It’s hard to believe that we’re already into Week 3 of the Jeffrey Court All-Star Renovation Challenge! It feels like just yesterday I was tearing down my laundry room wall.

The first two weeks, we focused on demo, installing a new wall, electrical and plumbing. This week, we’re preparing for all of the tile that is to come…and installing our floor tile!

Fan voting is now open! Please check out our progress and then head over to the Jeffrey Court All-Star Renovation Challenge page to cast your vote!

Insulation + Vapor Barrier

Being an engineer, I tend to over analyze everything…and this bathroom was not going to be an exception! There are a few steps that we took that may not be necessary, but I want to be sure that we will never have any issues with this bathroom.

The first step that we took that might not have been necessary was installing insulation. These are all interior walls and the majority of our interior walls do not have insulation in them, as it is not required. This bathroom is in a high traffic area and shares a wall with the laundry room, mudroom and a hallway. I wanted to help reduce the noise from these surrounding areas…hence the insulation!

Once the insulation was installed, it was on to the next overly cautious decision…a vapor barrier. My biggest concern with any bathroom is moisture. I certainly didn’t want to do all of this hard work and risk having water damage way down the road. I decided to install a plastic vapor barrier between the studs and cement board. It really didn’t take me long to install this…so it was definitely worth the piece of mind!

Shiplap Ceiling

When we removed the original bathroom wall for the expansion, there was a large gap left in our finished ceiling. We have stippled ceilings throughout our home. Let me tell you…I am not a fan. If I could, I would have all of the ceilings scraped. Unfortunately, that is not in the budget. I decided there was no way I was going to repair the stippled ceilings, so I installed shiplap instead.

I typically install shiplap using construction adhesive and finishing nails. Since this shiplap was being installed on the ceiling, I decided to use construction screws. I secured each piece in the joists above.


Just like all of my other shiplap installations, I patched the screw holes with spackle. I lightly sanded the patches once the spackle dried using 220 grit sandpaper. Once the shiplap is painted, you will never be able to see the screw holes.

Shower Pan Install

When I first started planning this project, I had really high expectations of creating a super luxurious (yet small) bathroom. I planned on installing a curbless shower with a really sleek linear drain. I’m going to let you in on a little secret…this is the first tiled shower I’ve ever installed.

I lost a lot of sleep trying to plan every detail of the installation and still was not convinced that we could make it functional while perfecting the appearance. If you didn’t know…I was also very pregnant during this renovation. It got to a point where I decided it just didn’t make sense to install a curbless shower in our guest bathroom (while pregnant). Ultimately, I decided to go with a black shower pan instead.

My husband did an excellent job installing and leveling the shower pan! We saved a ton of time and energy by choosing to install the shower pan over a curbless shower.

Cement Backer Board + Shower Niche

With the shower pan in, we were able to install the surrounding cement backer board. We worked our way from the top down. Luckily, I had my husband’s help with making the cuts and doing all of the heavy lifting. I have installed cement board on the floor before, but installing it on the walls would have been very difficult by myself.


We had all of the plumbing complete, with the exception of the plumbing for the shower fixture. The fixture we ordered was on backorder. I was eager to keep making progress, so we installed the cement board everywhere except where the shower fixture would be installed.

Tape Cement Backer Board Seams

Once all of the cement board was installed, it was time to mud and tape the seams. We only did this in the areas that would be the shower.

By “we”, I mean my husband… This is one of the many perks of being pregnant. All of my other projects, I complete by myself (except for when I need a hand lifting things). It was nice having another set of hands to do all of the tasks that I was less than thrilled about.

Time for Floor Tile

We were finally to a point where the fun could begin! While the prep work is fun and all…I really love installing the finishing touches, like tile!

Before I began installing any tile, I opened up several boxes and laid the tile out. I chose to use the Jeffrey Court 4 in. x 12 in. Honed Basalt tile for the floor. This is a natural stone tile and each piece is different. I like to lay out several boxes before I begin to mix up the packages.


I chose to start in the center of the room at the tub and work my way out. The first line of tile was based on the location of the shower niche. Spoiler alert: I want my wall tile to line up with my floor tile. I used a straight edge to mark the first line of tile.

I chose to use a running bond pattern for the floor. My husband and I had a great system for installing the tile! I gave him measurements, he made the cuts and I laid the tile. Having two people made the floor tile installation super quick!

We’ve made a lot of progress on this bathroom, but seeing the tile installed made it feel like it was all finally coming together!


Seal Floor Tile

Since the Jeffrey Court Honed Basalt tile is a natural stone tile, it is very important to seal it prior to grouting. Trust me…I learned the hard way. If you didn’t see my mudroom renovation, I used the same tile in a herringbone mosaic. I forgot to seal it before I grouted and it made my life a lot harder.

One of the good things that did come from it was discovering this sealer. I did lots of research on how to darken the tile without having a wet look. This Enrich’N’Seal worked great, so I decided to use it for this project too!


Before I even thought about grouting, I applied two coats of the sealer to my tiles. As you can see, it really darkened up the tile.


Grout Floor Tile

Once the sealer had cured, it was time for grout! I used a Platinum colored grout. It is a really light grey that almost looks white.

I love the contrast of the light colored grout against the dark tile! It is important to seal the tile again after the grout is applied. Be sure to follow the sealer instructions on dry times.

This bathroom is really starting to come together…and I absolutely love it! I can’t wait to share what I have planned next! Be sure to check out all of the other All-Star Renovation competitors and check back next week for an update!

Now I need your help…voting opens today! This challenge is all about the fan votes. You can vote once a week starting today! Please head over to the Jeffrey Court All-Star Renovation Challenge page and cast your vote! I would greatly appreciate your support!!

**This post contains affiliate links to products that I recommend. If you purchase something through an affiliate link, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. I really appreciate your support.**

Special thanks to all of my sponsors for this project:

Product Links: