In this Millie’s Remodel update, I’ll show you how to create a coat hook area in the smallest of spots. I’m also bringing you along to go countertop shopping with me. And finally come see what the major setback is this time.

Millie's Remodel: Setbacks, Coat Rack, & Countertops

Millie’s Remodel: Major Setback and Some Progress

You know those shows on HGTV where the renovations are coming along smoothly and then one of the personalities says, “Oh no, this isn’t good.” Next thing you know they cut to commercial and leave you hanging thinking, what the heck can it be?

Well, I won’t keep you hanging too long. If you want, go ahead and watch my video right now to find out what the major setback was. It’s a shitty situation (pardon my french, but that’s an adequate response to the setback.)

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Coat Hook Area

Everyone wishes they had a mudroom to store coats, shoes, bags and all the things the minute you walk in the house. But, not everyone has the space for one…or do they? In this Millie’s Remodel update I showed how we created a small mudroom area just inside the back door. You might remember how I used luan planks on the Saving Etta fireplace.

They give you the perfect shiplap look for added architectural interest.

Previously, I used them in my kitchen where I created a detailed tutorial on how to plank walls aka shiplap for super cheap!)

Luckily, I had a enough luan planks leftover to create a small coat hook area in a little more than three feet of wall space. The coats can be tucked behind the pantry cabinet where you can’t see them from the living room.

Source for Coat Hooks

Definitely watch the video to see how easy it was to create this mini-mudroom in half a day.

Countertop Shopping:

Have you ever been shopping for countertops in a huge warehouse where you can see the actual slabs (not just a tiny sample) of material? It’s one of my favorite (and most indecisive) tasks on any home remodel and build project. Today I want to take you with me to shop for countertops. First, we need to select counters for the kitchen. As a reminder, this is the mood board for the kitchen.

Sources: Sink Faucet, Cabinet Hardware, Door Handle, Backsplash Tile, Pendant Lights, Cabinets

I’m thinking about something dark for the counters to add contrast from the white backsplash tiles. Here are some of the options (you can also virtually join me as I shop by watching the video.)

Winterwood Granite

If you’re wondering what the little tile lollipop is in each of the photos, it’s the samples I brought with me. I have one tile from the backsplash, a cabinet sample, and the floor tile to help me visualize how all three will look with the countertops.

Leathered Finish Negresco Granite

Via Lactea Granite (shown above and a closer look below)

As you can see, I found some great options, but would love to hear your thoughts on the choices.

Bathroom Countertop:

In the main bathroom, I am converting a dresser into the perfect mid-century modern sink vanity.

Dresser source: Wayfair

This means I have to pick a countertop material for this sink (unlike the vanity in the powder room that came with a countertop.) Luckily, the dresser isn’t very big, so I can save some money by shopping for remnants at my fabricator’s shop.

As a reminder, this is the design board I’m using for the main bathroom:

Sources: Door Handle, Dresser, Floor Tiles, Lighted Mirror, Wall Light, Shower/Tub Faucet

Once again, the options are almost endless, so I’d love your opinion. I show several really cool remnants in my video, but ultimately narrowed it down to these two options.

Black Recycled Glass Quartz

Negresco Honed Granite (sorry for the blurry cell phone picture.)

I’d love to hear from you. Which slabs do you like or dislike? Also, I hope you got a good laugh at my expense because when life throws you a curveball why not add some humor.

See you soon for another Millie’s Remodel update. If you’re just arriving at the story, Millie is a 1950’s brick ranch I’m remodeling to use as a rental. You can catch up on the Millie’s Remodel saga here. You can also watch all the Millie’s Remodel video updates here.

A special thank you to the Millie’s Remodel Sponsors:

The Millie’s Remodel project sponsors have donated materials for the Millie’s Remodel project. As you know I am very particular about the brands I work with and recommend. As a general contractor, I choose the products used on my projects wisely to make sure they last a lifetime. Therefore, I have no reservations putting my name behind each and every one of these sponsors.

millies remodel sponsors logos

Join me today as I share this Millie’s Remodel Update where I’m installing the kitchen cabinets (mostly by myself!)

Millie’s Remodel: Installing the Kitchen Cabinets

Hey all you Millie’s Remodel fans! Today we’ll be hanging out in the kitchen to install the kitchen cabinets. If you’ve never installed cabinets, it’s not too difficult, but installing them level is important before you can have the countertops installed.

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Welcome back to a new Millie’s Remodel update. Today we’re finally giving the kitchen function by installing the cabinets.

As a reminder this is what the kitchen looked like when I bought the house.

After removing the old cabinets I discovered more water leaks than I’ve ever seen in a house. If there was a water line, it had a leak! There was lots of mold forcing me to complete some HAZMAT demolition while taking extreme precautions. It’s been quite a process building the kitchen back.

black mold on drywall

Interior Design Help:

As I was trying to wrap my head around a kitchen design plan, I discovered a local designer on Instagram and reached out to her. Elizabeth Burns, a local interior designer helped me come up with a floor plan for the kitchen. Now I can’t wait to get started making those plans a reality.

kitchen layout of Millie's Remodel project

I ordered all the cabinets from Cabinets-to-Go. Although I previously used a shaker style cabinet from Cabinets-to-Go for Saving Etta, I decided to use a modern-looking cabinet for Millie and selected the Charleston Driftwood cabinets.

When the cabinets arrived for pick up, I loaded my truck and drove them straight to the Millie’s Remodel house. That’s where I discovered several of the boxes were super heavy and labeled with a warning label that it was a two-person lift. Being that I was working alone most of the time, I attempted to unload all the boxes by myself. You can see how that went and how the installation process when in this video:

Something Different for the Range Hood Cabinet:

When it came time to choose a range hood cabinet, I decided to use a simple white cabinet with a glass front instead of the Charleston Driftwood. I wanted the cabinet to float on the wall and not look dark. The only snafu was the sides of the cabinet are white, where I thought they would match the glass frame (stainless steel.) To solve the issue, I installed self-adhesive stainless steel vinyl on the side. It looks much better now and once the open shelves and backsplash are installed you probably won’t even notice it.

The range hood was a mid-range Broan NuTone stainless steel under cabinet hood. It wasn’t super fancy but looks sleek and modern. This is a similar range hood to the one I bought.

Once the range hood was hung, I connected the ductwork and hid it behind some extra shelving material that came with the white cabinet.

Affordable Cabinet Pulls:

I opted for modern gold pulls on the cabinet drawers and the cabinets. Luckily, I purchased them for a steal on Amazon. When they arrived, they felt lightweight, but once mounted onto the doors you can’t tell that they feel less than solid.

I ended up putting a small microwave into the pantry cabinet (shown above). Personally I don’t like seeing the microwave on display in a kitchen and this hides it away nicely until the renters want to use it.

After a busy week, the kitchen cabinets are finally installed and ready for the countertop templating process.

Next week I’ll take you with me to shop for countertops. It’s going to be fun!

Have you been enjoying the Millie’s Remodel updates? Have you missed any of them?

Millie’s Remodel: First Day Tour

Millie’s Remodel: Mini Demo Update

Millie’s Remodel: HAZMAT Demolition

Millie’s Remodel: Why I’m Canceling my Termite Contract

Millie’s Remodel: Framing, Plumbing, & Electrical Oh My!

Millie’s Remodel: HVAC Update (How to Extend Your System’s Life Span)

Millie’s Remodel: Main Bathroom Design

Millie’s Remodel: Powder Room & Laundry Room Design

Millie’s Remodel: Kitchen Design Plans

Millie’s Remodel: Help Me Decide! Mid-Century Lighting Options

Millie’s Remodel: Tips and Tricks to Self Level a Floor

Millie’s Remodel: How to Waterproof Floors in Any Room

Millie’s Remodel: Drywall Update and Critters

Millie’s Remodel: Laying the Cement Tiles in the Bathrooms

Millie’s Remodel: Help Me Choose Exterior Paint Colors

Millie’s Remodel: Exterior Paint Color Reveal

Millie’s Remodel: Front Exterior Reveal

Millie’s Remodel: Lighting and Fan Reveal

Millie’s Remodel: Moving the Shed

A special thank you to the Millie’s Remodel Sponsors:

The Millie’s Remodel project sponsors have donated materials for the Millie’s Remodel project. As you know I am very particular about the brands I work with and recommend. As a general contractor, I choose the products used on my projects wisely to make sure they last a lifetime. Therefore, I have no reservations putting my name behind each and every one of these sponsors.

millies remodel sponsors logos

This is by far my favorite phase in any home renovation! In my mind, the lighting install is like adding jewelry to complete the outfit! And you have to admit some of this lighting is drool-worthy bling! Today, I’m excited to share with you the lighting and fans I chose for Millie’s Remodel.

Millie's Remodel: Lighting & Fan Reveal

Millie’s Remodel: Lighting & Fan Reveal

I can’t believe how much progress has happened on the Millie’s Remodel project. If you’re just getting caught up, you can find all the Millie’s Remodel updates here. While we were working outside and moving the shed, my electrician was busy working inside.

Almost all the lighting and fans were provided by Kichler, the Gold Sponsor of the Millie’s Remodel project.

Kichler logo

To be completely honest, I’ve been a fan of Kichler lighting for over a decade. I have installed many of their fixtures in my house and always know I can expect quality from the brand. (You can read how their customer service hooked me up in this tutorial.) But, I had no idea they also manufacture ceiling fans and lighted mirrors. You have to see all the options! Ready to see the lighting and fans I used in the Millie’s Remodel house?

Trying to choose options for Millie wasn’t an easy task because there were so many beautiful fixtures to choose from. I finally narrowed my selection down, and once I stepped into the house, I was blown away by how gorgeous the fixtures are and how well they complement the mid-century modern style.

Lighting in the Millie’s Remodel House:

A black and glass modern LED light greets everyone at the front door and definitely sets the tone for the interior.

Kichler Riverpath light fixture

The River Path light from Kichler, is a modern LED light with bubble glass that reflects the light around the front door.

Kichler River Path led light

I love that you never have to replace the light bulbs, and can leave the light on all night and well into the daytime. I snapped this quick photo of the sunset as I left one night. It shows the light cast from the River Path fixture.

Millie's Remodel at dusk

Inside the living room are low profile LED lights from Kichler. They aren’t showy, but that’s what I love about them. The Horizon II LED lights are dimmable and they install on top of the drywall (but look like recessed lights). No more worrying if you have a ceiling joist in your way (although you still have to install a junction box), you can set your lights anywhere you want on your ceiling!

Kichler Horizon II Faux Recessed LED Ceiling Lights

Sputnik light fixtures (especially chandeliers) are making a big comeback. I chose the Armstrong flush mount light for the powder/laundry room and love the shape and natural brass finish.

How sexy is this light, especially when it’s lit?

In the hallway, my electrician installed the three-light Alton fixture.

This semi-flush light puts out a ton of light, and I love the shadows the seeded glass projects on the ceiling.

The main bathroom has the most quintessential mid-century modern light fixture (in my humble opinion.) The Jasper three globe fixture adds a lot of ambient light in the room. Although I chose to mount the globes facing up, it can also be mounted down. This orientation, gave me plenty of room to install an elegant Ryame lit mirror underneath. If you’ve ever used a lit mirror, you know how flattering the lighting is.

The best part about the Jasper and Ryame (besides that they make a handsome couple), is they both use LEDs and you never have to replace a bulb!

I saved my favorite lights for last. These hexagon cage pendants aren’t just modern and stylish. They will complement one of the tile choices I made for the kitchen. I can’t wait to show you them together, but for now, gaze at these beauties.

The Rocklyn pendant lights have an industrial modern look. I decided to hang them at various heights for more visual interest. My assistant, Stephanie, told me about these gem bulbs and I ordered them as quickly as I could. Once screwed in, the Rocklyn pendant lights and the gem bulbs looked like a match made in heaven.

I mean, come on, can you even argue that these two weren’t made for each other.

gem shaped vintage light bulb in Rocklyn pendant

Ceiling Fans:

Time to chill with a few ceiling fans. I know many people who despise ceiling fans because of how they look, but these fans from Kichler are truly works of art.

This is the Incus LED fan. The light is dimmable and is the perfect low profile light in this modern fan. I love the curves on this fan and think it might need a better name like Ana, Ashley, or how about Marilyn! What do you think? Should we all send notes to Kichler with our name suggestions? 😉

In the smaller bedroom, I installed the Ridley II and I kind of have a crush on him. Ridley is a guy, right?

The fan blades are real wood, and I don’t know if they are truly hand-carved, but they look like it! Maybe the woodworker’s name is Ridley. Anyway, no faux wood for Ridley, no siree.

I’d love to know what you think of the lighting and fan choices I made for this mid-century house. Personally I have a crush on all of it. Can I get away with mid-century modern in a late-70’s dutch colonial? Asking for a friend.

Disclosure: Kichler Lighting is a Millie’s Remodel gold sponsor. I was provided with complimentary fixtures for the house. 

