Friday, December 12, 2008

Backsplash backlash

Who knew that your knuckles swell after tiling for 8 hours? I didn't. Why didn't you bloggies tell me? It would have been helpful info...any time someone posts about engorged body parts, I am interested. Don't make that dirty, girls :) I am talking about fingers, ankles, knees, even my thighs look bigger...and that is never good.

Ok - start over...

My goal is to get the kitchen/den area done for the upcoming Christmas party parties...this includes installing the ventilation hood (raise the roof!) and the tile backsplash.

Introducing our wee kitchen - hoodless and tileless:

Obviously, we don't branch out much with kitchen details. As you can see with our basic (albeit classy and warm) kitchen purchases, we tend to ask, "will this appeal to the masses?" when making choices. The countertop is black galaxy granite.
The cabinets were stock cabinets at Lowe's that we stained to match our wood floor (Bruce hardwood in gunstock).
The hardware is cut-out knobs and sleek handles from Lowe's (sorry don't know the name) but I do know that they passed Jeremy's comfort test. Apparently, knobs should be smooth to the touch, easy to hold, and have a solid, sturdy feel to them (or so the boyfriend said). And these got the go-ahead.
Back to the backsplash project...and here is our kitchen after day one that included 7.5 hours of tiling:

and after day 2 - running total of 16.5 hours of tile work:

Fortunately for us, when we centered the tile work on the range, the tiles also centered on the sink - funny, it worked out for us...this might be the first time ever! I was pumped.
Now we have this list still TO DO:
  • tile on opposite side of kitchen behind microwave
  • scrape any remaining thinset (or icing as Jeremy calls it) from the cracks.
  • clean the entire backsplash
  • grout
  • seal grout
  • install breaker so hood can get some juice
  • install hood
  • reattach any molding
  • paint window and trim
  • replace light above sink
  • sand kitchen wall
  • paint kitchen
Whew! Sounds like a lot, but I hope that we can get 75% of that list done by the end of this weekend. Does anyone have any tips for grout? I have done it once - but helpful hints are always loved! I have backsplash hints to share - let's swap!
If you are about to start any type of backsplash installation, here are some Bower Power tips to make your life a little easier:
Tape off the tops of countertops. Not all countertops are perfectly cut. Not all walls are perfectly straight. Therefore, not all countertops are perfectly flush with the walls. We had some minor cracks between the wall and the granite - and because I hate scraping thinset outta cracks, the tape gave us a barrier for any excess that squished out. It also made clean up a snap!
Add some support. We decided to begin the first tile by centering it on the range. After drawing our guideline on the wall, we added a supportive piece of wood to help keep the entire project straight and even. And every girl knows that gravity is not your friend when it comes to droopage.
Mark your cutouts with nails. We drove nails into the exact spots that the hood would be attached to the wall. Unlike a pen marking on the wall, the nails were stationary reminders of where NOT to tile that couldn't be covered with thinset. Also they were slim enough for me to get in there with my scraper to get the rest of the crack overflow.
Since the hood covers most of the backsplash anyway, the tiles we added in the center may seem a waste and redundant...but those tiles helped keep our spacing correct and even. They also added support to tiles above them.

Now that we have most of the tiling work done - I am really beginning to be excited about the finished product. It will be nice to only have to worry about what color curtains to put up. By then, hopefully my gargantuan fingers will be back to normal size. Nobody likes man hands. Just ask Seinfield...


Katie @ said...

Well I didn't know about the swelling fingers. Just the aching back! Guess I'm dorky... I miss a good tiling job right now. So I live through yours. It looks great!

Emily said...

Loove the black granite, subway tile and the stain of your cabinets. You have classy taste.

Laurel MacD said...

I love hearing about this. We're planning on doing our backsplash. Don't know where it lies in the list of priorities, though. Any tips I can get, I'll take. Looks great

mrs.leah.maria said...

I think that your choices will very much appeal to the masses! Good luck this weekend, holy crap girl, I do not envy you!

Kim & Ryan said...

I love love love the tile and the black granite.

That's not mass-style, that's class-style. =)

Cannot wait to see the hood.

LyndsAU said...

It looks great! I love the black granite!! Lookin' good!

Freckles Chick said...

Classy and timeless!! Anyone would love to have that gorgeous granite, those cabs, and a subway tile backsplash. OMG is that backsplash bee-yoo-tiful!

I don't have any tips on grout (seeing as how you definitely outrank me on renovation expertise) nor do I have stories about engorged appendages (giggle, snort), but I'm so excited to see the rest of this reno, I could pee.

Alicia said...

Here are ideas for tile mural installations , tips on framing the tiles and using field tiles to coordinate with the mural.. Considering the use of found vintage labels and a great way to showcase retro art.

Geri said...

Love the new cabinets and black granite. Looks like a lot of work, so I don't envy you. But it will be great when it's done.

G+D said...

It's looking fantastic Katie! Can't wait to see the final results!!

Michael said...

I love the black granite...can't wait to see the hood installed. Your home is absolutely stunning...down to every little detail!

*claire* said...

you all are so handy!!