Tile Progress, New Tools, and Ridiculous Headgear

Well, okay, so last week wasn’t my week for making progress on the actual tiling portion of the upstairs bathroom. The first time I wrote that sentence I said “last week wasn’t my week for making progress.” Period. And then I was like, well wait an everloving minute… you know what I did last weekend? I spent a couple of hours shoveling all kinds of shit out of the donkey stall in the barn…


Nugs helped, as usual. (Also, don’t ask wtf that thing on my head is. My hair was stuck in some kind of rats nest on top of my head and none of my hats would fit over it, and I needed something to keep my ears warm. Turns out, I own a fuzzy leopard print head-warmer thing… this was actually news to me, but it was good news because that thing is warm. Scared the shit out of the donkeys when I walked in the barn though.)

Then I went to the gym and lifted some heavy things…


(Without the leopard head-warmer thing, obv.)

I also took a nap instead of getting started on the bathroom tile, and then I spent some time writing about taking naps instead of getting started on the bathroom tile.

So, you know last Sunday I had a lot of motivation to actually start working on the tile. I did. I prepped the surround and everything…


And then I realized the crappy little tile saw that had been with me through ten years, three houses, and two live-in boyfriends was nowhere to be found. Nowhere. I spent well over an hour searching the barns, garage, workshop, both of the bedrooms in this house dedicated to tools, and every other place I store shit (which is basically, uh, everywhere.)

I’ve been talking about of getting rid of that damn thing for at least five of those years, but I don’t remember actually getting rid of it. I’m not beyond “accidentally” leaving one of my tools when I move to give myself and excuse to buy a new one, okay? I’m human. But I don’t think I really did that. And I’m probably the only girl who has to her ex-boyfriends years after breaking up to see if they’ve seen my tools anywhere.

They haven’t.

So, fine, I bought a new saw.


I didn’t even research new saws, I just picked the only one Lowe’s carried that had a sliding tray and cost less than $500.

Then I came home and took another nap.

Seriously. I don’t know whatthefuck is going on with the naps, but twice last week I woke up in the morning with a bloody nose, and I have to get one of my wisdom teeth pulled out on Wednesday, so I’m just assuming my whole body is basically giving me the finger.

Here’s the punchline: I got zero tiles on the wall last week.

And, like I said, I’m tempted to call that a complete waste of a weekend, because sometimes I forget that it’s perfectly fine if, at the end of a weekend, I a.) am still living, b.) kept all the animals on the farm alive, and c.) bought new tools. Okay. I might have also d.) had a few glasses of wine out on the picnic table…


It was over 30-degrees out though, which is basically t-shirt weather up here these days.

So, okay, I just gave myself a good 500 words of grace on last weekends progress, but fast-forward a week and HERE.


Tiles on the effing wall.

Not a ton of tiles, but still. Progress.

I’ve got the tile saw set up in the future master bath.


She actually makes a really pretty cut.


I’m happy with the purchase so far, but I haven’t really put it through its paces yet. (It’s this one, if you’re wondering.)


I also made some decisions on the floor tile. I really wanted a herringbone slate pattern, but I couldn’t find rectangular slate anywhere. I finally stopped by one of my favorite tile shops (like a mile down the road from the Memorial House… it’s where I got the awesome tile for this bathroom) and decided I wasn’t walking out without ordering floor tile.

I had a minute where I almost went this direction…


I love it, but it seemed like it would be too busy in that room.

I finally decided on a slate-like porcelain tile in 6×36. It’s larger than I was hoping for (4×24 would have been perfect) so I’ve been playing around with the placement for the last few days.




The point at which I thought there might not be enough beer in the entire state to make this tile work in here…


I’m 98% sure I’m going to run the herringbone this way. But I’ve been known to make snap decisions before… we’ll see when it comes time to put it down.

So that, my friends, is what tile progress looks around here. And naps. It’s a little what naps looks like too.

I do have a guide on building out and waterproofing a bath surround (and that damned electrical guide) started, and I may just get a chance to finish one when I’m drugged up and lamenting the loss of some of my wisdom (teeth) this week.) It’ll be totally coherent, I swear.

32 Responses

  1. Do you have a humidifier? Dry air can cause awful sinus problems, especially after sleeping. Add in paint fumes, dust your wildly complicated dust masks might still let through.

