Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile

Welcome to John Bridge / Tile Your World, the friendliest DIY Forum on the Internet


Advertiser Directory
JohnBridge.com Home
Buy John Bridge's Books

Go Back   Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile > Tile & Stone Forums > Tile Forum/Advice Board

Sponsors


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 06-03-2014, 07:42 PM   #1
filamentary
historic preservation enthusiast
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: los angeles, ca
Posts: 15
need help with: "baseboard" tiles (not cove)... caulk, grout, gaps, change of plane

before your eyes glaze over from all the text, don't worry, i'm attaching photos and drawings at the end of my description that will make everything make perfect sense.

ok, so i'm working on a limited budget, but plan to live in this house until i die, so the quality of the work could not matter more to me. grand scheme is bringing bathroom back in time to look original to the house (terrible remodel with all formica built-in furniture from the 70s had to go, style was bad, but also water damage made it gross) i'm installing 3"x6" white subway tile for wainscot with hex floor. floor tile is 1", perfectly flat, unglazed, hex, exactly like the original style they used at the turn of the century---i know better than to have gotten the beveled/pillow-top tile (which doesn't look historic at all). i went ahead and splurged on the chair rail tile and several other trim pieces at the top of the wainscot, which is 3"x6" subway tile---just the top trim pieces added up to $1250 (and it's a small bathroom!). so naturally i wanted to spend as little as possible on the field tile (got the daltile subway tiles from home depot) and the baseboard trim tiles. since the cove tile isn't my favorite (and means the edge of my floor tile has to be perfect), and to me a wainscot looks best when it has a protruding molding at the top and bottom edges, i opted for the in-stock chair rail tile (which will be upside-down) plus a quarter round for the baseboard trim. the chair rail's curvature is such that if it were to go right against the floor (well, you know, with the appropriate gap), there's too sharp an undercut edge, and that would be a dirt nightmare. so my solution was to put the quarter round below it. i'm taking a cue from the method of "building up" a molding often used on cornices where you layer multiple pieces of wood molding to create a larger, more substantial molding. it also gives me a baseboard molding profile that will not read as "stock home depot" trim, which i detest the idea of in this historic remodel (that's why i was willing to splurge on the top trim pieces).

obviously i need some of the seams to be caulk instead of grout, for the change of plane. i actually was planning on using a white silicone caulk in between the two baseboard trim tiles, to visually merge them together like one tile, in effect. but obviously i can't just haphazardly put the quarter round in place with thinset because (a) that would adhere it with a rigid material to both the horizontal and vertical plane and (b) the gap in the back of the quarter round is too big to be filled by a small-aggregate cement product like thinset. i guess in theory it'd be nice to have the quarter round piece attached to the wall with thinset, then the floor edge will be caulked with matching sanded caulk. but how in the heck do i keep it in place while adhering it to the wall? what about the big gap? is that a concern? or do i leave it empty? does that make it vulnerable to breaking when the inevitable contact with shoes occurs? i was actually planning to run a bead of 100% silicone caulk in the small gap between the greenboard and the hardiebacker (greenboard was installed after hardiebacker, and overlaps it, as per my illustration). can i just take that idea a step farther and also use caulk to fill the gap behind the quarter round tile? would that help any shoe-impacts to bounce off or be less likely to crack those tiles? am i worrying too much about that? are there any other reasons i should be concerned about that gap, like it being a place where moisture might accumulate (this actually seems like a much bigger problem than shoes)!

in my illustration i've colored in various areas in different colors so that if you want to refer to an area on the drawing, you can say, the blue, or the orange.

so here's what i have in mind, what seems like it would make the most sense, to me, so far:

the solid blue, that's thinset. the striped blue, that's either totally empty air space or perhaps it will contain a slightly bigger bulge of thinset than would be behind the other tiles (no thicker than 1/4", of course, due to thinset's small aggregate). the top yellow area (i shouldn't have done that in yellow) is normal grout, and the bottom yellow area is white 100% silicone caulk to somewhat visually merge those two tiles. the green is thinset along the top edge of the quarter round to adhere it to the wall. the orange is to show that all the air gaps at the wall/floor seam will be filled with caulk, though i'll use a different caulk for the filling in (100% silicone) than for the visible "grout" edge, which will be a color-matched sanded caulk. i was planning to use polyblend for all the grout and color-matched sanded caulk, but a different (100% silicone) caulk between the chair rail & quarter-round (bottom yellow area) as well as in the hardiebacker/drywall seam (back portion of the orange area).

