Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tiling


When I'm not shoveling snow, I like to kick back and install some tile.

I had a three-day weekend so I thought it was the perfect opportunity
to devote the whole weekend to getting the backsplash tiled. 


I can't stress enough the importance of planning.  You never want
to end up at the end of a row with a tiny sliver of tile.  If you don't
trust your math, why not just lay them out along your counter?
(Of course, you should use your spacers.)

I thought I would add a short backsplash on the sink wall
 of the kitchen so I did this little mockup with two rows of subway.



The tile will meet up in one corner of the kitchen so I'm adding the
same bullnose to the stove wall so that detail carries through on both sides.



All fairly easy until I got to my first outlet.  

I held a tile in place and marked out the sides of the outlet
with a black china marker.  Of course, I turned off the power
to the outlets before unscrewing them from the box.  One
thing I don't mess with is electricity!


Then I marked the bottom edge of the outlet.


And then drew the outline of the cut I wanted to make.



I bought a wet saw when I was replacing a bathroom floor
in my first condo ten years ago.  I recall it was about $100
at Home Depot and it was money very well spent.

It has an adjustable guide that will ensure straight cuts.


I cut down one side and then the other.

But now what?


I decided to make a diagonal cut just to remove a 
good amount of the tile I wanted to remove.



Then I made another diagonal cut to remove more.

I didn't quite hit the bottom corner but when I went to
make a second cut, it broke cleanly at the bottom edge.



With the remaining triangle, I made a series of cuts stopping
each time at the bottom edge of the opening.  These break
off very easily when you press on them.



All seemed perfect until I dropped it on the counter when
I was setting it in to place.  I kind of panicked at this point because
you'll also notice that the tile got stained from the terracotta-dirtied
water from the wet saw.  See it in the cracks?  I thought I might
have to come up with some other method of cutting the
tile...until I thought of painter's tape.

I mean, this stuff's supposed to lock out paint so maybe its
edge-lock technology would be enough to keep the
terracotta juice from staining my tile.


I left the "cut line" exposed and covered the areas
on both sides that might have gotten wet.

This worked like a charm!


This is my second attempt at the outlet opening with a piece
of tape down each side of the cut and one across the bottom.


This is what the back looks like.


After the first one, they're really pretty easy.

Also note that I cut the tile close enough to the top
and bottom to catch the flange of the outlet but not
close enough to cover up the screw holes.  So no spacers
are needed to bring the outlet flush with the tile.  But
I did need to get longer screws on some of the outlets.



I stupidly thought I could get this done in one weekend.
But everything takes at least three times as long as you expect.
And I'm not in any rush.  So what if it takes three weekends?
Slow and steady wins the race.



I really love that cigar detail a few rows up from the counter.
It makes it look a little more special.

Someone pointed out on my grout post that the ungrouted tile
shows you what dark gray grout would look like.

I kind of like it.


74 comments:

  1. Thank you for showing me that I will absolutely need to hire a professional when the time comes! LOL!
    Great job!

    xo

    Andie

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  2. The tape thing is brilliant. Hope you patted your own back on that one! It's looking great, and the pencil really does add a nice attention to detail. And no, I still vote white grout ;-)

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    1. I would but my shoulders are too sore. I knew I couldn't sway your opinion on the grout with your prison phobia and all.

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    2. White grout, me too. We used white grout for the tiles and it looks great. We always get compliments.

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  3. Genius! Pure genius! I learned so much from your photos today. What a great post!

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom.
    Karla in CA.

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    1. Will you be tiling something soon, Karla?

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    2. I have yet to attempt tiling but I am stockpiling tips and techniques for future reference. Your tip is at the top of the list!

      Have a great day!
      Karla in CA.

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  4. Staining might be removed with bleach/water solution. Soak and let dry thoroughly. Has worked on old stained cracked china.

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  5. You've done magnificent work. I feel a little seasick thinking about doing this myself now though.

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    1. I have to admit I was feeling really intimidated before I started but once you get going, it all goes away. It's only tile. And if you start with something that's 20 cents a tile, you don't waste much if you make mistakes.

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  6. I used that same tile in our florida kitchen and really regret not using grey grout. While the white grout is fresh, the entire tiled wall (I went up to ceiling) just fades away. The grey would have exposed the tile more and enhanced it. You are doing a great job. I LOVE the cabinets so much.

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  7. Looks great and I love that cigar detail you mentioned.

    And when did I move from southern New England to Oslo? I'm tired from shoveling as well!

