That Was Easy

Like I said yesterday, we didn't make any big plans for the long weekend because we thought we'd be moving back into our basement this weekend. We could have packed up and gone to S's parents summer house, but one of the carpenters was working yesterday and we didn't want to risk leaving the house unlocked when he left at the end of the day. So we stuck around and spent a little time with our friend Google....

And discovered that tiling is super easy and really not that expensive at all.
We bought the tile for our kitchen backsplash weeks ago and toyed with the idea of having the guy doing the tile downstairs also do the backsplash for us. We thought that since they'd have all the tools already, the cost might end up being a wash. Their quote to tile 25 sq ft of kitchen backsplash was right around $300 (not including the cost of tile). The cost for our supplies was $75 and that doesn't count the bag full of stuff we didn't use and can return. We borrowed a wet saw, which cut out the $90 rental fee.
We didn't really have an in-depth discussion about doing the tile ourselves. S mentioned it in the morning and I said, "we're at our budget for the basement, so saving $225 might be nice." We also have a few other small, but imminent house expenses and we could really use that $225 elsewhere - like upstairs where we want to install a set of pull-down stairs for access to our attic and it's vast storage potential.

Given how much we (S) usually mull over every single decision around here, I was a little shocked to walk in at 4pm and see S, covered in tile dust, smiling at the two foot section of wall he'd just completed since starting at 3:30. "Oh thank goodness you're here," he said, "how do you want me to cut the corners?"

Well then, I guess we chose to tile ourselves.

I became the corner calculator and the master tile spacer. You'd think that sheets of mosaic tile would just stick up and be just right, but the long straight lines between the rows needed to be carefully adjusted under at least half of the tiles. I am positive that any person we hired to install the tile would not have been as compulsive about spacing the tile as I was. It was easy, but a little time consuming.

S cut and stuck, I adjusted and Feeney guarded the tile.
I'm not sure if you can see on the boxes here, but I marked them A, B, C and D so that we could alternate boxes as we made our way around the kitchen. Apparently rotating through all the boxes helps to conceal the color irregularities between each box.

We were super lucky that the counter to cabinet height was exactly one and a half sheets high, so we didn't have to make any horizontal half cuts of tiles as we circled the room until we got to the window. We had to cut for the outlets, which involved cutting so the longer end came as close to the outlet as we needed and then filling the short space with tiles cut in half vertically.
S got a call for work at 9pm that needed immediate attention, so we stopped for the night just after rounding the second corner, near where we keep our toaster oven. Even though we were super tired and getting pretty cranky with each other, S still proclaimed that tiling and easy and I'm pretty sure he threw out a "fun" in there too. Fun; that could be a first.

We got up this morning, had some eggs (clean pan on the stove got covered with tile dust) and got back to work where we left off - our goal being to finish by noon.
Mission accomplished.
We decided to go straight across at cabinet height when we reached the window, and to continue at the same height on the left side. The other option was the end just at the little shelves and then continue at the under-window height. We called for a vote and my parents, brother and S all voted for straight across. I think it looks pretty good.
And the straight across at cabinet height works well because we also did the same at the end of the wall before the island/peninsula. It made sense to go full-height here because this is the nook where I do most of my cooking and the wall can get pretty dirty when stuff is a' flyin' out of the Kitchen Aid.

We're really happy with how the marble tile we chose blends with the counters and the cabinets. I wanted to down-play the creamy yellowish tones in the cabinets and bring out the gray in the granite counters. We weren't convinced our plan would work from the small 4x4 sample we brought home, but we chose it because it was the closest we could get without blowing our budget. The tile definitely does what we want. It has just enough off-white tile that it matches the cabinets, enough gray to bring out the gray (and downplay the brown) in the counter, and lots of white to neutralize everything. We really couldn't have made a better choice for the colors we were working with.
We need to let the mastic dry for at least 24 hours before we grout, but we think we may let it dry longer. When we were tiling this morning I was still able to easily adjust tiles we put down last night, 12 hours earlier. I guess 12 hours is only half the time needed to dry, but maybe we'll just make grouting next weekend's project. Hopefully that's just as easy as tiling.

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  1. really beautiful....looks great!!!

    i love your kitchen!!!!

  2. it looks so lovely- great color choices! glad it was easy, too! how often does a DIY project end up easier than you think?!

  3. The tile choice is perfect! Great job!

  4. I LOVE the backsplash. It looks great with the counter. Awesome that you were able save $$ and do it yourself!

  5. Words cannot express how glad I am I stopped by! I've been taking a blogging break because I've felt so unproductive. I feel inspired and thats the tile I've been visualizing in my head for months!!

  6. the tile looks awesome! We recently did our kitchen backsplash too, but it took us a LONG time. Definitely simple, but time-consuming! We also had a lot of places where full sheets didn't fit, you were lucky!!


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