You might remember the ugly Frankenshed behind the Millie’s Remodel house. It’s finally time to try to move this ugly monster. Whether we’re successful or not, I’ll share the Easiest & Cheapest Way to Move a Shed!

Millie’s Remodel: The Easiest & Cheapest Way to Move a Shed

A long long time ago (back before we had children), Pretty Handsome Guy and I were making a move from Philadephia to Charlottesville, VA. We packed our rented UHaul full to the brim and were ready to start the new adventure.

We were backing the truck out when we heard a loud scraping sound and suddenly the truck was stuck. The front wheels were still in the driveway, but the back of the truck had bottomed out on the crowned pavement (turns out a road really isn’t flat from side to side.) We were blocking traffic and didn’t know what to do. I tried calling UHaul but they said it was operator error and we needed to call a large truck tow company.

As I was searching around for someone to help, our neighbor took one look at the situation and ran to the back of the driveway. He came back and created a lever with some blocks and a 4×4 post. Then he put one end under the bumper and proceeded to perch on the other end of the 4×4 bouncing up and down. He told Pretty Handsome Guy to give the truck a little gas. Although my neighbor couldn’t have weighed more than 125 lbs., the lever gave us enough lift to get us unstuck.

Here we are about twenty years later, and I still remember that 4×4 lever trick! But, I have a few more tricks up my sleeve, because although you might be able to lift a shed with a 4×4 and some blocks, how do you move it from one side of your yard to the other?

The Easiest & Cheapest Way to Move a Shed:

Today, in the Millie’s Remodel updates we will attempt to move the Frankenshed.

This eyesore sits directly outside the back bedroom and I can’t even express how ugly it is with poor construction and ugly siding. Then there’s the piece of plexiglass screwed over the window opening.

ugly shed in backyard

But, the worst thing about this shed is the siding that is cracked, and the caulk used to fill the seams. Now you can understand why I don’t have high hopes for moving this monster in one piece. I kept the dumpster over the weekend because I think there’s a very good chance this shed will fall apart the minute we try to move it. If that happens, I’ll cut it apart in pieces and top off the dumpster.

But, hey, you’re no idiot. I’m sure you are thinking, “Brittany, if you title this post How to Move a Shed, that means you probably were successful. ”

Well, you’ll just have to see if you’re right and watch the video:

Materials:

  • 2 – 2″ x 4″ x 16′ (or as long as you can transport)
  • 3 – 4″ x 4″ x 10′
  • 6-8 Cinderblocks (depending on the size of your shed, you need least 6 to set the shed)
  • 4 – 3″ PVC pipes (at least as long as the length of your floor joists)
  • Drainage Gravel
  • Carjack
  • Level

Tips on Moving a Shed:

  1. Empty the shed (less weight is better)
  2. Have a helper or two
  3. Use longer lumber for better leverage
  4. Measure and determine the final resting location
  5. Make sure the final location is clear of obstacles (especially low branches)
  6. Pick a path and clear any obstacles
  7. Use 2x4s to act as tracks
  8. Use large PVC pipes to act as rollers
  9. PVC pipes roll best when perpendicular to the floor joists
  10. Elevate the shed on blocks off the ground (to prevent rot) unless you have a concrete pad

How to Move a Shed:

Set a block near the shed and slip the end of a 4×4 under the shed while resting on the block If you can’t get the 4×4 underneath, raise the shed up with a car jack, then slip the 4×4 underneath.

Lift the shed and slide 2x4s under the shed in the direction you want to roll the shed.

Set one PVC pipe under the shed in the middle of the shed. Release the 4×4 slowly. If the shed doesn’t tip toward you, you can add a little weight to the front to help it tip.

Lay two more PVC pipes on top of the 2x4s under the shed perpendicular to the 2×4’s and to the floor joists. Then slip one more PVC pipe in toward the front.

Remove the blocks and the 4×4 (but keep it nearby). Push your shed and let the PVC pipes roll underneath. As soon as one PVC pipe pops out the back, bring it to the front and roll onto it.

To turn the shed, put the 4×4 inside the door frame against one corner. Press against the other end of the 4×4 outside the door frame to pivot the shed. (You can see how this is done in the video.) Adjust your 2×4 tracks and place the PVC pipes perpendicular to the floor joists, then push the shed.

Perpendicular or Parallel to the Joists, why does it matter?

When the PVC pipes are placed perpendicular to the joists, the floor framing touches the pipes in multiple spots (as shown below.) This allows the shed to roll very easily.

The pipes can roll when parallel to the joists, but it’s much harder because the framing is not resting on the pipes at as many points, and the PVC may bow in between the blocking. You can certainly use the pipes parallel to the joists for pushing the shed out into an open area where you can then set the pipes perpendicular to the joists.

A Makeover for Frankenshed:

To clean up the look of the shed, my assistant Brett built a new door. Then he added trim and used the old bathroom window for a new window. Once my painter painted the trim and siding to match the house, it was unrecognizable.

I can’t believe this is the same shed, can you?

before and after shed makeover

The old patchy privacy fence between the neighbor’s property was removed (it practically fell down when we removed the patched section).

Brett installed a new PVC privacy fence to match the one in the front of the property.

PVC privacy fence

Now that the exterior has a beautiful front and backyard, it’s time to start focusing on finishing the interior. Stay tuned for more Millie’s Remodel updates!

A special thank you to the Millie’s Remodel Sponsors:

The Millie’s Remodel project sponsors have donated materials for the Millie’s Remodel project. As you know I am very particular about the brands I work with and recommend. As a general contractor, I choose the products used on my projects wisely to make sure they last a lifetime. Therefore, I have no reservations putting my name behind each and every one of these sponsors.

millies remodel sponsors logos

Get a load of this transformation! See Millie’s Remodel and her exterior front reveal. Plus, I’m sharing tips to help you keep your home protected from termites when landscaping.

Millie’s Remodel Update: Exterior Front Reveal

This update of the Millie’s Remodel project is sponsored by Corteva, the makers of Sentricon. I’m grateful to have Sentricon on board as a Millie’s Remodel sponsor!

Although I still have a lot to catch you up on inside the Millie’s Remodel house, the exterior siding, brick, and front door has been painted. I chose a pretty bright blue for the front door. It’s Loyal Blue from Sherwin Williams.

I built the shutters using leftover tongue and groove planks from the porch overhangs. I promise to share a tutorial for you in the near future.

And I added a modern address plaque beside the door. Also, a DIY I’ll share a tutorial for later.

Although the shutters have been hung and the house numbers look amazing, I feel like something is missing. The house feels a bit naked from the waist down if you catch my drift. It needs some landscaping!

