Get to it! Subway Tile Installation


The reno property is coming along. Dan has been working on the wood floors while I have been working on the tiling. The laundry room and the upstairs bathroom were the first projects ready for tile. Neutral is the way to go in a home that you are redoing with the intention to sell, colors that appeal to many people will help the home sell quicker! I chose white subway tile and a gray/white/cream 12×24 floor tile.

Floors are pretty self explanatory when using large, square tiles and if the room does not have many strange angles. Tiling a shower wall can be a bit more tricky. The most important thing to do at the beginning is plan. Make sure you are starting in a place where you won’t end up with small tiles in a conspicuous spot. Cuts should face the inside and make sure the first row is level! If the first row is level then it makes the rest of the job a breeze!

Once you get the first row up not the wall, you will have a template for the rest of the rows….they should alternate with the same tiles and same cuts. Rule of thumb when placing tile is “measure twice, cut once”. If you do this you will have less waste tile and spend less time redoing cuts due to mistakes. If you know how fast you are then you can spread the mud across a large section of the wall and do multiple rows at once but make sure to wipe off any mud that gets on top of the tiles as it will dry and does not easily come off!

After you have finished putting up all of the tile allow it to set for 24hrs. After 24hrs, it is ready to be grouted!

Choosing grout: Tile shops and large hardware stores carry many colors of grout. Choose a color that complements the tile. White looks clean but should only be used in areas of low traffic and on walls. Darker colors are used in highly trafficked areas. Next choose between sanded or un-sanded grout. Un-sanded is generally used for smaller joint sizes. Most subway tiles come with small ridges on the sides to act as built-in spacers. These give you a very small grout line. For this application, I chose to use spacers that made the joints slightly larger but still small enough that un-sanded grout was best.

Press the grout into the joints with your paddle scraping off the excess as you go. If you leave too much grout on top of the tile it will make the job of wiping it clean very difficult. A haze will be left on the tile and you won’t get the best result that you desired. Plus, you waste tons of grout that could have been scraped and put in other areas! Once the grout has set slightly you need to gently wipe off the surface with a wet sponge, rinsing the sponge often. Do the project in sections if it is setting faster than you are moving. After you have completed the project, let it set and then wipe once again. Voila! A finished tile shower!


Check back for photos of the completed bathroom!





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