In which past Kate inadequately fixes a suspected problem and future Kate gets to actually fix it.

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So. Large format tiles. Genius idea. If we get large format tiles it’ll probably help cover the unevenness of the walls and it’ll go quicker, I thought.

Unfortunately, we decided that the tiles we liked are nearly 6 foot long and nearly a foot wide. Turns out they’re “quite difficult to handle”. But last weekend (well, MLK day), Kathryn and I spent a chunk of time carefully cutting the tiles to length for the bathroom floor. That done, midweek, I laid them.

Now, these are essentially 4 foot long in their longest segments, buuut, the bathroom floor is small and the shower basin is tiled already. So, it’s a bit of a tricky job all round getting them in. And one of those tiles, the last but one, I wasn’t wholly happy I’d managed to get well adhered all the way across the back. I’d already lifted and relaid it because I wasn’t convinced the first time, and the second time I was happier – but not truly happy. If i’d’ve been truly happy I probably wouldn’t have shoved some more adhesive under the back edge of the tile.

But, I thought, it’s probably good enough because it’s just our bathroom so it’s only going to have us going in and out. And it’s right in the corner of the door where we probably won’t stand that much.

Which may have been true. But it still, probably, would have been better for me to have a third stab at getting it well adhered.

Still, it all looked nice:


And then today came. And current Kate discovered the flaws of past Kate’s work*.

Past Kate managed to do this because she was trying to do something silly. So Kathryn and I started on the walls today – and the plan was to just do the fist tile on the walls. Why? Well, that way we could spend a lot of time and get it ‘just so’. Really nicely level and straight and then the next row should be a breeze.

And the first round went okay. But, because I screwed up slightly with the water, I mixed waaaay too much goo. And so we decided we’d do a second row on the ‘easy’ wall.


So, I gooped the wall, Kathryn brought in a tile and we set to attempting to adhere it. Of course, when the guy in the store mentioned that one of the challenges with large format tiles like this is they do bow a bit, I didn’t realise quite how f’ing much they bow. So the first attempt to stick it to the wall had a massive gap between the middle of the tile and the tile adhesive.

That obviously wasn’t going to work. So, then I peeled the tile back and attempted to balance it on the tile below. Now if the tile didn’t have a bow to it, this might not have been as blatantly foolish as it was. Kathryn suggested that she should help, but in my head I was trying to work out if this was a job I could continue by myself on a weekday, so I wanted to do the adjustment without help. Now, had I been clever about it, I’d’ve suggested that she stabilize one end, or even prepare to stabilize one end so that if it did start to escape from my grasp it wouldn’t do exactly what it did do.

Which was fall, chip the corner of the tile, shatter the corner of the poorly laid tile, then bounce and chip one of the blue tiles in the shower end of the room.


So, uh, about as badly as it could have gone.

At least I haven’t grouted anything yet, so this we I’ll get to break that tile that I screwed up laying into tiny pieces as I pull it up and attempt to get the floor back low enough that I can lay a replacement next weekend.

The other area that past Kate has to answer for her crimes is the toilet. Although this is something that isn’t apparent in any of the plumbing books we have. When it says the offset from the wall should be “x inches” it means the offset from the completely finished wall. Now, had our agricrete worked, then sure, it would have fit. But now, with the tiles there is literally zero tolerance, and so the tiles will have to be cut around the toilet.

Not ideal.

Also, because of the thickness of the tile, plus the heated floor, we get to play with flange thickness adjusters.

This is definitely my “yay” face.

* More than once


Kate's allegedly a human (although increasingly right-wing bigots would say otherwise). She's definitely not a vampire, despite what some other people claim. She's also mostly built out of spite and overcoming oppositional-sexism, racism, and other random bullshit. So she's either a human or a lizard in disguise sent to destroy all of humanity. Either way, she's here to reassure that it's all fine.