Hello and Happy New Year!  Becky and I took a holiday break from the blog to enjoy family and relax, but we are so excited to be back in the action! I don’t know about you but typically we spend our holidays eating too much, watching too many movies, and playing in the snow! But for some of us (i.e. our good friends Zach and Lori), they found time this holiday to re-do their basement bathroom! They invited us over to help out and document the process so we could learn how to tile too (and share with you!)! And while tiling is, in fact, a lot of work, it really isn’t as daunting as you might think once you know which tools to use and how to do it.

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When I finally sat down to edit the pictures and put together the instructions for this post I realized that there are over 25+ pictures and WAY too many details to bombard you with in just one post.  (Plus it is a lot to write in one sitting!) So this will just be the beginning of “How to tile your bathroom in 3 days or less!”  Yes…I said 3 days.

Day 1: Zach and Lori prepped the bathroom the day before we got there.

Day 2: We laid tile using mortar (i.e. “glue”) and spacers. The mortar needs at least 12 hours to dry (i.e. overnight).

Day 3: Lori and Zach applied the grout and let it dry….the sealer actually has to be applied a few days later but is a small finishing touch so the heavy work is mostly done by Day 3.  Follow the steps for Day 1 below!

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Aren’t the floors gorgeous?! Zach and Lori found amazing porcelain tile called American Estates ‘Marazzi.’  The tile comes in 6″ and 9″ width selections, and 36″ in length.  The tile color and texture gives it a similar look to wood flooring.  Using very small grout lines, you can accomplish a wood appearance with the durability of tile.

2 Tile Sizes

For part 1 of “How to Tile Your Bathroom,” we will cover how to prep the bathroom.  In the next post, we will cover how to lay the tile and grout!

***Note:  There are more steps you need to do if you are tiling a bathroom on a wood floor versus on a concrete floor.  For those of you that have basements, your main floor and second story have a wood base. The basement has the concrete flooring from the foundation of the house.  This specific tile job was done in the basement bathroom so it already had the concrete flooring (which is the easier route).  For extra prep steps to tile a wood floor, check out this link.


Zach and Lori first removed the quarter round moulding from the trim using a putty knife and small crow bar.  The quarter round is nailed into the trim with thin, long nails.

2nd pic Remove quarter round Better

They also removed the toilet so that the tile would fit snug against the plumbing. I’m not going to describe how to remove a toilet here but Zach says it is not that difficult.  Check out this link if you need more details on how to remove the toilet.

Remove Toilet

Because you will be laying tile to replace the linoleum (which is much thicker), you will need to also replace the transition strip that goes between the carpet and tile. You can buy inexpensive strips at Home Depot and cut them to whatever size you need using a saw. To pull back the carpet, just unhook it from the tiny nails that are holding it in place.

Unattach carpetHere is the strip we cut for our door transition…

Carpet to tile transition

Luckily, the linoleum wasn’t glued to the concrete so we were able to pull it up very easily. If your linoleum is glued to the floor, you will need to use lots of elbow grease and google the instructions based on the issue you have! :)

Remove linoleum

We also prepped the door casing in the bathroom by cutting out the very bottom in the same thickness that our tile would be.  Cut out a section where the tile can fit under to hide any uneven edges.  We used a piece of cardboard (placed on top of a tile) as the measurement since the cardboard would be a similar thickness to the mortar.  Holding an oscillating power multi-tool steadily on top of the cardboard,  we quickly and easily cut out the wood pieces.

Cut door frame


Base of door frame removed

Make sure to sweep, vacuum and mop before beginning to think about laying the tile.  All of the dust must be removed.

Here is an action shot of the guys (Zach and Shawn) cutting out the door casing! Zach and Lori were so patient to teach us how to do all of this! (And this was the only second of the day that Zach had a coffee mug in hand – don’t be fooled by how easy he is making it look!) :)

photo-47One last thing you need to check before you begin Part II (of actually laying the tile), is that you need to ensure that your floor is level – especially around the toilet. At least level enough that when you lay down one tile (without mortar at first) it doesn’t rock in place. If you find that your floor is out of level, significantly enough that you have a lot of tiles that are rocking, you can use a floor leveling mortar and follow the instructions on the bag to get your floor back into a level state. There are other under-tile options to address issues like floors that move or have water barrier problems. All of these products can be found at your local home improvement store.

Now that the linoleum flooring, toilet, and molding are removed….we are ready to lay tile! Stay tuned for the next installment! :)

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