Home ยป Bathroom update – Adventures in Tiling

Hallelujah! We have tile!

When I last left you, our bathroom was in the terrible, horrible, waterproof-membraning stage of the process, that left our bathroom looking a bit like the basement in Amittyville Horror.

I can’t tell you how relieved I was when the tile started going up and the red started to go away.. and red is my favorite color! That is, I was relieved until I got to the part where I had to tile around the shower niche..

This is normally where I would be  telling you in great detail just how to apply the tile, however, because I am not nearly as multi-talented as I originally thought I was when I began tiling the bathroom – tiling has been a rather humbling experience for me –  and because I’m the person, who should probably stick to painting and decorating is much less than a tiling professional, I’m not going to do that. Simply put, you should definitely NOT do what I did. What I did, was fail to plan. What I did was to spend many an hour tiling and untiling, sealing and resealing, only to re-tile again. What I did was run out of tile adhesive, then tile. What I did was.. learn a lot while tiling that I should have known before I started.

I still have a bit of valuable information to share though. Because, as I said, I learned a lot. Lessons learned are valuable indeed! The sum result of my new knowledge? Here goes:

  1. Plan, plan, plan. Really research how and what you want to do before you do it. Plan. 
  2. Measure and draw everything out before you adhere any tile. In other words, plan. 
  3. Make sure you have enough tile and any other supplies you may  need. It isn’t fun to switch gears when you run out and HD doesn’t have any tile left in the style you are using. I’ve dubbed this scenario tileus interupptus. It’s as frowned upon as any other kind of interupptus. Just sayin’.    
  4. Do not underestimate how difficult tiling is. It’s easy if you’ve done it daily for years. It isn’t easy if you’ve done it once in the past 25 years. 
  5. When you add things, such as a shower niche, it might change the layout of the tile. Wait, that should read it will without a doubt change the layout of the tile. Without a doubt. See number 1. Then, plan. 
  6. A wet saw, specifically for cutting tile, will be your best friend. I can’t recommend it enough. Expect to be disgustingly dirty and well.. wet.. while using the wet saw. It’s not recommended that you use the wet saw when it’s freezing cold outside, as you will then be wet, dirty and now freezing cold. Even if you are in the garage. You’ve been warned. 

Although I can’t tell you how to tile, I can definitely point you in the direction of some great resources put together by people who DO actually do this every day. I can tell you that when I did finally plan, albeit part way through my tiling job, (but I digress.. ) their knowledge was invaluable in helping me get the job done. Given the opportunity, I’d still tile it myself.. I’d just tile it differently, and I’d consider the tips above with abandon. The sources I used – or should have used:

What else I can share? What we used! 
The tile we used was Home Depot’s ceramic subway tile in bright white. The tiles conveniently come in 12 x 12 in sheets for easy hanging, and are economical at $2.65 each. I will note that there are no matching bullnose or other finishing tiles. This made the niche a bit difficult to manage. We ended up using these which were not an exact match, but close enough.  
We had talked about our faucet issues earlier in this project. Our old faucet was a Delta 1700 series – in white, which I didn’t even know existed. Unfortunately for us, they no longer make Delta 1700 series faucets, so just getting a kit to update wasn’t an option, However, we did have a few. Our first option was to replace the entire faucet with a new faucet and re-plumb. Kind of expensive and a huge hassle. This wasn’t really our favorite option, as it seemed we were dealing with enough hassles and delays already. Carrying on. Our second option was to find a converter kit. Our dear Brother-in-law, Shon, an insanely busy plumbing company owner, was a huge help with this and pointed out that there was a conversion kit that we could get to convert it from 1700 to 1500. This was a lot cheaper, so, that’s what we went with. We purchased the Delta Faucet RP29405 1500 to 1700 Series Conversion Kit from Amazon for $84. They don’t really make new 1500 faucets either, but it allowed us to change the faucet from white – which is about as nasty as it sounds – to chrome, which is what we were trying to get to. Problem solved! 

The other problem we had was with the original tub spout. Because our tub is quite wide – not to mention oval – a normal tub spout just barely cleared the edge. Not only was this not really very functional, it looked terrible. 

To correct this, we went with an extra long, 7″ Moen 3857 Tub Diverter Spout that we also purchased on Amazon. 

The new Rainshower shower head is also from Moen. We replaced the included 6″ shower head arm with a longer 8″ one, extending the shower head out a few more inches. The kids love the new rain shower head!  
My original plan was to grout with a dark gray grout – I love that look. But, given the tile we have in the room is already tiled in white, and the few small areas that didn’t go as well as I’d have liked, I decided to tile in bright white instead – the white is a little more forgiving. 

All in all, I’m happy with the final result. It’s always so fun to look at the before and afters. We went from this..

.. to this!

As with any project, finishing the tile brought forth so many more ideas for the room, including new paint, a new shower curtain, and rod.. I can’t wait to share them all with you.. but that’s a story for another day!

Stay tuned..

If you’re new, welcome! Check out where we started from and we started at all!


  1. SixPackMommy says:

    You had me at five kids… but THIS blows me away; I love it! I am so impressed by how beautiful the end result was. I love to paint rooms around my house, but I'll admit that I've always been intimidated to try and take on a "real" home improvement project. But your finished shower makes me want to do it!!!

  2. Emily, Our house now a home says:

    This is done so well, I am blown away by it! I have a drop in bathtub and want to do this to it so bad!

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