A tad messy on that square but damn girl, not bad for a first attempt ever!  And yeah, I know, I have since discovered I used the tile spacers* incorrectly.  No biggie, they're an 1/8" thick which is what I wanted anyway.  But hahaha, that link, everyone trying to build a better tile spacer?  Very cute.
Lastly was grout and this time, heh, I tried to be neater, tidier, and smarter about it and turns out I was.  Finally!

I had picked a color off a take-home chart but turns out Menards doesn't carry every color, ugh how frustrating, so I swung through the Habitat ReStore and luckily they had a box of my second choice.  Somehow, and it is insane and random and I probably just jinxed myself, I have crazy grout luck there.  Every single time.

Even crazier?  It was the only box of grout they had.

Back home, I mixed it up, carefully gooped it in where it needed to go, making a hugely concerted effort to keep the mess to a minimum.

tile grout shower tub surround
My tidier grout mess.
Then I found a tip, did I save it lemme see, ah nope I did not sorry.  A lightly damp microfiber towel* to clean up the grout and people, I tell you what, this was the best damn grouting tip I had ever tried.  I was done cleaning up in less than ten minutes.  I kid you not.  The whole freakin' shower.  No sponging, just the towel.

Honestly, I stood there for several minutes thinking uhhhh, did I just, is it done, waaait, that was too fast and too easy.  Excellent, I am outta here!

tile green sticker stain acetone
Oh wait, right, there were these little green splotches on most of the tiles.  Wiped right off with acetone and didn't damage the tile.  Sweeeet.
tin snips metal tile trim edge
Oh wait, right too, I used that aluminum tile edging trim* whoo-ha stuff.  Hot tip -- it cuts easily with tin snips!  Yeah!
Oh, by the way, I did recently read a thing about cleaning grout.  It seems all the rage to use vinegar and baking soda.  You should not.

shower tile large format 12x24 surround tub after
I really owe it to myself to get some better photos.  Clearly there's a sh*t ton left to clean up and fix here so photos were going to look a wreck no matter what.
Next up I'll dribble on some of that same sealer I used for the backsplash and woot, happy dance!

retiling shower tub surround
I did this!
tile tub surround shower faucet filler after
You know I'm proud when I give you the extra large pictures.
Ok, since I seem to be stuck in this bathroom, it's onto the floor next.  Yeah, hahaha, no, I am not joking.

Stay tuned!

*The shower notepads, Hitachi compound miter saw, tile saws, countersink bits, plastic tarps, diamond hole saw bits, tile spacers, microfiber towels, and aluminum tile edge trim are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. Shower looks great. Love the tip about the microfiber towel.

    1. Thank you! It was such an amazing thing, I had to share! Thanks!

  2. You make me laugh. great job tho! You inspire me.


Please no spam or links, thanks!