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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Half Bath Update Progress

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Do you enjoy seeing what others do to update their houses?  I do, and can spend hours reading about kitchen and bathroom updates in magazines, online, and on Pinterest. We are in the progress of updating our half bath. 

Of course, once you start an update, one thing leads to another, and before you know it, more than a half bath is being updated. 

The flooring contractors are removing old flooring, scraping, pounding, and repairing sub-flooring today. This is the second day of removing old flooring and getting the sub-floor ready for new tile as part of the half bath update.  

New tile flooring is the biggest renovation for the half bath update to change the style from American Country to French Country. After looking at thousands (no exaggeration) of flooring options online and in local stores, I chose Rialto White porcelain tile to cover the floor in the half bath, utility room, mudroom, entry, and kitchen... almost 500 square feet of new tile. 

All of the flooring on the first floor, not just the half bath, is being updated. The oak floor in the living room will be refinished, and my bedroom/master bathroom carpet will be replaced. The two carpet samples shown are probably not the final choice for the carpet. 

I considered laminated wood planks shown in the photo for the area that is being tiled, but choose tile instead. The area adjoins the existing real oak floor, and the laminated flooring does not match it. Most of the area that is being tiled includes areas that are wet areas, utility room, mudroom, kitchen, half bath, and laminated flooring will not withstand water as well as tile.  

Here is a reminder of how the half bath looked before the beginning of the update. See Half Bath from American to French for more about plans for updating the half bath from American Country to French Country. 


Currently, everything is in a state of upheaval with lots of dirt, dust, noise, and misplaced furniture. 

All of the old tile and subtile flooring was removed down to the main subfloor. 

The refrigerator is in the living room where we can get to it, but the stove top cannot be used during the renovation. 

No cooking for several days... Oh, the sacrifices we make in the name of progress. 

Plastic and drop cloths protect some of the kitchen and the adjoining living/dining rooms from the dust and dirt. 

Clean up is going to take longer than installing the new tile. The curtain valances in the kitchen sunspace are down and will be cleaned. The sunspace ceiling blinds and windows will need cleaning as well as the raised blinds just visible at the top of the windows.  

Special preparation needed for laying tile 
on a pier and beam foundation 

The house has a pier and beam foundation with particle board subflooring, not a concrete slab foundation. Laying tile on a subflooring that expands and contracts with the seasons during the year requires special preparation.

Once all of the old layers of flooring was removed, cement was applied to the wood subfloor. Then the orange waffle plastic layer was laid over the first layer of cement. Next, another layer of cement was applied that binds the tile to the plastic waffle cushion.  

Notice the tiles are laid super close together with a very narrow space for grout between them. The grout will be stain resistant Flexcore that is water proof in a pale offwhite/beige color called Biscuit. 

Once the floor is finished, I will show close-up photos of the tile and the grout. 

After the tile is installed, but before the bathroom vanity is reinstalled, all of the woodwork in the half bath, including the posts and ceiling beams, will be painted white. 

A new French-inspired mirror is installed. The mirror is metal and was a dark color before I painted it white. 

Progress... but still several days of work to do before moving furniture back into place. 

Once the half bath update is finished, I will share photos and a source list of the completed project.