Unfortunately, I’m a little over budget on all the renovations at Millie’s Remodel, so I need to save some money on the landscaping. I decided to plant a few bushes out front and call it done.

Budget Landscaping for a Mid-Century Modern House:

With my budget being under $200, I was able to put in some foundation plantings and one feature plant to give Millie a more finished look outside.

I planted three Fatsio Japonica bushes (the wider bushes with bigger leaves).

Between the Japonicas, I planted two Golden Ticket privet bushes. They should fill in a little over time, but for now, they certainly help ground the house.

For the feature item, I chose a pretty yellow Amber Gold arborvitae for the small bed between the front door and the driveway. I like the color and the tall skinny look of this tree. When full-grown it may be up to 5′ wide and 10′ tall. But, hopefully, it won’t reach full width and can stay a little narrower. I’ll have to keep an eye on it and trim the sides if it starts to get too big.

Luckily, I had a pile of wood chips in the backyard where I had to take out a large rotted tree that was hanging over the house. I was able to use the chips as fresh mulch around the plantings.

Although it’s hard to tell, in the above photo, I kept a barrier of bare earth (and no wood chips) against the foundation of the house. Why? Let me take a moment to talk about how to landscape while keeping your house protected from termites.

Landscaping While Keeping Your Home Termite Free:

I know we live in an area that is overpopulated with termites, so I’m very careful about protecting my homes from conditions that could lead to a termite infestation. Most plants need moisture to stay alive, but unfortunately, termites love wet mushy wood because it’s easier to chew and more tempting! For that reason, it’s important to pay attention to moisture around your home’s foundation. All the tips below will help you reduce the likelihood that termites will find your home tasty.

  • When spreading mulch around plantings, keep it away from the house. Leave at least a one-foot perimeter along the foundation clear of mulch and other organic matter
  • Plant bushes so as to maintain a three-foot clearance from your home (be sure to look at the mature height and width information on new plantings)
  • Never pile firewood, lumber, mulch, soil, or other “termite-friendly” matter against your house
  • Don’t use wood timbers or lumber to create garden beds against your house
  • Install gutters and use downspouts to move water away from the foundation
  • Always make sure your land is graded with a slope away from your house
  • Keep gutters clear of debris to prevent them from overflowing.
  • Contract with a good termite treatment company (you can read how I chose Sentricon in this post.)
  • Keep up with scheduled inspections with your termite company.

My local termite company that installed the Sentricon system came back two weeks ago to check on the system to see if there was any termite activity and inspect the bait stations to see if they needed to be replaced. My technician was able to find most of the bait stations from the map he created during installation.

But, if the stations were buried, he could use the detector to find them.

You can learn more about the Sentricon system and how it’s installed by watching my previous video:

We saw some minor evidence that they had found the stations. This is good because it means they are feeding off the bait stations and taking it back to the colony.

Unfortunately, the memory card in my camera was corrupt, or I’d show you the bait station after almost a year. Luckily, Sarah has an excellent photo of her Sentricon bait station after being in the ground for almost a year.

A Look Back at Millie’s Front Exterior Transformation:

Together, I think the landscaping (although only 6 plants and some mulch) and painting made a big difference. We should look back to when I first bought the house. Remember how she looked? The greenery you see was all weeds!

Then, after painting, she looks great, but still needs some architectural pizzazz.

Finally, the shutters and painted front door made a big difference, but she was a tad naked around her base.

Now she has some beautiful modern greenery out front.

Did I do okay on my minimal budget?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Corteva, the makers of Sentricon. I was provided complimentary termite protection for a year and was compensated for my time and efforts to promote Sentricon. I was not told what to write. All opinions are my own. I am particular about the brands I represent and will always let you know when you are reading a sponsored post.

Thanks for all your votes and comments on the siding and brick paint color. I’m excited to finally show you the exterior paint decision for Millie’s Remodel!

Millie’s Remodel Update: Exterior Paint Decision Made

Thank you all for your input on the exterior paint colors for Millie’s Remodel. If you recall, I left you with two choices for the brick and siding color. But, I also left you with some choices for front door colors.

Although I haven’t painted the front door yet, I’m happy to reveal the results of the siding and brick color. I painted them Sage Advice from RomaBio! And your advice was very sage and appreciated. LOL. In full disclosure, I contacted RomaBio about sponsoring the Millie’s Remodel project because I wanted to use a product that would allow the brick to breathe and not require lots of maintenance.

This fella in particular seemed to love the color as I found him perched here shortly after the painters finished painting.

Well, what do you think?

Ummm, yeah, the house wasn’t supposed to be two-tone. My painter was convinced I wanted all the trim and siding painted white. But, I assured him, I wanted the siding painted sage green. What are your thoughts? Do you like it two-toned look or all one color?

Of course, the house still needs shutters and I will be painting the front door something other than forest green. But, for now, I love how clean and uniform the exterior looks. Especially with the old laundry room door bricked up and the repairs no longer visible under the transom window.

A few more things happened since we last chatted here on the blog. I had gutters installed and another rain chain. In this particular location, we didn’t have a spot for a downspout without it being unsightly. Instead, I purchased a modern-looking rain chain and installed it on the end of the roof overhang out back.

If you know me, you know I have a thing for rain chains. Especially on the homes I renovate. Recognize these rain chains on Saving Etta?

My only complaint about the rain chain is when leaves get stuck in the hole in the gutter. But, it’s not a big deal to clear. Otherwise, the rain travels down the chain and lands in a planter pot on the ground.

The planter has holes in the bottom facing the backyard. And the rain chain is simply buried and held in place by river rocks in the pot.

Another eyesore that gave way to something more modern, was the split rain fence between the driveway and the neighbor’s property. When I had the survey done, it showed the fence was encroaching on the neighbor’s property by 8 inches.

To remedy the situation and give some more privacy, I had my helper, Brett, install a modern privacy fence right up against the driveway. I still need to have it stained, but it’s a great improvement over the split rail and gives some privacy between the houses.

Next on my list of “eyesores to attack” is this ugly shed directly behind the house. From the back bedroom, you have a beautiful view of “Frankenshed”. I’m calling it that because of all the seams in the siding. It’s so ugly.

We’re going to try to move the shed over the weekend before the dumpster is picked up. I think there’s a 75% chance the shed will fall apart the minute we try to move it. If that happens, I will cut it up and put the entire thing in the dumpster.

Wish us luck!

Disclosure: RomaBio is a Millie’s Remodel sponsor. I reached out to them after doing lots of research on painting exterior brick and asked if they wanted to be a sponsor of the project. I was provided with complimentary products to use.

