My Love Hate Relationship with Herringbone Tile: Part II

So, yesterday we showed you some of the play by play shots of this whole bathroom remodel delio, but for those that want to try tackling herringbone themselves, I thought a wee little tutorial might be in order. Overall – I’d say it’s an 8 on the toughness scale, but by George, it’s a beaut when your done with it!

When I’m starting any project around the house, pinterest is usually the first stop. Lots of inspiration, and often, actually helpful stuff! We found this amazing tutorial on pinterest, and I whole heartily encourage it’s use. Here is a picture from the tutorial that sums up your basic first cuts that will set the stage for the rest of the pattern.

How to install herringbone tile
Herringbone Tile Pattern

So per the recommendations, we got a Speed Square and got to workin’! Overall, these are the tools of the trade that we used for the herringbone cut on the tile:

  1. Speed Square $10
  2. Pencil (cheap!) 😉
  3. Ryobi Tile Saw ($150,  we have this one)
  4. 40 square feet of subway tile $64.00
  5. Mortar $14.37
  6. Grout $9.88
Supplies for tile installation
The Goods

It took a few cuts to get the hang of this whole triangle cutting process, and there were a few tile casualties along the way. That being said, subway tiles are .22 each, so it’s not the END of the world if you nick a few up.  I told Jay he was lucky we weren’t doing marble tiles! 😉 First, we measured out the triangle with the speed square, to cut off the edge.

How to Cut Herringbone Tile
How to Cut Herringbone Tile

Things we realized along the way. You pretty much have to do this cut free hand. We tried using a guide that the tile saw has on it, but it actually landed up creating more issues, with the tiles getting all jagged, and inconsistent on the edges. Here is the line up of the first few that got added to the scrap pile.

How to cut herringbone tile
The Land of Misfit Tiles

Many of these were useful later on down the road, but with their clipped corners and uneven edges, we had to put them on the shelf for later use. As we continued to move across the wall, additional cuts were needed. Once the tile was placed up on the wall, we just used a pencil to mark both where the start of the tile should be, and where the tile should end with the grout line. This helped us to make sure we had a really good guide for the exact line to cut once we had it up on the tile saw.

Installing subway tile
Making the Cut

After you have carefully measured and marked your tile, just line that baby up with the blade and let er’ rip! I practically closed my eyes for this part each time (note – I was NOT cutting), since it made my arm pits a bit sweaty to see Jay’s hand that close to a quickly moving, sharp blade. Happy to say we made it through the bathroom remodel with all fingers intact. :)

How to cute subway tile
Cutting the Tile

Jay and I had high hopes of busting this tiling job out in a weekend, and let’s just say it took more like a 2-weeks + 😉 Namely, since once the weekend is over, we just have evenings to work on it, so the schedule gets pushed back quite a bit. Overall, it definitely took extra time, extra patience and extra energy (I may, or may not have actually DONE all these things, ahem, patience) to do the herringbone tile, but it was SO worth it in my opinion!

Herringbone Subway Tile
Bathroom | After

I feel like my bathroom tile is a work of art now. Like a Louvre exhibit. That is either highly insulting to Rembrandt, or highly complementary to my hubby’s handiwork 😉 Here is a snapshot of how it looks all up, sans grout. I’m just so stinking happy it’s done. That mother was a beast! Check out the little niche we built-in for storage. I’ll have a post with the play by play on that soon.

Herringbone Subway Tile
Bathroom | After

And a final shot of the whole shabang. Yes, one tile popped out along the bottom. Jay will pop it back in, soon. :)

Subway Tile Herringbone Pattern
Bathroom | After

Now all we have left to do in this room is:

  • Paint
  • Install the new floor
  • Install the trim
  • Grout the tiles
  • Install the new built-in shelf
  • Install new lighting
  • Install new sink


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