We decided to get some help with the backsplash from my step-brother Gary. Gary has been doing tiling for years. His expertise would help us get it done in one day, make straight lines, and keep us from bickering with each other.
Irene was also worried about laying out the tile properly to avoid weird joint patterns in the corners and at the ends. Gary explained that with a brick pattern, like our subway, there isn’t much you can do about the layout of the tile. Whatever situation you are trying to avoid with the first row, if you shift the first row you will end up with it again in the second row. He did explain the one thing you can do with corners is to put a long piece opposite a short one to create the illusion of continuing the pattern around the corner. The only thing we had to decide was to center the tile on the window or on the sink. We chose the window so the tiles on each side of the window would be the same. On the other wall we centered on the stove since that is the prominent feature.
Areas that did not require cuts, like behind the stove, went up very quickly. Irene learned how to use the tile saw to cutout around electrical outlets. She cut out this piece being installed here.
We also learned how to use this this scoring and cutting tool. Just don’t try to cut longways like I was here. I ended up breaking this piece. If you are cutting shortways, however, this tool is very fast.
Areas around the windows like this took longer because of all the cuts we had to make.
Working with Gary was a lot of fun and he is a good teacher. Pretty soon I was cutting tiles around the outlets and window sills too.
The chair rail decorative detail took a little bit of patience, especially in the corners. Gary handled these complicated joints. First we tried to miter the joint but the gap was too big. Gary coped the two corners for us! Thanks, dude.
By lunchtime we had put all the tile up so we cleaned up, ate lunch, and got ready for grout. Grouting for me was harder than putting the tile up. I am just not good at it, I guess is the same way I suck and spackeling. The grouting was also very messy so there are no in progress pictures of that. Sorry everyone.
We still have to grout at the top around the chair rail. There is a lot of mastic behind those chair rail tiles and it needs a few days to dry.
Now that it’s in I can see why backslashes are so popular, it really makes the room pop. I even think it makes our narrow kitchen seem wider. The white tile wasn’t my first choice (I wanted glass) but it looks really nice with our color scheme. Irene couldn’t be happier with it. A quick note about the grout joint spacing. Irene initially wanted as small of the grout line as possible. Gary thought we should go with a 1/8″ spacing so we could use the stronger sanded grout and give more texture. That’s what we ended up doing and having that line of matte grout between the shinny tiles gives the tiles another dimension and brings out the bevel even more. It looks really classic and clean. We choose the whitest grout we could get without special order, Bright White, but we talked about the possibility of going darker in the future using a dye kit to give it another dimension.