We started with the shower subway tile. Before we kicked things off, we installed two of the bathroom lights so we could actually see what we were doing.
Flipping the switch for the first time and seeing the whole room light up was super exciting since up to this point we had been dragging a lamp around for light in here. However, the extra light illuminated some problematic drywall areas which we had to touch up.
I had never done any tiling before, so we watched some videos on YouTube and then dove in. See that line on the left hand wall in the above picture? That was my level line and I used it on all three walls to make sure my first row was nice and straight.
We used mastic instead of mortar in here and I really loved working with it. It's pre-mixed, which makes it super easy. Our tiles were also self-spacing so I just had to butt them right up next to each other.
Once I got the first row in place, things went pretty quickly. I placed all the tile while David made all the cuts with a manual tile cutter. I measured at the start of every row (starting in the center) to make sure my brick pattern wasn't getting off, and I also double checked that I was still level every few rows.
It took us all of Saturday and Sunday to get everything installed. We did run into some frustration with cutting weird shapes around the plumbing. We resigned ourselves to buying a cheap wet saw from Harbor Freight at that point which ended up coming in very handy later on, as well. Other than that, this was a very problem free installation and I was really excited to move on to the fireplace.
The next weekend, we got started again with these large 12"x24" tiles. Let's just say doing this area made me want to murder everyone. We had to used mortar here because mastic can only be used with tiles up to 12x12. The mortar was harder to work with than the mastic and we had to be sure to work quickly because it dried much faster too.
I had an awful time getting my grout lines straight with the spacers and also with making the tiles level with one another. Basically, I felt like it looked awful and I hated every minute of it. David also had a harder time cutting the much larger tiles. I can't imagine how much worse it would have been without the wet saw.
Doing the platform was a lot easier because we were able to measure and cut all our tiles in advance. Then it was just a matter of slapping them all down in place after mixing the mortar.
We had to figure out what to do with the ugly area where the tile meets the wall. David had the brilliant idea of cutting thin strips of the tile and placing them on the wall, which worked out swimmingly.
Again, getting these tiles up took us all of Saturday and Sunday so grouting would have to wait another week.
Since this post is already rather long, I'll make another post about grouting. I was hopeful this step would go a little smoother after my frustration with the large tiles. Here's a hint: it didn't.