J & B had another project for Jamie to tackle before their baby #2 came, remodeling their entry. Britta had been wanting a bench for the entry that comes off from their garage for awhile, a place to set down their stuff or sit and put their shoes on. And once Baby #2 came they were really going to need some place to set those little cute girls! They had also been wanting to replace their flooring and we suggested knocking that out at the same time as when Jamie built and put the bench it.
The former owners had a checkerboard tile placed in the entry and although it didn’t look horrible, once J & B saw the tile we had used for our bathroom remodel they were sold on replacing it with the same tile, but in a darker color.
We first had to tear out the old flooring and remove all of the trim from the base boards and door frames. We used an ice chipper to get the flooring up. An electric hammer drill with a flat chipping blade was a back up if the old tiles were being difficult. But an ice chipper works just fine too. Make sure to wear protective eyewear as the shards of tile can fly all over.
You need to be very gentle when removing the trim off of the doors so that you are able to reuse the pieces without knowing that they had been removed. We used a pry-bar to remove the trim off of the doors. Once Jamie removed the trim off of the frames, I removed all of the old nails from the trim. To easily remove the old nails, I used a plier and aggressively bent the nail back and forth until it broke off. If you won’t remember which trim piece went on which door frame it would be a good idea to label each piece so you can easily get them back up.
When starting to lay the tile, find a pattern of how you would like your tiles laid out. Jamie always starts in the center of the room and lays the tiles out to get a pattern of how he would like them. He cuts the edge tile pieces, using a tile saw, once he is actually laying the pieces down to ensure he has the perfect measurement.
Once you have your pattern down it’s time to mix the mortar and get to work! The mortar to hold the tiles down is pretty basic, mix mortar powder with water to create a toothpaste substance mixture. We always mix large batches at a time in a large bucket. This can be a mess, so the bigger the bucket the better. Once you have it mixed up you can start spreading the mixture onto the floor and back of the tiles. If there is a tight area you can just place the mortar mixture on the back of the tiles.
Be sure to check out that little princess in the left hand corner, that’s our precious niece Willa. She was our singing DJ while we worked!
Make sure that your tiles are fully set before you start to grout. We let the tiles dry and set for a day before we tackled the grout.
There are a ton of different grouts out there that you can buy. We used a natural gray sanded grout because the grout had to fill the 1/4″ gap. Unsanded grout is used for smaller grout lines. Make sure to also have a couple large buckets, a large grout sponge, a finishing trowel, grout, water, and a stir stick or an electric drill with a mixer.
You can follow the manufactures instructions on the back of the grout package. However, we always start with 3/4 of the recommended water and then add grout.
Using the finishing trowel, press the grout into the spaces in between the tiles. Once you have it packed into the space, use the trowel to scrape the excess grout off of the tiles.
After the grout has set for 10 minutes start cleaning up the mess with water and a sponge. As you can see this is a great teamwork project! Jamie set the grout and I cleaned it up. You will have to clean the grout off of the tiles a few times. We also used a lot of paper towels. It helps to get the grout up off of the tiles once the grout starts drying. No matter how many times you try clean up the grout once everything is dry there will be a grout haze over all of the tiles. We went back over with just paper towels to remove the dry gout, your socks also work great!
Once the new tile was set and grouted, Jamie was able to re-hang all of the trim. Another great teamwork project! I solved the trim piece puzzle while Jamie used a nail gun to nail the pieces back into place.
He left the trim off of the area where the bench was going to be placed so that the bench would fit snug into the space.
Jamie used maple wood to build their bench to again try to match the trim that is in their home. He made 3 cubbies under the bench for their shoes and some extra storage space.
Britta decided to redecorate the bathroom at the same time of the remodel. She picked up a new round silver mirror and floating bathroom vanity from Ikea that Jamie was able to help re-install for them.