Time to tile!
The kitchen facelift is rolling now. The kitchen was in pretty good condition with solid and sturdy cabinets and shelves. I knew I couldn’t stomach the price tag for a real #demoday, so I came up with a frugal plan to bring some life into this kitchen. Paint, paint and then more paint. I planned to paint the walls, paneling, cabinets, backsplash, the countertops and the sink! Crazy I know, but I’d read lots of blogs full of people that pulled it off quite nicely. Plus I thought, why not, can’t look any worse right? After reviewing my plans with TechDad, he soon saw the obsessed crafter in me wanting to try and paint the countertops and sink! Okay it did sound a little crazy. So we totally scratched those ideas.
We looked into backsplash ideas and countertops. Again, everything was so expensive!! I really wanted white cabinets, some kind of grey backsplash and a “marble” countertop (there was no way I was shelling out for real marble). We finally decided on re-laminating our countertops. It was within our budget, (after I sold some more things on FB Marketplace) had the look I wanted, and we were confident we could DIY it. I saw an amazing blog post via Pinterest at myoldcountryhouse.com and fell in love with her kitchen. I’m also eyeing her amazing sink! Better start scouring the internet for the best deal on something like that too!
Okay, back to the backsplash. After a few months of looking into backsplash ideas, I was just going to cover my current tiles with wallpaper or something. But my tile had a weird texture, so that wouldn’t work, back to thinking about painting. Soon we had an offer, from family, for a very generous house warming present. They wanted to help us with a house project, and they chose to update my backsplash! I didn’t have to paint or cover up the backsplash, yay! We shopped around and found this beautiful skinny subway tile in linen grey from Lowes. It was in stock, so we could get started asap! Oh I could already see it with beautiful white cabinets!!!!
This project took around 40+ hours to complete. That was spread out over 3-weeks or so. I thought it was just a bit over a beginner level. If you can go slow and are detail oriented, it’s totally doable!
Our supplies included:
- wall patch
- Tile Quick
- unsanded grout (recommended for glass tile) in Bright white
- grout boost (a must, it seals up the grout)
- tile Sponge,
- grout float (I liked this skinny one for getting in tight spaces)
- cleaning rags
- Clorox wipes
- buckets (at least 2, 1 for mixing grout and 1 for cleaning after grout)
- tile saw
- diamond blade (specific for cutting glass)
- tile cutter
- glass tile nipper
We also used various tools to tear down the old backsplash like hammers, crow-bar, and whatnot. Along with using random towels and sheets to cover areas we didn’t want covered in dust or glass, we face-masked up and started the demo. And don’t forget safety glasses!
So with help from family we started on the backsplash. We tore out the old, prepped the walls, and started tiling. Sounds like it was all done in one day, but this was the longest part. It took over 20 hours in chunks of non-stop work, over 4 days. Now with a nice smooth wall, we can put up tile.
Nope, still one more step. We used this crazy TileQuick double sided tape mat instead of quick set mortar. It was so awesome to work with.
It made the tile laying process so easy to work little bits at a time. We had to be really careful and press the tiles on and hold till they set. After the first sections were stuck we stopped for the day, came back in the morning to find a few sheets of tile had fallen down! Luckily nothing broke, but we superglued those puppies to hold till we grouted. If we had to reposition we would apply superglue just to make sure it stayed.
Again, we had some wonderful family in town that helped us or rather did everything up to this point. They did all the difficult work, and got us started laying the tile and grouting before they had to head back home. We worked a little bit each night for a week or so till we finished…the sink side!
Then on to the cooktop side. I wanted to do something different above the cooktop to add a bit of character. I searched and looked at different designs or changing the tile in this section till I finally decided on a chevron/herringbone pattern.
I laid it out on the counter many, many times to try and make it look even. So nerve racking not knowing how it would look on the wall. I laid the rest of the wall and started in on the pattern. On the sticky backing it was quite easy to place gently and reposition to get it right!
Now up to this point we had just been using a tile saw, similar to this one. But I didn’t like how the tiny cuts in the pattern were being chipped. So we invested in a manual tile cutter too. It was just what we needed. It still wasn’t perfect, but I even checked with a glass cutting company and they couldn’t guarantee a perfect cut that small either. Over the next week we laid the rest of the tile, then grouted and finished! I kind of like it with the dark cabinets, maybe I’ll keep them…nah! Now I just have to decide what kind of countertops I want!