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Ensuite


The ensuite is now far more practical and attractive in every way. The removal of the bath and relocation of the door were the crucial factors in improving the layout. In addition the area is now well waterproofed and ventilated. The cost of the two rooms - including blinds, lighting and floor treatments - adds up to a little over eight and a half grand.

Dealing with confined spaces - colours, textures
I broke the "rules" here, as usual in a small space that doesn't have much natural light, keeping it light and simple is the key. Since the room is a tiny box I thought it needed a bit of punch to give it character and interest. This is achieved by using contrasting colours and textures.

For durability the paint (on the ceiling and the three walls) is semi-gloss enamel. The white mosaics were used for texture, keeping the darkest wall light, but interesting.

Note: Remember when you do any work to your ensuite it will require building consent, you have to replace the glass in your bathroom with safety glass. So remember to add this in to your initial budget.

The importance of ventilation
Ventilation is one of the most important factors to consider in your bathroom or ensuite, without it your substructure can deteriorate. 'Moisture is not your friend!' Extractor fans are available in various sizes and watts, and shouldn't be skimped on.

The importance of lighting
Lighting is not only required for function, but can be a great feature. Make sure to supply plenty of light, especially near mirrors, watching out for shadowing.

Flooring options - benefits of each
When putting down your particleboard there is one side that is sealed and it's clearly marked 'this side to joist'. Make sure this side goes down because it protects it from the elements. Any off cuts you should mark which is the down side.
When fixing particleboard use screws or groove nails. Space them at a minimum of 150mm around the edge.

Aqualine comes in 10mil for painting and 30mil for tiling.

Ceramic or Porcelain tiles - Very clean look, very serviceable, but cold underfoot and not sympathetic to falling objects! Vast range of prices, colours, sizes and styles and can save you money by laying them yourself.

Vinyl or Linoleum - Vinyl is thought to be a cheaper option, but the best vinyl work's out quite expensive, especially when the labour cost is included, as it is hard to lay to a professional result. Again, there are many different colours and qualities available.

Timber - Lovely, natural look and feel, but not as serviceable in a wet area, although there are some well sealed options available. Large range of prices and finishes are available.

The importance of lighting
Lighting is not only required for function, but can be a great feature.
Make sure to supply plenty of light, especially near mirrors, watching out for shadowing.

Waterproofing membrane
Because we are having a seamless entry level frameless glass tiled shower, it is crucial to have the essential waterproofing product to seal the structure from the water. It is a specialist trade, use an accredited applicator, your bathroom depends on the waterproofing being done right.
Waterproofing should be applied in accordance with relevant standards and written instructions supplied with your waterproofing product. Your waterproofing will need to be inspected by your Building Inspector, once dried, or a Producers report supplied.

Note: Liquid applied membranes used in wet areas must be allowed to cure sufficiently to perform correctly. They are often applied before concrete floors have dried sufficiently and moisture from the floor slows the curing process. If the tiles are laid before full curing has occurred, the tile cement will not bond, the membrane will not be waterproof and the tiling will fail.

Waterproofing wet area floors (bathroom or laundries etc.)
- You will need to apply 2x coats of Liquid Flash II to area
With a minimum thickness of 1.2mm
- Waterproofing applied below or above the screed
- Apply 100mm up the wall & hob
- Allow 3-4 hours between coats

Waterproofing showers
Waterproof 1.8m up the wall and 1.5m in a horizontal radius from the rose. (Waterproofing is ceased at shower, when screen is provided)

Floor levelling compound
'Cemix Easyflor' is a "ready to go" floor levelling product (just add water) formulated to allow fine feathering (and will take mechanical sanding). It can be used on all types of concrete and timber floors where a level surface is required prior to the laying of floor coverings. Timber floors that are subject to movement will cause the topping to crack.
Covers 3 m sq at 6mm thickness per 25kg bag.

Painting the ensuite walls
The ensuite will combine tiles and paint so getting the order of application right is important. I have four walls and a ceiling to do, so I am going to start with painting the ceiling so if I splatter the walls or the floor with paint it won't matter.

I will then give the walls 2x coats once that is done.  I can move onto tiling the wall with the mosaic tiles. This isn't the most obvious way of doing it, but it will save me from cutting in later around the mosaic.

Once I have tiled the wall I can start on the floor and get out of the way so I am not standing on wet tiles or getting splatters of paint on them.

Tile cutters
For mosaic tiles, especially glass mosaics use a diamond tip angle grinder. For larger ceramic tiles use a good quality tile cutter. Hire one if necessary, it will be well worth it.

Once you have marked your tile line it up on your cutter, scribe a line and use the lever tool to snap the join. Using an angle grinder is a bit more difficult. Work on a sturdy surface (I had an off cut of MDF), weigh down your marked tiles, use safety goggles and be very careful operating your angle grinder.

Tiling the mosaic wall
Plan exactly where your starting point and joins will be before you start. For example, with the mosaic wall in the ensuite, I chose the window frame to be where I had the least cut tiles, it is more obvious to the eye, than the corner, ceiling or skirting edges. 

- Make sure you have enough tiles to finish the job before you start. Most tiles may not always be available.  

- I marked out two sheets length down from the window frame and positioned a temporary timber batten as a starting point. It is most crucial for this to be level as the whole wall will be out otherwise. 

- Always use a notched trowel and apply enough adhesive at a time to work in an area that you can achieve, without the adhesive going off/drying up. You usually have about 5-10 mins to lay your tiles. 

- From there I laid the two sheets above to meet the window frame and then worked around the window and outwards, towards the walls and ceiling, check levels as you go and using spacers to get the joins even. 

- Then remove the batten and lay the last few rows. 

