Monday, November 1, 2010

Tiling the Backsplash

Last week I tiled the kitchen backsplash.
Here's a "during" pict.  I forgot to take a "before" I was so wrapped up in getting started.

As  you can see by the time I took this picture I had finished most of the project--note the area behind the range.

We chose plain white subway tile because it's so classic and another element of Christopher Peacock's "scullery kitchen."

If you look online for tiling directions you see lots of nice neat work spaces with tidy people.
Here's how it's really done:

This isn't my first backsplash. 
I learned a few things along the way.

- Rent a wet saw -gotta have a wet saw! I rented this one from Home Depot.  They offer two sizes, I got the small one.

-You don't want to mix the thin set and grout by hand.  Here's how I do it.

Yes, that is an old beater off a hand mixer attached to the cordless drill.  This is a lot like making cake icing.  I guess you could use a hand mixer, but mine died, so... 

-Start in the middle and work to the ends, but lay the tile out first to make sure you aren't cutting tiny slivers on the ends.  The smaller the piece, the harder it is to cut it to size.

It would drive me crazy if the tile wasn't centered on the faucet.  Luckily the pieces on the ends were big enough and I didn't have to "cheat" the first tile over too much.

Note:  this isn't the faucet we want, it's the one we installed to pass the inspection and get the Permit of Occupancy from the city.  I'm working on getting parts for the one we bought to go here--it's much prettier.

-Think through the whole project before you start.  The details matter.

I had to decide where to end the tile on the sides of the hood. I decided to end with a bullnose piece that comes just above the bottom corner.  In some magazine pictures of show houses the tile goes all the way up to the ceiling.  I wasn't feeling that. 


Another detail was ending the tile along the side.  I ended with bullnose in line with the front of the cabinet.--see above to the far right.

Among the details I missed were the outlets.
The outlets need to sit on top of the tile. At first mine were underneath.  A few tiles had to be redone.
And a little teeny patch had to be made--it'll be hidden by the outlet cover.

-Use a laser level. This is one tool I love, love, love.

Finally my last tip:

-Wear gloves.  Tiling is messy and ruins one's manicure.

Finally, the finished product: