My FIRST of [hopefully] many blog posts!
For Christmas this year Wes bought me my precious Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Let me have a moment to gush about how much I love it and it’s way of making things look and taste ten times better..Mmm!
Wes is my boyfriend by the way- he’s equally amazing! I’m sure he’ll love that I’m comparing him to the mixer.
Anyways, we have been renovating our home over the past year and have neglected to do much in the kitchen- which is silly since some of us spend A LOT of time in there. That was until I got the mixer! It just didn’t look right sitting upon an old, desperate looking counter.
Conveniently enough, Wes was gifted a wet-tile saw.. Of course light bulbs flashed and sparks flew [in my head] -we’ll tile the counter!
And so the reno began..
First we removed the electrical outlets and the old back splash. And disconnected the faucet and removed the sink- the grunge under the lip of sink was NOT pretty so I soaked it for a few minutes with water and vinegar and wiped it clean.
We decided to cut the edge of the counter square to make it easier to tile and removed the drawers so they weren’t in the way of the saw.
Next, we laid out our tiles in the pattern that we wanted and Wes made the cuts that were necessary. We used pennies rather than tile spacers to get a thinner grout line.
While Wes finished making cuts I started to mix the mortar. This is a messy, tedious step! Especially when you don’t have a concrete mixer attachment for your drill. You want the consistency of peanut butter, but I’m telling you- that stuff is heavy to mix by hand! I was even tempted to whip it up in the stand mixer, but shot that idea down fast after envisioning cupcakes iced in mortar.
We then spread the mortar and and set the tiles!
By the end of Day 1 we had the counter top tiled and the mortar cleaned off the tops- another time consuming messy job!
But the end result was nearing!
We started Day 2 by laying out the pattern for the back splash and again, making the necessary cuts. This was a little more time consuming as there were a lot more cuts because of the detailed design pattern. We went with square tiles separated with a thin band and finished off the day by cleaning and preparing the grout lines by removing the mortar that seeped up the sides of the tile and into the cracks.
Day 3 we began by sealing the tile with a high gloss sealer and waited the recommended hour before grouting. We sealed before grouting because we found that most DIY sites said this step would help to make the grout clean up easier and since we were using a matte tile and wanted more of a glossy finish we figured doing this would help us achieve our desired “look”.
Mixing the grout was a lot easier then mortar as the consistency needed to be more like mayonnaise rather than peanut butter.
I don’t care what anyone tells you- grout is not easy to clean! The less mess you make while trying to fill the gaps the better, obviously! If you’re not professional tilers, which we definitely are NOT I would certainly recommend you only grout a 3 by 3 section and clean the tiles as you go- otherwise you will spend HOURS of your Sunday evening cleaning and scrubbing, and cleaning and scrubbing and cleaning and scrubbing..
We found that having one of us clean the tiles with a damp sponge and the other following behind with a dry cloth really helped to remove that grout “haze”.
The best way to test if your grout is dry is to press your thumb nail into it- if it leaves a mark it’s not dry, if it doesn’t than you’re ready to seal!
We used a grout sealer ‘spray’ from Home Depot to saturate the grout lines and wiped away the excess with a damp cloth.
The high gloss finishing seal that we put on the tiles at the end really boosted the color and gave us that wet-glossy look we were going for and since we had put a coat on before grouting, we only needed one more to “seal the deal”!!