Born to fly……

Living on Saltwater - Guest Bathroom Tiling - Before and After

Living on Saltwater - What if I fall? Ob, but my darling, what if you fly?

I ended 2015 uninspired; you can read about it here. BUT that has definitely changed. Working on this project, so far, has reminded me how much I love to do DIY things.

I’ve had the idea to tile the guest bathroom floor for over year. Last week I FINALLY accomplished it. Hands down this is one of my favorite projects to date. Well, maybe it’s tied with the corner book case I made from a wooden door that I wrote about, here. It’s kinda hard to beat that corner bookcase, but this just might have. I learned so much, not only technically when it comes to tiling, but also when it comes to believing in myself and working on a project like this.

I hate admitting that I was scared to start this project, but I was. Being scared is ridiculous; sometimes you just have to go for it, whatever it is. I’ve helped friends tile before and used a wet saw, but it’s completely different when it’s your own house. There’s a lot involved when tiling a bathroom. You’ve got to take the toilet up, the baseboards, the shoe molding, the old flooring. Then you’ve got to put down backerboard, figure out the transition to the adjoining room, cut the tile around the toilet and any weird angles in the room, cut the door jam, blah, blah, blah. Once you start down that road, there’s no going back. But most of the time the risk is worth the reward. I wrote in this post, here, that I wanted to be more fearless in 2016. I think this was a perfect way to start the year.

Living on Saltwater - Guest Bathroom Tiling -Guest Bathroom Before

Living on Saltwater- Guest Bathroom Tiling - Guest Bathroom Before

The decision to start this project kinda happened at the last minute. I definitely felt like I was winging it, which is not how I like to do things. I mean I usually carry around paint colors in my purse for several weeks before deciding on one. There were a lot of things that I was uncertain about. I didn’t know how to take up a toilet, but a friend came to help me and be there with me when/if I freaked out and thought “What the f*ck have I done!?” I learned that to take the toilet up you have to “sponge” out all the water remaining in the bowl after you drain it. Kinda sounds gross (it was), but I did it (I didn’t make him sponge out MY toilet). Once the toilet was removed, we carefully took the based molding and shoe molding off. I was going to buy new stuff to put back up afterwards, but everything was reuseable. It saved me a little bit of money.

I ended up pulling the vinyl flooring up, but I probably could have left it down. It was glued down really good and not all of it came up. But I didn’t worry about making it look perfect since the backer board was going down on top. After everything was taken up, I went to Lowes to get some supplies (tile, backer board, thin set, grout, spacers, new wax ring for the toilet, etc.). At Lowes the tile I was eyeing was out of stock. There was only one box, and I needed 3. I originally wanted a light gray (surprise surprise) wood grain tile that was 6” X 24”. But I ended up getting this oak colored wood grain tile that was on sale.

We installed the backer board when we got back. It’s “supposed to” be a score and snap situation, but that was not really the case. It was a little more difficult to cut the backer board that I expected. After it was cut, it was screwed down in place.

The next step was to lay out the tile and dry fit the entire floor. I started by finding the middle of the floor directly next to the tub and centered my first tile on that point. We laid out as many full tiles as possible before going to cut tiles (I used 1/16th spacers).

Living on Saltwater - Guest Bathroom Tiling -Dry Fit

Things went pretty smoothly, until we got back to the toilet. I bought this blue square thing that you put around the pipe so that you cut square edges on the tile to go around the toilet flange (instead of a circle). It was helpful. I guess you could also cut a square without the blue accessory, but it was nice to have.

The way that the tile fell around the flange made everything pretty easy to cut except for one piece. The very top piece fell completely over the flange and I had to cut out a rectangle. This was really difficult, and not completely pretty looking, but the toilet was going to cover it. First I cut each end of the rectangle and then made several cuts in between so that we could break off pieces of the tile. This is what it looked like around the toilet.

Living on Saltwater- Guest Bathroom Tiling - Toilet & Tile

The next step was figuring out the transition to the carpet in the hallway. The tile sits about ¼ inch taller than the carpet. I didn’t want people to stub their toe or break the tile when walking in. So I did some research and found this metal transition piece: It is angled on one side to provide an easy transition to the raised tile.