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  8. Steve, you never cease to amaze me. Does this mean you may go to the gray grout, hmmm? Shows you how much I know about this, I saw your first picture and saw a bowl of rice...thought it was a post about chinese food. I was perplexed that you called it tiling.

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    1. Haha, I didn't even think about that the fact that it might look like rice. It's just my tile spacers in a handmade bowl from Studio Kotokoto.

      No, I won't do dark grout but I'd consider a light gray just to give a little bit of definition. Perhaps not even dark enough that you'd notice it's gray.

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    2. Amelia--I saw the first picture and thought it was popcorn.

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    3. Jen and I seem to have a one track mind :)

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  9. Super impressive. It does look like gray grout and I like it too but still think the white will look great and make the space seem larger. Slow and steady wins the race!

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    1. Thanks, Anne. I probably shouldn't have brought the grout issue up again.

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  10. I wish I had 1/4 of your patience to do such meticulous work. It is paying off for you--amazing workmanship!

    Deborah

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    1. Thanks, Deborah. I never thought about it as meticulous work but I guess it's similar to knitting or crocheting, doing the same thing over and over until you're done.

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  11. I had just come in from shoveling snow (yet again) and I busted out laughing when I read your line about shoveling and the tiling.

    Great job on cutting for the outlets. I had no idea that the tile could absorb the water from the cutting. The tape taught me something. Using the cigar detail to break it up a bit works nicely. And I like how you brought the lines up through it from the tile below. Are the outlets porcelain?

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    1. It took me a little while to decide what to line the cigar/pencil up with. In the end, I decided just up treat it like it was connected to the tile below since it was so small. I think if I had staggered it, then two rows of larger tile would be lined up and it would look funny. Does that make any sense?

      I don't think the outlets are porcelain; it's just my amazing photography.

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  12. I am at a loss for words..........oh, maybe just one.............BRILLIANT!!!!!!!

    All the best,

    Rob

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  13. You are so good. Your work is excellent. And, I really like the dark grey grout, too. A lot.

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  14. You are doing a fantastic job, just beautiful! I really like the cigar tile adds a nice dimension! I'm abstaining from all grout comments....... But all that snow is really WHITE.

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  15. These tiles look fabulous! I have enjoyed following along as you remodel the house.

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  16. It's looking so fantastic, Steve! Loving that wood shelf too. So great.

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  17. I was really interested to see how you did that cut.
    When they added the boarding area to the vet clinic the owners had me do all the painting and then they brought me stacks of tile, mortar and a wet saw. I had no idea what to do with it and they just showed me how to spread the mortar stuff and told me to figure the rest out. So I did and no computer for reference! I made some mistakes but if I say so myself, it looks pretty good! I cut into it in a similar fashion so that makes me feel good.

    About the grout, the grey would be cool but I still like white.
    Good luck with the snow. We had so much yesterday that I almost cried.

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    1. Not so hard, right? It just takes a little logic.

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  18. Steve, just fabulous! I love how it looks! I may even muster up the courage to install my beautiful backsplash tile all by myself!

    I am so done with snow! Ugh!

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  19. Gorgeous. Classic. All that jazz!

    I'm impressed with how zen it all feels-sometimes a lot of white can skew so cold and off-putting, but not here. It's a kitchen with soul.

    Will you do a vlog of the finished product?

    The kitties could be the hosts! They would be a YouTube smash for sure :)

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    1. I really love the color of this tile. Not a cold white at all. Very warm for a white.

      And, uh, no. Probably not a vlog.

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  20. Oh...this is looking good. I didn't know you were going to tile yourself. You are doing a great job. I always believe in doing yourself if you can because if you have attention to detail and a little artistic talent...you'll do better than a professional you'd hire. I learned this the hard way when I hired a professional to tile my fireplace. I should have just done it myself. This makes me want to tile my kitchen so badly! But I'd want new appliances at the same time and new counters....so it's not going to happen for a long while. I'll just have to live vicariously through you.

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    1. I kind of agree with you, Nita. Unless you're paying top, top dollar for a job to be done, no one is going to be put in the time, thought and effort than when you're doing the job for yourself. This is how I felt when I was working with an architect. I ended up doing most of the work myself and used them just to do my drawings.

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  21. Lovely tile! I will have to keep that tape trick in mind.

