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Unread 03-19-2015, 08:49 PM   #16
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Finally getting around to working on the bathroom. Lots of lessons learned so far, and will sum them up in the end for the other DIYers. As I am familiar, little mistakes have huge trickle down ramifications.

The existing 80s construction was strange, not sure if that is how they did it back then or this was a unique case. The existing tub surround was regular drywall (not even green board) with another layer of drywall over that. The tile was then put on like a countertop with a large bullnose over the extra layer of drywall. No moisture barrier anywhere. However, the tile was very precise. There was not a bit of moisture anywhere. It made pulling the old tile off very easy because the whole tiled wall came down in one piece. Unfortunately because of this I did not think of certain things.
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1) Lesson 1: CHECK YOUR STUDS AND SHIM OR PLANE TO LEVEL THEM. So I assumed since there was existing tile the wall was flat. So I cut out the existing wallboard and put in CBU. Taped and filled in the joints. Only then is when I ran a level across the wall. It was horrifying. The stud along the shower valve must have been bowed out about midway down so the wall was bowed both vertically and horizontally. In fact all the walls had some bow in them. I wanted to cry because 10 minutes with a hand plane and shims would have solved this. Now it was either too late or required cutting the CBU out. I could not bring myself to cutting it back out, so I tried to float some thinset in the low areas and actually came out OK. However, the trickle down effect is causing problems as I lay tile. This fact is not emphasized enough, also finding wall shims is not easy
2) Lesson 2: LEAVE SUFFICIENT TRANSITION FROM CBU TO WALLBOARD. I do not know what I was thinking, but I guess I was thinking the more CBU the better. Lesson 1 compounded this lesson. I put my transition right to the end of my tile, I think I should have left at least a full tile length. My CBU was lower than my wallboard, but I thought I could make this up by feathering out the taped seem. Unfortunately by the time I taped it, I raised the transition even more. So there is a hump right at where my tile ends. I am going to have to play with my bullnose to cant it by a 16th, or have a pretty significant caulk line.
3) Lesson 3: FOR WALL TILE MIX THE THINSET THICK. I did not mix my thinset on the thick side and it was difficult to work with. A lot of mess and bleed through that needed to be cleaned up. It still trowled up, but was on the thin side. Next batch with be thicker.
4) Lesson 4: I had a bag of the standard 1/16th rubber QEP T spacers. I could not get these to work. Every time I adjusted a tile or tried to set it level they would pop out. If I brushed the tiles they would pop out. I tried the plastic TAVY spacers and they worked so much better. For the DIYER I recommend those.
5) Lesson 5: I watched a lot of videos where they lay multiple rows of subway tiles by basically building a pyramid. That way you can lay tiles without stopping to do your cuts. Then once you have multiple rows done you can fill in the cuts tiles. The problem with that is there is no way to check your level. I found for a DIYER it may be easier to simply mark up 2 or three rows and draw a level line. Then do 2 or three rows and run a level. Then you can use your wedges to adjust. Anymore than two or three rows get challenging to adjust.
6) Lesson 6: Wife wanted the subway tiles, not really my thing. So I wanted to at least get 4X8 subways. I found this really difficult to do. I am in a big metro area with lots of big box stores and tile warehouse stores. I see them everywhere in magazines, but could not find them. Finally went to a local distributor (new favorite store) and got them. Pretty pricey compared to the big boxes.


So now for some questions.
1) Because of lesson 1 and 2, I decided to lay the last field tile and not the bullnose. I was considering to lay all the field tile and do the bullnose at the end. I need to be a little careful to cant the bullnose to get it to lay flat against the wall. I am guessing I have to cant it a 1/16th. Here is an image
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Is it ok to do it this way, laying all the field tiles and finishing with the bullnose? Or am I likely to mess this up? Should I mark the line for the bull nose and work in from there? Or does it matter?
2) I am planning to do a ceramic shelf, and cannot find a good tutorial. I have seen some tutorials for flat marble shelfs. Do I put simply notch the row above and leave the row below full? Or notch the row below and leav the row above full. Any link to a tutorial or thread:
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3) I am still planning to do the floor in 2 inch hex marble tile, and would like to do a border in the shower:
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The border is about 1/16th thicker. Can I leave it a little proud? I think it would look interesting especially with a lot of 3D tiles you see now, but afraid people may just think it is sloppy. Any opinions on that? If not I would do pencil tiles on top and bottom. Man those pencils are expensive. The room is supposed to be classic/modern with modern fixtures but the classic white subway and white marble. So I was thinking without the pencils would look more modern less formal.