- Wear goggles when cutting tiles, and clean up as you go. Keep a bucket of water handy to wipe off excess glue and grout, when it dries it is difficult to remove. 

- Allow the adhesive to dry before walking on, applying any pressure to it, or grouting. This would normally be around 24 to 48 hours.

Tiling walls and floors
Prepare the surface to be tiled by making sure the surface is flat and free of grease and dust. Fill any holes or cracks and remove any loose paint or wallpaper. In areas subject to moisture especially showers, use a waterproofing membrane to seal walls before tiling. Tiles and grout alone are not 100% waterproof.

Plan your layout, get the first row of tiles level and in the right position is most important, as this will determine where all the other tiles are placed. Normally you will start from the centre of a wall with either a tile or grout joint placed on the centre line whichever will give you the largest piece of tile when you reach the corner. It is important to check your levels. Try to avoid small or narrow cuts; tiny pieces tend to make the job look unbalanced.

Grouting
Once the adhesive is dry, mix a small amount of grout and work it well into the grout joints using a grout float or rubber squeegee. Remove the excess grout from the surface of the tiles before it dries with a damp sponge. Have a bucket of clean water and rinse the sponge often. Wring out as much water as possible from the sponge and lightly wipe all the grout off the tiles until the tiles look really clean when wet. 

Don't let grout dry on the tiles, and don't grout too big an area at one time before you start cleaning the excess grout off the tiles (it may take longer than you think).

After you have sponged off the grout so that the tiles look clean when wet and as the job dries there may be a light grout haze that develops but this haze can be buffed and polished off the tiles the next day. This buffing acts like a good cut and polish. Change your water often when cleaning the grouting off the tiles especially for that final once over. Putting grout haze remover in the final rinse often helps too.

Mix the grout up according to the instructions, unless using pre-mixed.

Remember a grout additive will make your grout perform better for little cost and you can also seal your grout. After the grouting has fully cured, 1 to 3 weeks use a grout sealer and seal your grout. This is a simple and easy way to make your tiling look better longer and also make cleaning a lot easier.

We do not recommend using white grout on floors but if you must, use an epoxy grout to avoid it staining. Normally floors are grouted with a light, medium or dark grey, charcoal, black or terracotta as these colours will be a lot easier to maintain. 90% of floors are grouted using a shade of grey grout.

Shower installation  - The shower tray
The walls should be checked to ensure they are both plumb and square, the floor should be checked for level. 

- Place tray on the floor and do not remove the plastic covering film until the installation is complete. 

- Scribe the wallboard around the tray. Remove the tray. Cut out the wallboard within the marked area. Replace the shower tray and ensure that it fits into the recesses you have cut in the wallboard, (alternatively the tray may be placed in position and levelled and then the wallboard fixed to the framing around the tray.  

- Mark the floor through the waste outlet, remove the tray and cut the floor to allow for the waste. Do not exceed 170mm square. 

- Apply two beads of Shower bond adhesive to the underside of the tray and place in position.

- Connect the waste trap.

The shower wall
Trial fit shower wall lining by aligning one vertical edge 5mm inside the front edge of the tray and then push the sheet back against the walls until the other vertical edge aligns with the opposite front edge of the tray. The wall lining should now be in its final position touching the anti-spill edge of the tray. 

- Scribe lines on each wall around the wall lining. 

- Mark and drill/cut the holes in the shower wall lining for the shower fittings 

- Ensure the wallboard and shower wall lining surfaces are free of dirt, dust and grease.  - Apply a continuous bead of silicone sealant (approx. 10mm diameter) along the length of the anti-spill of the shower tray. Working on one wall at a time, apply a 5mm bead of shower bond, starting 10mm in from the corner of each wall, apply a vertical bead of adhesive then continue to apply at 100mm centres. (From start to finish the application of adhesive should take no longer than 15mins. Any delay may cause the adhesive to 'tack off') 

- Place the wall lining in position and press firmly in to adhesive. 

- Bracing is not required. 

- Peel off the protective masking film from the wall lining. 

- Commence installation of the shower door. 

- Scrape away any excess silicone sealant and clean up with white spirits

- Door and return installation can proceed straight away without having to wait for the wall lining adhesive to cure. 

- Complete installation by fitting tapware.

Silicon sealing
Silicon seal, all the edges around the tiling, as this is essential, as is sealing your shower. It's a difficult and sticky job, but with patience and a little know-how&it can be a DIY job. 

- Make sure the joint is clean and clear of dirt and grease.  

- Make sure the nozzle of the cartridge is a similar hole size to the gap you are filling. 

- Take your time to consistently fill the gap.

- When you have done a reasonable length, spray the strip with water & detergent mix, and then use your finger to gently smooth out the silicon. The detergent will help the silicon even out and keep it off your fingers, and the water will help seal the silicon. 

- Be careful not to get the water mix in the gaps you haven't yet sealed!  

- Choose a silicon colour similar to your grout or appliance colour.

Cavity Slider
We didn't have the luxury of space in the bedroom or ensuite. A cavity slider costs more than a regular door, but by using one, this afforded us enough space to have a well planned and laid out ensuite.

This is not a DIY job, we recommend you get your builder to install your cavity slider.
Cavity Sliders come with full comprehensive instructions but there are a lot of elements that you need to take into consideration when installing a cavity slider that only your builder will know about.

- Cavity Sliders are non load-bearing elements, they require the lintel (top piece of the door) to span the full trim size opening width.
- Be careful not to let any dirt, grit or aluminium swarf into the track as this will impair the smoothing running of the carriage.
- Care must be taken when nailing skirtings. Do not hammer too hard against the bottom plate as this may damage the channel through which the door guide runs


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