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  22. I love that tile! You might want to consider using a 25/75 mixture of grey/white grout...it'll give you a little contrast but won't be "in your face" I used 50/50 in the kitchen and I love it...I used white in the bathroom and love that too...you've done a great job on the tile...can't wait to see the final reveal...enjoy!
    am

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    1. I didn't even think about mixing. You're so smart!

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  23. I love that little cigar detail as well..it IS SPECIAL! just as you are! Fabulous job Steve,
    xo Nancy

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  24. Nothing is so satisfying as a job well done ... unless it's a job that you have done well - yourself! It looks great! Every time you walk into the kitchen, it will feel good because of the love and care you have put into it. The color of the grout isn't nearly as important and the color of the love. Great job!

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  25. It's looking awesome!! I love the tile you chose- can't wait to see the everything else!

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  26. I saw the first picture and read the first line and thought you were laid back enough to be eating popcorn while you were tiling.

    I'm impressed, especially with the cigar line --I so admire your attention to detail.

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    1. I guess I failed with that photo. I guess I should have zoomed in a little more so you could see they were tile spacers.

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  27. LOVE IT!!! Good for you for tackling this yourself. I am impressed. I kinda like how dark grout might look too.
    Claudia

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  28. Steve, you're amazing! I'm so impressed!
    Ruth

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  29. Hi, Steve,

    The room is looking great, and you are so wise to resist boxing yourself into a deadline. I painted the outside of my house by working on it for only four hours at a time. It took a lot longer, but you know what? It didn't seem like work, and I don't remember it as work. That cigar line is a nice touch!

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    1. Perfect way to approach any project, if you can. That is how I have painted the interior of my house over the last 4 years. Just a little at a time and I am almost finished!

      Karla in CA.

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  30. I agree with you on a light grey grout, I think it will look great. I have also been debating the white or grey grout, and after seeing your tile not grouted, I really like the look. I thank you for helping with my decision.

    Deidre

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  31. Positively dreamy ! You expert tile setter , you !
    lol about the shoveling.

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  32. looking so nice. i am starting to have backsplash envy.

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  33. It looks so amazing, Steve, and I think we talked at one point about seeing the light gray grout in our kitchen in Beaufort. I'll send you a link!

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  34. Nice job on the tile-please pick a grout color by flipping a coin-you can't go wrong.Or draw a color from out of a hat. Can't wait to see what you pick.

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  35. It does show what gray grout would look like...tempting I know...but I am sure you are going with white if so the romance is over....just kidding!

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  36. Wow!!: I'm impressed that you are doing your own tile work. Great job!

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  37. This looks beautiful ... I admire your tenacity to get this done!! I'm struggling with my backsplash right now!!

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  38. Steve!!! You never cease to impress. Your attention to detail and your readiness to roll up your sleeves always cheers and delights me. :)

    Xo Terri

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  39. Wow! I am so impressed. And amazing what a little cigar tile can do to dress things up. I think you'll like light gray. We used white grout with our white subway in our kitchen and I think the light gray offers a bit of definition as well as some long-term insurance against showing dirt. I mean, it's a kitchen, and there will be food messes.

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  40. Looks amazing! so excited for the final reveal! - thanks for sharing the process with us!

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  41. I won't even say the g-word

    I worked on curtains this weekend. Oatmeal Warsa linen from Greyline Linen fabrics, black out liner, 108" length, french pleats. Like wrestling an alligator at times. I only finished half, but like you am in no rush and I am just glad that the first one looks just like I wanted. Phew

    Judy Brown

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  42. Yes. I knew you would like it. Dark.

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  43. Of course you have a wet saw! The tile looks great, but that stove? Seriously great.

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  44. Man? You are awesome! That must feel so amazing!

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  45. I just "found" your blog and have been reading it like a good book. I love your plans, photos, style, and writing. I'll keep reading. April, Hartford Wis.

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  46. Oh for goodness sake. All of you DIY people are sick. I mean you just aren't afraid of digging in there and doing whatever it takes to get it done and save money. Sometimes I just get so tired of trying to figure out the cheapest way to do something....I just want to win the lottery and call people to do it all:)

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  47. Love your tile and your style in general. I know I read it somewhere but could you tell me the name/brand of your tile and where you bought it? I live in an old Victorian in Boston as well. Thanks!

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    1. Thank you for the compliment, I appreciate it. The tile is made by Horus Art, the style is Tiffany and the color is Biancho Crackle. It came from Roma Tile in Watertown. They have a few good white subway options and different price points so they're all worth checking out. I've been really happy with the service at Roma Tile too.

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