It's time - Master Bath Re-do

azwildcats70February 12, 2013

Hi All,

DH and I have DIY'd most of our house (I spent tons of time in the kitchen forum) and now it's time to do the master bath. I have been putting it off because, well quite frankly, it's intimidating. In the kitchen forum, there was a step-by-step guide to refinishing cabinets - I wonder if there is a step-by-step guild to tiling a shower?

Here are the specs:
22'x11' = Overall master bath size
8'x5' = double shower
11'x5' = Water Closet

We will start with the shower first and do things in stages.

Doing two half walls like this - definitely NOT this tile

Installing two of these:

Shower floor will be carrara marble mosaic. DH and I are going to a tile outlet store this weekend to see what we can find. 45" lower half of shower walls will be 3"x6" Gloss White subway tile, then carrara marble pencil, then gloss white chair rail and then whatever carrara marble mosaic up to the ceiling. Sort of like this:

Any good sources or forums that you think can help me get over my DIY Master Bath fears would be GREAT!

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I would steer you over to the John Bridge forum. DIY tiling a shower is no easy work, but many have done it. That website is a fantastic resource. Maybe just google it. I tried posting a link and got smacked with a spam warning. Wow.

We've also re-done our house, but the one & only full bath is getting hired out. Your tile ideas sound pretty, but I would caution against using marble in the bathroom. Our marble is getting ripped out right now. It hasn't aged well, at all.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 10:41AM
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Thanks Xand83 for the DIY Tiling forum. I hear you about Marble. I have weighed the pros and cons and for me, the pros outweigh the cons.

I "think" I am up for the challenge. DH and I did our entire kitchen on our own.



    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 12:11PM
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Holy Cow! Thanks a ton kirkhall.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 2:34PM
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I can get 1"x1" honed carrara for $3.50 sqft. Would that look odd with it over the entire master bath floor?

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 6:32PM
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Like this...

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 6:41PM
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wow, impressive DIY kitchen! just a word from someone who recently installed a marble shower -- before you commit to using marble on the shower floor, you should search around this forum and on John Bridge. Several people have had problems with marble shower floors, including areas which look wet even when they are dry. We ran into some problems with our marble shower floor.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 7:56PM
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Why is marble so difficult in baths? DH was saying hasn't it been used in Roman and Turkish baths for centuries?

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 8:31PM
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Check out our mudroom DIY.



    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 8:33PM
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It's a porous stone and difficult to maintain/clean, in my experience. Also, the "wet spots" can occur due to the waterproofing product placement and water accumulation in the mud bed at these spots. So you have to know what you are doing when you waterproof the shower, otherwise you might end up with patchy looking marble that looks wet even when it is dry.

Here is a link that might be useful: marble bath pros and cons

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 9:19PM
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I read that thread. Thanks Pipdog. I'm fairly dead set on using marble. I get etching on my honed Super White because it's right next to the fridge so it gets coffee, tea, raspberry crystal light, beer, etc on it all the time. Once a month, I hit it with some Soft Scrub and reseal it once a year. Seems to be holding up just fine.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 9:54PM
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There is marble and then there is marble. With that wonderfully definitive statement out of the way...

Source your marble, Know where it comes from. When you bottom feed on price, you can bottom feed on quality. The issue is that a bathroom shower will be demanding on a natural stone.

You'll notice that some marbles look pure. They have nice white and gray tones to them, if that makes sense.

You''ll see some with a yellow tone, or an occasional hint of orange. That can be in indication of iron within the marble. We all know that "rust" is iron oxide. And in a shower, a porous stone like marble, even if sealed, can wet the embedded iron and cause the stone to show orangish hues of oxidation or rust over time.

Cararra, which is what you want to use, is known to have iron in it. So talk to the tile store you source it from. Some is fine, some not so fine. It's a natural material.

Good marble has a tight grain. Some of the inexpensive marbles can be soft, then can pit easily, corners can break off. Some of these stones are resinated, or treated to increase their strength. The problem now is that in a shower these resinated stones can behave weirdly. They can show water differently.

On a backsplash, use what you want. In a shower, you really need to be careful when you go bottom fishing on price.

None of that is meant to scare you away. I's simply to make you aware. Hopefully it'll make you a smarter or savvier shopper.

Since you are using marble, I highly recommend you look at using a topical membrane in your shower. That will prevent deep wetting in the shower pan and take some of the stress off of your marble. Look a Hydroban with their Laticrete flanged drain. Look at Kerdi with their flanged drain. I will gently nudge you towards either of those products. If you sway from the path, you may force me to get out my big stick.

There are other topical membranes, but the key is the flanged drain.

That's all for now!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 11:36PM
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I forgot to comment...just a head's up. That looks like a Hudson Reed exposed shower? If so, just be aware that a lot of folk have difficulty with their compression fittings. Leaks, etc.

And customer support from HR can sometimes by trying.

Again, just passing along a little info.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 11:51PM
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I got to see an example of rusty marble today. I went into a restaurant restroom. They had used large format tile on the counter. It could have been very pretty at one time, but it had large areas of rust spots around the sinks, where it probably is frequently wet. I don't think anyone would have purposefully set those stained tiles.

I have been using some marble tile from a national tile center that has a branch in town. I got it because it wasn't too expensive. I have used it for my backsplash and recently for my listello in my bathroom. It is probably of the poor quality type that Mongoct is talking about. After I have been working with it I have figured it out. First, the tiles are not as consistent in size as I would think appropriate for any 1st rate product. Second, the tiles can have weaknesses that show up in chips, and small flaking. I think they will hold up fine on the wall with no stress but I would not want to be walking on them. It makes me want to go explore high quality marble and compare:)

I have learned so much from these forums.

Oh, and BTW, your mud room is spectacular! I just love it.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 12:02AM
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Mongo - thanks so much for the explanation. Makes perfect sense. I will definitely be cautious of any Carrara with yellow (iron oxide). I'm not really looking for CHEAP, just more high quality overstocks. I am going to Garfield Tile Outlet this weekend with DH, so we will see what we find. Our master is pretty big 22'x11' and our shower will be 8'x5' - so I'm trying desperately to keep budget in check. Also, thanks for the heads up on the HR shower heads.

Thanks for the compliments Enduring. I think I am going to cautious of ANYONE selling tile. Even JeanninePC99 had issues with The Tile Shop and her marble... then ended up ordering it all off Ebay.

I guess the proper phrase to keep in mind is:


    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 6:41AM
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Why is marble so difficult in baths? DH was saying hasn't it been used in Roman and Turkish baths for centuries?

Yes ... but ....
1 - They had slaves to keep it clean
2 - They didn't care if it etched and stained
3 - They didn't have our plethora of chemicals and cosmetics to etch and stain it

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 11:04AM
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