This week I was delighted to put my tile and china stash to good use. I finally had a chance to tile the sink surround in the bathroom. I dragged out my boxes of tiles and chose colors to match my Mexican shower stall and I even found four beautiful Mexican sunflower tiles to use to tie it all together.
The hard part is always the prep work but if you want it to last and look great, you have to focus on the un-fun stuff first. It took a chisel and a hammer and a couple of hours to get up the old white tile,grout and mastic. I have some interesting bruises from missing the chisel a few times. My son was working outside and after the third yelp he stopped asking if I was alright and just started saying, "Miss again, Mom?"
Tiling area clean and ready to roll, I got my tile nippers–a tool worth the fourteen or fifteen bucks for sure. Set up the tile saw, (didn't even need it) and the glass grinder, my fave electric tool. Got my jar of tile adhesive, aka mastic and a big box of assorted tiles, safety glasses and a hammer. It took almost three hours to "butter" all the pieces of my mosaic and stick them down. They had to dry for 24 hours before the fun part could start.
I love Spectra-lock grout. It's a two part kit and its not cheap, but its epoxy and seals and sticks like crazy. To get this tile up is going to take a hand grenade, not just a hammer and chisel! I chose a silvery gray to complement the rest of the colors in the bathroom and because it won't discolor like white does. Just like choosing carpet–choose something that doesn't show dirt.
I got my 2 gallons of cleaning water with vinegar in it ready with sponges, mixed up the grout and got started. In a big job I'd use a float. It is made of soft rubber with a handle and works to force grout into the holes and smooth it all nicely. I worked in a smaller space so with rubber gloves and putty knife in hand I grouted the whole thing. Leveled it afterwards with the float and then waited for 30 minutes. It was still very sticky and gummy and destroyed the sponge in no time flat cleaning up the excess. After clean up one, its an hour wait and then clean up two.
Next day, it was beautiful and well worth the hard work. I always take my dremel tool with a grinder bit and knock off any sharp edges when I use broken tile, don't want anyone to run into sharp edges.
We love the way it looks and can't wait to show it off to friends.