The time has come to pick paint colors for the exterior of the Millie’s Remodel house. The majority of the house is brick so I have to choose a paint that is safe for exterior brick. If I’m not careful paint can cause the bricks to deteriorate or the paint to flake off easily.

Millie’s Remodel: Exterior Paint Colors – Need Help Deciding

Welcome back to another Millie’s Remodel update. Today I need your help deciding on exterior paint colors!

When I purchased the house, it had ugly khaki vinyl siding on the front.

The rest of the house was red brick. It was hard justifying painting the entire house until…

…my siding contractor removed the vinyl siding to reveal the original wood siding underneath. Would you believe it was in pristine condition? No wood rot!

removed-old-siding to reveal wood siding white and brick front house

The paint was peeling, so I knew it had to be painted and I didn’t like the two-tone look of siding and brick. I really wanted the house painted one color.

You may remember I had my mason brick up the back doorway leading to the laundry room. Anyone living in the house used to have to go outside the house and make a U-turn to go back inside to do laundry, which was just crazy.

back door bricked up with transom window installed

Now that room has a doorway from the inside so you can do laundry from inside the house. That makes more sense, doesn’t it? Because who wants to walk outside in the rain to do laundry? The room is actually a dual purpose room. It’s a laundry room and powder room, which is why I opted for a transom light to allow some natural light in while still maintaining some privacy.

Anyways, now that this doorway is all bricked up, the mortar doesn’t match and you can see where the doorway was. I’ve wanted to paint the exterior, and now this gives me a great excuse because as you can see, none of the mortar matches.

Masonry Paint Specifically for Brick:

Many people love the look of painted brick, but make the mistake of using regular latex paint. If the brick can’t breathe, it forces the paint to flake off the house or traps moisture in which can damage the bricks. Either way, it leaves you with a maintenance issue.

But, RomaBio is a mineral paint that allows the brick to breathe and prevents moisture from getting trapped. While I was researching RomaBio paints, I discovered they had several new colors in the Young House Love collection. Although it was hard to decide, I narrowed my choices down to four colors:

  • Forever Evergreen
  • Navy Steel
  • Sage Advice
  • So Succulent

As you can tell, I’m leaning toward greens and blues. But, I need to show you the other houses in the neighborhood so you get the full picture! Do me a favor and watch the video below to see the samples on the Millie’s Remodel house and see what the surrounding houses look like.


As you can tell, I’ve narrowed the choice down to two colors: Sage Advice and Navy Steele.

Leave me a comment and let me know which is your favorite.

Oh but wait, I photoshopped some renderings of the house with different colored doors! Hopefully, this will help you make a decision!

Pumpkin Door on Navy Steel

 

Lime Green Door on Navy Steel

 

Cranberry Door on Navy Steel

 

Pumpkin Door on Sage Advice

 

Navy Door on Sage Advice

 

Cranberry Door on Sage Advice

Let me know your thoughts in the comment area. I’m all ears.

Disclosure: RomaBio is a Millie’s Remodel sponsor. I reached out to them after doing lots of research on painting exterior brick and asked if they wanted to be a sponsor of the project. I was provided with complimentary products to use.

You can catch up on the Millie’s Remodel project here.

I’m definitely tired of using a port-a-potty at the Millie’s Remodel house. It’s high time we get the bathroom floors tiled so my plumber can install a toilet! Come along with me today as I install the cement tile floors in the bathrooms.

Millie's Remodel: Cement Tiles in the Bathrooms

Millie’s Remodel: Cement Tiles in the Bathrooms

If you remember my last Millie’s Remodel update, I shared the only working bathroom was the port-a-potty in the front yard. I was definitely done with sharing it with my subcontractors and the MAILMAN! Ugh, I lost track of how many people were using it.

After installing the waterproofing and uncoupling membrane, both bathrooms were ready for tiling. Hooray!

You might remember I shared the mood boards for both the main bathroom and the powder/laundry room.

Main Bathroom Moodboard

Powder/Laundry Room Moodboard

Being able to finally install the tiles is one of my favorite stages in a home renovation. Especially because when the Lili Cement tiles I ordered arrived, and I couldn’t wait to see them installed on the floors. I should mention, Lili Tiles is one of the Millie’s Remodel sponsors. When the company contacted me, I was thrilled with their bright-colored tiles and the variety of shapes and patterns. Frankly, it was tough to choose just two tile patterns.

Variety of tiles on the floor

Here are some other things I love about the Lili Cement Tiles: Each tile is handmade! You can watch the process here. And if you want to see more inspiring photos of Lili Cement tiles installed in a variety of spaces, follow Lili Cement Tiles on Instagram! Plus, I love supporting small companies, especially one founded by a woman.

Lili Cement Tiles on Instagram

Okay, now it’s time to show you these beautiful cement tiles installed. Go ahead and watch this video to see them in the Millie’s Remodel bathrooms and watch how much fun I had installing them! Seriously, it was more fun than you can imagine.

What do you think? Do you love the patterns? Think they work for a mid-century modern beauty? I can’t pick my favorite because I love the subtle star pattern in the Vegas 3 tile installation.

Lili Cement Tile Vegas3 houndstooth pattern gold and black tiles

But, I’m equally excited by the classic navy diamond pattern in the Mia 4 tile installation.

Lili Cement Tile Mia 4, Navy and White diagonal box tiles

However, what is making me jump for joy, is the toilet and sink hooked up in the powder room. I could have kissed my plumber when he showed up to install the toilet and sink in the house.

Lili Cement Tile Mia 4, Navy and White diagonal box tiles

Time to say goodbye to the port-a-potty. See you soon with another Millie’s Remodel update!

Disclosure: Thank you to Lili Cement Tiles for sponsoring the Millie’s Remodel project. I was sent complimentary products in exchange for mentioning Lili Tiles in my project. All opinions and ideas are my own. As you know, I’m very particular about the brands I work with, and Lili Cement Tiles is a brand I’m happy to recommend!

I know you’ve all been patiently awaiting another Millie’s Remodel update and today I have just that for you! Come see the drywall installation (one of my favorite phases in construction) and find out how I’m dealing with critters in the attic.

Millie's Remodel: Drywall Update and Critters

Millie’s Remodel: Drywall & Critters

I’m excited to share the next Millie’s Remodel update. If you can’t wait to see inside, scroll to the bottom of this article and take the video tour. In the last update, I shared progress in the framing, plumbing, and electrical department. Luckily, the inspection passed after one minor change. I got very lucky on this project and had one multi-trade inspector who was willing to let me send him a picture of the one item he asked for once it was complete. Because we were able to do that, he passed us that same day.

