Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tiling Job - Finally Done

Well, it took us 3-4 weeks instead of the 3-4 days we had hoped for, but our kitchen counter tiling project is finally complete.  Here is the finished effect.

The actual process was quite the protracted experience.  This is the first time we, my hubby and I, attempted tiling, though we've discussed doing various tiling projects for years.  It started with demo'ing the old countertops, and building new subcounters, which I covered in my previous post.

We laid out and preplanned the tiles as much as possible, using little spacers to keep the gutters consistant.  In actuality, after the grouting and everything, there's areas I wished we'd gone tighter on, less spacing, but I swear those tiles shrunk after we laid them.

There was a question of what to do for the backsplash, have it go all the way up the wall to underneath the cabinets, or just do 6 inch tile backsplash like the previous setup. The question on tiling up to the cabinets was where to end it on this one section of countertops.  At Home Depot we found this lovely 12 inch mosiac tile for $20, and decided to use it as a centerpiece over the sink area, and do the 6 inch bullnose tiles on the rest of that counter, except for behind the stove, where we took the tiles up to under the cabinetry.  We laid out the mosaic in a frame with rope edging tiles to create a picture effect, using leftover tile pieces to determine our pattern and later cutting the tiles to fit.  This was the fun part of the project.

Spreading that mortar stuff on was like frosting a cake, but you couldn't lick your fingers.  You did need to be quick about wiping up any drips that happened, tho, we were constantly cleaning up.

Here it is starting to take shape.

We took all the measurements of the tiles we cut out for the mosiac over the sink and drew the pattern out before we laid it.  Shortly after we took this picture and added the rope edging, we realized it was too far down the wall by an inch and had to pry everything up and move it up an inch.  So much for our math skills. 

Our sink is the third sink we brought home. The first one was slightly bent and was taken back right away.  The second one we tried twice to install, both times having to remove and clean up the silicone we were using to install it with, one of the sides curved too far off the countertop, so didn't sit flush.  Finally wound up with this one, which we really like.  A few more hours for my hubby to reconnect all the plumbing parts, some sealing of grout and other areas, and we are done!

I'm still in recovery mode from this project.  It absorbed the most of my time for 3 full weekends, and between this and some very trying issues at work, I've been overdue for an extented relaxation period. So I'm finally getting my energy back, and will attempt to get back to normal.  Much easier to do when you can use your kitchen again.

I am linking up with Cielo at the House in the Roses for Show Off Your Cottage Monday.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Three weeks ago we started what I hoped would be a 3-4 day project. We wanted to replace our old kitchen counter, with its cracked tiles and chippy sink, with new tiles and sink.  I hoped to be able to get the most of this accomplished over the President's day weekend, with my hubby starting demo on Friday, while I was at work.  Go ahead, laugh.  I'll wait till you catch your breath again.

I really was hoping that after he removed the old original ceramic tile we would be able to use the plywood and concrete board that was there, maybe with some sanding and cleanup.  Instead, what he found after chiseling away the tile, was something called mortar bed decking, which is essentially a concrete-type mix poured over a layer of wood slats, roof decking and chicken wire.  What a mess!

So after that was all removed, we had to build a new subcounter.  This involved bringing home plywood and concrete board.  Which we then hauled back to Home Depot to get more correct sizes.  Actually, we were able to have them make a few cuts on the plywood for us, which helped a lot. The second piece of concrete board was in a smaller size, since we figured out we didn't need the 1/2 inch stuff we thought we needed, so we got something called Wonderboard. Easier to work with, but still took us putting a tile blade on our circular saw for cutting.

Sunday evening we were cutting the hole for the sink at probably 9:30 pm.  I do hope my neighbors had the next day off, like I did. No one came to complain, and remember, I live in a condo, so I'm sure they heard plenty.

My hubby stayed up till about 3 am drilling in all those screws into the Wonderboard.  I'd been up 20 hours, most of which would working on this, and had reached my max.  The next day we got to start tiling. Shall I state here that we didn't get done?  Tee hee, I'll expound on this next post.