It seems like there’s a point during every big project I undertake when I just need to take a break and have a good cry. I didn’t quite reach that point yesterday, but I came very close. And really, the only thing that kept me from doing that was my telling myself, “Kristi, there’s no time to waste on that! It won’t help any. Just keep going!”
The project I worked on yesterday was cleaning up the tile in the shower to get it ready to grout. And let me tell you, there were places on that tile that were a complete mess, as you can see here…
That’s dried mortar. The mortar on the surface of the tiles was easy enough to remove. I used a big sponge to put a very liberal amount of soapy water onto those areas, and after giving it a few minutes to soak, the mortar scraped right off. That was simple enough.
The part that wasn’t so easy was removing the mortar from between the tiles.
It probably would have been much easier had I cleaned all of that up the day after I tiled (i.e., within that first 12 hours). But no, I waited a week. And the thing is that I knew I was creating a difficult job for myself, but my hands hurt too badly to care. I’d let Future Kristi deal with that.
Well, Future Kristi was Yesterday’s Kristi, and she was not a happy camper. It was such slow work that required the use of my Dremel Multi-Max. And even then, the mortar was so hard that it didn’t come out easily at all. I don’t even know how long I worked, and I managed to get all of the sloped floor cleaned up with clear grout lines.
But as you can see, I still have a few more areas on the level part of the floor.
So learn from my mistake. Clean up those grout lines as soon as you can. The reason I didn’t do it as I installed the tiles is because every time I’d try to clear the grout lines, the tiles would move and shift. So I really did plan on letting the tiles dry for just a few hours, and then going back and clearing the grout lines. But then I didn’t. And then I procrastinated. And before I knew it, a week had passed. Yeah, don’t do that.
I also ran into another problem yesterday. During one of my breaks, I was scrolling Instagram and I came across a picture of a dog shower that had the same penny tile design that I had planned to use on the shower head wall of our shower, which is this wall in the shower.
By the way, I had someone ask where the drain was in the shower. Those long gold things on the floor are the drains. There are two of them. 🙂
Here’s the picture I came across on Instagram showing the same penny tile design I had planned to use…
Can you see that pretty little penny tile inset design? If you can’t see the picture above, you can see it on Instagram here.
While that’s the design I had planned on, I had wanted to use either three or five rows of penny tiles to create my design instead of just one. So I grabbed a sheet of the penny tile, cut it into strips of three rows, and tried to lay out the design.
It didn’t work.
I had seen pictures where others had used three or four rows of penny tiles to create boxes, Greek key designs, and other similar designs, so I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get it to work. So I got online and looked up some of those designs, and I realized exactly why.
I’m not going to post those pictures in this blog post because I just have a rule that I will never post another person’s picture on my blog only to criticize it. And I wouldn’t really call this a criticism as much as it’s just a matter of personal taste and personal tolerance for imperfection.
But when you use penny tile to create any design that has 90-degree corners, the corners tend to be…well, not as clean and perfect as I would need them to be in my home. Other people have a much higher tolerance for imperfect corners, and I say more power to ’em. And from a distance, these designs look fantastic, which is why I had planned to do the same in our shower. But there’s no way I could look at those corners up close day after day. You can see what I mean here: black penny tile design on white subway tile and blue penny tile border set in glass tile.
So now I’m back to square one with coming up with a way to use the penny tile as an accent on that shower wall. I specifically want it to be only on that wall because I don’t want it visible when standing in the bathroom, so that means no horizontal stripes that go around the entire shower (which was my original idea). So it needs to be a design that’s just confined to the shower head wall. And I only bought 18 square feet for the whole bathroom (i.e., accent in the shower and accent on the wainscoting that goes around the bathroom). I can buy more if I really need to, but I’d rather not. I have a feeling I’ll need to, though. Ugh.
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
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