Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tile-Work Ideas

Have you ever done any tile work?  I did a couple mosaic tabletops before we built our first house and then jumped headfirst into all the tilework, including mud/laundry room floors, kitchen backsplash, boys bathroom floor and shower surround and the master bath floor and walls.  It's really not that hard and it's pretty fun.  You can be as creative as you'd like, use your imagination and have some fun!

Worst part, knees!  Has a way of making you feel much older than you are, that's for sure!  Highly recommend the knee pads.  You'll look like a dork but save the knees!

This first picture is the Master Bathroom floor.  I called it "A River Runs Through it" and started by putting in the "river".

Then, I added the mosaic edge, my husband was nervous he'd cut his feet on the broken tile edges but it's been 8 years and no cuts.  I used a board to help with level and kept running my hands over it to double check,  didn't want to hear about that for the rest of my life.

I had to add this one,  I CAN multi-task, who knew!  Now I have some proof.
I could of gone hog-wild on this floor but my husband is very conservative so I kept it tame, I still like it. 
This is the finished bathroom. 

A few years after we built our house a piece of property came up for sale right down the street.  We needed a project, so we bought it and built a spec house, lots of tile work. 

Here's a few tips and ideas from that experience:

You don't have to spend the earth to get amazing results.  I bought my tile at multiple stores right off the shelf without spending more than $2/sq. ft. and often times much less.   I focused on basic, neutral tiles with some interest in their pattern and then added higher end accent pieces, you get more bang for your buck that way!
I also used the same basic tiles in multiple spaces throughout the house for consistency, helps to make it "flow".  This is the laundry/mud room.  It has multiple angles in the room so no matter how I lay the tile it's not gonna be "straight" so I went with it, laid it on the diagonal off the kitchen entry.
A simple backsplash in the kitchen, for less than $200 it adds a fantastic finishing touch.
This is the hall bath,  I did no accent in the bathtub just a simple surround but I love the floor.  I was nervous to do dark tile with a light grout but I highly recommend it, the contrast is wonderful.
This is the master bathroom, I spent lots of time in this room and am in love with the results.  I started with the floor.  This is the same tile that was used in the laundry room.  I simply added a small inset to make a design from a larger 12" square mosaic tile.  For relatively small expense it makes a great impact.
We also tiled the shower, this is "in the works".  Again, simple manipulation of the design to make a greater impact without breaking the bank (same wall tile used in the hall bath FYI).
The finished design, still using minimal amounts of the expensive mosaic tile yet making a great impact.
In this picture you can really see the finished product with all the little details such as:  I really don't like using the granite backsplash that matches the countertops, too matchy-matchy so I always tile that area.  To add a little more design I also ran one layer of decorative tile to finish it off, if you look closely in the left mirror you can see the tub surround is finished in the same manner, just a simple finishing touch.
If I can do it, anyone can, it's just a matter of jumping in and getting started.  Buy a book, watch some U-Tube Videos, with a little prep work and some time you can add your own distinct style and creative flair to your home for much less than hiring it out.    


  1. You have done a beautiful job. And what a lot of work. You are getting to live the "Flip" a house dream that we all have watching those shows.

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