Guy and I had agreed we would tile the upstairs bathroom over Thanksgiving Vacation. We had “all” the supplies purchased and I wasn’t planning on cooking much of anything for Thanksgiving.
On Tuesday last week we had a Thanksgiving potluck at school. While I am sitting there eating with Jesse, he informed me he didn’t really want me to cook much for Thanksgiving — just Special K Loaf (we are vegetarians and this is a favorite with Jesse) and I didn’t have to do both mashed potatoes and potato boats. I could do just potato boats (aka twice baked potatoes). OK, well I needed some food on hand anyway for vacation so we stopped at the grocery store. While we are collecting ingredients, Nolan informed me he really likes stuffing as well. Add that to the list. Meanwhile, I’m miserably sick. I slept all of three hours Tuesday night because I couldn’t stop coughing my lungs out.
Wednesday we had a half day of school and I had planned to rip the carpet out before Guy came home from work. The best laid plans… Due to lack of sleep Tuesday night, I collapsed into bed as soon as we walked in the door Wednesday afternoon. By the time I woke up Guy was home and had removed the carpet. I had intended to have a before picture, however I was a little late. Guy had already painted the walls a couple weeks earlier. While this picture is not the bathroom, it is what was on the floor and walls before we started.
White carpet is not my idea of the ideal floor covering for a bathroom. (It is impossible to get Sonic Blue Coconut Slush stains out of the carpet when it has been vomited up there.) The whole house (excluding the kitchen) was carpeted with this when we bought it. It was nice carpet, but not meant for children and animals. My brother-in-law helped us redo the floor in the downstairs bathroom two Thanksgivings ago and that was my first experience with tiling. Guy was convinced I was now an expert.
I was not quite as convinced, I had the basic idea, but wasn’t overly confident. When we purchased the supplies, I found a book called Tiling Complete published by The Taunton Press. It was an extremely helpful book and I highly recommend it.
Also on Wednesday night Guy cut all the backer board to fit the floor. If you choose to tile do not skip this step. The people that built our house did skip the step in our kitchen. The grout cracks out and the tiles break easily because there is too much flex in the plywood. (The kitchen will be a job for another vacation.) So part way through Wednesday night the bathroom looked like this.
That was enough for the evening and we had grandiose plans for Thanksgiving Day. Bright and early I mixed the Thinset to adhere the backer board to the plywood. That was pretty straight forward. Unfortunately, while buying supplies I hadn’t noticed we used most of a 50 pound bag of Thinset on the last bathroom which was much smaller. We only bought a 25 pound bag this time. That was enough to get the backer board down, but not enough to start laying tile. Which meant we got a half day off in the middle of the job.
This meant I had plenty of time to cook for Nolan and Jesse and I managed to mark a small whole cloth quilt.
Friday morning Guy went and bought 50 more pounds of Thinset and the tiling commenced. It was a full day job. Talk about sore knees and shoulders. I laid all the tile, but Guy did all the cutting. We managed to use the boys as runners part of the time. I’d mark what I needed cut and the boys would run down to the garage with the tile and come back with a cut piece. I did manage to get all 198 tiles down on Friday. The Thinset now needed to sit for at least 24 hours. This is a shot of the tile at that point.
At this point Guy was definitely seeing the imperfections. Hard as I tried, the rows of tile did not stay perfectly straight. I also ended up with the decorative tiles one row closer together than I had planned. You need to understand Guy is a perfectionist when it comes to jobs around the house. It really bugs him when things aren’t just right. It is a good thing he wants to continue to live with me, because I didn’t hear as much about it as I would have if someone else had done the job.
What a relief Sabbath was, I didn’t need to worry about the tile again until after sundown. About 5:50 I went to mix the grout and decided the buckets we owned were to grungy. I raced over to Ace and grabbed a new bucket with 3 minutes to spare until closing time. Grouting goes much faster. Here is a picture of a portion of that process.
Yes, that is me in the corner with my really grungy clothes, blistered dried out hands. I was working as fast as I could because you have to go back and wipe off the excess before the grout gets too dry. I think I waited a little longer than I should have so it was harder than it needed to be. Once a fair amount of the excess was cleaned up, I gave up for the night. By now, I was pretty stiff.
Guy finished the clean up on Sunday. He did an outstanding job. There are dips in the tiles and he worked at cleaning any grout out of all those plus the excess on the grout lines. That grout hid a multitude of imperfections. The tile job looked much better once it was in place
While he was cleaning the tile, I disappeared to the basement and the longarm to quilt my whole cloth. It is a gift for Lynn in my Quilter’s Annonymous group. Lynn is in Arizona so I could have taken a little extra time, but I wanted it done. Our group met this Wednesday to exchange gifts and I put the last stitch in that morning. I still need to block the quilt. Merry Christmas Lynn. To go along with the title of this post, I admit this quilt is also imperfect, however when looked at as a whole it isn’t too bad.
Once Guy had cleaned the grout, the tile job for all intents and purposes was finished. However there was still some finish work. The trim needed to go on the back wall before the toilet could go in. (This is also a replacement toilet. The original was 3/4 size and my children aren’t that small anymore. Guy had already put the new toilet in when he got tired of waiting for me to get around to the tiling. This meant he had to pull it for this job.) By Tuesday night that part of the trim was finished and the toilet was back in place. Guy finished putting the trim in last night on his birthday. There are still some nail holes to fill, but most of the work is finished and here are a couple shots.
I need to figure out what I want for a shower curtain and pick up a few accessories. The hard part is done. Guy says it was more work than he expected, that maybe because he didn’t hang around the whole time we worked on the other bathroom. It was a lot of work (no more than I expected), but I think it was worth it! Is it perfect? No, but Guy and I need to remember nothing is perfect, but God. We just need to do the best we can with what we have here on earth.