The time has come to pick paint colors for the exterior of the Millie’s Remodel house. The majority of the house is brick so I have to choose a paint that is safe for exterior brick. If I’m not careful paint can cause the bricks to deteriorate or the paint to flake off easily.

Millie’s Remodel: Exterior Paint Colors – Need Help Deciding

Welcome back to another Millie’s Remodel update. Today I need your help deciding on exterior paint colors!

When I purchased the house, it had ugly khaki vinyl siding on the front.

The rest of the house was red brick. It was hard justifying painting the entire house until…

…my siding contractor removed the vinyl siding to reveal the original wood siding underneath. Would you believe it was in pristine condition? No wood rot!

removed-old-siding to reveal wood siding white and brick front house

The paint was peeling, so I knew it had to be painted and I didn’t like the two-tone look of siding and brick. I really wanted the house painted one color.

You may remember I had my mason brick up the back doorway leading to the laundry room. Anyone living in the house used to have to go outside the house and make a U-turn to go back inside to do laundry, which was just crazy.

back door bricked up with transom window installed

Now that room has a doorway from the inside so you can do laundry from inside the house. That makes more sense, doesn’t it? Because who wants to walk outside in the rain to do laundry? The room is actually a dual purpose room. It’s a laundry room and powder room, which is why I opted for a transom light to allow some natural light in while still maintaining some privacy.

Anyways, now that this doorway is all bricked up, the mortar doesn’t match and you can see where the doorway was. I’ve wanted to paint the exterior, and now this gives me a great excuse because as you can see, none of the mortar matches.

Masonry Paint Specifically for Brick:

Many people love the look of painted brick, but make the mistake of using regular latex paint. If the brick can’t breathe, it forces the paint to flake off the house or traps moisture in which can damage the bricks. Either way, it leaves you with a maintenance issue.

But, RomaBio is a mineral paint that allows the brick to breathe and prevents moisture from getting trapped. While I was researching RomaBio paints, I discovered they had several new colors in the Young House Love collection. Although it was hard to decide, I narrowed my choices down to four colors:

  • Forever Evergreen
  • Navy Steel
  • Sage Advice
  • So Succulent

As you can tell, I’m leaning toward greens and blues. But, I need to show you the other houses in the neighborhood so you get the full picture! Do me a favor and watch the video below to see the samples on the Millie’s Remodel house and see what the surrounding houses look like.


As you can tell, I’ve narrowed the choice down to two colors: Sage Advice and Navy Steele.

Leave me a comment and let me know which is your favorite.

Oh but wait, I photoshopped some renderings of the house with different colored doors! Hopefully, this will help you make a decision!

Pumpkin Door on Navy Steel

 

Lime Green Door on Navy Steel

 

Cranberry Door on Navy Steel

 

Pumpkin Door on Sage Advice

 

Navy Door on Sage Advice

 

Cranberry Door on Sage Advice

Let me know your thoughts in the comment area. I’m all ears.

Disclosure: RomaBio is a Millie’s Remodel sponsor. I reached out to them after doing lots of research on painting exterior brick and asked if they wanted to be a sponsor of the project. I was provided with complimentary products to use.

You can catch up on the Millie’s Remodel project here.

lili cement tiles in two bathrooms

I’m definitely tired of using a port-a-potty at the Millie’s Remodel house. It’s high time we get the bathroom floors tiled so my plumber can install a toilet! Come along with me today as I install the cement tile floors in the bathrooms.

Millie's Remodel: Cement Tiles in the Bathrooms

Millie’s Remodel: Cement Tiles in the Bathrooms

If you remember my last Millie’s Remodel update, I shared the only working bathroom was the port-a-potty in the front yard. I was definitely done with sharing it with my subcontractors and the MAILMAN! Ugh, I lost track of how many people were using it.

After installing the waterproofing and uncoupling membrane, both bathrooms were ready for tiling. Hooray!

You might remember I shared the mood boards for both the main bathroom and the powder/laundry room.

Main Bathroom Moodboard

Powder/Laundry Room Moodboard

Being able to finally install the tiles is one of my favorite stages in a home renovation. Especially because when the Lili Cement tiles I ordered arrived, and I couldn’t wait to see them installed on the floors. I should mention, Lili Tiles is one of the Millie’s Remodel sponsors. When the company contacted me, I was thrilled with their bright-colored tiles and the variety of shapes and patterns. Frankly, it was tough to choose just two tile patterns.

Variety of tiles on the floor

Here are some other things I love about the Lili Cement Tiles: Each tile is handmade! You can watch the process here. And if you want to see more inspiring photos of Lili Cement tiles installed in a variety of spaces, follow Lili Cement Tiles on Instagram! Plus, I love supporting small companies, especially one founded by a woman.

Lili Cement Tiles on Instagram

Okay, now it’s time to show you these beautiful cement tiles installed. Go ahead and watch this video to see them in the Millie’s Remodel bathrooms and watch how much fun I had installing them! Seriously, it was more fun than you can imagine.

What do you think? Do you love the patterns? Think they work for a mid-century modern beauty? I can’t pick my favorite because I love the subtle star pattern in the Vegas 3 tile installation.

Lili Cement Tile Vegas3 houndstooth pattern gold and black tiles

But, I’m equally excited by the classic navy diamond pattern in the Mia 4 tile installation.

Lili Cement Tile Mia 4, Navy and White diagonal box tiles

However, what is making me jump for joy, is the toilet and sink hooked up in the powder room. I could have kissed my plumber when he showed up to install the toilet and sink in the house.

Lili Cement Tile Mia 4, Navy and White diagonal box tiles

Time to say goodbye to the port-a-potty. See you soon with another Millie’s Remodel update!

Disclosure: Thank you to Lili Cement Tiles for sponsoring the Millie’s Remodel project. I was sent complimentary products in exchange for mentioning Lili Tiles in my project. All opinions and ideas are my own. As you know, I’m very particular about the brands I work with, and Lili Cement Tiles is a brand I’m happy to recommend!

I know you’ve all been patiently awaiting another Millie’s Remodel update and today I have just that for you! Come see the drywall installation (one of my favorite phases in construction) and find out how I’m dealing with critters in the attic.

Millie's Remodel: Drywall Update and Critters

Millie’s Remodel: Drywall & Critters

I’m excited to share the next Millie’s Remodel update. If you can’t wait to see inside, scroll to the bottom of this article and take the video tour. In the last update, I shared progress in the framing, plumbing, and electrical department. Luckily, the inspection passed after one minor change. I got very lucky on this project and had one multi-trade inspector who was willing to let me send him a picture of the one item he asked for once it was complete. Because we were able to do that, he passed us that same day.

Like most permitted home construction projects, it’s important to pass inspections for your rough-ins (plumbing, electrical, and HVAC) while the walls are open. You also need to have insulation installed as long as it allows the inspector to be able to see the plumbing and electrical.

angled view of new electrical sub panel and view down hallway

My electrician ran into a snag requiring a little more demolition. But it was no big deal. I grabbed my favorite demo tool, a flat shovel, and removed the section of the wall he needed to get into. Of all the tools I’ve tried, I love how the flat shovel slides into the side of the drywall and can press on the opposite wall for leverage without worrying about ripping a hole in the other wall. Once the wall was opened, my electrician was able to remove the old wiring and add a new box for the switches.

Pocket Door Installation:

While my electrician worked on wiring the switches, I installed the pocket door hardware in the laundry room/powder room. The instructions for this thing are horrible, so it took me a little longer than expected. Maybe I should offer to re-write the instructions for them, what do you think?

Pretty Handy Girl installing pocket door kit

Before the drywall stage, I take pictures and/or videos to refer back to when I’m trying to find the studs. In the kitchen, I made the smart decision to write measurements from the wall on the studs and blocking. Then I could refer back to these notes in the video when it comes time to hang the open shelving.

Once the drywall installers arrived, the house started to feel a bit crowded, so I headed up into the attic to take care of the critter problem we had.

During the inspection, we found a lot of animal feces in the attic. I’m not talking about little mouse droppings (although I’m sure there were plenty of those in the insulation), I’m talking large animal feces like a raccoon or possum would leave behind. I found many holes in the attic and in the crawlspace. I think the interior wall between the bathroom and the kitchen was a rodent highway. The chimney also didn’t have a cap on it, so I added one in case the animals were getting inside there.

The last spot where animals could get into the attic was along the gable ends through the attic louvered vents. To keep birds and bats from flying into the attic, I installed hard cloth mesh inside the vents.

Here are some spots to look for critter entrances:

  • Rotted siding or trim boards
  • Gaps around plumbing pipes
  • No cap on your chimney
  • Louver vents without hard cloth mesh
  • Attic vents without hard cloth mesh
  • Gaps in the crawlspace or attic framing

Purple Drywall:

In the bathroom and kitchens, I had my drywall contractor install Purple drywall to avoid mold issues in the future if there ever is a water leak. Click here to learn more about how purple drywall works to prevent mold.

Speaking of preventing mold and water intrusion, the area around the tub will receive Kerdi waterproof boards in the future. I can’t wait to show you how this product works. I love working with it.

Closet to Pantry conversion:

In the narrow hallway across from the kitchen was a coat closet, but I felt it would work better as a pantry. You can watch in the video to see how I added melamine shelving in the closet to make it function as a pantry.

Goodbye Popcorn Ceilings:

I knew I wanted to get rid of the popcorn texture on the ceilings, so I tested it for asbestos. The popcorn came back negative, but the joint compound did have a small percentage of asbestos. Rather than risk disturbing the joint compound, we decided to cover it with a layer of drywall. This was such a quick and easy solution I will definitely do this again to cover popcorn. Once the drywall was up and primed, it was remarkable how much brighter the rooms were. Did you know popcorn ceilings make rooms a little darker because the light can’t reflect as easily off a textured ceiling? The new drywall and priming all the walls took care of most of the funky odors in the house.

Improved Floorplan:

The biggest change in the look of the house is the open concept kitchen. During demolition, I removed the corner walls in the kitchen to open the floor plan. With the drywall installed, I can really get a feel for how the kitchen and living spaces will function.

millies-remodel-floor-plan-before

Speaking about function, the new laundry/powder room will be a much more functional room. You may remember the house only had one bathroom, and the laundry room was only accessible from outside the house. The exterior door was removed and a transom window installed to allow some light into the room. I installed the pocket door to maintain enough space for a toilet and a sink creating a much needed second bathroom. Unfortunately, neither bathroom is useable right now. Instead, I have a port-a-potty in front of the house that is used by my subcontractors and several passersby (including the mailman who uses it everyday.) I will be so happy to get rid of it and have a toilet inside the house to use!

Exterior Updates:

Outside the house has changed considerably now that my siding contractor has removed the vinyl siding to reveal the original wood siding. I have plans to paint the entire house, but for now, let’s keep going.

removed-old-siding to reveal wood siding white and brick front house

In the backyard, I have plans to try to move the ugly shed to the back of the lot, but honestly, I’m not sure it will survive the move. It’s really not built well.

Ready to take the video tour?

That’s it for the update. I’ll be back soon with another progress update. Have a great week!

A special thank you to the Millie’s Remodel Sponsors:

The Millie’s Remodel project sponsors have donated materials for the Millie’s Remodel project. As you know I am very particular about the brands I work with and recommend. As a general contractor, I choose the products used on my projects wisely to make sure they last a lifetime. Therefore, I have no reservations putting my name behind each and every one of these sponsors.

millies remodel sponsors logos

If you want professional-looking tile floors (regardless if you want to do it yourself or hire someone), you must read this article to find out what tiles to buy, how to avoid cracked tiles, and risk a finished tile floor that is less than professional-looking.

