Tag Archives: tile

What to do about the tile in the master shower?

Jacquela and Steven walked Emerald Hill over the weekend. Jacquela got to the master shower and said “the grout lines do not line up. That’s wrong.”

She sent a note to Ron and Mark at Ranserve to ask whether this is possible to correct?

This, for the record, is the first time Jacquela has objected to anything in this project.

Above, here’s how the grout lines and tile do not align properly at one wall of the master shower.

Here's the opposite wall where it meets the floor, near the linear drain, with the grout lines offset from each other.
Here’s the opposite wall where it meets the floor, near the linear drain, with the grout lines offset from each other.

This morning, Ron and Steve stood in the shower to discuss options. Then we checked the supply of floor and wall tile left over in the garage. There’s enough black floor tile to re-do the floor, if that is what we opt to do.

Ron plans to discuss options with Julian, the tile setter.

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Electricians, painters, cabinetmakers, tilers, carpenters

48 hours since Steven last visited Emerald Hill, the electricians, painters, cabinetmakers, tilers and carpenters are transforming the house.

Let’s catch up.

Above, the electricians are starting to install light switches. Here’s a bank of switches in the master suite. Can’t. Wait. To. Turn. On. Lights!

Look up at the ceiling. Many of the 6-inch and 4-inch LED recessed lights are installed throughout Emerald Hill. Here's the ceiling over the kitchen island and into the family room. Look down. Randy has installed four of the five island cabinets -- and he's working at left on the pantry storage that will be next to the refrigerator. Look at the lumber rack near the back of the photo. It's empty, because ...
Look up at the ceiling. Many of the 6-inch and 4-inch LED recessed lights are installed throughout Emerald Hill. Here’s the ceiling over the kitchen island and into the family room. Look down. Randy has installed four of the five island cabinets — and he’s working at left on the pantry storage that will be next to the refrigerator. Look at the lumber rack near the back of the photo. It’s empty, because …
The painters have turned the back yard into a spray booth, priming all the trim wood before installation by the carpenters.
The painters have turned the back yard into a spray booth, priming all the trim wood before installation by the carpenters.
Ron and Cris from Ranserve waterproofed the walls of what will be Jadin's shower in bath 2.
Ron and Cris from Ranserve waterproofed the walls of what will be Jadin’s shower in bath 2.
The tilers are sealing the floor in the master shower and bath. By end of day, the floors in bath 2, bath 3 and the utility room will also be sealed.
The tilers are grouting the floor in the master shower and bath. By end of day, the floors in bath 2, bath 3 and the utility room will also be grouted.
Here's the master shower, tiled and sealed, with the gray quartz shelf cemented into place and the linear drain protected with blue painter's tape.
Here’s the master shower, tiled and grouted, with the gray quartz shelf cemented into place and the linear drain protected with blue painter’s tape.
This is a smoke alarm or CO2 detector -- won't know until the electricians take off the protective tape -- in the hallway of the master suite.
This is a smoke alarm or CO2 detector — won’t know until the electricians take off the protective tape — in the hallway of the master suite.
Back downstairs in the kitchen, Aaron, left, and Randy, right, talk through installation of the shelf cabinet at the far end of the kitchen island. The cabinet is square to the other island cabinets -- but we discover that the tile floor is about 1/2-inch out of square because the house is not perfectly linear. Ron Dahlke asks Julian to trim the tiles with a special saw. In turn, that will allow the flooring company to come in in about a month to properly lay the hickory flooring square to the cabinets.
Back downstairs in the kitchen, Aaron, left, and Randy, right, talk through installation of the shelf cabinet at the far end of the kitchen island. The cabinet is square to the other island cabinets — but we discover that the tile floor is about 1/2-inch out of square because the house is not perfectly linear. Ron Dahlke asks Julian to trim the tiles with a special saw. In turn, that will allow the flooring company to come in in about a month to properly lay the hickory flooring square to the cabinets.
Aaron test fits one of the Ikea handles on a cabinet drawer. Yes, it fits and will do the job we ask of it. Minimal. Linear. Functional.
Aaron test fits one of the Ikea handles on a cabinet drawer. Yes, it fits and will do the job we ask of it. Minimal. Linear. Functional.
In the entry hall, Aaron and Ron plot how the stairs will meet the low bench at the stair landing. The bench will include storage for shoes, bags, books and other items -- an arrangement suggested by homes in Japan that Jacquela, Jadin and Steven visited.
In the entry hall, Aaron and Ron plot how the stairs will meet the low bench at the stair landing. The bench will include storage for shoes, bags, books and other items — an arrangement suggested by homes in Japan that Jacquela, Jadin and Steven visited.

