Half Bath Update v3
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Our first venture into tiling is complete and was, in our humble opinion, a success. Prep work is extremely important when it comes to tiling -- use the wrong adhesive for your tile and substrate, or the wrong sealer, or the wrong procedure (especially as to timing of steps) and your entire project could be jeopardized. We're not big into thoughtlessly throwing money around, so I did a bunch of reading, and searching, and more reading over at the John Bridge Forums. I can't thank all the pros and experienced DIYers over there enough. Their archives are so extensive that I didn't even have to start my own thread -- all of my questions had been previously asked and answered. And I learned a ton along the way about general techniques, procedures and various products.
We chose a tumbled marble stone that had a stacked-stone look to it. The long and narrow stones came pre-glued onto 12"x12" mesh sheets. We first found the tile online at the Natural Stone Outlet and were literally shocked to walk into our local tile store a few days later and find that they had just recently started selling it. The local price was about $3 per sheet higher than the Internet price (even with shipping), but given the economy and this paradigm shift in my mind that I don't have to absolutely get the lowest price on every single item I purchase and that service really does matter to me, I was happy to give the guys at Gipe Flooring & Wall Covering our business. And they were great in answering my questions, letting me test some things and generally helping me out with some miscellaneous materials along the way.
Unless you drop a comment asking about something specific, I won't bore you with the step-by-step on hanging, grouting and sealing our stone. I wouldn't even know where to begin. I will say that it takes a ton of time and patience. I'm short on the latter, so much gratitude goes to my extremely patient wife for helping and putting up with my little rants during the process.
One recommendation I will share is that you consider purchasing your own tile saw for a job like this. I actually got a great deal on a mid-level clearance model at Home Depot, and would highly recommend the Husky THD 750L to a DIYer -- they are practically giving them away right now!! It's just that the job will take more time than you expect, and you can't rent a saw very much longer than a day or two before the costs start to equal out. And the last thing you want to be doing is rushing around making cuts with a tile saw. Plus, we plan on using tile in our kitchen and main bathroom renovations, so at that point, the costs of buying outweigh that of multiple rentals.
We're on to an unexpected plumbing job -- replacing the toilet flange -- and then need to finish up the electrical, install the flooring, get the new fixtures in there and then finish up all the little details. I'd love to say that the next time we check in, we'll have the reveal, but I thought that when I posted a month ago -- so we'll make no promises. Hopefully sooner than later.