Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tile to Glass Transitions: Dilex BWA for Tile Work around your Sky Light Well

I have never tiled a sky light well before, nor have I ever read any specifications on how it should be properly done.  More red flags get raised than anything else when I tried to figure out the best options for tiling one of these sky light bulk heads or wells.  Place the skylight inside the shower and the task gets harder.  Make the shower also a steam shower and now there are many factors to consider.

The largest and most weighing factor I think is thermal expansion.  You have a window in a steam room and at the very top you have glass.  I wanted to seal my tile installation to the glass of the skylight but I wanted some room for movement.  I elected to use an expansion strip (Dilex BWA White shown below) designed for this and order a couple different sizes to have options at install time.

One of the issues I had with the skylight was how to vapour proof it.  Tying the skylight into the Hydro Ban Sheet Membrane Vapour proofing was not that hard, but at the very top I had only a 1/4" of seeming room.  Here are nine photos I unploaded today to my private photo albums.  The original files are all full size and around 3-4 MB each.  You need the password I email out to open the folder.  Anyone who has made a previous donation can view these new pictures and album as well.

Open Pictures in Private Album

I ended up using one piece of expansion strip installed the wrong way to act as a cap (lower left photo shows this) for the skylight's lip and another installed back to back (look and middle photo) with the first as my finished piece.  This piece got sealed to the glass and the expansion strips themselves sealed to the vapour proofing.

Here is a look at some of the installation pictures.  Remember, when you are looking at these there is no proper way of doing this.  No specification from the TCNA or the TTMAC.  None.  It the big picture no window should be in the shower at all, but - this is not what people like so we are often asked to push the boundaries.  I did not contact any of the suppliers of these materials for permission since I know all ready none exist.

SkyLight Expansion Profile: Dilex BWA White

The illustration above shows a cross section of a Dilex BWA tile expansion profile edge.  The photo of the Dilex BWA the exact product I used.  The entire product is made from one type of plastic and another type of rubber.  I found cutting these strips super easy and just used my box cutter to do so.

I tried using these same profile for the other window in the steam shower and found that the sharp ninety degree edges made it impossible with my rolled Hydro ban Sheet Membrane.  With the window however the install was much simpler.

In this photo you can see a tile mobile.  I made this so I could measure the cuts for the ceiling tile.  I want the edges perfect.  No lips.  No tilted sides. I used fishing line and set it when I set the Dilex BWA expansion strips.  This work extremely well and I am so pleased with the simple use of basic tools to get such a killer end result.

Today I might start setting a few of the tile pieces for the skylight well.  I will get some better pictures of the Dilex BWA strip.  Show how I cut it and keep adding to this post as I go.

I got up on the roof the other day when the builder was there adding in grills to keep the roof drain's clear of debris. You can see the Dilex BWA strips in this photo.  So the picture is of me looking down into the shower from the roof.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tools for adjusting and cleaning grout joints: The Diamond Grout Joint Widener

Sometimes despite all the care you might take setting tile you can come in the next day and find a tile slide or shifted on you.  This is exactly what happened to me yesterday.  I like to start my day by removing the spacers used from the previous one and I noticed then that one of my large tiles had shifted and I had a less than ideal grout joint to look at.

Here is the poorly installed tile:

See how the top right tile is lower than the top left?

With no work done to straighten the grout joint

The top photo shows the work I did with maybe five to ten pulls with the diamond grout joint widening tool.  I pull the tool softly across the joint.  I do not want to widen the entire grout joint.  Just the center right section.  The tool I use is tapered from a point to 1/8".  That is the make spacer I used on this tile installation.

After the photo was taken I spend about two minutes carefully drawing the tool from left to right.  I held the tool on an angle so that I only used the top edge.  This ensure the lower tile dod not get filed down and only some of the excess of the top right tile was tooled.

I need to do some more cleanup and move around some lights before I'm happy but the fix was easy and made a huge difference.

It is safer to leave well enough alone.  But this little dip was too noticable and right at eye level.  it had to be fixed.

These tools are fairly inexpensive.  The one in the picture worth about $4.00 and came part of a set.  I need t0 study more the effects of the tool on the fine powder it creates and if the tool can add to iron deposits in a the grout joint.  The repair work shown above did not take place in the home's shower.  I will first see with a little test if the tool leaves behind iron filings from the smell handle.  If not then I think this is a real winning tool that will speed up the job of preparing for grout.  Do a better job of grout prep and help to improve those few spots where a finer grout joint was used but not needed.

I got these tools from Santa for Christmas.  I have been looking for tools like this for around four years.  I was very pleased to find them in my Christmas Stocking.  I will send a note of to the North Pole and ask if Santa can make more.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Poor Electrical Layout: What to watch out for

Little things make a bathroom renovation sparkle.  Misaligned light switches and their trims do not.  These little errors are enough to drive you crazy or something to never think about twice.  For me, this stacked layout (electrical boxes shown pictured below) is driving me crazy.

I asked about the layout a couple weeks ago.  Then today asked again.  I could not cover these two electrical boxes today because they are not lined up any way proper.  There are Four Options for Stacking Electrical Boxes.

  1. Centered
  2. Left Hand Justified
  3. Right Hand Justified
  4. Anywhere close
Right now these two boxes are just that.  Option number four - Anywhere Close.  Look at this picture.  The Red Lines line up with the box screws for the four by four box 4"x4".  The green line lines up with the upper box.  The left most red line and the green line would need to overlap if we want to achieve a Left Hand Justified look.

In the photo the X axis represents the line in which both the upper and lower electrical boxes should align.  This way the trim plates will align on the left side and they will be an even distance from the Oak Door casing shown.  The Y Axis shows a grout joint.

To center the boxes the green line would need to move over to even distance between the two red lines.  And of course for right hand justified the green line would align with the right hand most line.

And if you really want to get anal - you could remember that if this was say a switch below and a thermostat above, sometimes the thermostats are wider and if the edges must be exactly so... you best have the trims and thermostat on hand before installing the electrical boxes.

The top box above looks easy enough to move.  A little drywall removal.  A custom made shine to sift the box over to the right and then done.The tile I will install will cover the repairs to the wall.

Planning and checking these alignments are something you should check before tile goes up.  Before drywall or cement board goes up.  The longer you leave it the more likely you are to live with it.  

Better electrical layout involves many times adding a little more blocking to a wall.  Making more room for the switch to be away from the door casing.

This is a nice job trimming out a problem switch location.  But really.  Why is this needed in the first place? The picture below shows the best way to make some room.  Add in some scrap off cuts for the width.  Just the added 2"x4" gives another 1.5" of space.

Do you like these types of posts?  Where the subject matter is one minor point.  Let me know.  Send me ideas to Let me know what you want me to talk about.  Thanks Jill for your requests.  I have an idea pile now for when I draw a blank.

I'm going to do a lot more on Google+ this year so please add me your follow list.  The view count just broke two point five million views.  I still have no idea how these numbers get tallied but I started keeping track here. 

Understanding Google+ View Counts - How many is a lot

Based on the search criteria for my blog it seems everyone is busy building showers.  Planning on better shower with steam.  Thinking about lighting and of course linear shower drains.  With both an aging population, cool new shower design the barrier free shower scene has never looked hotter.