and in case anyone is wondering, i don't have any walls which will be exposed to water, since the clawfoot tub is freestanding with a 360-degree shower curtain. and i got a nice panasonic 130 CFM ventilation fan (overkill for bathroom size) so moisture should not be a problem on vertical surfaces. but i do want to keep moisture that hits the floor from ending up infiltrating at the perimeters of the room, that's why i plan to seal up the hardiebacker/drywall seam with caulk.

does my plan make sense? what do i need to change or rethink? even to me my idea sounds like it's a little shaky, especially how to solidly attach the quarter round.

WHERE I'M AT NOW: the green board is up and seams taped with thinset & alkali resistant tape (as is the hardiebacker). the hardiebacker i adhered with thinset, and i even back-buttered the entirety of each sheet of hardiebacker to ensure full bonding on both surfaces (perhaps overkill, but it pleased me to know it was more, rather than less, solid, and i know that the less water you use, the stronger a cement product is, so i used the least water possible, so it wanted to skin over really fast, and this helped mitigate that issue). i haven't put any of the tile on the floor or walls yet. i start the floor tile tomorrow, and am very happy that the imperfect edge i know i'll end up with (floor outline is 1/2" out of square) will be hidden by the quarter round. unless something i'm not taking into consideration would make this plan impossible. worst case scenario, i can return the tiles i can't use to home depot, and order cove if i absolutely must (i really don't want to). thank god for everything there being returnable. really anxious to finish the bathroom, because this is our ONLY bathroom. yep, showering in the backyard w/ a 3-gallon camp shower & using a luggable loo (with bags), for 2 months already (there was a TON of carpentry work: walls, built-ins, and subfloor). at this point it feels like i'm in the home stretch, but i don't want to rush anything and get it wrong.
Attached Images
      
__________________
jamie
filamentary is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old 06-04-2014, 07:08 AM   #2
Winter River
DIYer with more projects than time
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 268
Jamie, I did something similar in my bathroom, using the upside down chair rail molding as the top of my baseboard. Alumni photo album

I placed the cove on top of the floor, which worked because it's completely glazed. You could use a plain 4x6 tile for the baseboard piece too.

Name:  IMG_1608-1 (1).jpg
Views: 17662
Size:  27.6 KB
__________________
Elise
Winter River is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2014, 09:25 AM   #3
filamentary
historic preservation enthusiast
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: los angeles, ca
Posts: 15
elise,

that looks fabulous! i wasn't able to see the cove firsthand, so i don't know what the bottom of the outturned edge of it looks like. perhaps i'll order a single tile as a sample to give it a look, but i was expecting it to need to abut the edge of the floor tile. perhaps not?

it looks like you've added a piece of wood to push the cove out so it is on the same jutted out plane as the upside down chair rail tile, is that what you did? that makes it look like one big baseboard treatment, which is very nice.

i wonder what you have to do differently with adhesion to the piece of wood, since i expect the wood will expand and shift at a different rate than the drywall (or plaster) behind it. if i wanted to do the same, perhaps i'd use little scraps of greenboard that are left over? hmmm... lots to think about.

ok, well, thanks for sharing! glad to see i wasn't the only one with the upside-down chair rail idea! =)
__________________
jamie
filamentary is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2014, 10:09 PM   #4
Winter River
DIYer with more projects than time
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 268
Glad to be of some assistance, Jamie.

The cove was shimmed out with a piece of 1/4" hardibacker I had left over from the floor, adhered with some thinset and screws. I was trying to get the look of some very, very expensive base tiles that caught my eye.

I used the cove to hide a spot where the diagonal tiles left a tiny gap in my not-quite-square room. I see you understand the issue. If shimming out the bottom tile is enough to cover the gap, you could use a plain wall tile below the upside down chair rail. It would be a classic clean look. My gap was a bit too big to make that work right.

We think alike. All my tiles were bought off the shelf at the big blue store. More than once I spent a ridiculous amount of time laying out options in the tile aisle.

