You would think a bathroom renovation would take 10 times longer than an entry way, right? For some reason I am 100x less decisive when it comes to this dang entry. I had three, count em’ THREE, design plans starting out and JR demo’d out the entire thing while I was on a business trip. This should have been a breeze. I purchased the light and we finally agreed on a tile we both liked. So with numerous other design decisions still up in the air we decided to tackle tiling the floor.
This is the first time either of us had laid sheet tile (these are the tiles we used). I think JR was a tad bit frustrated that I refuse to buy simple square or rectangle tiles! While going through we found a few tricks that made laying it way easier and gave us the best results.
Disclosure: This area is TERRIBLE with natural light especially with the door closed so the pictures are pretty sub-par. The lighting has been the main issue with making design choices – major struggle bus!
Tip #1: Pre-cut tiles to get started
We initially were going to tile on Wednesday evening but could not figure out where to start! Our sheets were a mixture of small square tiles and larger hexagonal tiles. The only way to get a perfect square edge was to cut in the middle of the hexagon, so we started there. He made a clean 90 degree angled tile for the corner near the entry and we worked our way to the right. He cut all the pieces we would need for this area. This entire section took us 33 minutes to lay! The rest of the entry took us 3.5 hours – so helpful. I wouldn’t suggest pre-cutting all of it because you never know how your layout is going to shift but getting a good layout for your starting pieces helps a bunch!
Tip #2: Always spread mortar a tile and a half
Some of these may be common sense for you pro tilers but I’m sure there are some of you out there that have never laid tile in your life. When you are spreading your mortar do enough for an entire sheet and another half a sheet. Our tiles did not have a clean straight edge – which most tile sheets do not – so if you lay just enough mortar for that row it is hard to get a good base for the next row when you have to work around the newly laid tile. Make sure you have a plan for your next steps as well. We worked our way from the pocket doors to the closet and then I spread mortar through a good chunk of the closet thinking that is where we were going to work next. We ended up going pocket door to closet and then back to the pocket door to have a cleaner line so I had to scrape up a bunch and redo it later.
Tip #3: Slide over the previous tile
JR refuses to use spacers and I swear by them. When you use sheet tiles spacers can be pretty tedious so we decided to go without them. JR showed me a trick where you lay your tile over the previous one and slide it over so it “drops” in next to it (I think most tilers know this but I was oblivious). It helps keep the mortar from coming up between the tiles when you need to shift it and gets you a good clean spaced line.
Tip #4: Work from best end to worst end
No matter the space you are working in – if you are laying tile in an older house you are going to realize your house is jank. That entryway closet is no where near the square it pretends to be. Good thing it will mostly be covered in shoes for the majority of the time. We ended up tearing out the trim on the outer walls so we would have a good clean edge. So the place that was high priority for the best lines was under the pocket doors and the doorway to the great room where the carpet meets the tile. The closet was the lowest priority. Another good example is tiling a laundry room – the tiles under the washer and dryer don’t matter as much as the tiles leading into the room so work your way from the best end to the worst. We would start each line of tile with a good clean cut near the pocket doors and then work our way to the closet. The spacing would always be a little off but the weird line would always end up in a spot that won’t be seen much.
Tip #5: Stagger pieces
We started noticing right away that you could tell the lines between the glued together tiles in the middle of the sheets and the lines on the edges where we had to eyeball the spacing. Depending on your grout color the spacing will be more or less forgiving. Contrasting tile and grout = lines will be more noticeable. Matching tile and grout = more forgiving. We are doing white grout with white tile for a more classic look so we knew we had a bit more forgiveness then the bathroom tiles, however, you could notice that a bit thicker or thinner lines started to develop. To offset that we would stagger the sheets so no eyeballed line would match up hiding the spacing we did versus the spacing glued on the sheet.
Any other tips you guys have learned from tiling with sheet tiles?