Google+ Nine Red: Tile Entryway Project: Part 2 of 2

Monday, January 7, 2013

Tile Entryway Project: Part 2 of 2

We did it! For a minute there it looked like this project may have to extend into the weekdays, but it all came together and I'm so glad we didn't have to do any after-work grouting nights this week! Let me fill you in on all the details, here's the Tile Entryway Project: Part 1 if you missed it.
We are pretty proud of ourselves here... only a few snags along the way. This tile was pretty easy to work with, and remember I was worried that the online pictures from Home Depot looked like they didn't use grout? I'm happy to report they do use grout, just a color that is almost the same as the tile -
giving the look of it not being there at all, sort of..  I love this stuff, I can't wait to do our other entryway, and maybe the whole downstairs.... too ambitious??  Ok - so in my last post, we left off with the planning phase.  Well the next day I went to get all the supplies, and luckily they were in stock (phew!).  We saved a pretty penny by borrowing a lot of the tools from my sister & her boyfriend, who had just done some tile work in their condo. Lucky us! This tile was as pretty in person as it was online, so as soon as I got home I laid it all out to start measuring.

That's Rubin, my little helper for this project. He is not a carpet shredder luckily, and now with tile we'll never find out if he would have been. Good!

 I wanted to get started early on with the tile cutting, since I was told that tile cutter is extremely loud! The tile manufacturer recommended a random placement pattern to look most authentic, so I just did whatever.  
Following the wall with the door, I did the first side with four solid tiles, and went outward from there.  This was helpful afterwards because the remnants of each cut tile filled the gap on the other side. No measuring! 

Before cutting the tiles, I laid everything on the carpet with spacers in place to get an idea of where to cut.  Using a straight edge I committed to some cut lines, and just jumped in. Look at this tile cutter:
Pretty neat, and really really loud. I only had 5 tiles to cut but it felt like 50. The diamond blade cut really well, and it was very easy to use.  Once all my pieces were cut, it was time to test the placement again.
Everything fit, and I had a nice straight edge leftover.  Here's where we got a little nervous, cutting the carpet! I waited for Ralph to come home so I'd have a little encouragement.  We drew a line in washable marker (just incase we messed up!) and removed all the tiles.  Laid a straight edge down... and cut.  It was easier than I thought and came up quickly, then the  fun of removing carpet tacks began...
Sharp little devils.  Good old crow bar really came in handy here, and everything came up. 
Important Side Note:
Now here is where you can learn from our error! Isn't that handy?  After we were almost done with the whole project, it dawned on us that we should have put a concrete board or some other membrane down before mortar and tile.  The reason, is sometimes plywood is flexible, and may lead to grout cracks down the road.  It was too late by the time we thought of it, and now we know! 
Our mistake is your gain, right? Good thing you read up on this first - unlike me! Actually, I watched video after video about the tiling process itself, and totally overlooked the "before you tile" part.  I think it will be ok, since there were 2 layers of plywood and it was pretty solid. 

......Moving on, mix the mortar!
This stuff made me feel so rushed! It was "rapid set" so I was scared it would dry faster than I could work. And it did! We made 3 small batches luckily, but next time I need something a little slower.  All in all, it worked great, everything fit, and we were ready to grout:
The next morning when things were dry, we removed the spacers, sanded down any areas where the mortar slipped up, and cleaned the tile for grouting.  We bought pre-mixed grout. It was a dollar more, and I figured I'd give it a try. We chose "sandstone".  Actually, it was recommended to us, so we didn't have to make that decision. The colors are so close it's really hard to choose!
Grouting is my favorite part! Seeing the project finish up felt so good, and I love that grout isn't really a rush rush situation.  One thing I learned since this was my first time grouting a floor (usually I do tables & other small projects) was to wipe the grout away in a diagonal direction.  That way, you don't pull out all the grout and have to re-do it. This made things nice and even, major help!  Once we were done, I cleaned up with those giant sponges (new favorite!) and wiped the haze away every hour. 
Walked on it today and things felt pretty good! Now to get a bench for that back area... I'd love to give an old bench a lime green make-over. I'm loving lime green, and I just had to ditch a lime green chair that kicked the my little heart is broken.  Just gotta start scouring craigslist... To finish this up, we're going to seal the tile & grout with a spray on sealer, and get some seam binders to hide the cut lines between carpet and tile.  Then, on to the next project! Maybe.... paint the kitchen?!

Hope you enjoyed following along in our little tiling adventure, I feel way more confident now and know that the next time we do this we'll be ready with some time & trouble saving tips.  All in all, a good first run! Thanks for reading, and good luck if you're about to embark on a tiling weekend of your own!

Have a great one,

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  1. Jess-

    Your tile project came out awesome!! Congrats to you both!! Can't wait to see it-and your new little bench, with a shelf for shoes. :)

  2. what a great project and I loved your tips! Thank you so very much for sharing :o)

  3. what a great project and I loved your tips! Thank you so very much for sharing :o)

    1. Thanks Jana! Yea, be sure to put that concrete liner in, certainly helps with the flexibility! Lesson learned :D

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