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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tile Upgrade for Two Bathrooms

For most people I know, carpet in a bathroom is not preferred and that's putting it lightly. I'm not sure that carpet in any wet area is a good idea. My current project involves removing a small amount of tile and carpet from two upstairs bathrooms and replacing the entire floor with new tile.

The master bath is large and has a separate shower and tub with lots of interesting angles. You can see in the pictures that when the house was built they just tiled directly in front of the shower and around the toilet and bath. The center area is just carpet. I'm not sure if they were trying to save money or if they really liked it, but the homeowner is tired of the carpet and ready for a tile makeover.

The first day of the project started with cleaning out all the old flooring. I always try to dismantle things in the reverse order that they were installed. In this case, I started by ripping out the carpet and then went after the tile, which cooperated fairly well.

I removed all the staples and nails and tried to scrape off all the old thinset mortar that was under the tile backer board. Then it was time to start over.

The old subfloor was meant for carpet and consisted of only 3/4" plywood. It's best to have at least 1 1/4" of subflooring beneath the tile, so I installed 1/2" Hardibacker cement board throughout over a thin layer of modified thinset mortar. I'm a fan of Hardibacker because it's designed to be impervious to water. This means that it won't absorb moisture the way that wood does. It's also very flat and smooth, giving me a great surface to tile over.

I would normally secure the Hardibacker with galvanized roofing nails but my air compressor died and my new one hasn't arrived yet. I wasn't about to hammer all those nails the old fashioned way so I instead used screws designed to be used with the cementboard. It was a little slower to install than using the roofing nailer.

With all the angles in this room you can see that I had some interesting cuts to make. I mainly use the score-and-snap method of cutting the stuff, occasionally using my jigsaw equipped with a carbide tipped blade for cutting holes and notches. Read more about cutting Hardibacker here.

In addition to the master bathroom, I'm also re-tiling a smaller guest bath down the hall. There's only around 25 square feet of flooring in there so we're planning to use a smaller size tile to help the room feel a little larger.

Tile coming soon!


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