You are currently viewing Fail to Fabulous Bathroom Tile Tutorial

Let’s be honest here, projects do not always go as I have it pictured in my mind. In this tutorial we will see the agony of defeat and then the elation of success.

To start with, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on this bathroom, but I knew the pink and green tile had to go. So I came up with this brilliant idea (or so I thought) to carefully remove the 2 rows of pink and green. 

So with my trusty multi-tool equipped with a grout removal blade I proceeded to carefully remove all the grout around the 2 rows of tile. I then tapped each tile with a hammer to loosen them for removal. 

That portion of my idea was successful, what remained was this wire mesh that some sort of cement base that was about 1/2″ thick. This was removed with a hammer and chisel until only the mesh remained.

Next  we attached 1/2″ thick tile backer board to the mesh that was on top of the dry wall. So far so good…

This was exciting, we were ready to adhere the tile. Using a notched trowel the tile adhesive was spread over the backer board the the glass mosaic penny tile was pressed into position.

So far so good, then this is where my idea took a turn for the worse. I decided that to make the shower more up to date I would remove the grout between all the 4 X 4 tiles and grout the entire shower with a charcoal grout. Once again using my trusty multi-tool I began to remove all the grout …. I soon learned that this was not such a great idea, not only was it very time consuming but it filled the room with dust. I could only bear to work on it for an hour at a time. I don’t remember exactly how long it took, but it seemed like 2 months. 

Finally we grouted it, and it looked horrible. In the process of removing the grout I had chipped some of the tiles and at times the multi-tool would slip and scratch the tiles and once it was grouted it showed every flaw. I was not a happy camper. This fail set me back about $75 (the tile I choose was on clearance.) But now what?  The only remedy I could think of was start over …  We removed the tile and drywall down to the studs and began again. I made sure this time we made a niche for the all the bathroom products, put up the water-resistant dry wall and then began to tile …

We did need to make one small adjustment as we tiled. The edge of the bathtub, where it would meet the tile had a lip on it that would prevent the tile from sitting flush on it. Luckily I was able to find a base tile that’s intended to be like a baseboard type tile where the wall tile meets the floor. It worked perfectly over the lip of the tub and we just cut it on an angle at the corners. We used 1/8″ spacers for all the tiles, I really wanted the charcoal grout line to stand out.

We used a rounded over tile for the edge of the shower niche and around the window seal area. In the corners of the niche we used pennies as tile spacers.

A diamond bit hole saw was used to cut the tiles for the water pipes and control valve.

It took us about a week to complete all the tiling. We are not professionals for sure, but over all I am very please for the way it turned out

Now for the grout … (this makes me smile) …  This is definitely a 2 person job (at least for amateurs.) The grout is spread on with a rubber grout float, pressing the grout into space between the tiles. Then pull the float across the tiles going on a diagonal to remove and excess grout. Follow the directions on the packaging, I believe ours said to remove excess grout after about 20-30 minutes with a sponge. This is where its handy to have 2 people, one to apply the grout  and one to remove the excess, this we were able to do in an evening. The following day using a clean cloth we buffed off the remaining haze. After the tile had cured for a few days a sealer was applied.

Yippy skippy, it’s finally finished and I LOVE the way it all turned out! If you would like to check out the full bathroom reno click here

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And as always here at Sunny Side Design we hope to 



This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Chrissy

    I’m obsessed with this bathroom! A black ceiling? That shower curtain? I now am thinking I need to start over in my bath because now I feel like that curtain and a black ceiling are the ONLY way to go. This is so beautifully different and unexpected, I guess I need to go to Hobby Lobby and find that fabric, so glad I stumbled on this, really outstanding!

    1. Michelle Dickson

      Thank you so much Chrissy! When doing this bathroom I decided to be brave and try new things, like the bold black ceiling. If I didn’t like it, I could always repaint. I’ll never forget my 3 year-old grandson’s comment when he first went into the bathroom after I painted the ceiling, he said, “GRANDMA!, YOUR CEILING IS BLACK!” I just replied, yep, isn’t it great! It really adds the drama I wanted for the room and really helps the ceiling to feel higher.

  2. Pedro

    Your website has superb content. I bookmarked the website

    1. Michelle Dickson

      Thank you Pedro

  3. Valerie

    Just wondering where you acquired your shower curtain? It’s gorgeous and I am redoing my bathroom using yours as an inspiration!

    1. Michelle Dickson

      Thank you Valerie for your kind comments. We are flattered. I actually made the shower curtain myself. It was fairly simple to make, I just hemmed it, then made button holes in the top for the curtain rings. I found the fabric at Hobby Lobby.

      Good luck with your project!

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