    1. my guess is humidifier too. I am pricing out a whole house humidifier that works separate from my boiler/radiator…only a few hundred dollars.

      regarding the slate, you won! I chose the hexagon pattern for my shower floor and am half amused by it. It doesn’t ruin the marble on the walls.

      keep it up, good luck with your wisdom teeth!

    2. I don’t have a humidifier, that could definitely be it, even though I don’t “feel” dry.

      1. Check your blood pressure – consult with your MD. Hypertension doesn’t scream out, but nosebleeds and fatigue (naps) can be subtle symptoms. Hypertension isn’t just for old people and can have a variety of causes, including enlarged liver and genetics.

  2. “I spent well over an hour searching the barns, garage, workshop, both of the bedrooms in this house dedicated to tools” — this had me laughing because it’s all too similar to our current tool situation. We’ve got tools in the master bedroom, family room, dining room, hallway, living room, coat closet (where the previous owner left us a GIGANTIC rusty saw).

    Tile looks great. The herringbone pattern is lovely in the slate you’ve chosen — hope it works out in the bathroom!

  3. Diva– I love your blog! I’m also a Michigander (who has too many critters and loves DIY) and find it humorous when I say, “it’s pretty nice out!” and check the thermometer to find out it’s 12 degrees. You know it’s been cold when 12 degrees feels like a heat wave. I love the ceramic tile, but is it textured? You don’t want to slip your first time outta the shower!

  4. Are you thinking about radiant in-floor heat at all? Seems like the time to do it before you spread your thinset….

    1. Now would definitely be the time, but I’m not going to put any floor heat in this bathroom. Honestly, I might not put it in the master either… I’m oddly not bothered by “cold” floors in this house. The baseboard heat may have something to do with that, but I’ll have plenty of time in this bath before I do the master to decide if I need it!

  5. Yesterday we had thin set mixed to start laying floor tile and realized we couldn’t find our notched trowel.

    After searching ALL of our tool hiding places, (there are many) I called my Dad and found the trowel at his house. Luckily we are only about 15 miles apart and he met me half way.

    Maybe my goal this year should be tool organization.

  6. good luck with the wisdom teeth…had all 4 of mine done at once and oh how it sucked..but I’m glad I don’t have to do it again.

  7. I would be very interested in reading your guide on making and waterproofing a bath/shower surround. It’s something I’d like to do for our house, and I haven’t a clue as to how to do it!

  8. Great progress on the wall tile – LOVE the new wet saw – so cool… and the herringbone is looking cool, too. can you cut the existing floor tiles down to smaller like what you originally wanted? Or would that produce way too much waste.

    1. When tiling, you want to start with a flat, level surface. The rim of a tub usually has some curvature to allow the water to drain off the sides, so I start by installing a temporary board one tile up (technically starting with the second row of tiles) after they’re set I’ll remove it, patch the screw holes, and then custom cut the bottom row of tiles so there’s an even grout line on the bottom. Some people recommend starting in the middle of the wall when you do this, but that just seems like a pain in the ass to me.

        1. Well I promise a full tutorial full of all the tips and tricks I’ve learned soon!

        1. Yes, from the rim of the tub, but I actually set it about 1/2″ short of full tile height so so that all of my first row tiles will be cut on the bottom. The rim has about a 3/16″ dip between the middle and the sides (for drainage) and that might not be a huge deal to some people but if my caulk line is 3/16″ bigger in the middle than on the ends it will drive me nuts. So I plan to cut all the tiles to follow the curvature, so I have a consistent caulk line on the bottom.

  9. The tiling is already looking great! Keep up the good work. I like the herringbone going the way you have it in that last picture, it almost seems to make the space seem wider than it is. Can’t wait to see more!

  10. For your new tile saw: Put the pump in a clean water bucket and drain the tray into a dirty water bucket. I have a hose and fitting I installed in the tray to drain it as I go.

    Why? The grit from the cut tiles will continually circulate through the pump and burn it out prematurely. It always happens at the most opportune of moments (not).

    Ask me how I know…….

  11. I’m really glad you’re planning a tub surround tutorial – I just bought my first house! It’s a fixer-upper and I’m totally inexperienced, and putting in a new bathtub and tile surround is high on the list of jobs in my future.

  12. Hey Kit,

    Just wanted to let you know that Lowes doesn’t sell the Kobalt KB7005 tile saw online anymore. Additionally, I know you didn’t do much research prior to buying your tile saw, but I think you could have saved tons of money by purchasing the SKIL 3540-02 tile saw instead. You can’t beat a price tag of less then $100 and a 3-year warranty.

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