Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bathroom Tile Project: Day 2 "Unexpected Concrete"

    Day 2 of our bathroom tiling adventure was a rough day.  We started out by going to Lowe's to pick up cement board.  The plan was to lay that over the existing cement and adhere it with some sort of adhesive.  That way we could raise up the floor and have a level surface.  When we got to Lowe's we learned that you can only screw cement board into something.  And that something could not be cement. Womp, womp.  We made some calls and got advice.  Unfortunately that advice was that we would have to mix and pour a concrete floor on top of what we had.
Here is the patch for the sink and the concrete that we poured.  Plus I'm giving you a sneak-peak at what the tile looks like.

After the jump, you can see all the fun (and no-so-fun) details of Day 2.

    We left Lowe's with six 60 pound bags of a sand mix concrete, 9 bottles of fortifying liquid, all of the accessories needed to mix concrete and low morale.  After lugging the 360 pound of concrete upstairs, we got to business.   The first step was taking off the toilet.  I will detail that whole process in a later post.  Until then, here is the picture of the disassembled toilet. 

    Once the toilet was off, we (my dad) chipped up the wax ring around the toilet, we sealed it with a garbage bag, and we finished chipping away the remaining tile.

     Our last task before mixing the concrete was patching up the hole that was created by the sink falling off the wall.  I will also detail that whole process in a later post.  Here is a shot of the progress.
    Onto the fun (only sort of) part.  In the picture you can see most of the supplies that we used.  A large mixing trough, buckets of water, Quikrete Sand/Topping Mix, Quikrete Fortifying solution (which was advised for thinner layers of concrete), a measuring cup and a hoe to mix it all up.

    I made sure to wear safety glasses and a mask because the mix is really dusty and bad for you.  I poured half of the bag in and then added 1.5 liters of water.  I mixed it up with the hoe and then added the second half of the bag and 1.5 containers of fortifying liquid.  I kept mixing until I was confident that all of the dry material was incorporated.  For each bag, I added 2 extra cups of water at the end to make it a little easier to work with.  In hind sight, we would have added even more water because the concrete was very difficult to level, and we had some peaks and low spots that we tried to deal with after it dried.

   Once we had a batch mixed, it was dumped in half batches onto the floor and spread out first with the wood tool shown.

    Then to get it nice and smooth, we used a small metal spatula to spread it evenly.  Before the concrete was laid, several measurements of depth were taken to assure that the toilet and radiator would fit back onto the floor perfectly.

        This was very tedious and labor intensive work, so we all took turns mixing concrete, laying and spreading it, and sighing heavily.

    In our original timeline Day 2 was supposed to be the day that we laid tile.  Instead we spent hours working with concrete.  Sigh.  We were so tired by the end of the day that I forgot to take a picture of the finished concrete.  You get the idea, right?

Stick with us, it's going to be worth it.  Sigh.


  1. I love following this bathroom saga! I wish I was so DIY. I just scrape together money to pay someone who knows what they are doing. The thing is, almost always they do a half-assed job and I get mad that I paid someone to do it. Maybe I should just do it myself. If I did a half-assed job, I'd be super happy I was able to do it at all!

    1. It is endlessly satisfying. Right now, the tile is down and things are looking up. When you do things yourself you have to be okay with making every possible mistake. Once you get past that, it's pure joy.

  2. What a fun project! We can floor anything now!

    1. You know it! But let's not do any more floors for a while.