Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tiling adventure, part 1

As I mentioned last week, we had our new beautiful granite installed in the kitchen on Friday.  So once it was in and set, it was time for the real fun to begin.  After lots of shopping and picture surfing, we've decided to put white subway tiles on the back splash.  We did look very closely at a white marble tile with some grey streaks in it, but the price difference was about double, and we just couldn't justify that.  If this was a house that we had plans to be in for years to come, then that would have certainly been more of a contender.  But, with a hefty price tag, we decided to stick to the subway tiles. 

We went to The Tile Shop in Sterling and they were extremely helpful.  Their tiles were a little more expensive than Lowes, but we felt that the higher quality was worth it.  They set us up with all of the necessary tools that we needed.  They even offer a free tiling class every Saturday morning, but we decided to give it a go without the class.

We used a piece of wood where the stove usually sits so that we could keep the same line across as the counters.  Once we had that nailed in, we had to cover the counters carefully.  Using both paper and a thick plastic drop cloth, we got every corner covered.  We originally put it down flush with the wall, but that was too close - the tile has to sit between the wall and where the cover was, so we had to move everything back about 1/2". 

So, huge bucket of gunk (the stuff that you put on the wall to get the tiles to stick...not the technical term) was mixed...tiles were out, and it was time to go.  Now, I've never laid a tile before in my life, and had no idea what I was getting myself into.  My job was to tile, husband's was to cut.  Since we were going for the subway look, each line alternated - so we started with a full one on the bottom row, then a half on the second, and so on. 

Apparently, come to find out, once mixed, you have 30 minutes to use the gunk before you have to throw that batch out and start a new one.  Thirty minutes goes incredibly quickly when you're trying to figure out what on earth you're doing.  So the first 30 minutes past...and there were a few choice words exchanged..and once we fully understood the situation, the second batch of gunk was much smaller!  After a little while we found our groove, and moved along the wall. 

I spread the gunk and tiled while husband mastered the wet saw and tile cutter.  We had a few little slivers of space that needed to be filled - under the microwave, around the sockets, and along the corner. 

Because of the subway look with the alternating seams, we used an incredible number of spacers.  We had to put 2 in each vertical seam and then 2-3 along each horizontal one.  In the end we used over 600 spacers.  I have had nightmares of those things falling out! 

We finished the placing of the tiles in 1 weekend.  Our kitchen really isn't very large, but the project is tedious, with having to place one perfectly level, straight, and with the right spacing.  Next step is to grout...and from what I've heard, it's a real pain in the you know what. 

We had high hopes of getting the grout done during the week, but with working, commuting, playing with Cady and dog sitting the neighbor's dog Oliver, we just haven't gotten there yet.  (I thought Cady was crazy...she is nothing compared to this dog!)  Looks like it's going to be a great Saturday morning project!

We Husband did get the faucet and new garbage disposal hooked up!  The sound of running water in the kitchen last night was such a sweet sound!


  1. Lindsey! It looks SO nice!!!! You guys are doing a great job!! I admire your hard work!!

  2. The tile looks great! I can't believe you guys were brave enough to DIY this!

  3. Looks so awesome. Love the tip about tiling lessons as the time shop. We want to tile our bathroom floors so watch out, we may hire you for guidance and help. I love DIY, but this is more "skilled" than some of my projects!

  4. "choice words" - ha! I bet! It looks so beautiful!!

  5. OMG your kitchen is looking amazing!! I'm so impressed w/y'all!!!

  6. I am so impressed!!!!

  7. It looks amazing! I want subway tile!

  8. The tile is beautiful, but I like the Elon COLLEGE tee-shirt!!!!!!