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What is a computer guy doing with home remodeling projects on his Website?

The Upscale Utility Room Remodel with Catch Basin and Wraparound Ceramic Tile Wall

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Ceramic Tile Floor and Wall Installation

Utility Room Ceramic Wall and Catch Basin Floor

Click on thumbnail to see a larger image

Rear Floor Layout Rear Edge Tiles Cut and in Place
I always lay the ceramic tile in advance. With a complex pattern, physically laying out the tile may be the simplest way to verify that the tiles are straight and you have no small tiles to cut. The floor already had blue chalk lines that I used to verify that the tiles were set in a straight line. As you can see from this picture, almost every floor tile that went next to the wall and catch basin had to be cut. The cut edge tiles in place.
Front Floor Layout Catch Basin Ceramic Tile Floor
The front tile layout. It is interesting that I ended up with a full tile in the exact opposite corner with this layout. I certainly didn't plan it that way. I designed and installed the catch basin floor without the fancy pattern created with the 2x2 inch tiles. The catch basin floor will be mostly hidden by the washer, dryer and the water heater.
Ceramic Tile Basin Floor Close-up Water Heater and Ceramic Wall Tiles
The black drain looks good with the beige floor. The gap between the drain top and ceramic tiles was grouted and sealed just like the ceramic tile grout lines. The outer perimeter tan bullnose tile pattern on the wall was continued along the catch basin perimeter. The pattern ties the wall and catch basin together. I used Sahara Tan sanded grout for both the catch basin floor, perimeter and ceramic tile wall. It is the perfect color for this project. The Sahara Tan grout matches both the tan 3x13 inch bullnose tile and the beige 12x12 inch tile.
Ceramic Wall Tiles Detail of Ceramic Wall Tiles Behind Dryer
A view of the wall and tan bullnose pieces that run around the perimeter. I had enough 2x2 inch ceramic tiles to cover the top but not the sides. I like the look as it is. The 2x2 inch tiles add a touch of class and help to separate and tie in the tan bullnose tiles and the beige wall tiles. The cuts for the dryer vent and sewer cleanout pipe took a lot of time to get right. I was careful to get a nice round cut that matched the vent and pipe. I have an aluminum finish plate that fits over the dryer vent but I decided to not install it. The wall tile looks finished without it.
Detail of Ceramic Wall Tiles Behind Washer
The cuts for the washer supply lines and electrical outlet were simple. The cut for the drain was more difficult. The grout hides the slightly out of round cut I made.

The ceramic wall tile installation was similar to a ceramic tile floor installation. For a discussion about how to install ceramic tiling on a floor, please read my article about installing ceramic floor tile in a master bath.

I had some preconceived ideas about the wall installation. I thought that it would be difficult to put the tile-set on the wall. It wasn't. I put the tile-set on each tile before setting the tile in place onto the wall. I thought that it would be easy to set the tiles in place. It wasn't. Some tiles wanted to move away from the adjacent tiles. I ended up using masking tape to keep some tiles in place so the grout lines would be straight. Will the heavy tiles fall off the wall? Not if you apply the tile-set properly and have a clean, dry flat wall surface. I didn't consider the chipped edges created by my radial arm saw and diamond blade. Fortunately, the Sahara Tan grout was similar enough to the tile color to help hide the chips.

I thought that grouting the vertical wall would be difficult. I thought that the grout would run and that I would end up with most of the grout on the floor. It didn't turn out that way at all. In fact, grouting the ceramic wall tiles turned out to easiest part of the project. The Superior float was simple to use to pick up the grout and force it into the grout lines. And the grout didn't run. I grouted the entire wall in only about three hours.

I did only do two courses or rows of tiles at a time. I let the tile-set dry for at least eight hours before adding more tiles above the newly installed rows. The pattern on the back wall was continued on the side wall. For example, if eight inches of the 12x12 inch tile was set on the back wall next to the corner, a four inch piece of the tile was set next to it on the side wall - separated by a grout joint.

The instructions on the CustomBlend Thin-Set mortar that I used say that you need to allow at least 12-24 hours for the tile-set to dry. The instructions on the PolyBlend grout requires at least another 72 hours for the grout to dry before sealing. Read the instructions on the tile-set mortar and grout container to determine the proper drying time. Always seal your grout joints!

A ceramic tile wall project is not something I would recommend to someone who has never installed any ceramic tile. Do a few ceramic tile floor projects first and then consider the challenge of setting ceramic tile on a wall.

Catch Basin Install Catch Basin Install
Catch Basin perimeter Install Catch Basin perimeter Install

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