Like most permitted home construction projects, it’s important to pass inspections for your rough-ins (plumbing, electrical, and HVAC) while the walls are open. You also need to have insulation installed as long as it allows the inspector to be able to see the plumbing and electrical.

angled view of new electrical sub panel and view down hallway

My electrician ran into a snag requiring a little more demolition. But it was no big deal. I grabbed my favorite demo tool, a flat shovel, and removed the section of the wall he needed to get into. Of all the tools I’ve tried, I love how the flat shovel slides into the side of the drywall and can press on the opposite wall for leverage without worrying about ripping a hole in the other wall. Once the wall was opened, my electrician was able to remove the old wiring and add a new box for the switches.

Pocket Door Installation:

While my electrician worked on wiring the switches, I installed the pocket door hardware in the laundry room/powder room. The instructions for this thing are horrible, so it took me a little longer than expected. Maybe I should offer to re-write the instructions for them, what do you think?

Pretty Handy Girl installing pocket door kit

Before the drywall stage, I take pictures and/or videos to refer back to when I’m trying to find the studs. In the kitchen, I made the smart decision to write measurements from the wall on the studs and blocking. Then I could refer back to these notes in the video when it comes time to hang the open shelving.

Once the drywall installers arrived, the house started to feel a bit crowded, so I headed up into the attic to take care of the critter problem we had.

During the inspection, we found a lot of animal feces in the attic. I’m not talking about little mouse droppings (although I’m sure there were plenty of those in the insulation), I’m talking large animal feces like a raccoon or possum would leave behind. I found many holes in the attic and in the crawlspace. I think the interior wall between the bathroom and the kitchen was a rodent highway. The chimney also didn’t have a cap on it, so I added one in case the animals were getting inside there.

The last spot where animals could get into the attic was along the gable ends through the attic louvered vents. To keep birds and bats from flying into the attic, I installed hard cloth mesh inside the vents.

Here are some spots to look for critter entrances:

  • Rotted siding or trim boards
  • Gaps around plumbing pipes
  • No cap on your chimney
  • Louver vents without hard cloth mesh
  • Attic vents without hard cloth mesh
  • Gaps in the crawlspace or attic framing

Purple Drywall:

In the bathroom and kitchens, I had my drywall contractor install Purple drywall to avoid mold issues in the future if there ever is a water leak. Click here to learn more about how purple drywall works to prevent mold.

Speaking of preventing mold and water intrusion, the area around the tub will receive Kerdi waterproof boards in the future. I can’t wait to show you how this product works. I love working with it.

Closet to Pantry conversion:

In the narrow hallway across from the kitchen was a coat closet, but I felt it would work better as a pantry. You can watch in the video to see how I added melamine shelving in the closet to make it function as a pantry.

Goodbye Popcorn Ceilings:

I knew I wanted to get rid of the popcorn texture on the ceilings, so I tested it for asbestos. The popcorn came back negative, but the joint compound did have a small percentage of asbestos. Rather than risk disturbing the joint compound, we decided to cover it with a layer of drywall. This was such a quick and easy solution I will definitely do this again to cover popcorn. Once the drywall was up and primed, it was remarkable how much brighter the rooms were. Did you know popcorn ceilings make rooms a little darker because the light can’t reflect as easily off a textured ceiling? The new drywall and priming all the walls took care of most of the funky odors in the house.

Improved Floorplan:

The biggest change in the look of the house is the open concept kitchen. During demolition, I removed the corner walls in the kitchen to open the floor plan. With the drywall installed, I can really get a feel for how the kitchen and living spaces will function.

millies-remodel-floor-plan-before

Speaking about function, the new laundry/powder room will be a much more functional room. You may remember the house only had one bathroom, and the laundry room was only accessible from outside the house. The exterior door was removed and a transom window installed to allow some light into the room. I installed the pocket door to maintain enough space for a toilet and a sink creating a much needed second bathroom. Unfortunately, neither bathroom is useable right now. Instead, I have a port-a-potty in front of the house that is used by my subcontractors and several passersby (including the mailman who uses it everyday.) I will be so happy to get rid of it and have a toilet inside the house to use!

Exterior Updates:

Outside the house has changed considerably now that my siding contractor has removed the vinyl siding to reveal the original wood siding. I have plans to paint the entire house, but for now, let’s keep going.

removed-old-siding to reveal wood siding white and brick front house

In the backyard, I have plans to try to move the ugly shed to the back of the lot, but honestly, I’m not sure it will survive the move. It’s really not built well.

Ready to take the video tour?

That’s it for the update. I’ll be back soon with another progress update. Have a great week!

A special thank you to the Millie’s Remodel Sponsors:

The Millie’s Remodel project sponsors have donated materials for the Millie’s Remodel project. As you know I am very particular about the brands I work with and recommend. As a general contractor, I choose the products used on my projects wisely to make sure they last a lifetime. Therefore, I have no reservations putting my name behind each and every one of these sponsors.

millies remodel sponsors logos

If you want professional-looking tile floors (regardless if you want to do it yourself or hire someone), you must read this article to find out what tiles to buy, how to avoid cracked tiles, and risk a finished tile floor that is less than professional-looking.

11 Must See Tips for DIY Professional Looking Tile Floors11 Must-See Tips for Professional Looking Tile Floors

I’m here to tell you, YES, you can lay your own floor tile and achieve professional-looking results if you learn a few tips and tricks. First, can I share a secret with you? Seven years ago I thought I had to hire a tile installer when we had our mudroom tiled. I wish I knew then what I know now because I would have kicked that installer out of my house immediately. I still have to look at some of the issues he left behind pointing to a less than professional looking tile job. (Insert Angry Face Emoji!)

But, I completely understand if you still want to hire a professional tile installer for any number of reasons:

  • No time
  • Don’t have the tools
  • Physical disabilities (tile-setting is tough on the back and body)
  • No desire to install tile

Did I miss any reasons? If I did, leave me a comment below letting me know why someone wouldn’t want to embark on a DIY tile flooring project.

Before we get to my tips, I want to give you a little education on tiles. Especially if you had problems previously and thought it was your fault the tile job didn’t look professional. Believe it or not, your issues may have been caused by cheap or poor quality tiles. Say what?!

