This was a big week for progress for us AND it was a big week for unexpected changes. I’m sharing aaaall of that plus some of our tips for DIY Tiling with Marble… because that’s a beast in itself! If you missed it, a couple weeks ago I announced that we’re joining in as a guest participant with the One Room Challenge. It’s a challenge to join with other bloggers and renovate a space in your home in 6 weeks, sharing updates each week. The space we’re taking on is our one and only bathroom.
YOU CAN READ THE OTHER UPDATES SO FAR HERE:
Alright! First of all… here’s what happened this week! We had our drywall finisher come in and mud/tape the space which both transformed it into a room and gave us a few days away from working on it. Then, we shipped our kids off to my Dad’s (I say that, but those sleepovers are something the kids look forward to the most… so they kind of ran out of here, no shipping involved) so that Shane could rip out the rest of the flooring, lay the tile and replace the toilet.
He did that all in the one weekend and this pregnant lady vacated to the nearest coffee shop to sit on her laptop while there was no toilet access. SO I’d originally planned to do a full ‘how to tile’ post for ya… but I’m the tiler out of the two of us and wasn’t here… or doing anything. SO instead, I’m going to share tips for tiling with marble for the total beginner. This was Shane’s very first time tiling period… and he took on small marble hexagons and I’m so impressed with how well it turned out! BUT there were lots of learning moments, so I’ll share all those in a handy list below.
But first… those changes in plans/unexpected changes! The timeline is always changing. Drywall ended a day later than expected so we haven’t painted yet- we were hoping to paint before the tile was laid… but now it will wait. We did pick a paint colour though! We’re going WHITE. I’ve never painted a room white (my whole house is light grey so it does look almost white in photos). We are going to paint the trim, walls and ceiling all the same colour so I am a bit nervous about that… but I’m excited to see how it pops against the grey vanity!
Then we had some setbacks in our timeline over the weekend- tiling took 4x longer than expected, the toilet took longer than expected, 5 runs to Home Depot we hadn’t planned on… you know, usual renovation stuff. Then yesterday I got an email! The One Room Challenge is adding a week to the challenge this season. SO we actually have 7 weeks. But I’ll be having a baby by then so we will actually have it finished still in the 6 weeks. But that means that I’ll be sharing an extra post aaaalll about the little design pieces we’ve picked (I spent my time at the coffee shop this weekend online shopping!) as a bonus post.
DIY Tiling with Marble (tips, tips, tips!)
I should start by saying that I totally love tiling. I love how rewarding it can be- it totally transforms a space. But it it tedious and can be frustrating. These tips are not only for just tiling but also for tiling with marble specifically because there’s a couple things that are different. I’m going to make it point form just to get through it (y’know I like to talk).
- Depending which flooring you have in your home- you’ll need to get specific transition pieces. We’ve used the same transition strips through our whole home and love the brushed look of them.
- These need to be put in BEFORE tiling. I’ve seen so many homes that have no transition between tile and other flooring and if the flooring is a different thickness, it can be a tripping/ toe stubbing hazard AND if you’re not a pro- it can also look messy. I know if we did it… it would look messy. PLUS the wood flooring we have in our house is original and SO thin (I talk all about how we refinished it here) that it would be a significant height difference for stubbing your toes.
- Using a transition strip as shown, caps all those raw edges and gives you a smooth transition between the heights and styles of flooring. Put it down first and tile right up to it/over the bottom edge. This kind of transition strip has no screws showing (bonus!) You can get them from pretty much any hardware or flooring store in so many different finishes.
Mortar, Application, and Tools
- I’ve always used the regular mortar but this time, we knew we were on a timeline and thought we would try speed things up with a quick set (4 hour) mortar. Which would be fine if this was large tiles and/or not the first time laying tile. The mortar dried SO quick, you guys! We had to go buy new buckets and mix more mortar because it hardened. Twice. SO if you are planning to go slow because you’re new to this or if your tile is really small and you’ll be slower to lay it… do yourself a favour and take the longer dry time as a blessing.
- You can see in this picture how it started to dry on the floor super quick.
- You’ll need a bucket to mix the mortar and if you have a powerful drill with mixer attachment, that will make it much faster to mix. You’ll also need a trowel, which is the ridged, toothy guy. The bigger the teeth the bigger the tile, smaller for smaller. The mortar should be kind of like cake icing (try telling that to your husband) so that when you put it on, it holds it’s shape/ridges but it’s still soft enough to press the tiles into.
- You’ll also need spacers and if you’re tiling up to a surface like a bathtub, you’ll want to tape it to keep a nice clean line. You can use a silicone based grout to finish off that line nice and clean after tiling so don’t worry too much about it. being perrrrfect.
- Let’s talk about cutting tile! There’s a few different ways to do it. You can get a tool that kind of nibbles the ends off (funny, right?), you can get a cutter that scores the tile with a sharp blade then breaks it on that line OR you can get a tile saw. This is where marble is pretty picky. Marble kind of crumbles if you try to use the ‘nibbler’ (seriously, there must be a real name) and the small pieces are almost impossible to cut with the scoring cutter well. We’ve used wet tile saws before and they worked okay for marble BUT my Dad just got this bigger wet saw and it did such a great job. If you’re going to be tiling with marble (especially smaller marble tiles), I’d totally rent or invest in a great wet saw to give you clean lines.
Sealing & Grouting
- Marble tile needs to be sealed before grouting. The stuff we used needed 4 hours to set before using the grout. This will prevent it from staining.
- There’s a few different kinds of grout. The ones we’ve used in the past are Fusion premixed grout, sanded or unsanded. Marble tile should be used with unsanded grout to prevent scratching. We used the Fusion grout in our kitchen and it’s by far my fave stuff to work with BUT we found it really, really challenging to get the haze off of the marble tile. We opted to go with a self mix option this time around and the hazing wasn’t an issue (hurray!). The Fusion grout is a spread in/ wipe off type of thing where as the self mix grout we found takes longer because you need to leave it set for about 20 minutes before wiping off. Factor that into your timeline.
- You’ll want lots of buckets and sponges, especially if you don’t have water nearby to make cleaning the tile as you go easy. Sponges are only a couple dollars each so I’d rather have more and not use them then one and be running back and forth to the sink all day.
- Lastly… Fusion grout does NOT need to be sealed. But regular grout does. So you’ll want to go ahead and seal it again at this point. This is the stage we’re at right now.
Alright… I HOPE that those tips and heads-ups were helpful for you! There’s a ton of information on tiling out there that explains HOW to do it, but these are things we hadn’t really thought about before actually tiling (because they’re usually ignored in tutorials).
So what’s next?
This week, we’re hoping to get the space painted and get the vanity installed so we have working sinks. While we are doing plumbing, we will probably do the shower head as well. And I’ll be excited if we get lights and baseboards in… but don’t want to get ahead of myself.
I haven’t been sharing as many BTS sneak peeks over on Instagram lately because my phone totally bit the dust. But I just got my hands on a loaner yesterday so as we are working through the space, I’ll be sharing lots of progress updates over on Instagram and you can check out all the other One Room Challenge guest participant rooms over here.
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