Terra Cotta & Ceramic Tile
We have a lot of ceramic tile in this cabin: on the second floor bathroom, the first floor bathroom, the downstairs bathroom and sauna area, and on the kitchen backsplash. We also have a terra cotta tile going on the kitchen floor.
For more how-to, instructional information on the preparation and installation of ceramic tile, check out our Ceramic Tile category.
Second Floor Bathroom Tile Underlayment
After the rough-ins were complete, we installed a concrete backerboard on the walls around the tub. Then we sealed the joints with tape and thinset. This gives us a solid surface for ceramic tile that won't deteriorate when wet.
For the floor, we poured a mortar bed which is easier to level than backerboard. A layer of builder's felt protects the plywood and wire mesh strengthens the mortar.
We spread the mortar right up to the logs. The logs will shrink as they dry and pull away from the mortar creating a small gap.
In the second floor bathroom we used 4x4 tiles for the tub surround. On the floor we used a 1x1 mosaic tile in almond and jade colors. The pattern is a classic style from the turn of the century, which enhances our cabin's rustic look.
The sheets we used were pre-spaced for an eighth inch grout line. They go down pretty quickly over the main part of the floor.
For the tile next to the walls, we scribed and cut them with a tile nippers to follow along the logs. And we wanted to set them just short of the logs to leave a space for settling.
For the first floor master bathroom floor, we used a mix of raven and adobe mosaics, which match our fixtures. The design varies quite a bit from our other tile designs, but it is still reminiscent of the late 1800's.
For both bathroom floors we used a mushroom gray grout. We worked it into the grout lines and then wiped off the residue. And we made sure that the grout completely filled the spaces we left between the tile and the logs.
Kitchen Floor and Backsplash
On the kitchen floor we put terra cotta squares that were hand-moulded in Italy.
We had a tile contractor handle this job. He spread a thick layer of thinset mortar, combing it out in 3/4 inch ridges.
He set the 12x12 squares with a 3/8 inch grout space. Then he beat them into the mortar with a mallet. The tile surfaces are irregular so the trick was to keep them level.
These tiles were unglazed and could absorb moisture, so we applied a sealer to protect them from the grout and stains. We used a natural gray grout to match the natural look of the tiles.
Setting the ceramic tiles on the backsplash was a little more straight forward. These were hand painted in Spain featuring vegetables from a typical country garden. The full tiles are framed by smaller border tiles.
Organic mastic was used to secure them to the plywood under the cabinets. We made sure to leave enough room below for the granite countertop. White grout finished off these tiles.