Tag Archives: bathroom

Cutting tiles for the bathroom floor

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When I first started planning the bathroom, I had a picture in my mind of the floor, and although I have changed my mind numerous times about the vanities, the countertops, the paint colour, and so on, I haven’t changed my mind about the floor.
I was all ready to start cutting the tiles on Friday morning, but, noticed the blade was dull, so went to Home Depot to pick up a new saw blade. Anyways, to make a long story short, we ran into a bit of mechanical difficulties with changing the blade, so i ended up driving back to Home Depot again to rent a saw. (And back to Home Depot again to exchange the saw for a new one because the blade was breaking every tile I tried to cut)
So, it was about 2:30 today that I actually started cutting! I won’t go into too much detail about cutting tiles, but here are a few tips.
I have learned that you have to be exact in your measuring and planning of the tiles. I always use a square, and rulers to draw out the design on the floor. I hate using chalk lines, because they rub off and I end up covered in chalk, so I use a china pencil, or sharpie to mark out the floor. Here is what my plan looked like:

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The middle part, where the tiles were on a diagonal was actually pretty easy… No measuring, just cutting in half diagonally.
The tricky parts are around the door frames and the corners. I have tried using a measuring tape, measuring the floor then marking the tile, but I always end up having to recut because I messed something up. Here is my method for making a good cut. Using a stiff paper, cut out a square or rectangle the exact same size as your tiles.

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Then, place the surrounding tiles on the floor and lay the paper where you need the tile cut. Cut and fold the paper to the correct shape and size.

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Then all you have to do is put your template on a tile and trace around the edges. When you are cutting, remember that you have to cut off your lines (or inside the lines) because tracing around from a template make you lines a little larger.
To cut curves or inside corners is the most challenging part. You have to first draw on your tile where you want it cut.

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Then cut a series of cuts ending at the line you have drawn.

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Snap off the strips of tile using a pair of pliers, or tap them with a hammer.

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Then you have to go back to the saw and use the side of the blade to almost shave off the excess bits. You will also have to lift your tile up to the saw on an angle, and even turn it upside down to trim off the excess because of the curve of the blade.
Here is the curve, I might go back and clean it up a little more…but it is actually going to be behind, or under the vanity, so I will probably just leave it..

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When I put down all of the tiles, this is what it looks like…

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FYI, I would normally actually lay the tiles as I was cutting, but i didn’t this time for a few reasons. First, because this space is so small, and second, because I have marked out the tiles for the center piece so carefully, and third because the outside tiles are so large.
So the next few steps are adhering the tiles to the floor, removing the mirror, grouting, painting, and installing the new vanities. What I have to figure out is the order… Which one do I do next?

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Installing a compression or shut off valve

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John and I have done a lot of work to our house. We have made changes like, replacing the tile in the main foyer, redoing the basement floor with ceramic tile, replacing all the toilets, the chandelier in our foyer….so, we are not afraid of making change and doing the work ourselves. We have adopted the philosophy that when we start a job, it gets done when it gets done. Generally, every time we have a few days off, I pick a project to do. This march break it is the kids bathroom. Instead of killing ourselves, trying to get it done as quickly as possible, we will do a little bit every day and spend the rest of the day doing stuff with the kids. So, for the next few days, you will probably see a combination of posts about plumbing and tiling, and craft projects with the kids!
The one part of redoing our bathroom that makes me nervous is the water. Our house is an older house, so there are no shut off valves for any of the sinks. This means that if we are making any changes to the sinks or faucets, we have to turn off the water to the whole house. Which means, if we have any problems installing, we have no water! (which considering our experience…and this house…is quite likely!)
Anyways, we decided that we were not aiming to get the entire countertop and sinks installed in a couple hours, so we decided to install shut off valves. A shut off valve is basically a valve that shuts off the water from the pipes to the taps. So, you can turn the water back on to the house, even when the taps are disconnected.
Here is what the connection looked like before

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So, the flexible pipe that you can see connects the tap to the pipe. Btw, I am sure there are names for all of these pipes and connectors, but I generally learn from watching YouTube and bring photos of the pipes into Rona or Home Depot…So anyways, the plan was to disconnect the flexible pipe and sink drain pipes, remove the sinks and countertop, cut the pipes and install the shut off valves (oh yeah, we need to get all this done before the kids go to bed) There are two pipes for each sink. One carries the hot water, and the other is for cold water.
Step one …remove the backsplash and cut all of the calking around the counter top

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Step two…undo the bolts attaching the flexible pipe… This part called for some muscle, so I called in the big guns!

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Step three…unscrew and disconnect the drain pipe (once again, my muscle came in handy here)

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John had better luck loosening the bolts than I did.. I ended up getting frustrated and cutting my pipes, and I will undo the bolts after the sinks and countertop are removed. It is really tight, and difficult to get to the bolts behind the sink! So basically we had to undo the bolts and cut the pipes, but we didn’t have to do them in that order.
Because it was so hard to take pictures with the countertop on, I will show you the pictures I took when I cut the pipes with the countertops removed. I bought this little cutter at home depot for ten dollars. Basically, you spin the cutter around the pipe and tighten it every few times around, until it has cut through the pipe. (Note, make sure you have a bucket or bowl handy..some water will come out of the pipes. And, when you do turn off the water, let a tap run for a few minutes before doing anything to reduce the water pressure.)

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After we cut the pipes off, there was a lot of solder left over on the pipes. We tried sanding, but soon found out that this would have taken forever, so I figured out I could actually cut off the larger pieces of solder with an exacto knife.

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Then, as you can see, we sanded the pipes until they were nice and shiny.

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So, if we turned the water back on at this point, water would come spraying out, which is why we need the shutoff. This is what the shut off valve looks like. There is a nut, which goes on the pipe first, then a small ring, then you screw the valve on.

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After we threaded the bolt or nut, then the ring, we held the valve with a wrench, and tightened the nut with another wrench. (btw, you know that every time I say “we” for these parts, I mean John)

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So, here what it looks like when the valves are installed..

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And we have attached the flexible pipe here…

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So now, when we get our new sink we simply have to connect the flexible hose to each tap.
The problem is that I have kind of changed my mind about the vanity. I was going to tile the countertop, but it might be better to invest the money in buying a new vanity and countertop.