Saturday morning, Matt’s bathroom looked like this.
By Saturday evening it looked like this.
I’ve tiled before, and I actually enjoy doing it. It’s not hard work, but it does require planning.
My Dad and I spent several hours in the morning laying out the shower floor, carefully fitting and figuring. When we finally spread out the mortar, we had a really good idea of how everything should go.
The marble mosaic hexagon tiles that we used on the shower floor are all on a mesh backing that basically makes them into 12×12 tiles. It’s important to pay close attention when you join the sheets to make sure the gaps between the tiles are consistent. Despite our best efforts, I did still have a bit of difficulty keeping everything perfectly straight all the way across the floor, but I was able to adjust the spacing on the individual hexagons, and I think it will all look okay once it’s grouted.
Here are two lessons I learned about how to work with mosaic tile:
- Don’t start with your first sheet tight to the wall. Keep it off an eighth or even a quarter of an inch. This will give you more room to make adjustments on your other sheets as you progress across the floor.
- For areas like the drain, remove all of the tiles that come into contact with the drain. Lay your (mostly) full sheet as you usually would, and then insert individual tiles (or pieces of tiles) into the gaps as necessary.
On the main area of the floor we used actual 12×12 tiles, which were a piece of cake to install. The biggest piece of figuring we had to do was determine where the middle of the floor was and then centre our tile along that line.
The only sour bite in our cake was cutting out for the toilet. I know other people have used dremels or other tools to get nice round circles. We used the wet saw, which only cuts in a straight line. With lots of patience, lots of back and forth and even trading off cutting duties between my dad and me, we got the tile cut on the first try.
It’s not as smooth as it would have been with another tool, but it will all be hidden under the toilet. That works for me.
What didn’t work for me was the William Wallace/Gene Simmons makeup I had going on after using the wet saw all day. All of the tile dust mixes with the water from the saw and from my waist to my hairline I had a dusty grey stripe in line with where the saw blade had sprayed me all day long–attractively along only the right side of my face.
Next step is grout and then I can move onto the walls. Who knows, someday we might even move on to installing the actual fixtures and using this bathroom.
What’s your tiling experience? Any tips for keeping things straight and even? Or cutting a curved line with a straight saw?