If you’ve got a bathroom with a floor area somewhere in the region of 18m², it makes sense, if you’re planning on tiling the whole room, to use the biggest tiles you can find. Nobody, in their right mind, would consider tiling a room that size with 2.5cm squares.
Except somebody who likes to make life as difficult as possible.
To be fair, this wasn’t entirely self-inflicted pain. Yes, I’ve installed a wetroom style shower, and small tiles feel like a safer non-slip option, so that’s my own fault. But that’s just a relatively small surface area. The bigger problem goes back to Mr Incompetent Builder, who in the very early days of the build, decided there was no logical reason why the joists and the steel lintels should be put in at the same height. As a result, even with some judicious handling of the chipboard flooring, and an overlay of cement tile backer board, there was still a risk that large tiles could break on the uneven surface he’d left me with. No choice really – that’ll be some more mosaics then.
However, as I stated at the end of my last blog, I do vaguely recall, after all the trauma of creating the mosaic for the bathroom walls piece by piece, that I promised myself I would never do that again, and in future any mosaic tiles used would be ‘straight out of the box’.
So I made a plan: All of the shower/wetroom area in black mosaic; all of the floor in white mosaics. Straight out of the box. Dead simple.
My plan lasted about as long as a Labour/Conservative coalition – as soon as I realised I’d screwed up the tile order and bought too many sheets of black, and not enough sheets of white. Doh! So I would have to have some of the black squares on the floor, as well as in the shower area.
But that’s OK. I can still use whole sheets. No need to get complicated…
Except that actually it would probably look a lot neater if I gave it some kind of edging. Nothing too tricky. I’ll just take out a couple of rows of white and replace them with black all round the edge. Of course, the corners will be a bit fiddly, but nothing traumatic…..
And bit by bit those tiny little changes and ‘improvements’ develop and grow and morph and take on a life of their own. Until you find yourself in the middle of creating a full-scale masterpiece – tile by tile.
I mean, I know I really did say ‘never again’ after I’d tiled the sauna. Admittedly a good year or so had passed from when I finished the sauna to when I started the bathroom floor, but how could I have possibly have forgotten the backache, the cursing and the frustration of fiddling around with tiny little square tiles? Evidently my brain is good at burying the bad memories. Why else would I suddenly decide that actually it would be a really good idea to create a bespoke pattern across practically the whole area of the floor, using individual mosaic tiles? I suppose it really comes down to “do I really want a giant chessboard on my bathroom floor?”
Not particularly. So either I had to order more white tiles, or I had to get creative with the black and the white.
So I started, once again, with my ‘pattern’. But I kept forgetting to print off my Excel spreadsheet grid, so this time I had to draw one out by hand, and then colour it in…
And then came the real fun job. Once again I found myself laying out individual tiles, piece by piece.
These mosaics are slightly larger than the other (2.5cm instead of 2cm – woohoo!) but a larger area to cover – only 8,000 or so to put down….
And having laid them all out, and checked the pattern, I then had to lift them all again so I could apply the adhesive. So I stacked them all in blocks so I didn’t lose the pattern.
And when I had finally laid everything, I stood back and admired my handiwork. And took some photos so I could show off my handiwork to the social media world.
But as I was looking at the photo later I realised there was a mistake in the pattern. How could I miss that? 28 little black and white squares that need to be swapped over.
Only 28 tiny tiles – that nobody on FB could spot until I told them where to look. So why didn’t I just leave it as it is???
Because once I’d noticed it, I knew that my anal, petty, symmetrical brain would go into melt down every time I’m I sat on the loo.
So the following weekend, out came the hammer and chisel. And order and harmony was restored.
All it needs now is a bit of grouting – that won’t take long, will it??
(Well I thought that’s all it needed. But my Mum went in there for the first time the other day. And came downstairs and uttered the immortal words “Did you know one of your tiles is wrong – your pattern isn’t symmetrical?”
One tiny white square that should be a black one. And now I know about it, I won’t be able to sit on the loo in peace until I’ve corrected it. Never let your Mum in your ME space!!)