Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's done!

Call me crazy, but while Rob was in Argentina I decided to tile the kitchen back splash.  My original plan was to just surprise Rob with the completed project when he returned, but being that it's such a permanent upgrade, I did ask what he thought of the idea before he left.  He gave me the thumbs up and said he completely trusted whatever I chose.

My first step was to recruit some help.  My neighbor, Chrissy, recently tiled her own back splash and I know my sister is always up for a new hands-on home improvement project.  So, with the ladies backing me up I began the process.  The kids and I made no less than 5 trips to Home Depot and Lowes before finally settling on the perfect tile and purchasing all the necessary supplies.  I knew I'd need to cut some of the tiles and one of Rob's friends lent us his tile saw and gave me a quick tutorial so by Friday night I was ready to go. 

Kerry came over on Friday night after the kids were asleep to help me do some prep work before our big day started on Saturday.  We prepped the counters with tape and newspaper, laid out the tiles, and made a couple easy cuts.

We started around 11:30am on Saturday.  The first few sets of tiles went up very smoothly and we thought we'd be done in just a few hours.

Then came the window.  That awful window.

Every single one of the top row of tiles needed to be cut, lengthwise by about 1/4 of an inch.  The tiles are only 1x2 so 3/4 inch didn't leave a lot of finger room when using the saw.  Also, the slate tiles split along the plane over and over again.  The tile saw is a "wet saw" and we had it set up in the garage.  My sister and I did all the tile cutting but we could each only be out there for about 10 minutes cutting tiles before we had to switch because the person cutting could no longer feel their fingers with the freezing water spraying on them constantly.  Maybe future tiling projects should be done in the summer.

Chrissy started on the other wall while we worked on the window pieces and she got over halfway through before we finished that 2 foot strip under the window.

Once all was said and done, it was about 6 hours of work.  My mom had the girls the whole day and Austin played with Mia (Chrissy's daughter) at our house non-stop the whole time.  We barely knew they were there.

After the tiling was done I had a lot of "hurry up and wait" things to do.  I had to wait 24 hours for the tiles to set before I sealed the tiles on the wall.  (From what I read, slate can be easily stained by grout so I sealed before grouting).  The sealant then needed to set for 4-6 hours.  Grouting was next.  Chrissy came back over to help with the grouting.  It was about 2 more hours of labor.  One of us would spread while the other wiped it off.  The grout was allowed to dry for 24 hours and then I put a final sealant coat on.  The next night I worked on replacing all the outlets and covers.  It was then I noticed two areas that weren't going to match up perfectly.  It was also about that time that I was mentally done with my kitchen be a wreck.  The next morning I called in the professional.  My dad.  I knew he was an expert with a caulk gun and so while I took the girls to Ellie's final dance class I left my dad at the house with a plea to finish the caulk and make my outlet troubles vanish.  It wouldn't be a home improvement project without a little help from my dad!  I didn't want him to feel left out!

6 days after the start, and only $270 in, the project was finished!  Here's the before and after photos:






I learned a lot and I'm anxious to try it again on a floor.  A special thanks to everyone that helped me!

And yes, Rob likes it.


Sue H said...

Fabulous! Tracy, you and your "girl gang" did a wonderful job. Very upscale. In fact, I'm just a little jealous!

Carol said...

Looks great. I'm glad I got to be the babysitter and not the laborer, what a lot of work!

Anonymous said...

Your husband should travel more. I am sure there are a number of projects that need to be done around your house.

Nice job!

The Pats said...

Love the colors and looks like a very professional job too! What's next on the agenda?

stl82 said...

Love it, love it, love it.

Anonymous said...

What a fabulous job! I'm sure it increased your kitchen value 10 fold. You do such great projects, and I start to think, I could do that. Then you use something like a tile cutting saw or other tool that I would loose a finger if I used. I'll stick with enjoying your projects for now.