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Bathroom remodel – The First Tile Project for a New Home Owner

By Prudence Hutt

After bathroom remodeling is finished.

All finished.

Progress: Ledger board. Since you can’t guarantee the floor is level, you must start the first row of tiles on a level ledger board.

I used the wrong colored thin set. After these rows, I switched to white thin set, which is much more forgiving as it blends with tile and the grout.

It’s important to lay out the tile first since there is so much variation. You don’t want too many dark grays clustered together.

We’re cruising now. The horse shoe spacers are worth their weight in gold.

After the tiles are set, remove the spacers and clean excess thin set. It’s much easier to do that now than after the thin set cures.

Remove the shower stall and put in a waterproof lining. It’s important to use unmodified thin set with the liner–modified thin set could take weeks to cure.

All in a day’s work. I started at the outside corner and worked my way in both directions rather than doing one side at time. That way, I was able to adjust the outside corner and ensure that the pieces lined up perfectly.

Be sure to tilt the shelves (1/4″) so that water flows off the shelf onto the floor and not puddle in the corner.

Always make sure you lay out your floor tiles before applying the thinset.

Lay the full tile over the drain. Then mark with a pencil which ones need to be removed. Cut them out with a knife and then cut those pieces to fit around the drain. Put the pieces back with spacers so that all your grout lines have the same width.

Shower is all done!

After pulling up the old tile and backer board, replace the backer board using non-corrosive screws.

Make sure you don’t trap yourself in (like I did). I started near the shower and worked my way back. I should have started near where the sink goes and worked my way towards the door.

This was the last big wall. Know where you can hide your mistakes (behind the vanity) and don’t worry about everything looking perfect there. Focus your energy elsewhere.

Painter’s tape works miracles with getting tricky pieces to stay in place.