First, make sure you fill all those little waffle squares with mortar. Then, add another layer on top with your trowel grooves. Set your tile. It’s recommended when you lay your tile out you start from the center of the room, so it appears that the tiles run under the walls. Mr. Roots and I have done this a few times and find on most projects it wastes a lot of tiles and you really don’t notice a difference. So in this room I started along the long wall and at the entrance of the bathroom. I worked a few rows down the wall, then moved over to the tub and toilet, and then out the door. This way I didn’t find myself trapped on the other end of the bathroom when I was done.
I wait about 6 hours for the tiles to get set. Then I go through and pull out all the spacers and use a screw driver to remove all the extra mortar from the joints. I vacuum out the crumbs of mortar with a shop vac. I find this a lot easier than trying to do it 24 hours later when it is all set-up.
After 24 hours, you can now grout your joints. The thickness of your grout should resemble peanut butter, but again, please follow the directions on your bag. It could vary depending on brand. When filling the joints, I first press it in at an angle and then drag the tool along the joint to remove any excess.
The key here is don’t grout any more space than what it takes you 15-20 minutes to do. Once you’ve grouted for 15-20 minutes, you need to then go back and whip down with a wet sponge what you have grouted to remove the excess before it adheres to the tiles. I got carried away on this bathroom and grouted more than I should have and now I have grout remaining on my slate that will not come off. Also, it is recommended to seal slate tiles before you grout them. You can also seal them before you mortar them in place. We did not do this in our cottage and had wonderful results (we didn’t know any better). But these tiles must have been more absorbent, because they soaked it all up! Thus, when we did our arctic entry a week later, we sealed the slate tiles first. MUCH better results!!
Once you’ve finished the room. Let the tiles sit for 2-3 hours. Then go it and clean up all your joints well and wash down the tiles. It’s best to avoid walking on the tiles for 24 hours. Yes, I know….you have to wash on them to clean them, but keep the extra feet off if you can so it does not affect your joints.
Now you can seal your tiles and grout. The seal we used is kind of like a wax. You put it all on the floor and it dries in 2 hours. The jug recommends 2 to 3 coats. Put the trim back in place and tah-dah!! It’s complete! Well…sorta…LOL. I want to add some pictures on the wall and shelves above the toilet, but the floor is done anywho.
Soon I’ll post about our utility closet transformation into a master bath with a tiled walk in shower!