Thursday, July 08, 2010

More bathroom work

Yesterday I briefly discussed our bathroom makeover. Yes, it has gone from a simple ‘fix the pipe’ to a major makeover, taking too many weeks to complete. But in the end it should be pretty, moving from a builder grade 70’s dull bathroom to a nice modern one. Probably by the time we sell this house it will be outdated again, but we weren’t banking on the old style rolling around again to be popular, and anyway we are doing it so that we like it.

Biggest mistake of the remodel: somebody falling in love with those 60cm (24”) tiles. Yes, I know they look nice, but in a small bathroom the immense size is not that big a factor. The problem with big tiles? They require a lot of cuts; a lot. And being big this requires the rental of a tile saw that can handle big tiles. Fortunately there is a Home Depot near our house and they have a good rental department. Unfortunately the tile saw that can handle big tiles is also big, and will not fit in our car or trunk. Fortunately I have a small trailer it will fit in. Unfortunately the trailer was full of my small train stuff which now has been sitting on the patio for quite a while so that I can hook up the trailer and drive off to HD to get said large tile saw which unfortunately also rents for a corresponding large amount. I don’t even want to add up what this effort is costing us, all for a $2 piece of pipe. (oh, yes, we are sticking up the tile ourselves).

Here is what the place looks like now:

That’s B in the tub, here is what the shower looks like:

The color difference, my great Photoshop work. I think the real color is closer to what the second photo of what the shower looks like, more of a very light beige with some darker brown accent tiles. Can’t tell too well from the pictures, but the sample tiles B saw in the store were 30cm x 60cm (12” x 24”) not square. B liked the look of the rectangles put up with the long edge vertical, and thought this style would make the small bathroom appear a little larger. The tile style has been discontinued by the manufacturer, so all we could get were the bigger squares and the smaller ones, which has led to my cutting a lot of big square tiles down into big rectangular tiles. But it would not have mattered if the rectangles were available, our bath walls are not a nice multiple of the tile widths, I would end up having to cut them down anyway. The shower for example is 85 cm (33 1/2”) wide, requiring strange width individual tiles.

There is a nice side to being able to rent specialized equipment, in that it would be very expensive to purchase. The down side is that other people have used the stuff, and it seems most people don’t handle rental items quite as well as they would handle things they owned; taking apartments and rental cars as other examples. Since I had to make those long 30cm cuts in a lot of tiles I expected that the saw would cut in a straight line. Unfortunately that was not the case, and we ended up with tiles that had curving edges. Coupled with the fact that the corners of the room were not square (as in most houses) and the walls are not perfectly flat and we were dealing with big tiles with irregular sides sticking up those tiles ended up producing grout lines between the tiles that were not nice and even. Oh, did I mention that besides the big tiles B also liked the concept of very little grout resulting in the tiles having to be quite close together, which really emphasizes the irregularly cut edges. Fortunately the grout color is close to the tile color, so we notice the irregularities but hopefully our guests will not (I doubt if E will comment on it, but we’ll see next month when she comes to visit, and she concentrates on the toys in the tub not the tiles).

The bigger tiles required thicker thinset behind to hold them up, and the not flat walls made getting them to lay perfectly flat difficult. This resulted in a somewhat uneven appearance which again we really notice. One of the places I worked at also used 30cm x 60cm tiles, and I did notice that not even professionals end up with perfectly flat surfaces. It would have been much easier with smaller tiles, but that was not the look that was desired.

Saying all that, it still looks pretty good. We have the one wall left to finish, not in tile but getting the drywall taped and textured. From previous work we acknowledge that we are not very good at getting patches to blend in with existing work, and are waiting two weeks for a good finisher to appear and make it all nice, hoping he doesn’t charge too much for one small wall. Knowing now how much we are ending up doing I wish I would have just stripped the room up front and started clean, it would be much easier than matching work now. Ah well, I didn’t plan on such a big job, but hopefully the end result will be as nice as we envision it.

For a small diversion I offer you women in underwear doing chores:


SOL's view said...

The tiles look great. I think I would like it if you could do a whole room shot when it's complete!

I've never been a DIY person. I think I'd much rather pay someone else to do the hard work while I boss them around. :)

WhisperingWriter said...

I love those tiles. Our bathroom looks crappy but that's because we're in base housing and the military pays for the cheapest stuff ever.

Pamela said...

yes tile looks nice. Our friend put tile in his kitchen floor and it was hard work -- killed his knees..

When we remodeled our bathrooms, the contractor took care of it.
I wish I also had tile in the kitchen.. love it so much

Pamela said...

ps. was in Las Vegas on June 17...
sorry I didn't stop by (:

Pamela said...

oopos It was june 24

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