Tile. There are so many colors, patterns, textures to choose from how do we pick just one. We have been on the hunt for the most fabulous tiles to use as we’ve been a little burnt out of the traditional all white subway. Even though, we love-love subway tiles, we we’re just looking for a change or a little something fun to add to. So when we came across these Moroccan Fish Scale Tiles, handcrafted by Mercury Mosaics, we immediately fell in love and had to incorporate them into a project. Being they’re so unique and fun we wanted to show you exactly how we tiled this fabulous shower, complimented by white subway tile.
What I love most about these tiles is that they are literally all hand cut and hand painted so each tile is unique and no two are the same. How fun and unique is that?!
This was our first time installing these Moroccan Fish Scale Tiles. The biggest thing we had to think about is how to set the tile to ensure everything was level and square with the round bottom of these tiles. We always start the tile off of a level board. We did the install the same as normal but had to pay extra attention making sure the round bottom didn’t throw the pointed ends out of level.
How to Tile a Shower with Moroccan Fish Scale Tiles
Step 1- Prep
As you know, planning and prep work is key to any renovation project. Any old tile will need to be removed from the floor and walls. Once everything is cleaned up a cement backer board will need to be hung. Once the backboard has covered the walls you’ll want to apply a waterproofing everywhere. You can use a paint roller or a brush just like you would as if you were painting. Just make sure you follow all of the directions on the product.
Step 2- Inspect Tiles
Being these tiles were handmade, the first order of business was inspecting the tiles to ensure there were no cracks or that none of them stood out a little more than another. And to make sure that there were no odd angles on a tile. This wouldn’t come as a surprise as they are all perfectly imperfect, you just want to make sure that the odd egg isn’t the one that so luckily gets placed in the middle of your designs.
And most importantly, make sure you’ve measured correctly so that you have ordered enough tiles with overage for all the cuts you have to make. We also make sure we have 10% more material than we need for the “oops.”
Tip: Always order 10% more tile than you think you need
Step 3- Dry Layout
Measure the area your starting with and measure that same amount on the floor, and tape off. You’ll want to lay out your tiles before you place them to ensure a smooth process. We don’t usually but if this is your first time tiling you’ll probably want to use spacers for your dry run as well to make sure those measurements are accurate.
Step 4- Mortar & Tile
Select any thin-set mortar at your local hardware shop. Make sure you have a good mixing paddle to prepare it. You can then just follow the instructions on the packaging. You just want to make the the mix is a good consistency, like cake batter. We never mix more mortar than we can get onto the wall and tile at a time. If you’re working solo, you’ll probably only want to make enough for 30 minutes of work otherwise it will dry and you won’t be able to spread it on the wall.
Moroccan Fish Scale, Mermaid Inspired Tiles instantly transform your space into a tropical feel
Once it’s all mixed up, you’ll use the flat side of your trowel and spread onto the backer board. Then flip your trowel over and use the notched edge of the trowel, to make the nice little ridges. For this particular job we used a 1/4″x1/4″ notched trowel. Once you have a good area covered in mortar you can pick your tiles up from your dry run and start placing them into place with the mortar.
When getting close to the edges to cut the tiles, we always wait to cut the tiles until you are actually setting them, to ensure accuracy. Use a tile pen, and mark the spots on the tile where you need the clean cut lines.
Tip: Always make sure to use your level periodically to ensure each row is straight.
Step 5- Grout
Time to grout your joints! Just like mortar there is a ton of different grout options as well. We used a sanded grout with these tiles, which is what is recommended with 1/8″ or larger grout lines. Before you begin, make sure that your mortar and tile has had long enough to dry and set before grouting. If not, you have an increased chance of your tiles shifting, which would be awful!
Just following the mixing instructions on the back of the packaging of the grout you bought. Apply enough grout to fill all the small areas of your tile. Using a trowel, you will want to make a sweeping motion over your tiles and at times at a 45 degree angle to make sure you have it nicely packed in. And you’ll want to make sure you don’t have any air bubbles in your grouted areas. Move along your tiles and into the spaces.
Perfect tile to use from floor to ceiling in blues and greens for a calming feeling of being under the sea.
Again, if you’re working solo, you’ll have to move quickly as the grout dries fast. Jamie and I usually work as a team throughout the tiling process. One of us is grouting as the other is following not too far behind cleaning the grout off of the tiles. If the grout dried on the tiles, you are in big trouble. To wipe off the grout, we have a 5 gallon bucket of water and a large sponge. We use the sponge to wipe the towels down and lightly brush over the grouted areas. We typically need to whip the tiles off minimum of 2-3x, followed by a dry rag to get the dried dust of grout off.
Step 6- Seal
A few days or even a week after you’ve grouted your shower it’s time for the sealer. The packaging of the sealer you use will have instructions on how long you should wait before sealing. Adding sealer to your grout will help protect it from staining and aid in the cleaning process. The sealer we use always has a nice little paint brush for the top of the bottle and you just simply paint all the grout lines. I actually find this step really relaxing.
I always feel like I’m painting my masterpiece- haha! And that’s it. Sealing is the last step to your tiling project. Step back and enjoy all the hard work you just did!
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