This incredible floor is Groutable Peel and Stick Tile.
No Really. It is.
Here's how we did it...
First off, this floor wasn't even part of our original bathroom renovation plans. It actually started with a sink, then wallpaper and will finish with a modified medicine cabinet. We did this floor because of the Renovation Snowball: after the other stuff was done, the old floor looked more terrible than ever.
We started around 10pm on a Saturday with us tearing up the old vinyl floor. Around midnight, as we were hauling the toilet off its anchor bolts and lowering it gingerly into the bathtub, I uttered G.O.B.'s famous words, "I've made a huge mistake...".
Why We Chose Groutable Peel and Stick Tiles:
- No subfloor required. If we did real tile, we would have the time and expense added for a beefed up subfloor.
- Way cheaper. Our $50 in supplies did the whole room
- Easy. A beginner DIYer can do this - the cuts are simple (no wet tile saw required) and if you mess up a tile - you're only down $1.50 or so.
- Quick. We did this whole job in an afternoon: no wait time for drying adhesives before grouting.
- These tiles look remarkably realistic. Not real, but pretty darn close.
Stuff you'll need:
- Ugly old floor.
- Groutable Peel-and-Stick Tile - Ours is Travertine Grey from Ceramica (make sure they say groutable, as plain peel-and-stick are too thin). Be sure to get enough to cover the room plus 15% for waste. We needed about 20 square feet and got by with 22 tiles.
- Grout, in the colour of your choice. Our colour is Alabaster. We bought premixed just to reduce the margin or error. Did I mention we had never tiled a floor before?
- 1/8 inch Tile Spacers. We didn't use them very often, but they did provide some guidance
- Grout float and sponge.
- Utility knife, straight edge and surface to cut tile on.
- Optional : an electric jigsaw. If you have some funny cuts this will save the day. We used ours around the toilet and door trim.
1) Take up the old floor.
This was the most time consuming step. Ours was very well adhered in place by the previous owner. (My father-in-law, so I won't say anything disparaging...) I slashed with a utility knife, scraped with a scraper and sanded with a palm sander.
We still didn't get all the old glue and paper backing from the old floor off, but I figured if it held on this long, it would probably be OK for our cheap-o fake tile job too. Most Important - the surface was flat.
2) Move the toilet.
I know you don't want to. We didn't either. But it's easier than you think and makes the whole job better and simpler. Moving the toilet helped with the wallpaper and painting behind the tank and it made tiling very easy around the toilet base.
We aren't going to do a toilet removal tutorial, but here is the need-to-know: we had never done it before and hate plumbing. We followed this tutorial from Mag Ruffman via HomeEnvy.
You should also get anything else out of the way that will cause tile-headaches.
3) Get Peelin' and Stickin'
When the floor is ready and obstacles out of the way, start peeling and sticking! The groutable tile actually gives a good margin for error (as the grout fills in the spaces between), but if you have a large area to do, you may want to get out a pencil and straight edge and run a few quick guide lines for each row.
As it was for us, Robin just lined it up with the wall and worked across. We used a staggered, brick style layout. Robin was very careful to have the marble grain go in the same direction. For the purpose of our tiny bathroom this seemed to give the room the appearance of width.
We did all the big tiles that didn't need fancy cuts first. These tile are very easy to cut; basically score a line with a utility knife and snap'em. It is very similar to cutting drywall - so if you can do that, you can do this.
Tough cuts we did at the end, with measuring, sketching the funny curves and angles and then cutting with a jigsaw. I can't imagine how hard some of these cuts would have been if this was actual marble. I would have ruined more dollars in marble than this whole room cost to do with fake-tile.
4) Grout it. Grout it Real Good.
When things are all tiled, you can begin grouting instantly, as the peel-and-stick don't need overnight to set up. We got the kids to jump around on them a bit to make sure they were stuck alright and then I got the grout stuff together.
I had never grouted before either, prior to this. I figured it couldn't be as easy as the instructions on the package, but again I was pleasantly surprised. Take the float, scoop up a softball size blob of grout and start working it into the grooves. I alternated a pressing, swirling motion to move the grout around with 45-degree angle edge drags of the float to remove the excess.
Be sure to work extra grout into corners, around toilet flanges or anywhere else you have an odd gap. It really covers a lot of mistakes. I worked in sections, doing half the space with the float and grout and then using sponge and water to clean up the excess. I had a lot of excess.
5) Are you Sponge-worthy?When workin' the sponge, have a full bucket of water handy and rinse regularly. Be sure to get all the grout off the baseboards, bathtub, door, children or anything else your sloppy grout application has covered. This is your only chance to get those areas spotless, however, your goal isn't to get the tiles themselves totally clean. Get the big chunks, but expect a bit of grout haze on the tiles themselves. Don't scrub them now, as you will end up taking grout out of the joints, which I'm pretty sure was the point of this when we started (although I actually lost track during renovation-delirium that sets in at about this point).
4 hours later, you can get the sponge out again and give the tiles a final clean-up. You shouldn't use the room for at least 24 hours, so use some sort of Mission Impossible style apparatus to hang from the ceiling and clean the grout haze off the tile. Seriously, I don't understand why companies put confusing instructions like this on packaging. I ended up kneeling on two tiles and reaching as far as I could, then moving a bit and getting the rest. If the room had been large, I likely would have left the whole thing till the next day to clean up.
6) Put Your Toilet Back.The only cost to removing your toilet is one of these Wax Bowl Rings. About $2.
Carefully remove the old wax ring. It doesn't need to be perfect, but do your best. Again, we followed this tutorial: here. (We trusted this tutorial implicitly, mostly because someone involved in Road to Avonlea wouldn't dare lead us astray.)
|Hey, Wax-Bowl-Ring People, was this really the only colour you could make your product?|
7) Stand back and admire your handy work.
And be sure to tell everyone how much it cost you to do - it will: Blow. Their. Mind.
When we started out on this project, I had serious reservations about how good Peel-and-Stick tile could look. Basically they are synonymous with crappy, half-assed, make-do renovations that 20-somethings do before they know any better. I really thought ours was going to look like a crappy, half-assed, make-do reno that 30-somethings do, even though they do know better.
We absolutely love it.
We absolutely love it.
- Peel & Stick Vinyl Tiles = $ 34
- Grout = $11
- Misc. supplies = $5
Any questions? Leave them in the comments below and we'll help you out.
To see more of our Frugal Bathroom Reno, check out these previous posts:
- How to Install Paintable Beadboard Wallpaper
- Saving Money: Mixing Vintage and Discount Hardware
- Updating an Old Medicine Cabinet
- Updating an Old Bathroom Vanity