This was my second tiling project, and I found it a bit more finicky than my first one which was the tub surround. The tiles are unglazed porcelain: 3/4″ squares for the border and 1″ hex for the field. They come in 10 5/8″ x 9 1/2″ sheets which are held together by a plastic sheet which gets peeled off after the tiles have set. There was a fair amount of cutting and trimming to get everything line up, especially where the field tile meets the border. Because the tiles were too small to use with an uncoupling membrane like Schulter Ditra I opted to use a waterproofing membrane in combination with fibreglass mesh to minimize issues if the concrete subfloor were to develop cracks in the future. I rolled Mapei HPG directly onto the concrete, embedded 3 foot wide sheets of fibreglass mesh, and then added another coat of HPG on top. Once it dried I rolled on one additional coat of HPG and then let it cure for a few days.
I used a laser square to sort out the best place to position the border tile, which ended up being referenced against the face of the tub. I needed the border to be perfectly square so that I didn’t have to make a million custom cuts in the hex field tile, so I snapped chalk lines referenced off the laser level all around the border. The room isn’t perfectly square, especially since it’s a 110 year old house, but it wasn’t off too much.
For the tiling I laid the border pattern first and then the hex field tile after. I used modified thinset because I wanted to get as good a bite as possible on these little porcelain tiles. For grout I used Mapei Keracolor U (I couldn’t use sanded because the joints are only 1/16″) in silver colour to contrast both the black and white tiles.
The lower 4′ of the walls will get wainscotting (made using V-groove fir boards that were original to the bathroom!), which when combined with the baseboard will project about 2″ into the room — this is why the gap between the edge of the tiles and wall appears so big. The wainscotting will be the same colour as the picture rail and crown above. I’ll build a custom fir threshold to transition from the hallway to the bathroom. The lower left in the photos is where the bathroom vanity will go. The baseboard heater on the right will go as soon as our boiler get installed and provides water to the hydronic coils embedded in the concrete subfloor!
Next up: kitchen & utility room painting and tiling!