Two. Tiles. Short.

Bloody fingers. Broken tiles. Unfinished bathrooms. These are things you don’t see on HGTV. Sometimes you don’t even see them on websites of real people doing real projects, because by the time everything gets edited down and prettied up and posted for us to see, it all looks pretty simple.

I admit to being part of the reason someone might say, “How hard can it be to cut some tile and stick it to the floor when all of the steps can be explained in 500 words or less”

So, from someone who pretty confidently tiles all kinds of things, here’s what reality sometimes looks like:

1.) Things might start out well. The first tiles are laid out and going down smoothly…


2.) It may only take a couple of hours to get the full tiles down, which might lull you into a false sense of accomplishment.


3.) But there will come a time when you slice one of your fingers open and bleed all over the driveway.


4. ) At some point, you will begin to tell yourself that you should be finishing this project up in a half hour or so. An hour. Maybe two hours. Seven hours later you will hardly be able to stand, but you will still inexplicably be cutting tile.


5.) And when you’re almost finished, when you have exactly three tiles left and three spots to put them in, there we be a cut. One. Cut. And it will suck your soul out through the blade of the tile saw.


6.) It will take at least three times to correctly cut the tile without it breaking. You will not complete your bathroom floor, and therefore will not be able to finish your bedroom floor this week, which means you will definitely not be moving out of the garage you’ve been living in for a year and into your actual house next weekend.


Or maybe that’s just me.


14 Responses

  1. HA- this really made my day because I know EXACTLY how you feel. When I was renovating our bathroom and tiling the shower/walls, the field filled in so quickly I thought, ‘wow, I’ll be done in no time.’ 4 days later I was still cutting edge tiles and cursing up a storm as I would go back and forth from the 2nd floor to the basement to cut the tile. And when they broke, oh boy, ‘colorful’ words flew!

    Good luck with it all! It’s looking great so far!

  2. Murphy stinks. Hopefully he’s just visiting a short while at your place before he moves on…

  3. I love this post because I do often think when I read other DIY blogs that they don’t seem to be newbies to home remodeling and how they got all their experience. Nothing I do is ever effortless, something as simple as replacing the bathroom fan sends me into such panic I think “I must hire a contractor to do this”. At least once your done you can sit in the tub and think “I did this all myself”!

  4. There’s not a single part of this that doesn’t suck, and I can at least say I’m sorry that your weekend wound up this way. But the good news is the rapture didn’t happen, which means you will still someday see a finished bathroom. The room is looking fantastic, and I’m jealous you’re so close to the end. I’m still finishing up a skim coat, which means I’m miles before I get to my finished bath. Scream and move on, it’s all we can do.

    1. “Scream and move on, it’s all we can do.” That is the best advice ever Sarah. In my case it was a little more “swear and throw a few things, then move on”, but still…

  5. Or? Instead of Screaming? A real long ugly cry? The kind where you have snot streaming down your face and you don’t care?

    Sometimes one of those.

  6. So frustrating! And it always seems to be just at the end when you’re tired and sore and really not wanting to have much more happen.

    I tiled my powder room backsplash years ago and I was so disheartened I swore never again. (There are some designers who are simply not good DIY-ers. I’m one of them.) I had grout joints the size of the Mississippi, and I didn’t know back then that grout bags need to be dry-mixed like flour before you wet-mix them. The color stayed at the top and the second batch of grout was definitely lighter than the first. Grrr!

    DIY is hard work. On the plus side, you’re almost there. It’s looking good!

  7. I know exactly how you feel.

    It is not rolling on that final coat of paint or placing the centerpiece effortlessly on the table as the A.D.D. cuts, sweeps and edits on HGTV/DIYNetwork/etc make you believe.

    I came across this post searching for “one tile short”, as in the middle of a bathroom renovation, I’m just that. One tile short.

    Anyway, I’m still one tile short of a tile that can only be purchased in 12 packs. The quest goes on.

  8. Thank you for your honesty. Hardly anyone shows the blood sweat and tears a project really entails. They just cut to a speeded up version with no dialogue while peppy music plays. But you speak for those of us who have banged our elbows, cut our hands and went to Home Depot three times in one day. And the project is *still* not finished at 7:00pm and the family is asking what’s for dinner, Mommy…

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