11 Must See Tips for DIY Professional Looking Tile Floors11 Must-See Tips for Professional Looking Tile Floors

I’m here to tell you, YES, you can lay your own floor tile and achieve professional-looking results if you learn a few tips and tricks. First, can I share a secret with you? Seven years ago I thought I had to hire a tile installer when we had our mudroom tiled. I wish I knew then what I know now because I would have kicked that installer out of my house immediately. I still have to look at some of the issues he left behind pointing to a less than professional looking tile job. (Insert Angry Face Emoji!)

But, I completely understand if you still want to hire a professional tile installer for any number of reasons:

  • No time
  • Don’t have the tools
  • Physical disabilities (tile-setting is tough on the back and body)
  • No desire to install tile

Did I miss any reasons? If I did, leave me a comment below letting me know why someone wouldn’t want to embark on a DIY tile flooring project.

Before we get to my tips, I want to give you a little education on tiles. Especially if you had problems previously and thought it was your fault the tile job didn’t look professional. Believe it or not, your issues may have been caused by cheap or poor quality tiles. Say what?!

How to Spot Poor Quality (Cheap) Tiles:

Did you know those tiles you are saving a boatload on may not be quality tiles? Did you even know there were inferior quality tiles? Yes, it’s true. A few years ago I hired a tile installer to help me tile some of the bathrooms in the Saving Etta project. (Yes, I could have done it myself, but I’d still be tiling if I did everything myself.) When I first met the installer, he asked me about the tiles I had purchased. I showed him the boxes and he opened several to inspect them. This is what he was looking for to determine if they were cheap tiles:

  • Color – Pull tiles from several boxes (if possible) and check to see that the color is consistent for one color tiles. (Obviously, if they are supposed to vary in color and pattern that’s okay.) Regardless, you should always pull tiles randomly from several boxes when laying tile.
  • Size – Pull random tiles from several boxes and stack them together. They should be identical. Poor quality tiles can vary up to 1/8″ in size. This will cause issues especially if you are using a small grout joint.
  • Printing – Many ceramic or porcelain tiles are printed to look like real stone today. Take a close look at the surface. Is the printing evident? Do you see small dots like a printed newspaper photo? If you can’t see them easily, the printing was well done.
  • Thickness – In addition to the overall dimension of the tiles, you should check the consistency of thickness.
  • Warping – Are your tiles perfectly flat or do they bend? See below for a picture of two 4″ x 12″ tiles that show some bowing in the center of the tiles.

(To eliminate accentuating this defect, you wouldn’t want to install these tiles with a 50% offset (shown below). Instead, a 25 or 33% would be a better staggered joint pattern.)

bowed tiles at 50% offset shows shadows and lippage

  • Wedging – Square and rectangular tiles should be cut square. Out of square tiles could would impact your tile job and show up especially in the grout joints.

Typically you can expect good quality from tiles that are labeled as Standard or First Grade. Second grade tiles will have more variations in appearance. Independent tile shops are the best place to purchase good quality tiles. They typically sell to designers and tile installers, but also sell to the general public. Granted, you will likely pay more. But, you know the old saying, you get what you pay for.

Picking Tiles:

Tiles are tiles, right? Wrong, there are many tiles that would not be suitable for a floor. And some tiles are not good for high traffic areas. Finally, some tiles are not a good fit for showers. How can you tell which tiles are best for use in specific areas?

Floor Tiles vs. Wall Tiles:

Floor tiles must be strong enough to handle walking on and an occasional dropped item. Did you know there’s a rating for tile strength? It’s called a PEI rating.

A PEI of 1 is ideal for walls. PEI of 2 is best for bathrooms and kitchens. And a PEI of 3 is appropriate for all residential applications. Meanwhile, PEIs of 4 and 5 are applicable for commercial and heavy commercial applications. When shopping for tiles, they may not have the PEI rating displayed, but there should be a notation if they are acceptable for floors and walls. If you don’t see a notation, ask a salesperson or check with the manufacturer.

Avington Black & White Cement Tiles from TheBuilderDepot.com

How Slippery Are Your Tiles?

Floor tiles must meet certain criteria for COF or coefficient of friction (basically how slippery the tile is.) But, different areas need different COF values. Let’s talk strictly for residential purposes (because commercial and business sites are a whole other beast). Floor tiles in a bathroom with a shower or tub must meet a greater than .42 DCOF test.  Tiles that score less than .42 would only be appropriate for areas that will be kept dry or walls.

Polished tiles tend to be more slippery. Tiles that have texture usually score better on the DCOF test, but depending on how textured, they can be harder to clean.

Are marble and natural stone tiles good for floors?

Oh the beauty of real marble! I know, I know, I love marble too, but would it be a good choice for your floor? This depends on several factors. The first being the use of the room. If using in a kitchen or room with a lot of traffic and opportunities for spills, you’ll want to steer clear of marble and stone products that can wear or stain easily. Of course, you can seal your tiles, but the upkeep will be a lot more than porcelain or ceramic tile. But, if you are okay with your floors showing off natural wear and patina, go for it.

Porcelain vs. Ceramic – What’s the Difference?

Porcelain tiles are stronger and more dense than ceramic tiles. They don’t absorb as much moisture as ceramic tiles (Porcelain tiles must be tested and absorb at 0.5% or less to be certified porcelain.) Because they absorb less, porcelain tiles are more ideal for shower floors or areas that stay damp or humid. While porcelain tiles will usually be stronger, thicker, and less porous, they can be tougher to cut and more expensive. Ultimately you can use ceramic tiles on your floor, as long as they meet a 3 or higher PEI rating (as discussed above).

How Many Tiles Should I Order?

Typically most tilers would suggest you order anywhere from 15% -20% extra for your job. If you are using small tiles, you can order as little as 10% overage. Usually, I order 15% because it’s better to have a few left over to keep on hand should you ever have to replace a tile. Besides, it’s a real pain if you run out of tiles mid tile job.

Know Your Finished Height:

If you are picking out tiles, be sure you know the difference in height of adjoining rooms. Choosing your floor tile can mean the difference between perfectly matched floor levels or the need for a transition strip (or worse, a step up or down!) Luckily there is a transition strip for most floor differences.

Tools:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

I’m a big advocate of having good tools. Having a good tile cutter means the difference between flying through a tile job or having it drag on for an eternity. A good tile cutter also reduces waste because they cut tiles cleanly.

When possible, I prefer cutting the majority of tiles with a scoring tile cutter. It’s quicker, a lot less messy, and clean up is as simple as brushing off the platform.

Occasionally I’ve run into tile that resisted cutting on my scoring cutter (thick porcelain tiles usually fall into this category). For those tiles, I use my wet saw. A wet saw can also cut angled and corner cuts into the tiles. I’ve used the same inexpensive wet saw for years, but when it dies I’ll upgrade to a bigger wet saw.

Recently I started using an angle grinder with a diamond blade for more precise intricate cuts or to knock off a small amount. It works faster and is less clean up than the wet saw for those intricate cuts.

Finally, if you are tiling a shower, you’ll inevitably need to cut a hole in your tiles around a pipe. For that task, I use a drill with a diamond hole saw.

My Tile Cutting Tools:

Now it’s time to learn my top tips for a professional-looking tile floor. If you are a newbie and want to learn the basics of tiling, you’ll find these two lessons helpful: Learn How to Set Tile

and Learn How to Grout.

Okay, let’s learn how to get those professional tile results that will even fool the pros!

11 Must See Tips for Professional Looking Tile Floors:

Over the years I’ve taken several courses on tile setting and worked directly with several professional tile setters. From each experience, I’ve learned a lot and now I want to share the things I’ve learned with you so your next tile job comes out beautifully.

