With the addition of the bathroom floor, the room is starting to feel d-o-n-e, except that there’s still no vanity or toilet, but those are tiny things, right? There’s a lot to be said about being able to step out of a shower onto a finished floor instead of out of your bathtub onto plywood. I probably can’t say that it’s the last shower and bathroom floor overhaul I’ll do in my lifetime (I’m kind of an addict, like Nicole Curtis‘s brunette sister), but finishing my first bathroom floor feels really, really good.
On Day 11 of the bathroom renovation, we checked a whole list of things off our list. The shower is totally d-o-n-e, the floor too, and I even painted (and repainted). It was a whirlwind day, and I hope I captured all of the nitty gritty. If not, ask questions.
There are a lot of things going on in this post, so keep reading to learn more about:
- installing all of our shower hardware
- painting (and repainting)
- caulking the bathtub
- installing the floor tiles (and grouting them, same day!)
If Day 10 seemed like the calm before the storm while we did underlayment prep, then today was the hurricane.
Relaxing baths are overrated. Completing the shower has been a high-priority since I tore out the shower on Day 1, and even though it’s Day 11 now, in real life (with breaks for work and stuff) it’s actually day 35 of our bathroom reno. A big goal was to finish off the details in the shower, and see how far we could get with the floor.
I added a bead of premium bathroom/kitchen tub and tile caulk along the 1/8″ gap between the edge of the tub and the bottom of the tile, as well as along the edges of the ceiling. Pete knew that it was best to fill the tub with water to weight it down while the caulk is curing, which is why you see it filled in the below photo.
With the caulking gun, I made my way around the tub and down along the front edges quickly, and then back over the whole seam with my finger to smooth down extra blotches. After it dried for a few hours, Pete carefully went along the edges with a razor blade and cleaned up a little remaining excess from the tiles.
We left the tub filled all day while it cured.
Installed the Shower Hardware
While the caulk around the tub did its thing, I moved higher on the shower and installed the shower head, surround for the faucet, and the tub spout. All pieces are finished in brushed nickel, were installed using PTFE tape, and also caulked.
A simple curtain rod bought from Amazon arrived earlier in the week; despite my searches for something that would be track-mounted on the ceiling, I never found anything that I really liked, so I went the easy route and got a tension rod shower rod and a clear shower liner.
Added Fresh Paint (Total Happiness)
Before I installed the floors, I also gave the freshly patched, skim-coated, sanded walls a fresh coat of paint using the leftover Benjamin Moore from when I originally painted the space when I moved in; you’ll see the color make an appearance in the next few pictures of us installing the floor, but don’t get attached to those yet.
Installing the Floors
Quick remind: I bought many, many square feet of a special order vinyl resilient tile from Home Depot. In person, they’re great. Sized 12″x24″, they’re a nice proportion to the bathroom and while they have a “concrete” finish (that’s the product name too, FYI), they have a warm glow about them. Lots of light brown undertones and splashes that really complement the hardwood floors in the hallway, and a nice texture which definitely fools the hand/eye/barefoot into thinking that they’re ceramic or porcelain, not vinyl. At $1.69/fq. ft., I spent under $150 doing the entire room.
I started by critically evaluating the best way to lay the tiles. This is one thing I’ve been debating since the day I bought them: From the entryway perspective, should they lie horizontally or vertically?
After seeing it laid out both ways, we decided to install them so they appeared horizontal when you enter the room (lower photo as shown above). To plan further where the tiles would sit, we decided to have the tiles run centered to the toilet, and evenly to the door, so we measured and marked two lines in pencil on the subfloor that we would work from. Starting directly where they intersected, we aligned that first tile evenly along one line and straddling another, knowing that it would be installed evenly and square.
With both of us installing, we made great progress quickly.
Recycling some of the same 1/8″ spacers that we had also used for the subway tiles in the shower, we left gaps between each tile for grout. These tiles have slightly beveled edges to allow grout to sit nicely, and as you see, the addition of grout really helps to make them look less like vinyl and more like something of premium design.
