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One Room Challenge Week 3: Let's Talk Bathroom Floor Tile

by - Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Welcome and thanks for stopping by! If you're new here, I'm a Toronto-based, plaid-loving blogger who's intent on fixing up her city colonial and her country cottage, one DIY at a time.

It's Week 3 of the One Room Challenge which means we're in the dirtiest, messiest part of the whole renovation. And judging by these photos, that part is true. Let me catch you up with what we've done so far. Catch up on Week 1 and Week 2 progress if you missed it.

Here's the tub alcove. All the wall tile and cement board has been ripped out. Hooray! The gross jacuzzi tub is gone too (though we had to saw it in half as it was too heavy to carry down the stairs!).

How do you remove tile?

It's a dirty, laborious job. Our first instinct was to smash the tiles out with a sledgehammer but that proved to be messy and dangerous and getting the crumbled cement board out was a pain. So then we did what people in this situation usually do: we looked up How to remove tile from bathroom wall" on YouTube, ha!

We watched this video that suggested using a thick metal putty knife and hammer. We tried that but omg it was taking so long. Then our electrician had the great suggestion of using our air hammer. Sean had one with a chisel bit and it seemed like it would work! He first tried using it to take the tiles off one by one and while it was quicker and was easier, it was still taking too long! Then he had the idea to use it to chisel into the grout lines and essentially cut out big pieces of the tile and the cement board at the same time. Best idea ever and he got the rest of the tile removed fairly quickly.

The rest of the room saw some changes too. Sean put in new drywall on the bottom half of the room where we ripped out the old tile and drywall. He got a first coat of mudding on one wall but it's going to take a few more coats. Luckily, this big wall will be covered in subway tile so it doesn't have to be perfect.

He also installed the new subfloor. We went with 3/4" instead of 1/2" to give more stability beneath the tiles. There's different options for the kind of underlayment you should use beneath tile. Plywood + cement backer board is one. Plywood + Ditra is another option. We used Ditra in our old kitchen renovation and those tiles survived a decade with nary a crack so that's what we'll be using here too.

Speaking of tile, let me show you some of the floor tile options we considered! I've partnered once again with The Home Depot Canada on this project so you can find all of these options at your local store or online.

Let me start by saying that I know cement tile for bathroom floors is all the rage these days but I really am not a fan. I like it in other people's homes and I love it paired with plain white walls but I think it's a look that will date very quickly. And flooring is a very hard thing to change so I like to keep the look a bit more classic.

I really loved the silvery hue and movement in the top tile. But barefoot, it felt like walking on stoneware. Or a chalkboard. And the thought of toenails scraping on a wet chalkboard after you step out of the tub was enough to give me the heebie jeebies. 

The bottom tile had a nice deep colour and had just enough grip. I've always loved a slate looking floor so this was a top contender. But in the end, we decided a 12"x24" tile would make the bathroom look too small so this too was a pass.

3d cube marble mosaic tile, home depot floor tile

The grey ceramic tile on the left was a nice, safe choice. It was affordable and looked good but it didn't quite have that "oomph" I think the new bathroom needed.

The hexagon tile in the middle was an early favourite when I saw it online. In person though, it wasn't quite as spectacular. It was a porcelain made to look more like marble. The tiles were thinner too and it didn't feel like it would stand up to lots of foot traffic though it was rated for use on floors.

I had first spotted this 3D cube mosaic tile two years ago on an end cap at The Home Depot Canada. I took an Instagram story of it and quite a few interior designers asked me about it. It felt a little bold for me at the time and I had no use for it, but I tucked this nugget of information away in my brain. Then I saw it in store recently and knew I had to reconsider it for this project.

3d cube marble mosaic tile, home depot floor tile

I know what you're thinking... isn't this cube tile just as patterned as cement tile? Yes, it's got a bold pattern but this pattern has been around for 2000 years! I don't think it's one that will ever fall out of favour. As well, rendered in polished marble, it feels very classic yet still modern.

This was it. This is the floor tile that will make my French bistro bathroom design sing!

Of course, once I decided on this tile, I started noticing it evvvvverywhere. Like here:

Source: Tchotchkes Design Studio

and gosh darn it, from one of my favourite designers House of Brinson, here too:

At least it confirmed what I thought - it's a good looking tile! Now all we have to do is get the tub in, the plumbing in, the cement board in, tile the shower, put the panelling on the walls, install the Ditra, and then we can finally install that floor tile ;) And do it all in three weeks... no problem, ha!

Now go check out the rest of the Guest Participants for the One Room Challenge and see what they've been up to!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by The Home Depot Canada. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. Thank you for supporting the brands whose quality products I bring into my own home.

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