Plumbing the Depths of Tile Installation

The Gingerbread Diaries

(Direct link for the feed readers: Downstairs Bath Renovation, Week 4)

So, I did it, I got brave and looked at our original timeline to see just how far behind we are, here at the end of week 4:

  • Week 1: Take the room down to studs
  • Week 2: Build new wall
  • Week 3: Electrical and plumbing
  • Week 4: Drywall and painting

Yup, we’re behind!

Granted, replacing the subfloor was never on my list, so that bumps things back a week on its own (2 if we’re being honest, because we only have half the subfloor replaced). If we adjust for that additional task, which we’ll call the new week three between wall framing and electrical/plumbing, we’re only functionally 1 week behind.

Or something like that…

My precious! I hope I love these switches as much in use as I do in theory! | image via House of Antique Hardware

My precious! I hope I love these switches as much in use as I do in theory! | image via House of Antique Hardware

The electrical and plumbing aren’t done, yet, but I have high hopes for that to be checked off this weekend. We’ve ordered the pretty button switches and plates only to have the double plate be on backorder until April.

This, but in brushed nickel finish. | image via House of Antique Hardware

This, but in brushed nickel finish. I hope. | image via House of Antique Hardware

Todd’s looking into what our options are to speed that up (we could have the rest of the order shipped without it and fix up a stand-in until the one we want is available OR we could get a different finish and I could paint it, those are the top contenders at the moment). It isn’t the end of the world, but it’s a delay we weren’t expecting.

Todd’s been working on the plumbing for the new layout this week and since that’s not something I’m all that helpful with I suggested that while he was doing that, maybe I could go ahead and get started on the tile floor. Sounds good, right?


It’s been a week of research into underlayments and waterproofing and tile sizes. See, we bought a roll of DITRA as an underlayment but they didn’t have the tape that you’re supposed to seal corners and edges with (lets ignore, for the moment, that to seal the gaps we’d also need the drywall up–details!). So I was doing some reading about installation on the manufacturers website and saw that they had a minimum tile size of 2″ to use with the DITRA. Well, the octagons are that big, but the square tiles are not, and the size of the waffle pattern on the DITRA could mean it’s not supplying the right amount of support for the smaller tiles.

Reminder of the tile we picked. Simple, not fussy, though it'll look more interesting with the silver grout we picked.

Reminder of the tile we picked. Simple, not fussy, though it’ll look more interesting with the silver grout we picked. (Yes, it’s listed as wall tile, but it has a PEI of 4, which is perfectly fine for moderate to high-traffic floors.) | Image via Lowe’s

The good news is that we get to return the DITRA (that stuff is expensive!) and don’t need the tape, either. Instead we’re going with a layer of cement board (the preferred underlayment for small tiles as near as we can tell). The cement board is water durable, though we’re also wondering about waterproofing between that and the plywood subfloor. Now I’m thinking a treatment would be better than, say, a layer of plastic sandwiched between–we’ll see what consensus we come to.

I suppose the bright side to all of this is that we discovered this NOW as opposed to when we were knee deep in tile-time. My attempt at being proactive actually let us research an area of the project we’re both pretty new to without setting the project back further. So, yeah, that’s what I’m going with.

2 thoughts on “Plumbing the Depths of Tile Installation

  1. Make sure you request extra mother of pearl pieces! We have the same ones, and the glue they use is terrible, luckily only a few of the discs got lost, and the company is wonderful about sending out replacements… As far as waterproofing, look into redgard, very easy to use.

    1. Good tip, I’ll tell Todd to request them if he hasn’t already! Did you find the buttons easy to get used to?

      I’ve seen mixed reviews of RedGaurd, but it’s also the one that pops up most readily. Some places say the mastic between the plywood and cement board is enough?

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