Chapter 10: A Tale of Tile and Toilet

January 25, 2007 • Written by Christina Berry

It turns out that tiling is some sort of test of faith. Faith in what, I do not know. Our progress was slow, slowed by the fact that most of what we were doing, we were doing after Errek got home from work, so we were limited to 6pm-2am or whenever he passed out from exhaustion.

Needless to say, it was trying. This was where the tears (entirely on my part) flowed like wine. Because, you see, we were toiletless for almost an entire month, and there’s only so long a lady can pee in a bucket before she starts to go batty. But I digress, as this isn’t about me, it’s about the bathroom.

To emphasize the level of patience we showed, I will count the days that all these steps took (or are taking, as is the case).

Days 1-3: We (meaning Errek) laid the mortar base for the shower.

This was difficult because he had to slope it toward the drain and make sure there were no peaks or valleys that might a) look weird under tiles, and b) capture water and keep it from draining properly. Also we had to let it cure for about 3 days.

Day 4: Errek installed the three glass blocks (an interesting little detail we’re hoping doesn’t look like crap when all is said and done).

This was difficult because it required building little stud frames for each block and using caulk and these little plastic holders to secure them.

Days 5-9: Framed in a medicine cabinet over the sink.

This required cutting the stud and framing in supports for the sink as well as enclosing the cabinet with plywood so we’d have something to to attach the drywall to.

Ah yes, the medicine cabinet is now stocked.

Also during days 5-9, we hung the drywall.

While Errek’s approach to attaching the drywall was very precise and efficient, Christina’s method for cutting the hole for the medicine cabinet was not. But it got the job done.

Beer break.

Okay, back to work.

Days 10-18 (with two days factored in for a Christmas trip to east Texas): Installation of the Durock walls where the tile will soon go. Also, note the kick ass laser level we bought with the Home Depot and Lowes gift cards we got for X-mas.

Fun with the laser level.

Okay, back to work.

On December 26th, day 18 we took out the toilet. We’d worked around it for as long as we could, wanting to maintain one small semblance of civilization for as long as possible. But it was time for progress, and we couldn’t let a little bit of porcelain stand in the way of that.

Day 19: Thinset. Nuff said.

Days 20-21: RedGard on the floor, two coats. Oh my god, it’s so pink! RedGard is actually really cool. It’s a waterproofer which also lends strength to surfaces covered by tile. Two birds, one really pink stone.

Day 22: Oh my god it’s tile!

Note: Can you find the one black tile that is out of place in the pattern? That was a mistake we didn’t notice until I was editing the photo to post here.

Days 23-39: Well, pay no mind to the tile anomaly, because due to a thin-set malfunction we had some issues with the staying power of a lot of the little buggers. This is when we ripped up about a third of the floor as we turned all anal retentive about seams in the pattern, and also started pulling up everything that was loose or even just looked at us funny.

These were not happy days.

Okay, finally, the floor was done and the walls were now RedGarded, too.

Note: Can you find the one black tile that is out of pattern? This time the error was intentional, sort of our artist signature if you will. Anyway, it’s mostly hidden by the toilet, and brings a little smile to our faces when we see it. Go figure.

Days 40-41: Oh sweet Mary, mother of God, it’s finally time to grout. And for once something was easy. Well sort of. See, it was really cold outside.

And because of our barebones structure it was pretty cold inside too. So, to keep the grout mix warm we had to think outside the box. Hey, heat rises, so get the stuff as close to the ceiling as we can right? Right.

But never you mind, it went down like butter. And it looks marvelous. I’ve never loved a floor more than I love this damned floor.

But still, no toilet.

Days 42-48-Infinity and beyond: Tiling the walls. What a pain in the ass. Lemme time lapse it for you, each photo represents a day.

Oh my God, is that what I think it is? A TOILET! Yes, on day 48 (exactly 30 days after it came out) we got the new toilet installed. This is seriously the greatest toilet ever. It’s called a “Champion” and it’s “Made in Mexico by American Standard.” And if that’s not enough to convince you, apparently it can suck a dozen golf balls down at once, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Oh and what’s this? A sink too. Yes, once we had the half wall grouted the sky’s the limit as to what we can install there. Oh happy day.

Is this what heaven looks like?

Okay, that’s where things stand now. As I type this, Errek is cussing at the sink, because it’s playing with him, teasing him with a particularly elusive mystery drip. Wait, this just in, he fixed the leak. Stay tuned for the next episode where we finally get a shower.

And now without further ado, porch sex:

Silly strays. I guess this means “Oscar” is a girl.