Honing it in

I never really pay attention to thresholds.  Do you?  I mean…I do if they stub my toe or are cracked (like, ahem, in the boys bathroom) but in general, I don’t walk into a house and fawn over the perfectly placed and angled thresholds between the carpeted areas and tiled floors.  I do however pay attention to the Threshold line at Target….love that stuff.  Especially the ones that make it to clearance :)

Anyhoo…the threshold in the bathroom is a tricky thing.  We originally had placed the backer board all the way up to the carpeted areas.  That was a mistake in planning on our part.

When we realized that the marble threshold would sit higher than the herringbone tile and MUCH higher than the carpet, we started brainstorming how we could lower it and have less toe-stubbing and make it look like a smooth transition.  Our plan was to remove the strip of backer board and then attach the threshold directly to the subfloor.

Jeremy started by marking the line on both the closet door and the entrance door.  Then he took off his shirt and I got all hot and bothered :)

I mean…he started by marking the line and then whipped out the circular saw to cut the straight line.

Seriously is it hot in here or is just my pregnancy hormones?!  (is it inappropriate if I cat-call my own blog post?  just wondering)

After cutting his line, the strip of concrete board was pried up and we scraped the mortar underneath for a smooth starting point.

Some of you might be wondering why we put the threshold there instead of moving it closer to the door placement.  Well, ideally I would love if the closed door would rest directly over the threshold…but our issue was the carpet.  The carpet was already installed and if we moved the threshold under the door, it would have meant pulling back the carpet, pulling up the tack strips, cutting the carpet, reinstalling that whole section (possibly the entire wall) and risking damage to the trim and carpet….it just wasn’t worth it in our minds for a one inch strip of carpet not to show.

We got this 2 inch marble threshold from Home Depot and it cost about $8.  We did have to hone it ourselves so that it would match the floor tile (more on that in a second).  After we triple-measured it, we cut and installed it just like we did with the other tile….with a thick layer of mortar and pushed it under the door frame before we did the surrounding tile.

Honestly, I couldn’t find much information about whether a threshold should sit higher, flush or lower than the tile floor so we did what made sense to us….there was definitely different point of views on the subject.   We made ours slope down at an angle so that it would be slightly higher than the tile floor and slope down as much as we could to get it to meet the carpet comfortably.

This way it doesn’t stub your toe or make your foot feel uncomfortable if you step on the tile threshold itself.

Ok…so how did we hone the marble?  So glad you asked.   We had four different pieces to hone.  Two threshold pieces for the doorways (they were 2″ wide) and two pieces for the top and bottom of the shower niche (4″ wide).  Honing is taking all the shiny surfaces and making them smooth like a buttery baby’s bottom.  I love describing infant booties like a biscuit :)  And let me just disclose that this is the first time I have ever attempted this…

Okay…so see that polished surface?  It’s slick and shiny and great for polished tile (like what we have as our kitchen backsplash)….but not really great when you have an entire bathroom of honed marble.

After a lot of research, we decided to go with the ‘etching’ (using vinegar) and ‘sanding’ (using super high grit sandpaper) approach.  Some folks swear by just vinegar…and some just use sandpaper….I thought, let’s do both worlds and call it a draw.  I’m such a peace keeper.

So all you do is pour a small amount of vinegar on the surface of the tile and then immediately wet sand the surface with the 320 grit sandpaper and an orbital sander.  It is helpful to constantly move the sander back and forth at a regular pace and try to get all the edges as well as the entire flat surface.

If there are any slick areas after your sanding process, just take the 600 grit sandpaper and address them by hand.  Then you rinse your tile and you are ready for installation!  Easy as that!  We had great results and even the handyman that was hired to help us said that he had never thought of honing marble and it was a terrific way to save money (honed thresholds are expensive!) and all the materials were pretty basic!  I think my head grew like three sizes that day :)

Anyhoo…one more bathroom recap post….a behind the scenes look at our first film experience!  Ahhh!  It was crazy!  Stay tuned!