Elise's new bathroom
__________________
Elise
Winter River is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2014, 10:45 AM   #5
filamentary
historic preservation enthusiast
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: los angeles, ca
Posts: 15
elise, your idea sounds better than mine, and if the cove is available in-stock at lowe's, i may just have to go down there and check it out. i not only like the style of your "baseboard", i like how tall and substantial it is.

i think i prefer your cove tile approach not only because it covers more floor tile edge imperfections (may or may not need that, i'm not sure yet, but it can't hurt), but also because it, style wise, adds another curve to the overall baseboard profile. when i said i'm not a fan of the cove, i meant i'm not a fan of it used alone, flush with the wall tile, in lieu of a baseboard style trim. the way you used it i totally love it. =)

looked online and the 4"x6" cove tiles at lowes are only 50c more than the 1" quarter round i bought, so it's not a huge increase in cost, so it's totally doable. i will try a little layout test with the flat tile, as well. hadn't thought of that, either. but i have a feeling the cove tile is going to be the most elegant look. hope you won't mind if i end up, essentially, copying you! hey, at least my top tile edge will be different, and my floor is different, so it's not like we'll have the same bathroom.
__________________
jamie
filamentary is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2014, 07:58 PM   #6
Winter River
DIYer with more projects than time
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 268
I'd be honored to be copied, Jamie.
__________________
Elise
Winter River is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2014, 08:14 PM   #7
filamentary
historic preservation enthusiast
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: los angeles, ca
Posts: 15
elise, i followed your link to see the whole post about your bathroom, and WOW, i was very impressed. i am also feeling intimidated to realize there really is still SO MUCH MORE work to be done in mine. the demolition + carpentry + hardiebacker/drywall has taken 2 months. and this is our only bathroom. i'm getting a little bit impatient, and keep thinking we're in the home stretch, but i'm really not so sure now. i kind of keep forgetting all the special circumstances that have to be dealt with: mitering corners (purchasing a saw? hiring someone to do just those cuts?), tiling around door, window, medicine cabinet, and towel cabinet. and that means i have to do the face frames for those cabinets (or at least know exactly where they'll stop!) before i can complete wall tile. i'm just super glad i don't have a shower to install. freestanding tub is making life at least a little bit easier!

i went to lowe's today and picked up the 4"x6" cove and returned the 1" quarter rounds to home depot, and i'm feeling very happy with this decision. both because i think it'll look better than my original idea and because it eliminates the complicated part of how the heck to attach the quarter round.
__________________
jamie
filamentary is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2014, 07:02 AM   #8
Winter River
DIYer with more projects than time
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 268
You need to be careful mixing the tiles from Lowes and Home Depot. They are both white, but I found them to be different shades. The HD tiles are a bit more gray, and the L tiles are a warmer white. This is more apparent in different light.
__________________
Elise
Winter River is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2014, 09:47 AM   #9
filamentary
historic preservation enthusiast
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: los angeles, ca
Posts: 15
good point. i have compared them in not so bright light yet (incandescent, as will be the bathroom), and still need to lay out a few rows in a brighter light to see the full effect, b/c the difference isn't really standing out at all so far. i suspect that the color difference won't be enough to bother me, especially since it'll just be on that single row of tile closest to the floor. plus my antique toilet, sink, and tub, they're all salvage-yard scores, and they don't match each other or the floor or wall tile. it'll be a white-ISH monochrome room, not a white room, haha.

but honestly, that's okay b/c even if these things were original to the house, they wouldn't match by now anyhow. not necessarily true of the cove tile, but still in the realm of possibility. as long as it doesn't sacrifice believability as being original (well, aside from lack of crazing; none of the tile has that, unfortunately), i'll be happy with the end product. i have to mix antique and reproduction hardware and metals, too, so i am tarnishing all the new metals to make them look old (that's one of my specialties, making new and old metal look right at home next to one another).

so i am definitely doing things a bit on the unusual side, and a polished, refined look is not what you'll get in this bathroom. instead it should look like it's a century old & well weathered. i'm even doing grey grout on the walls (the floor grout would have been natural cement color anyway, but the walls, if they ever had white grout, would be stained as heck by now), and i'm not sealing the unglazed floor tile, so we don't have to wait for it to acquire 100 yrs of staining to be believable.

my goal is that if an inspector every ends up in my house for any reason, he or she will absolutely believe me when i say "we haven't touched the bathroom, and i don't think anyone really has any time even remotely recently" or simply "the bathroom is original; only the plumbing under the house has been updated". when/if that moment comes, i will measure my success by how well the bathroom flies under the radar. i am even doing a layer of lime plaster on top of the drywall so you can't tell that drywall entered the picture (i really despise the cold flatness of drywall).

