Like Watching Grass Growing

June 18, 2007 at 8:47 am Leave a comment

It’s been a while since I provided a progress update.

Things are moving albeit slowly.The bathroom project is coming together. The walls are now covered, I have replaced the window with a small double hung window from another part of the house and the floor is tiled. There have been some tough lessons learned as I have started to bring the bathroom together.

Lesson 1: Remember where you installed your plumbing — when attaching the drywall I accidentally drove a screw through the cold water pipes. I caught the problem when I turned the water on at the main so no serious damage was done. Nonetheless repairing the pipe was not easy and set me back an entire day.

Lesson 2: Finding your center helps in life and when installing tile — I thought the best way to lay tile was to start at one of the walls and work across the room. After a couple failed attempts, I learned you have to start you tile from the center of the room. This was a fairly expensive mistake. The 4.25′ hex tiles I was using cost a ~$1.25@. I probably wasted 200 tiles.

Lesson3: Getting help from experienced hands saves time and money. When I originally ordered my tiles I picked white hex for the field with a grey border. Unfortunately, I did not think through the implications for the color palettes that would work with this combination — grey and white imply a cool color palette, but the rest of the house with natural would trim requires earth tones. So I had custom ordered tile I couldn’t use.

Lesson 4: Water and a wire brush work best when trying to get thin set off of the bottom of tiles. Finishing my project meant salvaging tiles from my two failed installation attempts. I tried scraping the tiles which was tedious and ineffective. Then I tried soaking the tiles in water and then brushing the thin set off. This approach was also tedious, but proved more effective.

Lesson 5: Don’t give up. I was just about to give up on installing the hex tile, but found support from Veronica at CV Tile. She is the one who gave me the advice to start from the center of the room. The reason for starting in the center is the cuts at each wall will be symmetric — it really works. Next I needed more tile to finish my project, and as luck would have it a designer cancelled an order for a caramel colored 4.25′ hex tile. Veronica recommended I start over using the white and caramel colored tile. The trick is to layout the pattern on the floor first — I did this in my living room and then transferred it to the bathroom — this approach worked beautifully.

Lesson 6: Work on one thing at a time. This project has been causing me a ton of angst. Several times over the past week I have thought about giving-up. As I think about it, I think I made a mistake taking on the kitchen and bathroom at the same time. I wanted to get all the demolition work out of the way, but this has made the house almost completely unlivable — dust everywhere. Once I decided to focus 100% on finishing the bath things started to come together and my state of mind improved dramatically. Lesson 6a: keep a clean and tidy work site — the psychic benefits are pretty dramatic. Next post you get to see photos


Entry filed under: bathroom remodel, installing hex tile.

Plumbing the Depths 4.25′ Hex Tile Installation

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