Living on Saltwater - Guest Bathroom Tiling - Transition Piece

Living on Saltwater - Guest Bathroom Tiling - Tile and Carpet Gap

The Home Depot closest to me did not have it in stock, and Lowes does not carry them in stock. So I had to drive about 25 minutes to the next Home Depot that had them. I was still a little uncertain if this piece was going to solve my problem. Once I got it home and was able to look at it with my threshold transition, it seemed like it was going to work! Whew. Now all I needed to do was screw it down in place, cut the tile, and then cut the door jam again to fit the tile under. The tile cutting went pretty good, except for one piece I had to recut out of a new tile that was going at the door jam. But I had plenty of extra tile, about ½ box, so it wasn’t a big deal. I finally got everything dry fitted on the second day. I felt pretty good; I was pumped that I figured out the transition by myself and finished cutting the tile.

I bought thin set and grout on my first trip to Lowes, but after looking at the thin set it was for tile smaller than what I was using. I also decided I wanted to use colored grout (brown to match the tile). I bought pre-mixed grout and the colored grout was a powder that I would need to mix. So Monday during lunch I took back the thin set and grout and bought new stuff. I settled on this mocha grout color. I wasn’t 100% sure about it (here I am winging it on the grout color) because I didn’t really have an example to look at in the store.

The next night I numbered all the tiles and stacked them up in order to get them out of the way. I started putting the tile back down with the thin set. I have to say this was the worst part of the process. It was difficult to work with such a small space, make sure everything was level, and that the tile went back down just like it was dry fitted.

Living on Saltwater - Guest Bathroom Tiling

Living on Saltwater - Guest Bathroom Tiling

I let everything dry and grouted two nights later, after work. The grouting was much easier. After letting it dry for 30 minutes, I went back over it with a sponge to remove the excess film covering the tiles.


Living on Saltwater - Guest Bathroom Tiling - Grouted Tile

Two days later we put the base board, shoe molding, and toilet back down. I learned how to use the nail gun and how to put the toilet back down. Now, I’m not saying I’m an expert, or that I’m going to take a toilet up by myself in the future, but hey I know more than I did!

Living on Saltwater - Guest Bathroom Tiling - After

I love how the tile turned out! It looks really good and is a nice upgrade compared to the standard vinyl that was originally installed. This project is probably the most technically difficult project that I have tried to tackle. There could have been a lot of different obstacles that could have come up during the process. I think the uncertainty is what I was most afraid of. But everything came together better than expected. It’s funny when life works out that way. I have more plans for the bathroom, like painting the vanity, walls, and ceiling. Moving the towel bar and changing out the mirror.

Living on Saltwater - Guest Bathroom Tiling - Before and After

So even though I was afraid on falling/failing, I know whatever I decide to go after I will accomplish. It’s just who I am. Sometimes you need to be reminded of your wings and that you were born to fly……

“Born to Fly”

Sara Evans

I’ve been tellin’ my dreams to the scarecrow
About the places that I’d like to see
I say, “Friend do you think I’ll ever get there?”
Oh, but he just stands there smilin’ back at me

So I confess my sins to the preacher
About the love I’d been prayin’ to find
Is there a brown-eyed boy in my future?
And he says, “Girl, you’ve got nothin’ but time”

But how do you wait for Heaven?
And who has that much time?
And how do you keep your feet on the ground?
When you know that you were born, you were born to fly

My daddy, he is grounded like the oak tree
My momma, she is as steady as the sun
Oh you know I love my folks, but I keep starin’ down the road
Just lookin’ for my one chance to run

Hey ’cause I will soar away like the blackbird
I will blow in the wind like a seed
I will plant my heart in the garden of my dreams
And I will grow up where I want, wild and free

Oh how do you wait for Heaven?
And who has that much time?
And how do you keep your feet on the ground?
When you know that you were born, you were born, yeah
You were born to fly

So how do you wait for Heaven?
And who has that much time?
And how do you keep your feet on the ground?
When you know that you were born, you were born to fly, yeah
You were born to fly, fly, fly, fly, hey

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