In my video you’ll get to see the progress at the Millie’s Remodel project as I tiled the kitchen floor. I decided to incorporate the tiling tips I’ve learned into the video for you.

Watch the video for the tips and how I install floor tiles:

You can also watch the video on YouTube if you prefer (especially if you want to click on the links to the other videos I mention).

1. Flat and Sturdy Subfloor:

Like building a sturdy house, your foundation is super important. When you walk on your floor does it flex, bounce, or squeak? If so, you need to solve these issues now. Use a level and rest it in several different areas (and directions on your subfloor). Are there low spots, high spots, or a slope? If you have dips or valleys in your subfloor, you can’t get a good tile job that will last. If your floor isn’t sturdy and flexes, you will have cracked grout, or worse cracked tiles.

As specified by the TCNA (Tile Council of North America), you want no more than 1/4″ difference in 10′ and no more than 1/16″ within 12 inches. If your subfloor isn’t flat, you can learn how to level your floor here.

If you have a wood subfloor, make sure your wood substrates have the manufacturer’s recommended spacing (typically 1/8″ gap between plywood sheets.) Backer board or uncoupling membranes should be laid onto the subfloor before tiling.

Never tile directly onto new concrete. In fact, keep reading to learn why I use uncoupling membranes and how to prevent your tile job from being ruined by expanding or contracting concrete.

2. Consider Using an Uncoupling Membrane

In another previous post, I shared how to apply the orange Schluter Ditra waterproof membrane before tiling. The Schluter Ditra material also acts as an uncoupling membrane which prevents cracks in your tiles and/or grout.

After taking the Schluter workshops, I will never tile a room without an uncoupling membrane again. As a bonus, their membranes are waterproof. No more need to worry about water soaking into your subfloor and causing mold to build up.

3. Use a Good Tile Cutter

Using good tools will help your tile job go smoothly and it will keep your tile cuts from looking like a jagged mess. If you can’t afford to buy good tools, look into renting some, or ask a fellow DIYer if you can borrow theirs. (Always clean their tools before returning them. Nothing irks me more than dirty tools.)

4. Layout Tiles Ahead of Time

If you’ve heard that spending time doing the prep work will save you time in the long run, nothing could be more true than when tiling. Before I start any tile job, I always lay out my tiles first. I dry lay them out to see what I’m dealing with. First I layout a run of tiles along the length of the room and position the tiles to avoid having to cut a small sliver of a tile at either end. Then I layout a run along the width of the room making adjustments to avoid the same situation.

If I have printed tiles, I separate them into piles by their individual print design. Then when I pull tiles later I pull from different stacks. I also step back to make sure two of the same tiles aren’t next to each other (like in the example below thanks to that so-called professional I hired).

Nothing screams rookie tiler louder than two printed tiles being installed next to each other. And in the same orientation!

5. Leave an Expansion (or Movement) Joint

Despite what you might think (especially if you have perfectionist tendencies), you do not want to cut and install your tiles tight against the wall (or other objects in your room like columns, pipes, or walls.) You must leave at least 1/4 inch around the perimeter of your room or around immovable objects. Not adhering to this rule can lead to your tile floor popping up or tenting (See this article for a photo of tenting tile.) Additionally, you need to install a movement joint in any interior room at every 25 feet in each direction. However, if this room is exposed to direct sunlight or heat, you’ll need an expansion joint at every 12 feet in each direction.

6. Use Recommended Trowel Size

Tiles come in all shapes and sizes and therefore they require a variety of trowels. Be sure to check with the specifications on your tile to find out the trowel size. Or ask your tile shop representative for their recommendation. Using a too-small trowel with large tiles would cause the tiles not to adhere to the surface. And too big a trowel with smaller tiles will make it difficult to level the tiles.

