Tile levelling system

One Room Challenge Week 3: Getting down & dirty with tiles

We’re into week 3 of 6 in our One Room Challenge which means we’re right at the half way mark. Aaaaannd as I write that I’m starting to feel the pressure. Last week was a bit anti-climactic with all of the researching, material sourcing & shopping but this week we really got to work.

This past weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving and there’s nothing like a long weekend to give you that extra boost of progress. We managed to knock 2 more items off our to-do list this week…

    • Prep the subfloor
      We swept, vacuumed, & gave our subfloor a good overall cleaning, and then got all of the Ditra XL laid out. Putting down the Ditra was surprisingly easy. You literally just roll it out and cut to size with a utility knife.
      Ditra XL
      Cutting the Ditra XL to size
      We found the best way to do it is to dry fit everything first & then go back and set each piece to the subfloor in a layer of modified thinset using a 3/16″ v-notch trowel. When mixing the thinset, you want to aim for a consistency similar to peanut butter – soft, but thick enough for the notches from the trowel to stand up firmly. Then you roll the Ditra out using a wooden float to set the material into the thinset & to smooth out any air bubbles.Ditra XL all laid out
      Smoothing out the Ditra XL
    • Lay tiles
      We’ve finally begun laying tiles!! Because the entryway of a home is where you get to make a first impression and since we weren’t dealing with a huge area to cover – like say in a kitchen, we decided to splurge a bit on a the tile here. We opted for a honed dark grey Basalt tile in a 12 x 24″size. Can I just say that I am completely in love with the finish on these tiles! They’re so smooth & luxurious feeling I can’t stop running my hands over them. I can just imagine how it’ll feel to have my bare feet on them on many mornings to come (and yes I’m aware of how weird that sounds but if you could feel these tiles you’d know exactly what I’m talking about). Laying tiles isn’t a difficult task as long as you remember 3 things:1 – Plan out your pattern beforehand. Measure the dimensions of your room to find the center point & plan your tile pattern from there. Kes put together this rendering for us to look at the various pattern options.tile-patterns
      We decided on the horizontal brick pattern to help the hallway look less like a long corridor & more like an open room. When laying the tiles, make sure you start from the center point & work your way to the edges. It also helps to lay out the first row or two as a dry fit before you get started mixing your mortar.Line up your first tile with the center line of the room
      Dry fit tile pattern2 – Leveling is key. There’s nothing that can ruin a tile job faster than tiles that don’t sit level to one another. Have you ever walked on a tiled floor and clipped your toe on a tile that stuck up from the edge of the tile next to it?? Yea…not fun. Taking the time to make sure you level your tiles properly will make all the difference. We opted for 1/2″ x 1/2″ square notch trowel. The wider notch allows for a bit more movement when levelling the tiles. Once the tiles were all level and finished, I decided to buy the best steam cleaner for tile since I want to keep them looking good forever! I’m so pleased with them!Tiling
      We also used a levelling clip & wedge system which made things super easy. It’ll add to your material cost slightly, but the end result is so worth it!Tiling3 – Take your time!

So what’s next for Operation Organized Entryway??

  • Purchase wardrobe cabinets
  • Assemble and install wardrobe cabinets
    Almost there – Our PAX system & accessories were delivered on the weekend and are all set to be assembled and put in place.
  • Customize cabinets to give them a built in look
    We still need to figure out how exactly we’ll be creating ‘custom built-in closet’ look. Should we frame them in and drywall around them?? (Ugh….shuddering at the thought of more drywall). Do we use trim? The debate continues….
  • Paint
    We’re still battling out the great paint colour debate.
    Paint colour ideas
    Because our floorplan is so open, the entryway leads into both the kitchen and the main floor living space. Which means that whatever colour we choose, will pretty much be the anchor colour for the entire house – or at least for the main floor. Choosing the right colour for that is a big decision. Right now we’re leaning toward PARA Moonwalker (p5211-24).PARA Moonwaker P5211-24
  • Build & install benches
    We’re still deciding on what direction to take for the benches. Right now we’re loving the idea of a live edge bench like the one below.

    via Houzz
  • Hang wall hooks & accessories.
    We used these hooks in my parents’ laundry room & have been really happy with them thus far. I like that they can fold up for a clean look & be easily out of the way when they aren’t in use.

    BJÄRNUM folding hook
    BJÄRNUM folding hook via IKEA

    We started coming up with a few ideas for accessories like a throw, pillows etc, but until we narrow down the paint colours we can’t make any final decisions on those yet. Check out our Foyey/Entryway Inspiration board for further developments as our ideas solidify.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for stopping by!

One Room Challenge Linking Participant
Don’t forget to head over to Calling it Home and check out what the other awesome bloggers have been up to, & then check back in with us next Thursday for more on #OperationOrganizedEntryway! And be sure to follow us on instragram and facebook for behind the scenes pics as well!

14 thoughts on “One Room Challenge Week 3: Getting down & dirty with tiles

  1. I love the tile!! I would be so intimidated to lay my own tile but you make it look easier!

    I love the live edge bench too, I feel like it will really balance the modern look of the room and bring in that nice homey organic look

    1. Thanks Casey! Don’t be intimidated. Laying tiles isn’t that hard. You can totally do it! Just be sure to find out if the type of tile you’re working with needs to be sealed beforehand. It’ll save you a lot of headaches. If you’ve seen my latest Instagram pic you’ll know what I’m talking about.

  2. So impressive that you’re doing all the tiling yourself etc. Your tiles are so so pretty, as is that lovely grey. Oh and I adore the bench selection! Can’t wait to come back next week and see more:)

  3. Great tile choice! And I made a mental note about trying out the Ditra XL subfloor for our next tiling project. Awesome progress you guys, you’re almost there 🙂

    1. You definitely should try it out Sabrina! It’s super easy to lay. Just make sure once you get it down that you fill all the little waffle holes with mortar. That’s what will keep your tiles from cracking but it tends to be the one step people miss when laying tiles on top of it. Also depending on the thickness of your tile & what you’re transitioning to, you might not need to spend the extra money on the XL. The regular Ditra could be enough. The XL is specifically for areas where you’re transitioning from tile to 3/4″ hardwood.

  4. I love your tile choice. I was looking for the tiles design for my home’s walls but you make my work easy. I will choose of them and I hope my wife will also like your designs

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