You may remember the last time I had anything to say about the tile floor in the master bathroom it was something along the lines of, “this floor makes me want to pull out fistfuls of my own hair and throw screwdrivers at innocent bystanders” (one of those things may actually have occurred) except you wouldn’t have understood that since I was screaming unintelligibly the whole time.
And while it might have been looking good from afar…
Hiding through that doorway was this…
And I know the title of this website is “DIY Diva” but let’s be clear that on some days that’s a question rather than a statement. On those days you can find me doing things like cleaning out refrigerator or willingly doing laundry to avoid cutting a seven inch hole in the middle of the very last 18″ tile I have.
I’m telling you, I put the hoover dam of mental blocks up about finishing this floor. It happens sometimes when I hit a point in a project that I can’t wrap my brain around– the next thing I know I’ve found a dozen “more important” things to do and all of the sudden its four weeks later and the floor still isn’t finished. When I found myself folding socks on the weekend I knew something had gone terribly, terribly wrong in my life, and it was time to get my priorities straight again.
To tackle this beast of a cut, I started with a cardboard template.
Technically I tried measuring on the tile directly first, but it became apparent very quickly that I would need something more foolproof.
In the end I had this:
I marked the location of the hole with pencil and then went 1/4″ outside of it with a red crayon-thing that I found laying around the house.
I’d read about using a ceramic blade on a grinder to cut a hole in the middle of a tile, and it sounded like a good idea to me.
I stole this trick from some friends: make a ring of plumbers putty around the hole and fill it with water to keep the blade cool when cutting.
So far, so good. I did several passes with the grinder, taking just a little off each time. I learned this trick when cutting a large circle out of sheet of plywood on my table saw… you can, in fact, cut a circle with a straight blade if you remove just a little bit of material on each pass.
Okay, I’m using the term “circular” loosely here. Also, after several minutes, things took a turn that was decidedly worse. By which I mean, this happened…
I had one minute of absolutely losing my shit (hey, it happens) and then remember that this was going under the toilet and probably no one would see that crack if I could refrain from picking up the two pieces and hurling them into the road.
Here’s what happened: You can see where the tile cracked was just where I was beginning to break all the way through it. I got a little greedy once I thought I was on my final pass and I forced the blade too far down trying to finish the cut faster. Bad idea.
I was incredibly conservative when I finished it off– making five or six more passes– and it actually worked beautifully, if only half the tile wasn’t missing.
My recommendation is to just barely let the blade touch the tile once you’re close to the bottom. Or perhaps just order enough tile so you have a spare one on hand.
The good news is…
You can hardly see the crack. And it will basically be under the toilet and I figure anyone whose face is close enough to the toilet to see it probably has bigger problems.
Thus ends the great master bathroom floor tile cutting adventure. While it was not my favorite house-finishing project so far, all that’s left to finish off this floor is a little grout. Who know, there may even be a second toilet installed in this house before too long. The excitement really never ends here, folks.