7. Back Butter Large Tiles

When tiling a floor with large tiles, back buttering is a must. Typically I’ll spread the thinset mortar onto the floor and trowel through it. I’ll use the excess to scrape a thin layer over the back of the floor tile. This accomplishes two things:

  1. It keys mortar into any voids on the back of the tile.
  2. It ensures full coverage on the back of the tile.

If you don’t back butter large tile, you run the risk of having air pockets behind your tile which can sound hollow when walked on or cause the tile to pop up.

8. Use Leveling Spacers

Leveling spacers are a relatively new product, but I will never tile a floor without them again. I’ve tried several brands but prefer the wedge-shaped leveling spacers. The wedges are inserted into the tile spacer and ratcheted tight to bring tiles to the same height as the adjacent tiles. You can see how they work and how to remove the spacers in my video above. (It’s a lot of fun removing them as you’ll see!) Using leveling spacers virtually eliminates lippage on tiles.

wedge shaped tile spacer leveling two tiles

9. Clean Thinset Off Tiles

Anyone who has had to clean dried thinset mortar off tiles will never make the mistake of letting it dry on tiles. When tiling, keep your area clean. Be sure to clean off any mortar on surrounding tiles. In addition, make sure to clean thinset that squeezes up between the tiles. You want to make sure you have enough room for grout to set on top of the mortar.

10. Use Grout with Sealant

Grouting is the final step for any tile job, but if you didn’t add a sealant additive to your grout, you will need to seal the grout after the fact. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do after tiling a floor is hand paint sealant on all the grout lines. And if you skip sealing all together you’re going to hate keeping the grout clean.

11. Plan Your Transition Pieces Ahead of Time

One thing that will truly set your tile floor job a notch above is using sleek transitions. Personally, I prefer using Schluter profiles strips for my floor transitions. There are a variety of finishes, sizes, and styles. Some of the profile strips are laid under the tiles for a stronger bond. Others are installed after the grout has cured. In the Millie’s Remodel kitchen, we had a big change in height between floors. I ended up using the the Schluter Reno-V profile which has an L shaped piece that slides under the tile edge during installation. (You can see the way it works in my video.)

However, in the Saving Etta house, I used simple Schluter Schiene profile strips between tile and wood flooring.

How to Speed Up Your Tile Job:

It helps to have a helper when tiling. Once you mix thinset or grout, you’re on the clock. Both will harden within a set time. If you have a helper, you can give your helper the task of cutting tiles or changing out your dirty water buckets, or mixing more thinset mortar. Speaking of mortar, never mix more than you can spread before hardening. As an experienced tiler I try not to mix more than 1/3 of a 50 pound bag of mortar. Otherwise, you’ll be left with a big boulder of thin set when it hardens.

If you can’t get a helper, make sure to fill multiple buckets with clean water before you begin. It also helps to cut some of your perimeter tiles ahead of time.

Tip for Working with Grout: You can slow the curing time of your grout if you set your mixed grout into a second bucket filled with ice water to slow the curing process. I show this in more detail in my grouting tutorial.

Best of luck tiling your floor.  I know you can do this.

Today we’re prepping to tile in the kitchen and bathrooms. Having seen firsthand how much damage water can cause to a home, I want to show you this tutorial for How to Waterproof Floors!

Waterproofing Floors in Any Room

Renovations are finally moving forward at Millie’s Remodel. This is the point where I feel like we already hit rock bottom and now we’re finally on the rebound. You might remember we used a self-leveling concrete in the kitchen last week. Now it’s time to waterproof the floors to prevent damage from ever happening again!

Last year I took two Schluter classes and learned about waterproofing, uncoupling membranes, and tips and tricks to keep your tile job looking flawless for a lifetime. What I learned over the four days blew my mind. I learned why and how shower systems fail. But, most importantly, I learned how to properly prepare surfaces for tile using waterproofing membranes. Today we’ll just be talking about waterproofing a floor, but I’ll have another tutorial for you soon so you can learn how to waterproof walls too.

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Why should you waterproof a floor?

Before we get started, I want you to fully understand how waterproofing a room can actually save you money and save you from the headache of having a leak in your home.