oh, and i've got a 1927 electric in-wall heater, too, that is yet another shade of white enamel (don't worry, i don't DIY the electricity; my electrician checked it out, okayed it, and installed it running to its own brand new circuit).

i wanted a historically intact house, especially the bathroom. but since we didn't end up with one, and we plan to die in this house, i'm recreating it. among all the imperfections, i am very much hoping that the slightly different shade of white in the cove tile won't bother me. but i will definitely be taking a closer look, and might still order a sample of the home depot tile (except i saw the line drawing of its profile already, and it doesn't make that curve back down to the floor after flaring outward, so i doubt it'll work on top of the floor tile). but thanks for the heads-up. soon i'll start a here's-my-bathroom post to show all the progress that is soon to happen.
__________________
jamie

Last edited by filamentary; 06-08-2014 at 10:58 AM. Reason: (added some paragraphing from the computer - originally typed from phone)
filamentary is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2014, 10:44 AM   #10
cx
da Home-builder -- Moderator-at-Large
 
cx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Boerne, Texas
Posts: 85,246
Jamie, if there's a question in there for us I don't see it. It'll help a great deal if you'll put some paragraph breaks in your posts so they'll be a bit easier for folks to actually read, eh?
__________________
CX

Y'ALL NEW VISITORS READ THIS HERE!
cx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2014, 10:51 AM   #11
filamentary
historic preservation enthusiast
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: los angeles, ca
Posts: 15
that last one was just a reply to elise. all comments, no questions. there were questions (and paragraphs!) in the original post, but i've decided to go a slightly different direction with the baseboard trim. that un-paragraphed mass (sorry!) was written on my phone from the bed. probably should've waited until i got up & done it from my computer.
__________________
jamie
filamentary is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2014, 08:46 AM   #12
Winter River
DIYer with more projects than time
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 268
Jamie, you're certainly thinking this through carefully! My family began to wonder how I could sit for an hour staring at wall tiles laid out on the floor. I have a feeling you've been doing the same thing.

Earlier you asked about cutting the tiles. There are lots of threads here about tile saws for you to peruse. I bought a basic tabletop tile saw: tile saw It's small and simple but worked fine for my project. None of my corners were exactly 90 degrees - what a surprise in an old house. It sometimes took multiple trips to the saw to shave the edges but I was able to get perfect fits. I did get a good saw blade, again there are lots of threads here about those. Also a rubbing stone was key to soften the cut edges.

No need to start a here's-my bathroom-thread. They like the one project, one thread approach here so that all the history is in one place. A moderator can change the title to something more generic any time you ask. Just post the request and the new thread name.
__________________
Elise

Last edited by Winter River; 06-08-2014 at 01:45 PM.
Winter River is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2015, 10:20 AM   #13
JKDVT
Registered User
 
JKDVT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 6
Just found this year and a half old thread and can't thank you enough, Elise and Jamie, for sharing such detailed info. I am working on a long-anticipated (though sooner than expected, thanks to a leaky roof) bathroom tiling project... just getting ready for tile in about a week or so. I was shocked at the cost of "baseboard" tiles... at $30 and up a running foot, whoo-ee. So I'd been playing with buildups similar to Jamie's, and then found this forum.

Beautiful projects. I hope to be as successful in my own. In the meantime, I had to add my thanks for the detailed posts.

- Jane
__________________
Jane
...possibly off the deep end.
JKDVT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2015, 05:06 PM   #14
filamentary
historic preservation enthusiast
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: los angeles, ca
Posts: 15
so glad you found this thread helpful! please ask any follow-up questions you may have. i'm sure i can offer plenty of tidbits of perspective to help you avoid some of the mistakes i made!

but allow me to tell you a couple of things to be wary of!