So I ran a level across and I am definitely getting off level. So I plan to focus tomorrow on two more rows and get everything back to level. I think my layout is good and the wrap looks good.
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Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Unread 03-19-2015, 08:51 PM   #17
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For clarification, the picture of the old tile is in another bathroom without a shower. However, the same "counter top" approach was used.
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Unread 03-19-2015, 09:25 PM   #18
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1. Don't think I know what you mean by needing to "cant" the tile to make it fit and it doesn't sound like a good idea, but......... I hope that transition of wallboard is well outside your wet area.

2. Or you can notch both rows of tile and center your shelf on a grout joint.

3. I dunno.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 03-20-2015, 08:16 AM   #19
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Thanks again
1) Probably not the correct term by "cant". My last field tile sits on the tape joint which is a little bump. so it is sitting a little high. To get the bull nose a little flatter on wall side I was going to try to push it down a little bit on the outside edge when setting it. Maybe try to drop it a 1/16th over its length.
Actually my transition is far outside the wet area. The original wife plan was to use plank tiles, that matched the floor. In the design she saw the tiles extended well beyond the tub. According to her that made the room look bigger. With my man-vision, I could not tell. Anyways my CBU extends 7 inches beyond the tub. But my last tile sits on that joint at about 2 inches from the end. Again, if I would have shimmed the wall instead of trying to feather it out (lesson 1) this would be less of an issue.

2) I think I will just notch the top ones then

3) So no opinion on leaving the threshod 1/16th proud?
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Unread 03-20-2015, 08:17 AM   #20
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For number 3 I meant leaving the marble border proud from the field tiles.
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Unread 03-24-2015, 07:58 AM   #21
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Made some gains over the weekend. I went without any pencil tiles around the border. I have been using a 1/4 square notch trowel for the field tiles, and switched to a 1/4 V notch for the border. Very little lippage in the transition. I think it looks fine. A couple more lessons learned and some more questions. The corner transitions came out OK, but I did not account well for the width of the overlap. However, I have gotten really lucky on my layout. I did a full tile at the bottom of the tub and ended up with a half tile at the ceiling which will match the bullnose on the side. My subway started dead in the center of the wall and ended in almost perfect 1/4, 3/4 at the sides. No small tiles along the side of the tub down to the floor. Better lucky than good.

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Lessons Learned:
1) For the DIYer, unless you are very tall tiling to the ceiling is hard. Not sure how the pros do it, but I was up and down the step ladder and in precarious positions. The last three rows took a long time.
2) Doing tub surrounds is really hard and time consuming. This is why these pros make so much money. It took me truly all weekend to do this. Some people are good, others fast, others good and fast, I seem to be neither.
3) Dogs like china pencils, or at least mine does. I thought I was losing my mind and misplacing my china pencils. Every time I went down stairs she must have stolen the pencils and brought them into the bedroom. Lots of fun chewing and pulling apart. The wife eventually found the dead pencil graveyard.
4) Ceramic tile creates really sharp shards. I was wearing slippers in the house so that I could take them off going outside. The house is all hardwood needed to keep clean. I kept on leaving my slippers inside and going out barefooted into the garage to the tile saw. Put a ton of shards in my foot. Feels like I stepped on a sea urchin. Next time two sets of slippers; one for outside one for inside.

Questions

1) Now I need to work down the side of the tub.
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The first question is there any tricks to transferring the contour along the curve of the tub and cutting and smoothing that contoured cut. Not sure if there is any trick to transferring the curve without a contour gauge. I assume once you mark it you take the tile saw and make some feather cuts and then break them out. Then I was thinking to use my dremel to smooth out the curve. I was looking at the other tub and they have the contour really nice and clean.


2) My floor is not in yet so I need to leave the last tile open. So is there a way to work down the side of the tub or is it a matter of putting in another edger. I assume another ledger, and being very accurate.
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Unread 03-24-2015, 09:15 AM   #22
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Contour gauges at Lowe's are pretty cheap, or you can make a template with a piece of cardboard.

I'd stop working on the walls and do the floor first, then come back and do the tub leg. Otherwise you'll have to set a tile on the floor on top of piece of cardboard or something similar to account for thinset and work down to it. Some masking tape can help hold the tile in place until you get all the tile in. Allow a little extra, maybe 1/8", to slide the floor tile under the wall tile.
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Unread 03-27-2015, 10:41 AM   #23
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So will be installing the bullnose and the tiles on the tub side this weekend. Here is where I have a little dilemma. As I said earlier this is where I messed up. I made the transition from cbu to wallboard right at the end of my tile bed. I then did a poor job of shimming the cbu, and overdid the taping of the joint. I used a stone to feather down the "speed bump" , but still got a ridge. Anyways, because of that my last field tile is a little high, not sure how to do this to make it look OK.

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1) Do keep the thinset thick by the field tile while pushing the thinset down on the wall side? Basicaly anlging it? Or do keep the bullnose flat which means at the finished edge it would be off the wall by about a 1/16th or more? Then I assume run a bead of caulk?

