|Bathroom Remodel, Part 2|
This is a continuation of Part 1 of our bathroom remodel.
We are jumping right into this. The room has been cleared, all the sheetrock, mud and paint work has been finished, and the floor has been cleaned as much as possible.
I have my pennies ready - 255 pennies/square foot,
requested from my bank in increments of $25 dollars.
Now its time to make the floor suitable for tiling.
I will give you a list of tiling supplies at the end of this post. I'm not giving it now because I wouldn't do this project again the same way. Scroll to the bottom if you just want the run down.
Step 1. Make the floor as level as possible. I used self leveling compound to do this.With pennies being such a small tile, it is incredibly important that the floor is very level. They will not sit flat on even a slightly bumpy floor and your floor will look silly and you will lose pennies later as they get bumped and knocked by normal foot traffic.
Build guards out of cardboard or other materials to go around the toilet flange and inside the air duct (which I did NOT do, so trust me on this) to keep compound from running down into things... Also, if your walls to not meet the floor, you will need to put some kind of shim where there are large gaps (more than 1/8") to prevent the compound from running down to the next floor. We have wood slats under our sub floor, so the compound just dripped down to the basement until it hardened enough not to! I had shimmed some of the gaps, but apparently not well enough.
|This is looks to be my second layer of self leveling compound. |
When is it appropriate to do more than one layer of self leveling compound?
NEVER, really. If you have to do more than one layer, than you either a) didn't use enough the first time around (that would be me), or b) should probably put in another layer of subfloor material.
My bathroom is 50 sq ft. One bag of compound covers 48 sq ft.
I *should* have used 2 bags the first time around, but I thought I could make it work. I was wrong. I ended up pouring three layers and realized later that I should have
put down an additional 1/4 inch subfloor material (like the durarock we used
in the remodel of our upstairs bathroom) to raise the floor,
since my layers brought the floor up to where it should be.
Tip for adjusting subfloor for finished floor height:
You will want the top of toilet flange and floor to be nearly flush when you are done tiling.
The thickness of the subfloor, mortar and tile should not be above the flange. Its all good, but could have been much easier had I slowed down and thought about it more.
|Last layer of self leveling compound setting up.|
|Step 2: Adding floor primer for glass mortar. This is a latex primer that will help my mortar stick to the new compound. I did 2 coats over the whole floor.|
|Before I began, I sorted my pennies by color. One box for light, one box for dark. |
I laid the darker pennies mostly face down (my son insisted I check for wheat pennies and they tend to be dark) and the lighter ones mostly face up.
|Step 4: Gather appropriate gear to for tiling. This includes knee padding or a low seat to keep you comfortable while working. I quickly realized that I needed knee pads or a short stool to do this! It was hard on my circulation to be squishing my knees like this. |
Knee pads were okay, but not much better.
Step 5: I started laying pennies in the back left corner of the bathroom and put down a
thin layer of Glass/Metal tile mortar inside each wave I had drawn,
working only in that area before the mortar could dry. I applied mortar with a trowel, removed excess and then combed it with the teeth. If you have ever made anything out of clay, this step is just like cross hatching to join two pieces of clay - like a handle to a cup.
Just like painting a floor, start at the farthest point away from the door
and work your way across the room to the door or you will back yourself into a corner.
|Before laying them, I had labeled the waves with a "D" or "L" for dark
You will see that I flipped the pattern halfway across the floor.
I intentionally did this, to break up the movement and give the eye a break. I really like it.
|First row complete! Well, half row. Starting on the first full row.|
|Step 7: Apply grout|
So far, so good. No pennies coming up, but I remember that I was still applying
the mortar rather thickly at the beginning. I applied my grout with a grout float,
my grout is a shade lighter than my pennies (the color is either Sandstone or Summer Wheat) wiping it off the excess with a wet rag, then finishing the clean up with a large sponge.
I grouted the whole bathroom in one day, using 25# of grout. This was manageable and I only mixed up one bag. I did have a small amount left at the end of the day, but not much and it was hard to work because it had been a couple of hours from start to finish,
so I scraped it into the trash and washed up my tools.
I changed out my rinse bucket between every row. The less dry grout residue that you have to wash off before sealing, the better. With pennies, grout will stick in the design (Lincoln Memorial), so you have to be thorough but careful not to remove ALL your grout. It is a very thin layer between the pennies because it is a thin tiling material,
so the wet grout can be easily removed if you are not careful.
|If I did this again, I would glue the pennies down. |
I would pour MORE compound to start with, maybe raise my starting subfloor level
with durarock like we did in the upstairs bathroom,
and glue these suckers down. If you are already sorting the pennies and laying them
one at a time (and checking for wheat pennies at the same time),
then why not glue the pennies down?!
|Step 8: Let the grouted floor cure for 24 hours. |
Wash it one more time with your big yellow sponge to get the grout dust off.
|Step 9: Seal the grout.|
I used a spray on grout sealer, but you could use a mop on one. Be sure to get a sealant
that is for metal tiles. Apply the sealant, wipe off the excess. This should be done just
like laying the tiles or grouting, in manageable areas. You will need to wipe the sealant
off by hand with terry towels or similar.
Sealant usually requires 2 or 3 coats to make the grout waterproof.
Excess sealant on your penny tiles will make them slick, so please wipe them well!
If, like me, you will be adding paneling and base trim around your new penny floor,
be sure to apply the sealant BEFORE you put up the paneling or trim.
Sealant that gets on paneling or trim will prevent your paint and any caulking from adhering.
Summary of steps:
Step 1. Repair and prep subfloor for tiling. This includes pouring self leveling compound if the floor is not level. Durarock can be used over your subfloor to raise the level of the floor and provide an adequate surface for compound and tiles to be applied to.
Step 2: Prime dried self leveling compound with a tile primer.
Step 3: Draw out your design. Separate your pennies by shade if necessary.
Step 4: Gather your supplies - Glue (or mortar, drill and mixing attachement, bucket,
3 in one trowel and float, vinegar for mistakes), pennies, and a comfy low seat.
Don't forget to ventilate the area if using glue!
Step 5: Plan to start at the furthest point from the door and work your way back out of the room
Step 6: Work in sections. One box of mortar is about 2 hours of tiling and then it is too dried out to continue. Break the work up into manageable amounts of time so you don't waste materials.
Step 7: After you have finished tiling, apply grout. Choose a color one shade darker or lighter, NOT the same color. This will make your penny design "pop". Grouting a smaller room can usually be done in under 2 hours. Apply grout evenly, remove excess, wipe with sponge carefully.
Step 8: After the grout has dried, wash the floor one more time with the sponge.
Step 9: Seal the grout 2 or 3 times, until water beads on the grout and it does not change color.
COMMON SENSE WARNING:
PLEASE VENTILATE YOUR WORK AREA WHEN USING CHEMICALS!!
Grout sealant, glues or adhesives, primer, paint, etc.