Hallway Bathroom Update: DIY Flooring Upgrade

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DIY floor tile installation in a bathroom

Last week I shared a blog post about how we renovated our own shower, and now today, we’re talking about the bathroom floors! We actually finished the floors before our shower was 100% complete, but the walls weren’t fully painted yet, so it just made sense to share the finished shower first.

Does anyone remember when the floors still had these awful light blue linoleum stick-on tiles?

Before image of bathroom before DIY floor tile installation

I’m not missing those yellow-stained tiles at all.

Upgrading our floors was a much quicker and simpler project than upgrading our shower, as removing the linoleum was easy, and the floors didn’t need waterproofing as the shower walls did. All we did after tearing out the old linoleum was clean the space, cut the tiles down to size, and then apply mortar on the floor and installed the tiles one-by-one.

After a few days, we proceeded with grout. Then we installed the baseboard trim and caulked it, and then painted the walls.

If you’re looking for an extensive guide on how to install tile, I highly recommend checking out my previous post on how we tiled our shower, as I’ve documented the entire process, step-by-step.

Image of square tile installed with feet for size comparison

Originally, I envisioned black walls and black floors for this bathroom, but after I received some floor tile samples (you can get 5 samples for $5 with free shipping from Tilebar, by the way!), I realized that I actually preferred a white tile to offset the black walls and black shower tile instead. Tilebar had some beautiful white tiles to pick from, but I settled on this simple Belvedere Bianco tile: it’s a porcelain tile that’s durable for the bathroom, but still has that marble look without the fragility and porousness of natural stone.

Additionally, I wanted to pick a more affordable tile for the floor that was a compliment to the bolder shower tile (we chose the Aliante tile for the shower). Our floor tile has its own personality, but it’s much more subtle and allows the eyes to gravitate toward the shower, which was what I wanted.

We wound up using the same grout color as we did for the shower (Mapei Ultracolor Plus FA in Timberwolf), which matched the grey veining of the tile almost perfectly.

Jun using a large format tile cutter to cut down a 30x30 tile into 14x14 tiles

I need to get a confession out of the way: somehow, in the midset of making so many decisions at once, we failed to realize that we ordered a large format 30×30 tile, somehow thinking they were 15×15. I’m not sure what got lost in translation between Jun and I, but we received our shipment and were incredibly confused with how large the shipping boxes were.

Sidenote: I was incredibly impressed with how well-packaged the tiles were – I expected a few of them to be chipped or cracked because they were so large, but literally none of the tiles were damaged from shipment. Thanks, Tilebar!

A few people dared us to use the large format tile as-is in our small bathroom, but I was against it, as it would basically look as if there were just 5 huge tiles in the bathroom, making it look smaller. We made lemonade out of lemons and decided to cut the tile down to around 14×14 tiles instead. We could have done 15×15, but we wanted an additional inch to make room for any error when using our large format tile cutter.

Jun using a large format tile cutter to cut down a 30x30 tile into 14x14 tiles

If you like the look of our tile, it’s worth mentioning that the Belvedere Bianco tile is also available in two other sizes: 15×30, and 15×60. If you decide to cut them down into squares like we did, I’d recommend getting the 15×30 and then cutting it in half for the most accurate cut. We had to cut both diagonally and vertically, which allowed for more errors. Luckily, we had enough extra tile to get the job done right.

Dry fitting the tile before applying thinset mortar

Because we cut the tile down, it was essential to do a dry fit before mixing the mortar. This allowed us to make some last-minute precision cuts before installing the tile.

Spreading thinset mortar on the cement to install the floor tile

Putting the mortar down was pretty easy at this point after having mortared the shower with smaller 4×12 picket tiles. We got the job done in less than 2 hours! After we finished, we let the mortar set for about 2 days just to be on the sure side before adding grout.

DIY floor tile installation in a bathroom

Now that our bathroom is coming together, I’m actually really glad we wound up going with white floors instead of black – I’m sure that if we went with black, the bathroom would appear much darker, whereas the multiple white fixtures and white floors allows more light to bounce off each other and create more natural light.

Our bathroom is now 70% done! The last few things to do on the list are:

  • Take down the overhead lightbox and refinish the walls
  • Install the pendant light and wall sconce
  • Replace the builder-grade mirror with two vanity mirrors
  • Refinish and paint the existing countertops
  • Add the vessel sinks and faucets

We’re nearing completion and are already breathing a sigh of relief! We’ve already started using this shower as our master bedroom shower is no longer in good condition to use, which probably means we might begin renovating that bathroom soon!

If you want to see the progression of this bathroom renovation through videos, check out my Instagram story highlights “1 BATH RENO,” “2 BATH RENO,” and “3 BATH RENO.” Also be sure to subscribe to my newsletter below so you can stay updated on all of our renovation projects!

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2 Comments

  1. February 27, 2020 / 7:46 am

    It’s so pretty and unexpectedly light for a black bathroom. I love it!!!

    • The Baller on a Budget
      Author
      March 1, 2020 / 6:54 pm

      So glad you like it! Yes, The white definitely balances out the black. It’s so important to know how much natural light you have in the room so you can figure out how much black you can incorporate into the room!

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