Basement Bar Renovation – TILE FAQs

Goodness, it’s been a few weeks since I have posted. After a busy Christmas season, followed by some unexplained, and currently still unexplained, sickness, I am back and back to answer some questions I have been receiving over on my instagram. If you have been following along over there, you’ll know I just finished working on our basement bar and FINALLY did my first tile job.

But Jenna, wasn’t the pantry your first tile job? Well, yes and no. Thanks to a rough month of the “C” word, I wasn’t able to do the pantry tile but my husband and father-in-law stepped up and finished it for me (still, very thankful for them). Here we are now and I am doing a very unusual design for our basement bar which I am aiming to have minimal waste of tile.

Let’s start with a clean slate… Here is the before of the bar!

and here is the After

Brock (my husband) wanted moody and edgy for this bar design so we added some left over tile from the pantry, added some new shelves, and finished it off with some moody LED hidden lighting.

But let’s get to all the questions from Instagram!


Why start from the centre and work your way out with the tile?

This is a great question, I wanted to avoid doing a full tile on one edge and either finish with a sliver on the other side (this was extra important when it came to cutting the tile for the crown moulding). Starting from the middle allowed for both ends to have equal (or near equal because I forgot the one cabinet is not flush with the corner of the wall) slivers. It really just came down to preference .

Why no Spacers?

This tile has a beveled edge that, when two tiles are next to each other, create a perfect grout line! If you wanted a wide grout line, definitely use spaces. Spacers are more handy when tile has a “hard” edge rather than a beveled. if you put two “hard edge” tiles new to each other, they wouldn’t have a ground line and if you space without spacers, its unlikely you’d get equal grout lines for your entire project.

What tools did you use to cut the tile?

For this project, I used two different tools. I used a manual tile cutter and a wet saw. The great thing about the manual tile cutter is it requires no setup, however, it can only cut straight lines across a tile (cutting a tile in half for example) and pieces that aren’t very side (no more than 3in otherwise it risks breaking the tile in spots your don’t want it snapped). The manual tile cutter has a small grinder that runs along the tile to create a score line. Once a line is scored, you simply put pressure on the handle which snaps the tile giving you a clean cut.

The wet saw is for my intricate cuts or for cutting larger pieces. I used the tile saw to get the “slice” pieces I needed at the end of each shelf. I also used it to cut the pieces around the crown. You can definitely get away with owning just a manual saw, as long as you don’t have many unique cuts or have to cut a tile in half length wise.

What did you use to make sure the tiles stayed level?

I used both a level as well as a Laser level. the laser level was helpful to make sure the tiles on the shelves aligned with the tiles below the shelves. The regular level was great just to ensure each row was staying level.

Why did you put the shelves up first BEFORE the tile?

Again, this is preference. However, I chose to do the shelves first before because I had the material for the shelves and was still waiting on the extra boxes of tile I needed. Also, I found it easier to drill the shelve supports straight into the studs instead of having to go through tile and risk breaking them. Another main factor was the lighting. because they are ran through the shelves and into the wall, I would have had to make a large enough hole in the tile for the wires to go up and into the wall.

Where is the tile from?

I bought the tile from a local retailer, Western Carpet One, however, the brand of the tile is Ceratec and can found HERE. It comes in 5 colours and your choice of Glossy or Matte.

What are the tiles made of?

They are Ceramic.

Why did you use traditional mortar and not Mussel Bound like I see all the other DIY influencers using?

Short answer – Longevity. After talking with the company I bought the tile from, they suggested traditional mortar. They had actually never heard of mussel bound but said over time, a material like that will start to weaken as it ages AND if the wall does have even the slightest of moisture, it could release quickly. Mortar is also MUCH cheaper than mussel bound and even though it takes a bit longer and is a bit messier, I think its still the better way to go. Mussel bound is also in short supply in my city so trying to get some for the projects, could have taken awhile. Also, never use Mussel bound in showers. Showers should be sealed correctly and using the tile matt with compromise that protectant layer that should be beneath the tile. If there are any mini the grout, it could eventually leak through and weaken the mussel bound.

How do I know I am ready to try tile and not hire it out?

Great question! Start small and go for it! This was my first time EVER tiling and using a wet saw. This entire wall was a learning process. Take it slow, make sure to check level and just go for it! Tiling is one thing that has intimidated me for a long time. This tile was an easier application so I think that helped to ease me into the process of tiling. A great account to observe for tiling tips and tricks is Wine.Designs on Instagram! He is always sharing amazing information and that’s where I learnt a majority of things before tacking this project.

jenna xoxo

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