Honestly, I'm feeling sorta stuck with the kitchen.
The basics are done, but I want to finish it with some little touches to really pretty it up and make the kitchen special! But schoolwork is somehow getting in the way....
But here's something we actually have finished!
I present to you Our New Tiled Kitchen Backsplash!
Look! the tiles are straight!
And, we did it all by ourselves!
After watching the tile guy put in our shower, I decided that the tiling part didn't look too terribly hard (although I was so glad to have him do the shower--there was lots to do to waterproof the shower walls and to make the shower drain properly!)
First, we researched and researched. We looked here and here and here, too.
I wanted plain ol' subway tiles--they've been in style for over 100 years and probably won't be dated in ten or twelve years! Don't get me wrong--I love all the beautiful mosaics--but I'm afraid they may look too "2012" in the not-too-distant future. I don't plan on tiling the backsplash again! AND, I wanted the more old-timey look. To go along with my cool sink, of course!
Then we bought our materials:
Two hundred plain white subway 3X6 inch tiles from Lowes (the ones from Home Depot were more beigish, and I wanted WHITE!) @ $0.21 each = $50.40
Sixty bullnose subway tiles (with the edges) @ $0.68 each = $40.80
The glue (or mastic)--we purchased pre-mixed stuff because we didn't need a lot, and I really didn't have the equipment to mix up the mastic. One gallon of Omnigrip from Home Depot @ $17.85
The grout--again, we used pre-mix grout. Lots easier, though a little more expensive! One-half gallon of white grout (which was way too much!) @ $26.95
TEC White Unsanded Grout from Lowes
V-Notch Trowel, with the right size "V"s for your project. Ours was about $5.00
Large sponge @ about $3.00
A "float" trowel. There are different types so ask! We did and were directed to the correct float. One float @ $7.48
Something to cut the tiles: we used an inexpensive tile cutter that we saw the shower tile guy using, as well as my little Dremel cutting tool. One Tile Cutter @ $20.00
Brown Paper to cover up the countertops and sink (already had)
Total = $171.48 (plus tax)
We also gathered up a couple of buckets of water and lots of old towels.
Don't forget to buy extra tile! We also stored a few in case we ever need them in the future.
I found out that you want to spread only a LITTLE of the mastic at a time, but spread LOTS of the grout.
My Dearest Husband helped to cut tiles and clean up the messes I was making (especially grouting--he followed along and sponged the grout off the tiles). Together it took us about two five-hour days to finish. Total of ten hours (not including the shopping!).
The process wasn't hard at all. The subway tiles fit together so that they leave a space between them for grout. So there was no need for those little spacers! Just use your level to get started. Our countertops were level (we checked), so we just started from there!
Fitting the tiles around the sink was the hardest part. Even though I had planned out the placement of the tiles, I had to pull some tiles off and re-do that area.
If you don't wait too long, pulling tiles off isn't too hard. Just pull gently, then scrape off the mastic left on the wall and VOILA! You're ready to tile some more! But get the mastic off of the tile, too, or that tile will be useless with all the gunk dried on the back.
Our BIGGEST problem was that the cabinets aren't even from one side of the kitchen to the other! The cabinets on the right hand side of the sink are about 1/4 inch LOWER than the rest of the cabinets!
I had gleefully tiled all the way up the wall (to the bottom of the cabinets) on the left-hand side of the sink. The subway tiles fit perfectly! BUT this plan didn't work under the right-hand bank of cabinets.
ACK! RATS! What to do? Well, we quickly stripped off a couple of rows of tiles (making a Grand Mess of the wallboard) and decided to tile only the bottom 2/3 of the area between the counter and cabinets. Then we went and bought some more edging tiles to finish it off.
But, I REALLY like how it turned out, even with the unexpected and last minute changes. You can see above that we had to do some patching and sanding of the wall!
I wanted to do something a little different over the stove, making a border around the tiles in that area. I wasn't very brave, so it's sorta subtle!
Now that we've repaired and painted the walls, it really looks nice!
And I may even be brave enough to try more tiling some time----in a time far, far away---LOL!