Not photographed …

  • Ron, Michelle and Steven talked through the garage project and budget. We’re getting there. More to come.
  • BMC delivered the attic ladder.
  • Austin Stone is scheduled to measure Thursday, 29 October, for kitchen countertops.
  • Harway reports delivery of the induction cooktop to the warehouse. It will arrive Wednesday, 28 October, at Emerald Hill.
  • Jacquela and Steven selected the red grout to go with the red glass tiles at the kitchen backsplash — Stainmaster Red.
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Notes, 26 Oct. 2015

  • Jacquela and Steven today approved the use of “Fusion Pro Single Component Grout” for all tile after triple-checking the numbers with Ron Dahlke. This urethane grout will cost about $460 in materials — with no additional labor charge, because the labor to install grout is already budgeted as a line item. This compares with a conventional grout that must then also be sealed — the grout and separate sealer would cost less, about $200 in materials, but the additional labor to come back on a second trip to seal the grout after it cures would become a change order we estimate at about $1,500. Besides, the Fusion Pro claims to be “stain proof and color perfect,” with “unsurpassed stain resistance,” “never needs sealing,” is “easy to spread and clean,” and delivers “ultimate color consistency.”
  • Steven and Michelle began to review the third set of estimated costs to build the third garage bay. More details to come.
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What grout?

Julian and Ron have been asking Jacquela and Steven to pick grout colors for the tile — and which types of grout to use, where. Julian wants to get this tiling job done and dispatch his setters to the next house.

Above, two of the candidates for use with the wall tile in the master shower … Bleached Wood, the lighter color, and Delorean Gray, the darker sample stick.

Earlier this week, Jacquela and Steven selected these colors:

Kitchen, mudroom, mudroom bath, pantry hall, pantry Winter Gray
Bath 2, bath 3, utility room Winter Gray
Porch, front entry, fireplace hearth Pewter
Master bath floor Dove Gray

With the walls of the master shower now cemented into place, and the gray quartz shelves also set into the shower, Jacquela and Steven are able to make the final grout selection:

Master shower walls Delorean Gray

The maker of this grout is Custom Building Products. There are hundreds of other grout makers. This is one of two grout lines that Julian recommends.

Now we have to choose the type of grout.

Here’s what Steven learned earlier this week on a visit to ProSource. See this post as well …

There are two types of conventional grout — sanded and unsanded. Oversimplifying, sanded is recommended for wider grout joints. Unsanded is recommended for tighter grout joints. These products must also be sealed, especially when used in high traffic areas like kitchens, or when used in wet areas like showers. So … you have to buy the grout, install the grout, wait for it to cure, then you have to buy the sealer, apply the sealer, wait for it to cure — two products to do one floor, twice as much labor. And you must also come back in two or three years, every two or three years, to re-seal the grout. Figure 45-50 bucks in product for the initial install, plus labor.

Plus … the sanded and unsanded grouts must be mixed with water. Water contains chemicals, minerals and pollutants that change the color of the grout, especially as you finish out one bag of the powdered grout and move on to mix the next. You will never get a precise color match from bag to bag, mix to mix.

A third grout option is epoxy grout. Instead of mixing the grout powder with water, it is mixed with epoxy and becomes harder and more resistant to heavy traffic and exposure to water. Figure 70-90 bucks for product, plus labor.

The fourth and newest option appears to be “urethane” grouts — two part grouts that arrive in a bucket as powder with a sealed bag of urethane to mix on site. The pitch is that urethane grouts are stain proof, never change color, never need sealing, easy to clean. ProSource advises to estimate 70-90 bucks for product.

Based on his experience building and remodeling many homes, Ron advises Steven to bite the bullet and use the “Fusion” line of urethane grouts for the master shower, maybe everywhere else. It will cost more for the grout, but it will take a lot less labor to apply the grout, once; Julian will not have to come back to seal it, charging twice for labor.

Ron is building a spreadsheet to help Steven and Jacquela compute the costs.

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Setting tile is messy work

The tile setters are almost done. Today’s crew is Ernesto and Samuel. They are working in the master shower. It is messy work.

The front entry is almost finished.
The front entry is almost finished.
The fireplace hearth is set on the foundation slab.
The fireplace hearth is set on the foundation slab.
Ernesto trowels tile cement around the window as he prepares to mount the metal Schluter edging.
Ernesto trowels tile cement around the window as he prepares to mount the metal Schluter edging.
Samuel grinds a cut into the Schluter edging strip, using an LED worklight as illumination -- reminiscent of the paintings of an 18th-century factory.
Samuel grinds a cut into the Schluter edging strip, using an LED worklight as illumination — reminiscent of the paintings of an 18th-century factory, working by firelight.
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Bathroom tile, update

Above, Julian thinks about how he wants to tile the master shower.

All the tile floors at Emerald Hill are now cemented into place, with the exception of the front entry and fireplace — and the master shower.

Pedro yesterday started and completed the tile floor in bath 2, Jadin's bath.
Pedro yesterday started and completed the tile floor in bath 2, Jadin’s bath.
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Tiling update

Above, this morning, Pedro installed the “cement” porcelain tiles on the front porch. No walking! Cement needs to cure.

This is the mudroom floor that Pedro installed yesterday afteroon, walkable for the first time, first step off the Lunar Excursion Module onto the dust of the Moon.
This is the mudroom floor that Pedro installed yesterday afteroon, walkable for the first time, first step off the Lunar Excursion Module onto the dust of the Moon.
Part of the pantry hallway, shot from inside the pantry, looking out. The man-made porcelain tile resembles mottled granite.
Part of the pantry hallway, shot from inside the pantry, looking out. The man-made porcelain tile resembles mottled granite.
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Notes, 20 Oct. 2015

Ferguson delivered the kitchen sink and faucet. Ron needs these for the cabinets and countertops. The kitchen cabinets are scheduled to arrive 22 October.
Ferguson delivered the kitchen sink and faucet. Ron needs these for the cabinets and countertops. The kitchen cabinets are scheduled to arrive 22 October.

Steven met with Mark Rehberg at Ranserve to begin reviewing the garage plans and budget. The numbers need work. And details are missing on how the numbers were compiled. There’s more homework to do before Steven and Jacquela can make the go/no go decision.

Steven picked up grout samples from ProSource — and got a grout lesson from John. There’s sanded and unsanded, conventional grouts that have to be mixed with water, applied, then sealed. Minerals and chemicals in the water can change the color of the grout. The mixing and multiple steps are labor intensive. And you have to seal, again, every three years. Use unsanded in narrow joints. Use sanded in wider joints. The unsanded is like pudding. The sand in the grout makes it thicker, for the wider joints.

For tile exposed to acids and chemicals in a kitchen, and to water in showers, for example, there are epoxy grouts. The epoxy makes the impervious to stains — that’s what the industry claims. Epoxy grouts cost 2-4 times as much as cement grouts.

And, there are urethane grouts. Pre-mixed, self-sealing, stain-free. And several times more expensive.

We’re going to have to compute the math.

Jacquela and Ron arrived at Emerald Hill late in the day. Jacquela selected the grout colors she wants for the kitchen, bath 2 and bath 3, the utility/laundry room, the porch and entry and fireplace hearth, and the floor in the master bath.

That took all of 30 minutes. Maybe. Easy compared to picking paint colors.

Jacquela and Steven need to see the wall tile in the master shower by daylight to pick that grout color.

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Meet the kitchen floor

It’s spectacular.

Steven arrived at Emerald Hill about 330 pm. Pedro has already tiled the kitchen floor and pantry. He is troweling cement onto the slab in the mudroom, laying tile.

Pedro speaks little English. Steven speaks un pequito Espanol — points to his head and says “this is what I imagined the kitchen floor would look like. It’s beautiful. Gracias.” Both men smile. Pedro goes back to laying more tile.

Steven sets foot on his new kitchen floor for the first time.

Magic.

Above, looking across the kitchen floor, completely tiled, from the family room.