2) I played with the contour cuts, and it took me a while because I was pretty dyslexic. I think I got it correct, but not certain. The gap between the tub and the tile is about 1/8th but the rest of the grout joints are 1/16. This is because the corner of the tub is the lowest part. Does this look correct?

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Thanks again. This tile stuff is hard.
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Unread 03-28-2015, 08:13 AM   #24
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Worked on the bottom rows of tile along the tub and the side of the tub. I set a small ledger board along the side and worked up. I think the contours came out OK. So today going to do the bullnose which I am worried about because of the last field tiles sitting proud do to the taped "speed bump. My plan is to use a 1/4 v notch on the wall and then backbutter the bullnose at the midpoint. That way build it up a little by the field tile side.

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I kind of messed up the grout line by the half tile. Had a few beers while working, so that will bother me when sitting on the toilet.

Questions
1) Is there a common layout for the bullnose when doing subway pattern? Do you match the grout lines or offset the bullnose to the field tile midpoint?

2)So today going to do the bullnose which I am worried about because of the last field tiles sitting proud due to the taped "speed bump. My plan is to use a 1/4 v notch on the wall and then backbutter the bullnose at the long midpoint. That way build it up a little by the field tile side. Any thoughts/techniques on trying to handle matching the bullnose to the proud field tile? I will tell you if I am successful. I guess I got to be, if not the whole thing will look bad. Or do you think I should consider possibly a different edge profile, like a pencil of Schluter? The worst tiles are about 1/8 inch proud when placing a clean (without thinset) bullnose against it. I may also be over thinking this because I probably get 1/16th height from the thinset anyways.

Thanks again.
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Unread 03-28-2015, 08:42 AM   #25
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1. What size are your bullnose tiles?

2. The minimum industry thickness for thinset mortar behind your tiles is 3/32nds of an inch, Pete. You can exceed that up to a maximum or 1/4-inch, but I don't know if that answers your question on accounta I still can't see your problem.

Nice job on the tub corner cut.
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Unread 03-28-2015, 09:04 AM   #26
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Thanks.
This image is the bullnose laid against one of the worst areas.
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So I would have to bring the bullnose at least an 1/8th off the wall. If I build it that thick, do I just finish off the finished edge with a bead of painters caulk? Looking at the tile in my other bathroom the bullnose appears almost flush with the wall, a pencil thin amount of thinset.

The bullnose is 2 x 8.
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Unread 04-03-2015, 09:36 AM   #27
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Made some progress. Got the bullnose in without much problem, and got the marble floor done. So getting ready for grouting next.

Lot more lessons learned and few questions.

Lessons Learned for the DIYer
1) Hexagonal mosaic floors require a lot of cuts. especially around the door.
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I did all of my cuts and dry laid the whole thing. Each sheet I laid I put a piece of tape and numbered it. I put an arrow showing the direction to lay it. And top taped all of the cut tiles to the sheet. Then I put all the sheets back in the box in the correct order they got laid, and numbered the boxes. This took a long long amount of time, but paid off huge when laying the tile. I would have lost my mind trying to figure out and cut as I went.

2) Cutting hexagonal mosaic tiles presents a challenge. The more you can keep the sheet together, the better. If you cut a bunch of single tiles, it is hard to lay them in nicely. There are some jigs on the internet for handling single tiles but could not find one where you could do a sheet. I made one and it worked great even though it was a little cludgy. After I was done, I saw this on the site
http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/...ad.php?t=71704
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That is exactly what I had in mind, just did not have the time and matierals laying around. My, crappy version worked great and was a big time saver. If someone has a buisness they may want to consider making these, I would buy them. Make it out of hard molded plastic. Clamp in an entire sheet. For those of you with an overhead saw this may not be as big of deal, but for the DIYer using a box table saw this would be well worth some money.

3) for cutting single hexes, I made some simple jigs that worked fine. There is one on the internet called the Tile Setter that looks nice but it is about 40 dollars.
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4) I am finding that time is money, and this is taking a lot of time. If I had to do this again I would definitely invest in a better tile cutter and saw.


Questions
1) Sealing marble. I have read conflicting statements on this. I have seen where you should not seal the marble because it will lock in any moisture. I have heard people say you should seal before you grout to avoid any (do not know the term) color bleeding into the marble. I plan to use a very light gray. What do you recommend

2) Grout for Floor. Here is my floor. The spaces are under 1/8in, I think about 1/16th. So I was planning to go with unsanded. For floors I have always used sanded, but also bigger grout lines. Any problem using unsanded?