The tiles were super sticky. It didn’t take much to get them positioned and adhered to the surface. The spacers were essential to allow us to quickly position and maneuver each tile before they were permanently stuck at the wrong angle.
We were also cautious to brush down every surface before installing each tile. While the primed underlayment was essentially flawless (no residue from old tiles, no dents), there still seemed to be dog fur and dust settling on it as we moved along.
Within an hour, the floor looked like this:
Custom cutting the pieces that would run along the wall and beneath the baseboard, we optimized what we could and had very little scrap. It was much thicker than other vinyl tiles I’ve encountered, and still easy to cut.
Using the same technique you’d use with most other vinyl floor installations, it was easy to measure and score each custom cut piece on the fly with the help of a straight edge and sharp utility knife blade. The vinyl dulled blades quickly, and we probably used three different blades during a simple 2-hour installation!
A simple snap and it was ready to be installed.
We cut each piece so that the cut edge would hide beneath the baseboard trim. No cut edges would be exposed to grout or to the eye because it was important to keep the manufacturer’s beveled edges intact to properly accept the grout. Here’s an example of how they began to fill in along the wall that the vanity would eventually sit against; we just made sure that each tile extended close enough to the drywall where we knew the rough edge would be covered by trim.
With the floor installed, I was having second thoughts about the paint color. The above picture is a good representation of how the wall gray looked with the tile gray; totally different family of grays in my opinion, and I knew I wanted to fix it pronto. I originally expected the existing gray of the room to look nice with the grout color, the white tiles, and the brushed nickel fixtures… but against the floor, I wasn’t feeling it so I decided to splurge and buy something new.
I still liked the idea of gray. I love how it flows with the other rooms in the upstairs of my house and with my overall paint palette – but I thought it needed to be lighter, a rare statement from yours truly who loves her saturated jewel tones.
Of all the color swatches I picked through, it came down to three options on a single Behr paint strip.
Irish Mist was the lightest I’ve gone on the gray scale in my home, but it felt fresh, warm, and complementary to the room without overpowering any of the new accents, so I chose it on the spot. Back at home within a short hour (Home Depot and back in zero-to-60), I immediately knew it was a better choice. Brushed on beside the existing gray, it was dramatically lighter, lighter than I thought it’d look, but still really nice.
Side note: Most of the rooms in the house are painted in Satin, but it’s better to use something glossy in the bathroom due to the extra moisture in the air; I also go semi-gloss in a bathroom at a minimum, but high gloss is better.
While I was out on my paint run, Pete draped rags over the new tiles and painted the ceiling using the same semi-gloss straight-out-of-the-can white that I used when I painted my office ceiling, so the $25 can of paint covered multiple projects, including all of the floor and window trim in both rooms too.
With the freshly re-painted walls and ceiling drying, we were losing sunlight as we began grouting the tiles.
Instead of using the same pewter gray grout that I bought for the subway tiles, I decided at the last minute to go with a Delorian Gray grout, which is lighter in color and less a stark contrast with the gray concrete-esque tiles.
Our grouting float is pretty big, and those 1/8″ floor gaps were pretty small. Opting to keep the tiles as clean as we could and avoiding the float, we used putty knives to get the grout directly into the gaps. We still operated as though it was a float though, pulling the knives diagonally over the lines to minimize the chance of it digging anything out of the cracks.
Like you saw in the preview at the top of the post, I started grouting in the back of the bathroom closest to where the toilet would sit, and then worked my way backwards towards the doorway. This way, there was less chance of me stepping through the freshly grouted area, or working myself into a corner.
The room was done in 30 minutes. Just before it was ready to be wiped down, we carefully went through the room to gather excess with the putty knives and ease the clean up. Also, note the lighter gray wall color in these pictures? A big improvement, but still certainly gray and better coordinated for the tiles.
Without wasting much time, it was time to clean the grout off the surface of the tile with a damp sponge, just like we did when we grouted the subway tile walls in the shower.
Finished, I snapped some pictures. How’s that for a 1-day project? :)
To read more stories about this renovation: