As we near the end of the Jeffrey Court All-Star Renovation Challenge, I am excited to see everything come together! I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel…and it’s a great feeling!
For the first few weeks of the challenge, I was a nervous wreck. I anticipated all that still needed to be done and what obstacles we might face (I make things more stressful for myself than they need to be). Now that all of the tile is installed, I feel like it’s all downhill from here. So let me share everything that we got accomplished during Week 5 of the Jeffrey Court All-Star Renovation Challenge.
Wall Tile Install
After we installed the Basalt tile on shower wall, we started on the marble tile! We decided to do one wall of tile per day in order to not be overwhelmed with the task. I find that when we get tired, we tend to make mistakes, so I wanted to avoid that.
I decided to do a running bond pattern for the basalt tile, but wanted to change things up a little with the marble tile. I chose to go with a basket weave pattern for the marble tile. Both the basalt and marble tiles were 12″ long, so I was able to align the rows.
As with the basalt tile, we started from the bottom and worked our way up the wall. We started at the basalt wall and worked out to the opposite wall to ensure that the rows lined up. Unfortunately, I think I was so determined to get the tile installed that I forgot to take any progress pictures.
We installed the tile on the left wall first. This wall did not require any cuts around plumbing. It allowed me to get used to installing this pattern before I had obstacles to worry about.
As with the basalt wall, we used the leveling spacers for the marble tile install. I feel like these made the installation go much quicker and look 1000x better than if we had tried to use traditional spacers!
My husband and I established a pretty great system for installing the tile and were able to quickly (is installing tile ever quick?!) get through the installation of these two marble walls. I installed the tiles and took measurements while he made all of the cuts.
After the mortar had time to cure, I removed all of the leveling spacers. It was nice to finally be able to see all of the tile without the spacers!
Here, my friends, is what we looked like after a very long day of tiling! Tiling is a very satisfying job. It does take a lot of energy, but I feel like it’s so worth it when you see the finished product! So although we were incredibly tired, and I might have said that I’m never tiling again, I am very proud of our work and will be happy to tile another space in the future.
Grout Wall Tile
Before I even thought about grout, I applied two coats of sealer on all of the tile. It is very important with natural stone tile that you seal it before you grout.
For the grout, I chose to use a platinum color. I installed basalt tile in our mudroom and used the same platinum grout in that room…and I absolutely love how it turned out! So, I decided to use the same color in this bathroom. The platinum looks great with the marble tile too, so I’d call that a win!
After we allowed the grout to set for the correct amount of time, we wiped off the grout haze. It is really important to wipe all of the haze off based on the grout instructions. This step was quite taxing for me (being super pregnant and all), so I called in for backup.
I was a little concerned that the basket weave pattern might look a little too traditional for my taste. However, I am so thrilled with how it turned out!
The grouted tile looked amazing and there was just one more step before it was complete…more sealer!
Seal Wall Tile and Grout
I have found that the best sealer for the basalt tile is the Enrich’N’Seal. It brings back the nice, rich color after applying the light colored grout.
I applied two more coats of sealer to the walls…and the tile install was complete!
Tile Finishing Touches
To properly seal all of the tile seams, I caulked everything. I used my favorite tape, FrogTape, to ensure that I got nice, clean lines.
I applied a bead of caulk to all seams and smoothed it out with my caulk finishing tool. After I let it dry for a few minutes, I pulled up all of the tape. There’s nothing more satisfying than pulling up the tape to see a perfect line! I have used many different painters tapes in the past and will only use FrogTape when my lines matter.
Time for some timber! Once we had a good handle on the tile, I started building the vanity. I will have a blog post sharing all of the details of the vanity, but here is a quick look into how I made the vanity.
I chose to go the affordable route and made the vanity out of plywood. I was able to make the whole vanity out of one piece of 4×8 birch plywood. The first step was to cut out all of the pieces of the vanity. After I had all of the pieces cut, I used my Kreg pocket hole jig to drill pocket holes where necessary.
Using wood glue, pocket screws and my trusty corner clamps, I assembled the main frame of the vanity.
As soon as I had the frame of the vanity assembled, I placed it in the bathroom. No matter how many times I measured for the vanity, I just needed to see it in place for my sanity.
The next step to the vanity build were the doors. I wanted to go for a vintage card filing cabinet look. The goal was to make it look like the vanity had several drawers, while it really only has two working doors.
I got all of my trim pieces cut and prepared for assembly.
I have just one question…how many clamps are too many?? I secured the trim to the door faces using wood glue and clamps…lots of clamps!
Once the doors were assembled, I did a quick sanding with 220 grit sandpaper. If you’ve never used these handy little Gator sanding tools, I highly recommend getting them! They make sanding much easier!
The first step to finishing the vanity was applying the Behr water-based pre-stain wood conditioner.
I allowed the wood conditioner to dry before I did a light sanding. The next step was to apply the Behr water-based wood stain. I chose to use their Early American stain for the vanity. I wanted to add a little warmth to the space in order to soften up all of the tile. I applied two coats of stain for a richer color and finished it off with the Behr water-based polyurethane.
After all of the pieces of the vanity were dry, I attached the doors to the frame. I then installed all of the cabinet pulls. I can’t wait to see the vanity installed in the bathroom with the sink attached!
Next week are the final reveals…are you ready?! I am so excited and nervous to see how this bathroom comes together!
There is one more week of voting, so please be sure to cast your vote! You’re able to vote once a day. Also be sure to check out all of the other talented contestants in the Jeffrey Court All-Star Renovation Challenge and come back next week for the big reveal!
**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:
- Jeffrey Court Basalt 4 in. x 12 in. Field Tile
- Jeffrey Court 6 in. x 12 in. Italian White Carrara Honed Marble Field Wall Tile
- DreamLine SlimLine Black Shower Pan
- Levolution 1/8″ Spacer
- Levolution Spacer Caps
- Levolution Leveling Tool
- Frog Tape
- Kreg Pocket Hole Starter Set
- IRWIN Corner Clamp
- IRWIN 12″ Quick Clamp
- Gator Finishing Zip Sanding Sponge Set
- Gator Finishing Micro Zip Set