Well…almost a finished room. It’s finished enough that it’s usable and we won’t do anything else in the main bathroom until we finish up some more important things in the house. I’m going to show you how we did our subway tile shower, and what we learned from it!

Let’s first look back at the before pictures. This was way back in July when we had the framing finished.

Main bathroom in construction


Then by the end of August the insulation was in.

Main bathroom in construction

Drywall and Paint

And then the first week of September we got our drywall contractor (Steve Rattray from Ottawa) to install the drywall, and my brother to come in and do the mudding.

Main bathroom new drywall

Then I primed and painted the whole house the second week of September. This paint color is called Intense White by Benjamin Moore, which is the same as pretty much the rest of the house.

Benjamin Moore intense white

Tiled Floor

We tiled the floor by the end of September. I bought this tile from the Habitat for Humanity Restore and I was so excited about it! It’s not very often that you can find a large quantity of the same tile at the Restore. But I found about 90 square feet (enough for both the bathrooms), for $1.25 a square foot, and I think it’s beautiful! That’s a win win. We installed the vanity and the toilet around the beginning of October. The vanity we got through Rock Solid Supply which does custom vanities. We got a 4 foot painted grey vanity with 1 sink, and a white quartz vanity top.

Grey and white bathroom

Subway Tiled Shower

We also started tiling the shower around the end of September. After tiling a shower, I now know why people use tub surrounds. Tiling a shower, especially with a window in it, is a LOT of work.

We started by installing the niche in the tile backer board. We used all the Schluter products for the whole shower, including the 12 inch by 20 inch shower niche (*affiliate link) with a shelf. Tony then caulked all the joints along the backer board with a water proof caulk.

Schluter shower niche

After the niche was installed, we used thinset mortar to install the Schluter membrane (*aff link) along the walls. Then just to make sure that everything was water proof, Tony used a water proof paint around the window and anywhere else he thought would be susceptible to water permeation.

Schluter shower kit

Then we started tiling. We chose a 4″ by 16″ white subway tile that we got from Ceratec in Ottawa, and a white and grey mosaic tile for the niche and an accent stripe.  We tiled a little bit every night for a couple hours after the kids were in bed. The picture below was after three nights of tiling.

Oversized white subway tile

More tiling

After that I pretty much took over the tiling while Tony was working on other things or taking care of the kids. It’s really not very hard to tile, it just takes concentration and attention to detail, and a really nice wet tile saw. After two more days I finished off the stripe of mosaic tile, and up to the ceiling on the right side.

Oversized white subway tile

I was getting pretty sick of tiling at this point, and feeling pretty discouraged. Tony and I are perfectionists when it comes to our own work, and we notice all of our own mistakes. Some imperfect cuts and tile placement and the huge mess got me pretty down and I really didn’t feel like doing much more. So we took a day or two off, and tackled the rest of it the following week.

Then after the tiling was done I cleaned out all the grout lines and all the thinset I had dropped all over the place. That took another couple of days to clean it all up, but I felt so much better about the shower once it was cleaned up.

DIY subway tiled shower


Then all that was left was the grout!  We chose a light grey grout to accent the white subway tile.  There are still a few things to finish off in the shower, like caulk along the very top and fix a few grout lines. We definitely learned a few things though from this tiling project. Small tiles are pretty tricky because of all the cuts. Walls are difficult because the tiles slump a bit. Mosaic tiles take a lot of fiddling around with to get them even and flat. We still have to tile the ensuite shower, but I will probably choose bigger tiles to make it easier on ourselves.

Subway tile shower with mosaic tile accent

This is the niche. I’m so glad that we did it. Even though it was a bit of a headache, it turned out quite nice and we’re happy with it.

Schluter shower niche

And here is the grey vanity with white quartz top.

Grey and white bathroom with oversized white subway tiled shower

The vanity light is the Canarm Maxine wall sconce that I got from Rona. I like a little bit of crystal to give the room some sparkle.

Grey and white bathroom

Still to do

The remaining things to finish off in the room are installing and caulking a few pieces of trim, then painting the trim and doors. But I’ll probably get to that when I get around to painting all the trim in the rest of the house. For now, we’re going to call this room complete!

Transitional door

7 thoughts on “Week 24: Main Bathroom With Subway Tile Shower – Finally a Finished Room!”

  1. Wow!! That certainly was a lot of work, but it sure paid off. That shower is gorgeous! You must feel so accomplished to walk into that bathroom.

  2. Looks fantastic! We feel the same way at about the three-quarter mark in our renovations – we notice all the imperfections that likely no one will notice and get discouraged but the end result really is amazing – well done!

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