Tag Archives | subway tile

Is synchronized grout sealing a sport?

Well Friday is here, my family is staying at our house tonight, and we finally have a usable shower…Hopefully they’ll forgive us for the disastrous state of the guest bedroom, though. We’ve kept a lot of bathroom stuff in there over the last month and it still hasn’t been put back together.

We didn’t quite make our deadline as technically the toilet isn’t hooked up yet, but at least they will have a usable shower! We sealed the grout in the shower and on the floor a few nights ago using DuPont Grout Sealer from Lowe’s and a foam brush for the floor and paint brushes for the shower.

The foam brush worked perfectly for the floor and went pretty quickly. But a word to the wise, if you have small tiles and lots of them, get the spray sealer! We brushed all of it and it took forever, especially because you have to apply it twice. The benefit of the brush on kind is that we know everything got covered, which we were a little worried about with the spray kind.

We were up until well after midnight sealing, and Andrew apparently gets more talkative when he’s tired (if you can imagine.) He was very slap happy! At least it kept us entertained. We even practiced synchronized sealing. “Brush, and brush, and brush…long stroke…..and wipe.” Not kidding. (You have to wipe off the tiles or the sealer will leave a film on the tiles).

I also practiced my caulking skills and caulked the top and bottom of the trim and all around the shower. It ended up looking pretty good, I think, but I’m no Speedy Gonzales! It took me several hours to do all of it.

 

At this point I’d only done the top of the trim and not the side or bottom. From my limited experience with caulking, I definitely recommend using your finger and a wet rag instead of the square tool. The tool pushed too much caulk up onto the wall or onto the floor and just seemed to make a bigger mess.

And lookey what we got set up! Not showing pictures of the whole bathroom until it’s closer to being done, but here’s a sneak peak of the vanity (sans drawers). Chaucer loved it. And he was ecstatic about the fact that we were actually letting him be in the bathroom with us for once.

Andrew and I are both glad to have an excuse not to work on the bathroom this weekend. We’re both exhausted and I’ve had a headache off and on for the past 3 days due to the lack of sleep. We are in desperate need of a break. So yay for family time and for families that don’t judge your mess. :)

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Beignets, Paint Chips, and Progress!

Yesterday Adam came and grouted the shower and floor. Since you can’t be on it for 24 hours after, we took the night off last night and went out. We got beignets to go from Cafe Rue Orleans and then went to Mama Carmen’s for steamers. Yum!

To give you an idea of how nerdy we are we also went to Home Depot AND Lowe’s on our date night! That’s our idea of a good time! Then we came home and admired our tile some more (from the doorway, of course).
This picture makes the tile look more yellow than it really is. It’s mostly grey…and sorry for the horribly lit pictures. Not sure what happened there.
To wait the full 24 hours meant we didn’t get to do anything till this afternoon, so now we’re really feeling pressed for time. We want to get the vanity set up by the end of the weekend or Monday night at the latest so the granite guy can come measure. Our tentative deadline for a painted room and a usable shower and toilet is this Friday when my family will be in town.
You might think with having the tile done that we would be ready to paint and start installing fixtures, but we still have lots to do. We need to paint the ceiling before the walls, but mudding and sanding needs to be done before that. We also need to seal our grout, as well a bunch of other things.
As we’re getting closer to the finish line, I’m starting to think about all the finishing touches like towels, art, towel rods, etc. For me, the art was the most stressful part. I feel like most small bathrooms have a small window on the far wall, so then they could put art over the toilet instead. Well we have no window, so I knew something had to go on that wall, especially since it will be the first thing you see from the hall. We want to make something ourselves, but I don’t draw or paint so I decided I want to do some kind of paint chip piece.
I know, I know…everyone’s doing itBut I like it, so I’m going to do it, too. A lot of the ones I’ve seen are a little too modern for my decor, but I really love this sort of ombré and herringbone pattern. And herringbone is classic, right?

I’m going to use strawberries, corals, salmons, pinks, etc to make mine to bring in the accent color from my mood board. Andrew and I got a bunch of paint chips from Home Depot and Lowe’s last night, and I’m excited to get started! But first we need to focus on getting the bathroom prepped for painting. And then paint. Woo.