If you have a kitchen or a bathroom, chances are you’re going to have a leak in your lifetime (or your home’s lifetime) if it hasn’t already happened. One of the best things you can do is to install waterproofing materials so water can never damage your floors or floor framing again. I believe so strongly in the Schluter products, that all the properties I’m working on (including my own) will have Ditra installed on the floor before tiling.

By using the Schluter Ditra uncoupling and waterproof membrane in conjunction with Kerdi band around the perimeter of the room, I can waterproof the entire floor. Which means I don’t have to worry about rot or mold happening. Any little leaks will sit on top of this membrane until I see it because the water will rise instead of seeping into your floor or walls.

Ready to get started? Let me show you how to waterproof any room in your house!

For your convenience, I made a video to help show how to install Schluter waterproofing products and how to fully waterproof a room!

Instructions:

  1. Cut open your roll of Ditra and roll it out onto a scrap piece of wood or something you can cut on.
  2. Measure the room you want to waterproof and transfer the dimensions onto your Ditra membrane. Use a straight edge and a sharp utility knife to cut the Ditra. You might need to make a few passes with the knife to cut completely through the Ditra membrane.
  3. Test fit the Ditra in your room. Cut out a hole for your floor vents by pressing your knife through the membrane where the vent is and remove the material up to the edges of the duct. Cut the rest of the pieces to fill the room. Do not overlap the Ditra material.
  4. Now it’s time to mix the thinset. When using Schluter Ditra it’s highly recommended to use the Schluter All Set. This mortar is specifically manufactured to cure against the waterproof membrane. Read the instructions on the packaging and mix your thinset as directed.
  5. Use a wet sponge and clean water to clean and wet the subfloor. Spread the thinset onto the floor using the Schluter Ditra trowel. Make sure you have good coverage on the floor.
    Then use the notched trowel to comb through the thinset at a 45° angle.
  6. Lay the Ditra membrane on top of the thinset and use a smooth float to press the membrane into the thinset. In the beginning, you should roll back a corner of the Ditra to make sure you have full coverage onto the backing of the membrane. Place the Ditra back down and use the float again to make sure the membrane is pressed into the thinset.
  7. Use a wet sponge to clean out any mortar that has squeezed out the seams or edges.
  8. Once all the Ditra has been installed into the subfloor, you’re ready to seal the perimeter and seams. Grab a Kerdi corner piece for each corner of the room. Using the Kerdi trowel, apply thinset mortar to the inside corner of the room. Use the notched side to comb through the thinset. Place the Kerdi corner into the thinset and use the flat side of the trowel to embed and scrape along the Kerdi.
  9. Now you’re ready to install the Kerdi Band on the straight sections of wall. Be sure to cut your Kerdi band so it overlaps the corner pieces by at least 2 inches. I like to pre-fold my Kerdi Band by creasing it in the middle so it’s easier to install in the corners. Apply the Kerdi Band to the wall and floor using the same technique as the corner.
  10. Clean up any excess mortar leaving a smooth surface for tile installation.
  11. Now it’s time to complete the waterproofing of the room by sealing the seams between the Ditra sheets. Cut your Kerdi Band so it overlaps any perimeter band by at least two inches. Apply the thinset over the seam, use the notched trowel to create ridges in the thinset.
    Then embed the Kerdi band into the mortar and run the flat side of the trowel over the band to smooth the thinset and embed the band.
  12. Clean up any excess and allow the thinset to cure before tiling.

Once the thinset has cured you can tile your room and rest easy knowing this room is waterproofed and there’s no way the subfloor will rot from a sneaky little leak. Or a big leak if you have kids that like to splash out of the bathtub. I know this risk all too well from my own boys.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful and you’ll consider using Schluter waterproofing materials before you renovate your next “water” room.

Disclosure: I was provided with some Schluter materials for this project. I was not told what to write. All opinions are my own. I am particular about the brands I represent and will always let you know when you are reading a post with complementary products or a sponsored post.