Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hexagon Madness

If there is one thing hubby and I knew that we wanted in the new bathroom it was an antique-style floor. It's such a small room that we knew we could play around easily with whatever tile we wanted. We both adore old tiled floors and hate to see them ripped out of homes being renovated. A few of the houses we looked at prior to our decision to stay where we are had tile floors from the 60s and 70s. I'm a sucker for funky tile. I toyed around with different ideas, from Moroccan tile to penny tile to hexagon tile with cool patterns. In the end we decided that we wanted to stick with something nice and timeless, but interesting and beautiful. We chose hexagon porcelain tiles.

And who knew what a process it would be to find them?? We decided to venture out to buy them on New Year's Eve day. EVERY tile store was closed. You can't get these just anywhere - you have to go to a good tile store. So we ended up having to wait until the following Monday.

Aren't they lovely?

I began to dry-fit them that night. What an adventure that was! It took me several hours between fitting them in the room and figuring out what pattern I wanted. I chose something classic and not too busy for my eyes in the end.

Here is the floor dry-fitted. Each 12"x12" sheet of hex tiles is labeled so that I will know which sheet goes where. Not only are they labeled with a number, but those numbers all face in a certain direction so that I will know which direction the tiles are to be laid … you see, the sheets can only go in one way and I want to be sure that I start out and stay in the proper direction …

Mess. But it's time for bed!

One more look at the dry-fitted floor before I dive in and lay the tile. Boy, was I scared!

Alright … here are the sheets laid out on my table in order and by row. On the far end of the table is the last row in the room.

And here we go … no time like the present, just dive in and do it! I watched a few videos on You Tube  and especially like the ones on Ask the Builder - he knows his stuff and his videos about mixing thinset were very helpful.

Oh, I almost forgot. We rented a nice tile saw from Home Depot and it was fabulous! I really, really loved that thing! You can't cut yourself, so you can hold these tiny tiles right up to the blade and get them cut exactly the way you want them. I loved using it. I need one.

And it's done!! Oh my goodness this was SOOOOO difficult to do! When I was finished I felt like I could do anything! I mean, seriously, I've never laid a tile floor in my life, so let me choose the most difficult tile I can and try it. Well, I must say it worked out well!

The next morning I had to get in there and clean up a few areas where thinset had come up between the tiles so we could grout. That was fun! No, it wasn't. Since these are 1" hex tiles, the only way to do that is to get on your hands and knees with a utility knife and carve the thinset out. I was glad there were just a few places where it had come through.

TIP: when laying small tiles use a trowel with a ¼-inch notch. Otherwise, you will have way too much thinset. Thankfully, I knew this ahead of time thanks to a friend who was once in the tile business - I must say that never once in all my reading and research did I come across this information!

Once I got a little too ambitious and popped out a tile. I cried. But Brandon quickly and calmly told me to just mix up a little thinset and lay it back into place. So I got myself together and I did just that. And I found 2 other tiles that were not even set, so I laid them back in place as well. Then when I was vacuuming up the debris from the dried thinset that I had carved out and when I looked down that shop vac had sucked up 2 more tiles that were not set. I wish I could somehow describe the look on my face. It was something like this:

But I didn't cry this time. I just set new ones in place and went about my work. And then I was done and ready to grout. Well, after waiting for 12 hours for the newly-laid tiles to set …

Left-over tiles …

I do just ♥ them!

My homemade wood black that I used to make sure all the tiles were consistently set and level. It's a just a 12" 2x4 covered with an old rag. It worked nicely.

Cleaning up the mess …

And now it's time to grout. We started this process after the girls went to bed on a Saturday night. Brandon wanted to get this part done before his shoulder surgery the following Monday morning.

Ooooo what  mess!

The first cleaning after grouting. It took several cleanings …

It's starting to look nice …

And the finished floor:

Oh my goodness … ♥♥♥ !

1 comment:

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