Also, look what I got in the mail the other day? Yippee!
I ordered this online from Home Depot. Normally a widespread faucet will cost upwards of $150. We like the look of the widespread sooo much better, but we weren’t sure we could swallow the price until we found this one! It’s a great brand, but for some reason it was only $125! I also had a $25 gift card, so the final price came to $111. Go me.
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It all happened so fast…

I wish I could say Andrew finished up the plumbing quickly and easily this morning and that we were able to shower and make it to work by 8:30. Alas, I cannot say that…or I’d be lying.

Here’s how it happened. Andrew stayed up working until 2 last night, and then got up at 6:55 and went to Lowe’s. David, a plumbing expert at Lowe’s and quickly becoming an acquaintance of ours, asked him how it was going. His response? “Well I’m here at 7 in the morning so not so great!” Too true. He came back with the parts and started soldering. At 8:20 he still wasn’t close to done, so I whipped out the computer and started working from home.

Every once in a while Andrew would request my help in confirming that water wasn’t leaking. We’d call each other on our phones, I’d wait near the plumbing, and he’d go outside to turn the water on. Andrew tried soldering the pipe 3 times, but this pipe was the lowest point in the house which meant that all the water left in the pipes ran to it. Finally he called a plumber to ask for any tips. He said at that point it’s almost impossible to solder, and recommended Gator Bites, or for those of you that shop at Home Depot, Shark Bites, or Sonic, Cheddar Bites…oh no, that’s not right, is it? This is basically a pipe with compression fittings that doesn’t require soldering.

So he finished the plumbing and then off he went to turn on the water. Only problem? He accidentally left a valve open, and he forgot to ask me to watch. So I’m working away, when all of a sudden I hear water pouring into the bathroom!! I run to the bathroom to see water spraying everywhere. It looked like a fire sprinkler went off! I ran to tell Andrew, the whole time screaming like a crazy person. And there was definitely some crying, too. Can’t blame me though. I had visions of our drywall completely soaked and flopping on the floor like wet bread, and having to redo EVERYTHING! Thankfully, that did NOT happen. Everything was very wet, though…including our light fixture. Turns out it’s not quite as frosted as we thought!
We got out the wet vac and some towels and started mopping it up. My heart was still racing. This was probably the most dramatic DIY moment for me yet. I think I may have had a mini panic attack.
It dried out pretty quickly though, so we continued on our merry way and laid down the rest of the hardie backer and then Adam came to tile.
 
 On a sidenote, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but we decided to hire someone else to tile. Our reasons are the following:
  • We have none of the tools for it, which alone would run us upwards of $300.
  • It’s very time consuming, especially for a beginner, and we both work all day 5 days a week.
  • We want to stay married.

Anyway, he finished up the subway tile yesterday and it looks awesome! Just keep in mind it’s not grouted or caulked yet. At first I was worried it went up too high on the wall, but after looking at it for a while I think it actually makes the room feel taller. Which it needs, as it is neither tall nor spacious. Once we get the other stuff in here and get the shower doors on I think it will be perfect.

We brought it up so high because we wanted to raise our shower head so you didn’t have to bend down  to get wet. Apparently people in the 80s were shorter? Hah. We raised the shower head by about 5 inches, and we wanted to make sure the tile came above that. Then we had to make sure we ended with a full tile at the top. 

Today he did the floor and it turned out out great, too! He started in the back because we decided it was more important to have full and half tiles there than by the door, but turns out we ended up with that on both ends! What a perfect surprise after such a stressful and imperfect day.

It’s really starting to feel like we’re making good progress now. You know those TV shows where they spend 45 minutes showing the demo and all the problems encountered along the way and then all of sudden the room is done and you think, “Did they skip something?” No, that was our experience, too. It seemed like we’d been stagnant for a while. We’d done a lot of work, just nothing really aesthetic so it felt like it was going really slowly. Then it was like all of sudden…BAM! It’s a bathroom! It’s almost bittersweet. I still feel like I should walk past and see studs and subfloor…Nah, almost bittersweet, almost.  Anyway, Adam is coming back tomorrow to do the grout, and then we’ll be ready for the next phase!
We’ve also discovered that Chaucer is really curious about renovations and DIY. He loves smelling and exploring new things and really doesn’t seem all that bothered by the loud noises. I mentioned once before that Chaucer likes to sleep in weird places and that was further confirmed the other night when we found him truly embracing all of these changes…
 Looks quite comfy for a cat, doesn’t it?

(Just FYI, this is the new, never-been-used toilet. Thank goodness.)

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