Ten30: Playing with power tools

Last Friday morning, while billions around the world tuned in to watch scenes from the biggest royal wedding in three decades (I wasn’t even born for the last one!)… I was getting ready to so something I’ve never done before – something totally unrelated to Britain, Kate Middleton or scones. 

I was picking up some pretty impressive power tools and setting myself up to tile the shower/bath that we installed in our basement laundry room last year.

As far as new experiences go – this was completely different from climbing Kilimanjaro in January, donating my ponytail in February and (most of all) floating in a salt bath in March! My Ten30 project is shaping up quite nicely – and now – so is my basement shower!

waterproof membraneI was actually hoping to get the tiling job done last weekend – Easter weekend – but like most things in life,the preparation was a little more complicated than I was expecting. I may be coming up thirty soon, but I’m living in my first house and a lot of the renovations that we’ve done over the last couple of years have been “first time” renovations for B and I. We try, we learn, we try again, we learn some more. We’re in no way experts, but at least we aren’t scared of getting our hands a little dirty. All this to say that we realized before starting (thank you Julie) that we would have to install a membrane before even thinking about tiles. The membrane was more expensive than my tiles AND it had to be cemented to the wall. Not as simple as the plastic film and duck tape I had envisioned when I first heard the word “membrane”. B helped me with this – from mixing the cement with a big wooden stick (not recommended) to covering the walls in this lovely pink “paper”. 

On Friday, it was my time for me to “fly solo”… with some pretty fancy power tools.

I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I was actually quite excited about doing this on my own. I was anxious to get started… to see if I could do it… and if I could do it well.

Tiling turned out to be much easier than anticipated. With the right equipment, anything is possible, right? I’m not saying it went perfectly or that I didn’t hit any bumps along the way… but I would say that it went well.

Some lessons learned:

1- Use an electric drill with a giant beater to mix cement and mortar. But hold on tight. I almost sprained my wrist when the drill swung around the first time I pushed the button.

2- Measure, measure, measure. And remember that your pattern goes all the way around the bath. I ended up cutting 5 horizontal inches off an entire row of tiles because I should have placed my “decorative” row of glass tiles one row lower. Which also left me with a tiny tiny top row (less than an inch… oh boy).

3- The little tiles spacers are GOLD. They are. I had my doubts about how useful they would be, but they kept my lines nice and straight.

4 – Grouting is not as easy as it looks. It’s very messy and it makes me very very angry. As in, “want to break things and scream” angry.

5- Vinegar and water are magic. The grout job left me with ugly streaks that I couldn’t rub off of about half my tiles with all the elbow grease in the world. A mix of 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water did the job – leaving me with the beautiful and shiny white tiles that I wanted!

The only things left to do before the bath is “shower ready”… seal the edges with some caulking and install the taps (hopefully we won’t wait another year to do that!). Still, I’m very proud of myself for a job well done. My laundry room is getting nicer and nicer. Yay.

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5 thoughts on “Ten30: Playing with power tools

  1. Hopefully you remembered to remove the spacers. I’m noticing that the guy who did our upstairs bathroom put them in flush on the corners of the tiles and buried them in grout. Now they are starting to make an appearance, and the mold/mildew growing beneath is cross-shaped. Grrr. Can I hire you to re-grout? =)

    • Yes Danny! lol… I didn’t put them flat against the wall… I just stuck them in with one peg to keep the space even…
      And doesn’t re-grouting imply removing the grout that is already there? fun. not.

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