When we first started this kitchen project, it was just supposed to be a quick clean up with some small (ha) projects to increase functionality. Scope creep is real, friends.
So when we decided to replace the counters because we were adding the dishwasher, we had to take out the formica backsplash, which was not part of the initial plan. Now that we had to tile, I really wanted to do a marble subway tile, but this was supposed to be the cheap clean up project. It wasn’t smart to invest in something like marble tile if it was going to get torn out in a few years.
We settled on white subway with dark grout – but thats hardly settling. Its such a great look! I mean… check out these high end kitchens that have white subway tile!
So once we had the existing cabinets spruced up, the counters in place, stained and sealed, and the new IKEA cabinets installed, we were finally ready to tackle this project. My little brother, and experienced renovator, Pete bought us all the supplies, lent us his tile saw and then he and my dad came to get us started.
First we had to level out the uneven surface that was hiding behind the formica backsplash.
We added some drywall patches to level things out. To hide that surface on the exposed corner over the dishwasher, we used curved end tile pieces. The top exposed edge would be covered by the floating shelves we planned to install. The existing cabinets were not at all level, so we decided to draw a level line above the counter line and start our first row there.
That is as far as we got our first day on this project. Pete came back a few days later to help us out again. This time he taught us how to work the tile saw so we could try our hand at it. Bryan and I each took a side of the new IKEA cabinets while he continued working under the sink.
After this working session, Bryan and I felt pretty good about the process, so we finished the rest on our own.
We used our laser level through out the process to make sure our lines were straight.
With the tile up and the adhesive dried, it was time to grout!
Grouting was easier than we anticipated. We applied liberally, let dry the recommended duration and then washed off with lots of warm water.
After our initial success on these small sections of tile, we enthusiastically then grouted the rest of the kitchen.
But we did too much at once so much of the grout was extremely dry by the time we got to it to wash off. If you are going to grout yourself, work in very small sections! It was a lot of work, but we finally got it cleaned up.
After the recommended waiting duration, Bryan dehazed the tile and sealed the grout. The finished result is really amazing – especially since it only cost less than $150! Tiling really wasn’t as hard as I anticipated – I would definitely take on another tiling projects (half bath floor, I’m looking at you!)
Have you ever done any tiling work yourself? How’d it go? What did you wish you knew before you got started?