How to Spot Poor Quality (Cheap) Tiles:

Did you know those tiles you are saving a boatload on may not be quality tiles? Did you even know there were inferior quality tiles? Yes, it’s true. A few years ago I hired a tile installer to help me tile some of the bathrooms in the Saving Etta project. (Yes, I could have done it myself, but I’d still be tiling if I did everything myself.) When I first met the installer, he asked me about the tiles I had purchased. I showed him the boxes and he opened several to inspect them. This is what he was looking for to determine if they were cheap tiles:

  • Color – Pull tiles from several boxes (if possible) and check to see that the color is consistent for one color tiles. (Obviously, if they are supposed to vary in color and pattern that’s okay.) Regardless, you should always pull tiles randomly from several boxes when laying tile.
  • Size – Pull random tiles from several boxes and stack them together. They should be identical. Poor quality tiles can vary up to 1/8″ in size. This will cause issues especially if you are using a small grout joint.
  • Printing – Many ceramic or porcelain tiles are printed to look like real stone today. Take a close look at the surface. Is the printing evident? Do you see small dots like a printed newspaper photo? If you can’t see them easily, the printing was well done.
  • Thickness – In addition to the overall dimension of the tiles, you should check the consistency of thickness.
  • Warping – Are your tiles perfectly flat or do they bend? See below for a picture of two 4″ x 12″ tiles that show some bowing in the center of the tiles.

(To eliminate accentuating this defect, you wouldn’t want to install these tiles with a 50% offset (shown below). Instead, a 25 or 33% would be a better staggered joint pattern.)

bowed tiles at 50% offset shows shadows and lippage

  • Wedging – Square and rectangular tiles should be cut square. Out of square tiles could would impact your tile job and show up especially in the grout joints.

Typically you can expect good quality from tiles that are labeled as Standard or First Grade. Second grade tiles will have more variations in appearance. Independent tile shops are the best place to purchase good quality tiles. They typically sell to designers and tile installers, but also sell to the general public. Granted, you will likely pay more. But, you know the old saying, you get what you pay for.

Picking Tiles:

Tiles are tiles, right? Wrong, there are many tiles that would not be suitable for a floor. And some tiles are not good for high traffic areas. Finally, some tiles are not a good fit for showers. How can you tell which tiles are best for use in specific areas?

Floor Tiles vs. Wall Tiles:

Floor tiles must be strong enough to handle walking on and an occasional dropped item. Did you know there’s a rating for tile strength? It’s called a PEI rating.

A PEI of 1 is ideal for walls. PEI of 2 is best for bathrooms and kitchens. And a PEI of 3 is appropriate for all residential applications. Meanwhile, PEIs of 4 and 5 are applicable for commercial and heavy commercial applications. When shopping for tiles, they may not have the PEI rating displayed, but there should be a notation if they are acceptable for floors and walls. If you don’t see a notation, ask a salesperson or check with the manufacturer.

Avington Black & White Cement Tiles from TheBuilderDepot.com

How Slippery Are Your Tiles?

Floor tiles must meet certain criteria for COF or coefficient of friction (basically how slippery the tile is.) But, different areas need different COF values. Let’s talk strictly for residential purposes (because commercial and business sites are a whole other beast). Floor tiles in a bathroom with a shower or tub must meet a greater than .42 DCOF test.  Tiles that score less than .42 would only be appropriate for areas that will be kept dry or walls.

Polished tiles tend to be more slippery. Tiles that have texture usually score better on the DCOF test, but depending on how textured, they can be harder to clean.

Are marble and natural stone tiles good for floors?

Oh the beauty of real marble! I know, I know, I love marble too, but would it be a good choice for your floor? This depends on several factors. The first being the use of the room. If using in a kitchen or room with a lot of traffic and opportunities for spills, you’ll want to steer clear of marble and stone products that can wear or stain easily. Of course, you can seal your tiles, but the upkeep will be a lot more than porcelain or ceramic tile. But, if you are okay with your floors showing off natural wear and patina, go for it.

Porcelain vs. Ceramic – What’s the Difference?

Porcelain tiles are stronger and more dense than ceramic tiles. They don’t absorb as much moisture as ceramic tiles (Porcelain tiles must be tested and absorb at 0.5% or less to be certified porcelain.) Because they absorb less, porcelain tiles are more ideal for shower floors or areas that stay damp or humid. While porcelain tiles will usually be stronger, thicker, and less porous, they can be tougher to cut and more expensive. Ultimately you can use ceramic tiles on your floor, as long as they meet a 3 or higher PEI rating (as discussed above).

How Many Tiles Should I Order?

Typically most tilers would suggest you order anywhere from 15% -20% extra for your job. If you are using small tiles, you can order as little as 10% overage. Usually, I order 15% because it’s better to have a few left over to keep on hand should you ever have to replace a tile. Besides, it’s a real pain if you run out of tiles mid tile job.

Know Your Finished Height:

If you are picking out tiles, be sure you know the difference in height of adjoining rooms. Choosing your floor tile can mean the difference between perfectly matched floor levels or the need for a transition strip (or worse, a step up or down!) Luckily there is a transition strip for most floor differences.

Tools:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

I’m a big advocate of having good tools. Having a good tile cutter means the difference between flying through a tile job or having it drag on for an eternity. A good tile cutter also reduces waste because they cut tiles cleanly.

When possible, I prefer cutting the majority of tiles with a scoring tile cutter. It’s quicker, a lot less messy, and clean up is as simple as brushing off the platform.

Occasionally I’ve run into tile that resisted cutting on my scoring cutter (thick porcelain tiles usually fall into this category). For those tiles, I use my wet saw. A wet saw can also cut angled and corner cuts into the tiles. I’ve used the same inexpensive wet saw for years, but when it dies I’ll upgrade to a bigger wet saw.

Recently I started using an angle grinder with a diamond blade for more precise intricate cuts or to knock off a small amount. It works faster and is less clean up than the wet saw for those intricate cuts.

Finally, if you are tiling a shower, you’ll inevitably need to cut a hole in your tiles around a pipe. For that task, I use a drill with a diamond hole saw.

My Tile Cutting Tools:

Now it’s time to learn my top tips for a professional-looking tile floor. If you are a newbie and want to learn the basics of tiling, you’ll find these two lessons helpful: Learn How to Set Tile

and Learn How to Grout.

Okay, let’s learn how to get those professional tile results that will even fool the pros!

11 Must See Tips for Professional Looking Tile Floors:

Over the years I’ve taken several courses on tile setting and worked directly with several professional tile setters. From each experience, I’ve learned a lot and now I want to share the things I’ve learned with you so your next tile job comes out beautifully.

In my video you’ll get to see the progress at the Millie’s Remodel project as I tiled the kitchen floor. I decided to incorporate the tiling tips I’ve learned into the video for you.