3) Grout for Shower. Planning to do white. I ran 1/16th grout lines, but maybe 1/8th inch in some problem areas trying to get everything level and spaced correctly. I have one bad area here where the border to tile is over an 1/8th.
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Should I go with unsanded in the shower, and not worry about the border? Can I maybe mix the grout for the border a little thick to avoid shrinkage? Or should I go with sanded to be safe.

4) Grout/Caulk for Finished edge of Bullnose. I think this is another issue where the experts have conflicting opinions. I have seen on the internet where they run the tape on the wal about a 1/8th away from the edge and then grout the edge to fill in under the finished edge. I have heard others say to caulk. What do you recommend? If caulk do you use a silicon or just an acrylic (being easier to work). White tile and grout so matching is not an issue.
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Thanks again. Geat site. Next project is going to be large format because I am tired of cutting.
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Unread 04-03-2015, 02:38 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete
Thanks again. Geat site. Next project is going to be large format because I am tired of cutting.
Ha! I'm in the finishing stages of a subway tile tub surround myself and I feel your pain. In one area I counted 28 tiles, 18 of which had to be cut in some way or another - yikes.

If you do use large format tiles on your next project, you may save on cuts, but you'll have to put in the prep work to get the substrate FLAT.

Nice looking work, BTW - I like the look.
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Unread 04-04-2015, 07:31 AM   #29
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I'm not a pro but I've done several tile jobs and my last one was similar to yours with ceramic on the walls and marble on the floor. You can see the finished result here: http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/...9&postcount=56

Quote:
Questions
1) Sealing marble. I have read conflicting statements on this. I have seen where you should not seal the marble because it will lock in any moisture. I have heard people say you should seal before you grout to avoid any (do not know the term) color bleeding into the marble. I plan to use a very light gray. What do you recommend
I sealed the marble on the floor before and after grouting and it worked very well. I did get some "picture framing" from the gray grout around the edges of each tile initially but that faded after a few days. I'm very glad I sealed the floor because it makes it much more worry free in terms of potential staining. I also used a membrane under the tile so the tile really is sandwiched between two sealed layers but so far over the course of about a year there have been absolutely zero issues.

Quote:
2) Grout for Floor. Here is my floor. The spaces are under 1/8in, I think about 1/16th. So I was planning to go with unsanded. For floors I have always used sanded, but also bigger grout lines. Any problem using unsanded?
I used Tec Power Grout for the floor and walls and it worked very well. It's also very stain resistant by itself which has been a good thing in the shower. The Power Grout comes in what I'd loosely call "semi sanded" (is that a real term?) meaning it's sanded but the sand seems to be very fine grained so it works in small joints. Tec claims it's good for joints 1/16" to 1/2". Just be wary of their color matched silicone which IME isn't. The other caution is that the stuff sets up fast so I learned to mix up smaller batches and work on smaller areas to avoid it hardening in the bucket.

Quote:
3) Grout for Shower. Planning to do white. I ran 1/16th grout lines, but maybe 1/8th inch in some problem areas trying to get everything level and spaced correctly. I have one bad area here where the border to tile is over an 1/8th.

Should I go with unsanded in the shower, and not worry about the border? Can I maybe mix the grout for the border a little thick to avoid shrinkage? Or should I go with sanded to be safe.
See #2 above.

Quote:
4) Grout/Caulk for Finished edge of Bullnose. I think this is another issue where the experts have conflicting opinions. I have seen on the internet where they run the tape on the wal about a 1/8th away from the edge and then grout the edge to fill in under the finished edge. I have heard others say to caulk. What do you recommend? If caulk do you use a silicon or just an acrylic (being easier to work). White tile and grout so matching is not an issue.
I've finished bullnose edges both ways (grout and silicone) on various tile jobs previously and I've concluded that using grout makes for a cleaner, more finished look. It's easier and less time consuming than taking the added step of caulking, and it avoids having a visual transition between the grout and the silicone at the edge. I'd definitely mask off the wall to create a smooth edge in either case.
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Unread 04-04-2015, 08:05 AM   #30
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1. You can seal before grouting if you want to. It's more critical to do if the grout will be other than white. Use a penetrating sealer and it will breathe.

2. I would use nonsanded for that marble floor. The white marble will set up the grout faster than some, which will help keep from washing the joints too low. Mix the grout kinda stiff.

3. The wall joints look closer to 1/8 than 1/16. You could go with either one. These joints will probably wash out too low with nonsanded if you aren't careful. Fine hairline cracks could also be in your future. Sanded would be easier and the joints would stay full. Again, if you decide on nonsanded, mix it stiff.

4. When installing mosaics on sheets, I try to mark and cut full sheets whenever possible, just as if they were 12x12 tiles. It's much faster than cutting a bunch of individual pieces. Yep, a good saw helps.

Always caulk against the tub. There will be movement there nearly every time. The corners are supposed to be caulked too. In my opinion, it depends on the installation method. I grout my corners.
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