Our renovation project today I’m sharing with you is one part of many posts about renovating a bathroom. This part is about using large tiles, in our case 18 inch greyish porcelain tiles to tile a shower and lower wall of a bathroom.
First we removed all the old tile. We did this by taking a hammer and flat screwdriver and placing the flat screwdriver up against the edge of one tile and tapping the handle with a hammer. You continue to do this until the tile pries up. It will usually pry up in pieces. If the tile is really tough you may need to hit the whole tile with the hammer to try and crack it and then continue to pry it loose. Make sure you wear protective goggles and have on gloves and thick long sleeved clothing to help prevent injuries. The pieces may fly at you and can be dangerous. It is not a quick job and you need to make sure you take your time.
Be sure to check out our personalized robes for the whole family. We have soft ultra cuddly robes for men, women, children and even dolls. Sheer lingerie robes for women and cute flannel robes for everyone on your gift list like this cute polka dotted black flannel robe. You can also get most of the robes embroidery personalized with a monogram, cute saying or name. They make a unique and personable gift for any occasion.
The tiles we removed in this project came up relatively easy compared to some tile I have removed. A couple of pieces I had to use a hammer on, which resulted in a little damage I had to patch up to the soft drywall underneath it. Often I have found, you may need to replace the drywall, hardibacker or green drywall anyway due to water damage and mold, or replacing plumbing fixtures. In this case, we just had to remove one piece where we replaced the faucet mechanisms and patch another piece on the other side. After you remove the tile, you may need to scrap any really rough pieces of glue that are left on. A little bit of glue shouldn’t hurt your new tile. We pulled out the old broken jucuzzi tub and replaced it with a new soaking tub. We ended up having to smash the old fiberglass tub in pieces to get it out of the tight area. You need to make sure you disconnect all electrical, water and plumbing properly before attempting any of this. The new tub we chose was an inexpensive plastic material which is much easier to carry due to the weight.
Removing old fixtures
I definitely recommend getting at least a soaking tub which is much deeper and nicer for an adult to actually take a bath in, and doesnt take up much more space than an average tub. The tub took a little finagling to get it in properly in the tight space, but we finally managed to figure out the best angle to get it in place. Since this tub has an attached skirt we had to have the new drain plumbing properly prepared before placing the tub in place measuring it to be exact it would all line up. Once we placed the tub, we had to attach the drain and over flow from the inside of the tub and the small space where we had to remove the hardi backer to replace the new faucet fixtures. After we finished all of this, we replaced the old faucet, spout and shower head fixtures and built our built in shower shelf. See our other blog posts for more instructions on how to do this. Then we replaced the hardi backer, and we were ready to tile!
The large tiles make a nice shower that is much easier to clean than little tiles since it has much less grout. (They are a lot harder to lay if you have a very un even wall, like most walls I have found in houses so far!) Smaller tiles give more forgiveness, but I still prefer larger tiles for showers.
You have to do the large tiles row by row starting at the bottom and working your way to the ceiling in our case. Once you cut and lay one row of tile you need to let it dry before attempting the next row since the tiles are so heavy. Since we also tiled the lower portion of the bathroom wall behind the toilet and vanity, we also did the first row of it to speed up the process and give the other tile some time to set. Once the first row is cut and layed and set enough that it wouldn’t move, we cut and layed the second layer.
I have a small electrical tile saw I bought at Home Depot for under $100 that has come in quite handy for all my tile jobs. It can cut ceramic, porcelain and even granite tiles as long as you have a decent blade. The tile saw uses water to cut to keep the saw and tile from heating up too much while you are cutting such a hard surface. The water also helps to prevent major dust from the tile being cut. It is best to try and plan where your tiles will end up regarding your plumbing when you are dealing with such large tiles.
Cutting holes into porcelain and stone tiles is a very difficult task that you need an expensive diamond whole saw bit and lots of time and patience. I hate this task and try to plan the placement of tiles to where all I have to do is use my tile saw to cut corners off of tiles to make room for the fixtures to protrude through.
I like using the pre mixed tile glue rather than the mortar you have to mix. I prefer this on most any tile job from mosaics, bathrooms, back splashes, even small floors. To adhere the tile to the wall you first measure and cut it to the specifications you need. Make sure you double check it before adding glue to make sure it fits properly. You need to cut as you go and not cut too many pieces in advance. Using a tile trowel with a notched edge apply a layer of glue to the back of a tile and use the notched edge to run raised lines all throughout. This helps the glue stick to the wall properly. Lay the tile where it should be placed and slightly twist it back and forth making sure it is properly in place.
You need to continue the same process line by line all the way up to the ceiling. I highly recommend framing in the whole window frame as well if you have one in the shower. It looks so much nicer and helps prevent water damage. Don’t forget to frame in your recessed shower shelf if you built one using the ideas from our other post.
Adding a row of decorative tiles helps break up the solid look and a lot of design for not too much buck. We used 12×12 sheets of a beautiful glass and stone mixed long skinny tiles and cut them in half to make a 6 inch tall border about eye level on all three sides of the shower. I placed them after two rows of the large tiles so I wouldn’t have to make any additional cuts in the large tiles. Make sure you thoroughly let these dry before laying the net layer of large tiles, as the weight will push them down and make your spacing uneven.
Last comes the grouting. You need to wait 24-48 hours and sometimes more for very humid areas, before you grout to let the glue completely dry. You can see more about grouting in our other videos and posts from our mosaic series as well. On these tiles we used non sanded grout since our grout lines were less than an 1/8″ thick. If they are wider you need to use sanded grout. Mix it with water and we also added a little of the additive we bought that helps prevent mold and mildew, until it is a consistency about like mayonnaise. Spread it back and forth over the tiles making sure to get it in all cracks completely with a rubber tile float. Scrap off the excess back into your bucket and let sit for a few minutes. Use a damp sponge and a bucket of water to carefully wash off the excess grout. Let dry overnight and wipe again with a damp cloth, when this dries polish off the excess grout dust with a dry cloth.