(1) if you choose the baseboard idea we both did, remember that the measurement of the perimeter of the room is different around the room where the wall itself is, versus where you measure on the inside of where the short hardiebacker area is that you'll be attaching only the cove tile to. not sure i worded that very well, but here's the problem i ran into for not realizing this: i laid out a 4" strip of 1/2" hardiebacker (not really 1/2", i think it's more like 3/8"?) along the entire lower edge of the wall, and attached the cove tiles to that. when i laid out the cove tiles, i made sure the seams were spaced in a pleasing way that would allow me to avoid cutting any tiles with really narrow pieces that would easily break in the process of cutting. it worked well for the cove tiles at the bottom, and the upside-down chair rail above it. but THEN when it came time to lay out the subway tile on the wall above it, there ended up being (luckily only) ONE pesky corner where i had to cut ~3/8" slivers at both sides of the corner. you'll see what i mean in a photo below. if you're not totally sure if you'll avoid this problem, lay out your cove, and mark tentative locations with pencil, then do a test layout of the subway tile above. you may be thinking in your mind, "but the seams of the tiles will line up exactly with the cove tiles below!" ... YES that is true on the middle of the walls, but NOT in the corners, where the subway tile has to reach a little farther to get to the corner. ok, hopefully that made sense, and i'll label the photo below that has the issue so you'll be better able to see what i mean in case my description is not so great.

(2) make sure, in advance, that you have a variety of straight edges and levels. you want the longest level possible that will fit between wall edges. so if you have a few very narrow strips of wall, you absolutely need a smaller level that will fit in between there as well. and then in some cases you'll be working in tiny spaces where a level won't fit, but you can finagle some sort of work-around with combinations of rulers, ruler edges, levels, etc... but just make sure you have what you need in advance, because there's nothing more frustrating than being in the middle of marking everything and needing to go find something else to help you. you may not use them as extensively as i did, but with a bathroom like mine where there aren't any 90-degree angles anymore, you will have to make lots of measurements, marks, and judgment calls to figure out how you want to handle things. sometimes to get the best effect visually, you need to know what level would have been, what perpendicular to the floor, windows, cabinets, etc., would have been, and then choose something that falls in between so it splits the difference. and when the walls get wider, you may decide you need to let the tile stretch like a piece of fabric, increasing the grout spacing by the tiniest increments so the grout lines both appear to line up perfectly AND there are not different sized pieces in any of the corners. but all of those are judgment calls you WILL have to make unless you are crazy lucky with a perfect bathroom.

ok, those are my two main tips. but i will also leave you with a final tip, which is that the tiny imperfections you cannot help but notice at the beginning, you will stop noticing down the line. i am a perfectionist, so i can't say the same will be true of big mistakes, but if you are obsessing to get everything perfect, and fall short once or twice, you will be surprised that you notice those things WAY less later on down the line. there have also been a few minor things that i notice MORE now, that i barely noticed at the time, but when i see them, i think of how this makes it a hand-crafted, not machine-made thing, and that is okay with me. luckily the most dramatic mistake i made is hidden under the bathtub, where somehow (i have no idea how) i put these two cove tiles on a bit crooked... i'm inclined to blame the cat! haha...

ok, now i'm going to show a bunch of photos of my bathroom as it progressed... they're not the best photos ever, but they show you the basics. and you can see that as it gets more and more and more complete, every individual detail becomes less noticeable, and you instead just notice the bathroom as a whole. i'll have to do a few posts to show all the photos, so bear with me.
Attached Images
     
__________________
jamie
filamentary is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2015, 05:09 PM   #15
filamentary
historic preservation enthusiast
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: los angeles, ca
Posts: 15
ok, see in the 4th and 5th photos? in that corner, the two cove tiles that are a little askew? that would probably have bugged me forever, but it's totally hidden behind the tub now. i really have no idea how that happened!
Attached Images
     
__________________
jamie
filamentary is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Stonetooling.com   Tile-Assn.com   National Gypsum Permabase


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
4" cove base with 8"x8" field tile?? lindalaw Tile Forum/Advice Board 4 04-13-2012 04:53 PM
"To Grout or to Caulk" that is the question... (Shakespeare was a tiler first) SharonE Tile Forum/Advice Board 6 02-17-2012 01:42 PM
Change of plane: grout or caulk? Steve C Professionals' Hangout 7 01-05-2010 11:45 PM
Shower floor caulk on change of plane problems kcndc Tile Forum/Advice Board 5 02-24-2009 07:08 AM
"L" shaped backsplash-caulk or grout the vertical? tessera Tile Forum/Advice Board 4 02-27-2006 12:48 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:50 PM.


Sponsors

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2014 John Bridge & Associates, LLC