Watch the video for the tips and how I install floor tiles:

You can also watch the video on YouTube if you prefer (especially if you want to click on the links to the other videos I mention).

1. Flat and Sturdy Subfloor:

Like building a sturdy house, your foundation is super important. When you walk on your floor does it flex, bounce, or squeak? If so, you need to solve these issues now. Use a level and rest it in several different areas (and directions on your subfloor). Are there low spots, high spots, or a slope? If you have dips or valleys in your subfloor, you can’t get a good tile job that will last. If your floor isn’t sturdy and flexes, you will have cracked grout, or worse cracked tiles.

As specified by the TCNA (Tile Council of North America), you want no more than 1/4″ difference in 10′ and no more than 1/16″ within 12 inches. If your subfloor isn’t flat, you can learn how to level your floor here.

If you have a wood subfloor, make sure your wood substrates have the manufacturer’s recommended spacing (typically 1/8″ gap between plywood sheets.) Backer board or uncoupling membranes should be laid onto the subfloor before tiling.

Never tile directly onto new concrete. In fact, keep reading to learn why I use uncoupling membranes and how to prevent your tile job from being ruined by expanding or contracting concrete.

2. Consider Using an Uncoupling Membrane

In another previous post, I shared how to apply the orange Schluter Ditra waterproof membrane before tiling. The Schluter Ditra material also acts as an uncoupling membrane which prevents cracks in your tiles and/or grout.

After taking the Schluter workshops, I will never tile a room without an uncoupling membrane again. As a bonus, their membranes are waterproof. No more need to worry about water soaking into your subfloor and causing mold to build up.

3. Use a Good Tile Cutter

Using good tools will help your tile job go smoothly and it will keep your tile cuts from looking like a jagged mess. If you can’t afford to buy good tools, look into renting some, or ask a fellow DIYer if you can borrow theirs. (Always clean their tools before returning them. Nothing irks me more than dirty tools.)

4. Layout Tiles Ahead of Time

If you’ve heard that spending time doing the prep work will save you time in the long run, nothing could be more true than when tiling. Before I start any tile job, I always lay out my tiles first. I dry lay them out to see what I’m dealing with. First I layout a run of tiles along the length of the room and position the tiles to avoid having to cut a small sliver of a tile at either end. Then I layout a run along the width of the room making adjustments to avoid the same situation.

If I have printed tiles, I separate them into piles by their individual print design. Then when I pull tiles later I pull from different stacks. I also step back to make sure two of the same tiles aren’t next to each other (like in the example below thanks to that so-called professional I hired).

Nothing screams rookie tiler louder than two printed tiles being installed next to each other. And in the same orientation!

5. Leave an Expansion (or Movement) Joint

Despite what you might think (especially if you have perfectionist tendencies), you do not want to cut and install your tiles tight against the wall (or other objects in your room like columns, pipes, or walls.) You must leave at least 1/4 inch around the perimeter of your room or around immovable objects. Not adhering to this rule can lead to your tile floor popping up or tenting (See this article for a photo of tenting tile.) Additionally, you need to install a movement joint in any interior room at every 25 feet in each direction. However, if this room is exposed to direct sunlight or heat, you’ll need an expansion joint at every 12 feet in each direction.

6. Use Recommended Trowel Size

Tiles come in all shapes and sizes and therefore they require a variety of trowels. Be sure to check with the specifications on your tile to find out the trowel size. Or ask your tile shop representative for their recommendation. Using a too-small trowel with large tiles would cause the tiles not to adhere to the surface. And too big a trowel with smaller tiles will make it difficult to level the tiles.

7. Back Butter Large Tiles

When tiling a floor with large tiles, back buttering is a must. Typically I’ll spread the thinset mortar onto the floor and trowel through it. I’ll use the excess to scrape a thin layer over the back of the floor tile. This accomplishes two things:

  1. It keys mortar into any voids on the back of the tile.
  2. It ensures full coverage on the back of the tile.

If you don’t back butter large tile, you run the risk of having air pockets behind your tile which can sound hollow when walked on or cause the tile to pop up.

8. Use Leveling Spacers

Leveling spacers are a relatively new product, but I will never tile a floor without them again. I’ve tried several brands but prefer the wedge-shaped leveling spacers. The wedges are inserted into the tile spacer and ratcheted tight to bring tiles to the same height as the adjacent tiles. You can see how they work and how to remove the spacers in my video above. (It’s a lot of fun removing them as you’ll see!) Using leveling spacers virtually eliminates lippage on tiles.

wedge shaped tile spacer leveling two tiles

9. Clean Thinset Off Tiles

Anyone who has had to clean dried thinset mortar off tiles will never make the mistake of letting it dry on tiles. When tiling, keep your area clean. Be sure to clean off any mortar on surrounding tiles. In addition, make sure to clean thinset that squeezes up between the tiles. You want to make sure you have enough room for grout to set on top of the mortar.

10. Use Grout with Sealant

Grouting is the final step for any tile job, but if you didn’t add a sealant additive to your grout, you will need to seal the grout after the fact. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do after tiling a floor is hand paint sealant on all the grout lines. And if you skip sealing all together you’re going to hate keeping the grout clean.

11. Plan Your Transition Pieces Ahead of Time

One thing that will truly set your tile floor job a notch above is using sleek transitions. Personally, I prefer using Schluter profiles strips for my floor transitions. There are a variety of finishes, sizes, and styles. Some of the profile strips are laid under the tiles for a stronger bond. Others are installed after the grout has cured. In the Millie’s Remodel kitchen, we had a big change in height between floors. I ended up using the the Schluter Reno-V profile which has an L shaped piece that slides under the tile edge during installation. (You can see the way it works in my video.)

However, in the Saving Etta house, I used simple Schluter Schiene profile strips between tile and wood flooring.

How to Speed Up Your Tile Job:

It helps to have a helper when tiling. Once you mix thinset or grout, you’re on the clock. Both will harden within a set time. If you have a helper, you can give your helper the task of cutting tiles or changing out your dirty water buckets, or mixing more thinset mortar. Speaking of mortar, never mix more than you can spread before hardening. As an experienced tiler I try not to mix more than 1/3 of a 50 pound bag of mortar. Otherwise, you’ll be left with a big boulder of thin set when it hardens.

If you can’t get a helper, make sure to fill multiple buckets with clean water before you begin. It also helps to cut some of your perimeter tiles ahead of time.

Tip for Working with Grout: You can slow the curing time of your grout if you set your mixed grout into a second bucket filled with ice water to slow the curing process. I show this in more detail in my grouting tutorial.

Best of luck tiling your floor.  I know you can do this.