s Master Bathroom Week 3: Tiling The Shower Walls - The Kim Six Fix
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Master Bathroom Week 3: Tiling The Shower Walls

The past weeks have been crazy busy at my house.  Not only were we in the midst of Halloween, but we also had out of town guests staying with us.  Needless to say, not a lot of progress was made on the bathroom remodel.

The exciting part is that I did start tiling the walls!  Like I showed in my inspiration post, I went with a 3x6 tumbled travertine marble.  I decided to set them in a subway pattern.  

What I didn't realize was just how labor intensive working with tiny tiles like this was going to be. Because they are individual hand laid tiles, each requiring spacers, it is a LOT of work.  To put it in perspective, just doing this small, square section (less than 10 square feet) of wall took me a little less than 4 hours:
By the end of day one I was starting to get an idea of just how long this was really going to take:

The way I tackled the tiling was that I left a space large enough for 2 rows of tile along the bottom of the shower wall.  You don't want to start right at the floor since the floor isn't level.  Instead I will cut the angle of the floor into the bottom row of tiles where it will be less noticeable.  By starting 2 rows up, I was able to make sure the rows were level (I used a few boxes of tile and a board to set my first row of tile, making sure it was level.) DON'T ATTACH THE BOARD DIRECTLY TO THE WALL OR YOU WILL PUT HOLES IN YOUR WATERPROOFING!! 

 Days 2 and 3 was more of the same and I finished with this much complete (at least it looks better as the red is covered up):

 And by the end of week 1 this is as far as I had gotten.

Some specifics about this tile.  It is chiaro tumbled Turkish Travertine marble.  I ended up getting it at Lowe's because even though it was about 60 cents per square foot more than the tile shop (I paid $4.26/sqft), but I will be able to return any that is unused. I also didn't have to pay any shipping or handling and could buy it by the individual square foot.  I knew that would be important because the individual tiles are very VERY different. I wanted to make sure I could pick out the best tiles without huge imperfections, holes and cracks.  I originally purchased almost 33% more tile then I needed, knowing I would return a lot of it.  

I used 1/8th inch spacers since the variation in tile size was quite large.  I originally wanted to use 1/16 spacers (the smallest you can reasonably use) but I knew with the rough edges of the tile it wouldn't work out. 

To set the tile I used the same mortar I used to patch the walls, which is specifically designed for travertine. 

Budget for this part of the remodel:
Travertine 3x6 tiles (102 sq.ft. at $4.26): $434.52** 

Renovation total to date: $736.50

**I will probably only need approximately 70 sq.ft. so this is an overestimate of costs
UPDATED 12/16: I was able to return $119.56 worth of tile after completing the shower and tub.  This credit is reflected in the budget in this post. 
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  1. Starr@Kiefer CottageNovember 5, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    It's looking very good! It would probably take us three times as long to complete that work.

  2. I think it is looking fabulous. I've been following the remodel so far and love it. At least you can see some progress as you work, even though it is slow. It will be so worth it in the end I'm sure, so keep up the great work!

  3. Your tile job looks fantastic! I love the look of tumbled travertine tile. Until you explained it, I had no idea they were so varied in size like that. I can see how purchasing them at Lowe's at a slightly higher cost is ultimately worth it since you can return the unused tiles afterwards. Great job!

  4. I love following your blog... because you are doing such a great job! and my daughter is thinking of purchasing a fixer upper so I'll be sending her the link then too (just don't want to overwhelm her at the beginning)... LOL
    Just wanted to encourage you to keep going on the tile... it looks amazing and you picked great tile. I think in the end, you'll look back and all the hard work on this one will be well worth it!

  5. Hi, I've been reading the weblog a couple of days and merely wanted to say that the way with words is top notch. All the best.


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