The Floor Tile Finds Its Way

She Says:

Okay, the walls are in, and once we get the floor prepped, we'll be ready to tile!

We installed a Schluter system as our waterproof membrane.

He Says:

Schluter products are awesome.  Lots of good printed info on them, and plenty of installation videos on the web.  Specifically, this is their de-coupling membrane, which both waterproofs a floor installation and prevents cracking of the tile.  Highly recommended.  Be aware that use a membrane like this takes up a LOT of thinset and you must follow the Schluter instructions as to the type of thinset mortar used. 

She Says:

Now for the floor tile-

We chose a 12x18 porcelain for the floor.  We laid out the full tiles first so we could measure the size of the tiles to be cut.

The floor was temporarily delayed while the project manager stopped by for a surprise inspection:

But once she approved, (or lost interest... it's hard to tell with a cat) we were back on track.

Here's a tip: when it comes to tile cutters, you get what you pay for.  At our local Lowe's store, they had 3 to choose from: $20, $40, and $100.  As this was my first time shopping for a tile cutter (and cutting tile, for that matter), I figured, meh, they all look the same.  Why spend $100 when you only have to spend $20?

I found out the answer to that question the hard way.  It turns out, the el cheapo one was, you guessed it, made cheaply!  If you've never cut tile before, it's actually pretty easy.  You score it first with the blade, then press down on the handle, and pop!  The tile breaks right down your scored line.  Unless you buy the el cheapo tile cutter, which just kind of bows disagreeably and chips your tile.  Ugh.  One trip back to Lowe's and $100 later, and I had this beauty:

Works like a charm.  Lesson learned.

Once I had all the tiles cut, I dry fit them all back in the room.  Then I took each one out and laid them out in the order I would be using them in the room next door.  I know, this sounds like anal retentive overkill, which it was.  But in my defense, since the defective tile cutter had eaten several of my tiles, I only had one spare tile left at the end and couldn't afford to make any mistakes.

This was the first floor tile we had ever laid, and I'm not gonna lie... it was rough.  We didn't take any during pictures because we were too intent on getting the job right.  Applying enough thinset so that the tiles will adhere.  Keeping the current tile level with all of its neighbors.  Muscling the tile into place.  Making sure the spacers stay put.  And heaven forbid if we put down too much thinset and had to lift the tile back up again, which we had to do more often than I care to remember.  But when we were done, it looked like this:

We went to bed, exhausted.  The next day, the grout:

A messy job, but enjoyable.

And here's the finished product!  It turned out beautifully, and we learned *a lot* along the way.  Now the tile heads up the walls...

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