Thursday, December 18, 2008

Crack Attack

This is probably the only time in my life that I will ask you to look at my crack. But I am not making any promises.

Crack as in joints between tiles in our kitchen's backsplash. Yup, that sucker is finally finished near completion. I only wounded myself four times - mostly with the scraper tool that I was using. But in the end it was worth all twenty-eight hours it took to clean the tiles, the thinset, then grout.

As you can see in the picture above, the thinset (or mastic, or mortar or whatever you wanna call it) squished out the sides of the tile as we adhered it to the wall. Why did we use so much thinset? Because our walls were uneven and we wanted to make sure it got a nice flush look.

So the thinset squeezed out into the cracks. We butted the tiles up to one another creating a very small space that the thinset embedded in. So we had the task of scraping the gunk out with whatever small tools we could find. That is what took 20+ hours.

Some of the rows of cracks came out easy. Some not so much. But you can see the difference even in this picture how the clean tile joints were darker...exposing some of the faint brown color of the sides. The filled cracks look like they have been grouted...but grout is very different.

So we scraped. and scraped. and hurt our backs scraping some more. Jeremy was a dear - offering to rub my back whenever it cramped. He wasn't so good at scraping so he helped do some of the million other things needed.

Tile under the cabinets got cleaned too. It is important to make sure you scrape that excess out because the grout is a cling on. Sort of like Star Trek. Just Kidding. Grout needs the cracks to cling to and have a place to hide...if it is filled with thinset, it will just get wiped away. If you skip this uber important step of crack-cleaning then you will have a very uneven looking grout line.

Here's me grouting away. I added the accessories post-download. I especially like my "that's what she said" earrings...but the Kanye West inspired sunglasses run a close second.

We definitely bought too much grout but that is ok - we will use it when we redo the bathroom floor. Oh and grouting is so fun. If I had to rank grouting in all home improvement would definitely be near the top of the list - along with demolition and anything that requires me to use the chopsaw :)

Our finished product! YAY! So the backsplash is 85% complete. We still need to add a couple bullnose pieces in various places...and tile behind the microwave (next to the fridge) but that will probably have to wait till Jeremy can recover from massaging my back!

Oh and if you need help on any kinda tile work - here are some links to some great resources for an intro course or a quick and dirty reminder of what next.

So now our pre-party to-do list is as follows:

  • 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


Kim & Ryan said...

I love that photo of you. I think it looks totally real, I never would have known it was added post-download.

I tagged you on the blog, but you look pretty dang busy right now. =)

Anonymous said...

Jen M said...

It looks great! Where do you find the energy??

LyndsAU said...

Cute picture of you! Love the Kanye glasses-haha! Things are coming right along and looking great!

Michael said...

Lookin' good!

Freckles Chick said...

Alright, but I'm only looking at your crack b/c you asked nicely. I'm insanely jealous of your backsplash (and your sunglasses).