Pivoting 180 degrees from the feature photo above, standing at the kitchen side door, looking over the tile back toward the family room. The floor is a chameleon with light from different directions, subtle, revealing texture and character, defying the ordered grid of tile upon tile with shadow, color; it is far more than "just gray."
Pivoting 180 degrees from the feature photo above, standing at the kitchen side door, looking over the tile back toward the family room. The floor is a chameleon with light from different directions, subtle, revealing texture and character, defying the ordered grid of tile upon tile with shadow, color; it is far more than “just gray.”
Standing in what will be the office, looking through the pantry corridor into the kitchen and the mudroom beyond, following that straight line between tiles all the way across the "main highway" of the heart of the house.
Standing in what will be the office, looking through the pantry corridor into the kitchen and the mudroom beyond, following that straight line between tiles all the way across the “main highway” of the heart of the house.
Outside on the driveway, Pedro raises a cloud of porcelain dust as he grinds a slot into a tile that wraps around a doorway.
Outside on the driveway, Pedro raises a cloud of porcelain dust as he grinds a slot into a tile that wraps around a doorway.
And he begins to lay the tile into position.
And he begins to lay the tile into position.
Pedro trowels cement onto the mudroom floor.
Pedro trowels cement onto the mudroom floor.
And sets a tile into place.
And sets a tile into place.
Back outside, Pedro freehands the cut into another floor tile.
Back outside, Pedro freehands the cut into another floor tile.
And uses a tile saw to cut yet another floor tile.
And uses a tile saw to cut yet another floor tile.
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Preparing to tile the kitchen floor

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
Abraham Lincoln

Monday morning. Julian, Pedro and Samuel are preparing to tile the kitchen floor. Do this correctly and the heart of the house will beat strong and brilliant.

To help, this past Friday, Ron and Steven sorted the two designs of the floor tile. Steven explains the sorting to Julian — all the horizontal tiles are stacked in the kitchen, to be laid in the kitchen. All the speckled and mottled tiles are stacked in the garage, to be used in the mudroom and mudroom bath, and the pantry and pantry hall.

Where do we put the center line? Where do we cut tile?

Above, Julian and Pedro calculate the center line of the kitchen. Samuel observes. Look closely at the concrete floor. The squares of dark lines are ghost images of the first floor installed when Emerald Hill was built.

Julian, striped shirt, measures out each tile across the kitchen floor at the platform for the cooktop. The red tiles are samples that Steven and Jacquela are considering for the backsplash.
Julian, striped shirt, measures out each tile across the kitchen floor at the platform for the cooktop. The red tiles are samples that Steven and Jacquela are considering for the backsplash.
With the laser switched on to square each run of tile, Julian, left, and Pedro, right, measure for tile at the back end of the platform the island cabinets.
With the laser switched on to square each run of tile, Julian, left, and Pedro, right, measure for tile at the back end of the platform the island cabinets.
Pedro and Julian lay out each tile, long axis, full tile at the break between the family room and where the kitchen floor begins, working toward the cooktop cabinet and window wall. When this is done, Julian calculates the number of full tiles that will be needed to complete the floor -- 68. Then they count the tiles stacked on the wood platforms -- 62. Steven shows Julian and Pedro the stack of "transitional tiles" already sorted in the garage -- tiles that include some part of both tile designs -- linear and mottled/speckled. These will be used to transition to the entirely speckled/mottled floors in the mudroom and pantry wings off the kitchen.
Pedro and Julian lay out each tile, long axis, full tile at the break between the family room and where the kitchen floor begins, working toward the cooktop cabinet and window wall. When this is done, Julian calculates the number of full tiles that will be needed to complete the floor — 68. Then they count the tiles stacked on the wood platforms — 62. Steven shows Julian and Pedro the stack of “transitional tiles” already sorted in the garage — tiles that include some part of both tile designs — linear and mottled/speckled. These will be used to transition to the entirely speckled/mottled floors in the mudroom and pantry wings off the kitchen. Manuel, at right, blue shirt, is removing the shims from under the cabinet platforms. It’s safe to remove the shims because Basem nailed and screwed the platforms into position, using the shims to prop the platforms level when setting them up for nails and screws.
Manuel scrapes the last of the old cement off the slab floor -- cement left behind when demo removed the orange saltillo tiles from the kitchen floor that came with Emerald Hill.
Manuel scrapes the last of the old cement off the slab floor — cement left behind when demo removed the orange saltillo tiles from the kitchen floor that came with Emerald Hill.

 

 

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