21 March 2009

To the batroom, Robin

We've shifted our focus for a while from the bedroom to the bathroom. The first step was putting down the underlayment for the tile, sheets of concrete board. That step is almost complete:

The 2x8s on the floor are the approximate locations of the shower wall enclosure. It's about a 4'x6' shower. The hole in the floor near the top of the photo is where the toilet goes. The tub goes under the window on the left.

We still have to finish the seams. It's very similar to finishing drywall seams - it just uses thinset mortar instead of drywall mud.

We've already picked out our tile and the pattern in which it will be laid. It's a porcelain tile, which is a form of ceramic, but it has a bit of a texture on the surface to simulate natural stone. Every tile is textured differently and has a little bit of color variation, too, which enhances the effect. Here's a close-up of the slight pitting effect on the surface:

You can also see the tumbled edge, which furthers its resemblance to natural stone.

We decided that we like this windmill pattern, but I can't decide if I like it square or diagonal.


And in case you don't want to tilt your head at a 45 degree angle:


Tom doesn't care one way or the other. Installing it square would make it easier to include a perimeter border, but I'm not entirely confident the walls are perfectly perpendicular. Diagonal installation is often done in that sort of situation. It's easier for the eye to account for a discrepancy in the walls being a little out of square if the floor is laid diagonally. Lord knows I used that trick in my hand-drafted projects for school - I don't think anything I drew was ever perfectly square.

I'm still not entirely convinced I won't wish we'd used 1" square or hexagonal tiles, but I can't see spending $9-11 more per square foot of the stuff. I keep telling myself it's a whole lot fewer grout lines to have to clean with a toothbrush.

Also, before we lay this tile, I need to decide whether or not I'll splurge on the radiant-heat floors. I can get a system to fit in our bathroom for about $150. I really hate cold tile, especially in the bathroom where I'm likely to be barefoot. But, it's $150 I could save and spend on a lifetime supply of warm, fuzzy bathroom slippers. Thoughts?

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