New Laundry Room: Floor tile, Part 1

Whew, we made it out of January! February is the month of love and I am lo-oving the progress we made in our laundry room this past weekend.

A few weeks ago after selecting our cabinet color at Lowe’s, I walked over to the tile section and immediately spotted this Leonia Sand porcelain tile:

It came in two sizes—12×24″ and 6×24″. I preferred the wood plank look so I decided on the 6×24″ ($2.29/ea). The price was reasonable and I thought it looked lovely against the cabinet color, and that it would also be a nice way to add warmth to all the white, black and gray.

Saturday at 7am we were at Lowe’s to buy all of the supplies, including a $90 wet saw (which ended up being too small for our tiles but we made it work anyway).

My dad has some experience in this arena so he was kind enough to offer to help for the day. We also did quite a bit of research along with consulting the staff at Lowe’s to help us figure out the best plan of attack.

The first step was to prepare the surface. We went with HardiBoard cement board—it’s a couple bucks more than the generic stuff but supposed to be much better.

I came up with this layout based on the room’s floor plan (which were based on measurements from before the demolition began that ended up being larger than the actual size, so we used only 9 boards instead of 10):

We had never worked with this stuff before so I didn’t know what I was in for, but it ended up being the easiest part. It breaks apart easily after scoring with a blade, so my job was to measure and score/cut the pieces to size…

while Brad and my dad screwed them into the plywood (using special cement board screws).

We were able to knock it out (problem free) in two hours. Teamwork!

Before setting the tile, we had to cover the seams with special mesh tape.

We did a dry test fit in a few areas to see if there would be any fitment issues. Fortunately, they lined up just perfectly that we didn’t need to make any tricky cuts between the transition to the storage room:

With our layout in place, we snapped a chalk line where the first row would be placed along the wall:

Then one by one, it was mastic + tile…

The troweling process immediately brought back memories from our kitchen wall tile installation.

This floor tile was definitely easier since they are larger pieces and you don’t have to fight gravity. We had these rows down in an hour:

Then things got a bit tricky. Since you can’t walk on freshly laid tile, we couldn’t just tile the storage room as there was no way out. So I had to become a bit of a gymnast—working in a counter clockwise pattern, planning my tiles and stepping in between empty patches until I could contort myself out of there.

Luckily it worked, and we had an efficient system running where my dad would cut the tiles, Brad would deliver them and help me spread mastic when needed, and I’d set the tiles. In 4.5 hours the room was done.

That’s 4.5 hours straight of crouching for me which doesn’t feel so great—but looking at our freshly tiled floor does!

They look quite a bit more gray in this room than in the store which I wasn’t expecting but I guess I don’t mind. They actually remind me a lot of our hardwood floors in the rest of the house.

Tomorrow we’ll finish them off with grout and then it’s on to the next project!

And on that note, if you’ve been following the updates you’ll know that this is the last real post you’ll see here at Tomorrow morning I’ll make one final check in with a link to the new blog, so make sure to mark your calendars (there’s also a giveaway involved!) Don’t worry, the content will be exactly the same and I’ll pick up right from where I left off, the only thing that’s changing is the url (so you’ll want to make sure to update that tomorrow in your reader/feed/bookmark/etc!)

See you back here tomorrow for the official launch!

24 thoughts on “New Laundry Room: Floor tile, Part 1

  1. Hi! I have been following your blog for a while now. I love your home and style. The laundry room progress looks great! Tiling is not too hard when you get going. Can't wait to see it all done. You are an inspiration.

  2. It's really coming together. I really like the floor tiles you chose. It will give some warmth to the room (color wise) and if they do look more gray at home than what they did in the store, I think they will complement the cabinets.

  3. Thanks Jenna! I would do the redirect but I want to leave this blog active for the archives, and because I'll be referencing old posts often at the new url 🙂

  4. I have been following your blog here from Australia for awhile and just love it! I can't wait to see the finished laundry room it's going to look amazing. How lucky you are to have such a great Dad to help you out. A girl always needs her Dad – even if it's to help lay tile!! Ange

  5. This looks amazing! The way you have managed to transform a small storage room into this amazing laundry room and even have storage is so good to watch, it really does look so good. I will bookmark your new site in now 🙂

  6. Looks super fabulous! We're actually creating a new laundry room right now as well and just picked a similar floor tile to do ourselves. You made it sound easy so I hope we don't hit any major snafus (first time doing flooring but have backsplashed before). Can't wait to see your project finished!

  7. Looks great! I have read that you need to use the mastic under the cement board as well…did you read that and is there a reason you chose not to do it? Thanks!

  8. It's looking great!! I have been following you for about a year now and your progress is nothing short of phenomenal!! I don't know anyone who has ever gotten almost an entire house finished in one year. I have two questions though: Why did you start on the wall by the doorway and not the back of the rooms? And how do you get a printout of how to cut your cement board (that is awesome!)? Thanks, Jenna.

  9. Great question Melissa! We read so many opinions arguing both sides but decided that we'd go ahead and do it to be safe… then we asked the tile guy at Lowe's again and he said it really wasn't needed with Hardie board which has a better design to counteract any uneven-ness, and also the mastic would have to be completely level for it to even work properly. So we changed our minds and decided to skip it. It's grouted now and looks/feels great so we're hopeful!

  10. Thanks Karen! That wall is the first thing you see when you walk in and it's very visible so we wanted it to be perfect. Also the back (left) wall will be hidden under cabinets so if anything was off, it made more sense to have it there. I made the floor plan drawing in Illustrator 🙂

  11. Hi Jenna, beautiful tile and WOW on the DIY aspect! I know you touched on this above but I wanted to respond in regards to the mastic underlayment since some readers may attempt to follow your process for their own DIY. We just laid Hardie for our bathroom floors- my husband is a contractor and did it himself. From his experience and all of our research on the material, the mastic base is a requirement not a recommendation. You need this to create a solid bond between the sub floor and the Hardie to prevent shifting and hollow spots over time. Actually much of my research from actual installers and contractors show this to be a code requirment so that's super important for proper install. The manufacturer does not list this as an optional step for install either which is important for your readers to understand if attempting on their own. I know you chose to skip it and not much you can do now, so I truly hope it lasts for you with no issues. But I wanted to point it out so others don't attempt the same process just in case. Materials are expensive and DIY is time consuming so I always try to follow the steps directly from the manufacturer or consult contractors who actually work with the product on a regular basis instead of taking the direction from the employees at a home improvement store who often are ill informed. Best of luck to you!

  12. Thanks so much for the info! Only time will tell now. At least I figure as much as I change my mind and like to renovate rooms, it shouldn't need to last more than 10 years or so before I end up replacing it with something new 😉

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