Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Kitchen Back Splash

DIY Kitchen Back splash here we come!
Neal & I set ourselves up with this one.  We are busy people.  We work, we workout, we cook our meals, and we both run businesses on the side.  We have a lot going on, so why not take on the task of doing our own back splash.  Sure!  It'll save us money & it will only take 3 days...8 days later, we finally have our kitchen back!
Most people could probably get their kitchen back splash put up in the normal amount of time, but not us.  Our DIY project dragged on and on.  We did a great job, but we kept making little tweaks or working too late, or going out of town for the day.  Finally though, we did get the back splash we had been planning on doing for a year!

 The steps to do you own tile back splash are rather simple (no need to read through this list if you aren't DIYing yourself...it's actually pretty detailed!)
  1.  Change out the electrical boxes (if you don't want the basic white and instead want brown/bronze like we did)
  2. Sand the walls & then wipe the walls clean
  3. Lay out newspaper or cardboard on your counter tops to avoid making a mess.  Tape off any other parts of your counter such as the counter lip.
  4. Make sure your counter is level, if it is not, you need to lay out your tiles level by marking the wall.
  5. If you are ending your tiles on an 'open' wall, meaning not at the end or corner of a wall, mark off your end point.
  6. Lay out your tiles, cut if needed.
  7. Spread on your thinset
  8. Put up your tiles.  Wait 24 hours or until cured
  9. Grout your tiles, whipping them clean (some say wait no time, some 10 minutes, others 30 minutes).  Wait 12-24 hours or until cured
  10. Caulk the outer parts of your tile such as where it meets the cabinets, counter top, or ends on the wall space.  Wait 24 hours for that to cure.
  11. Seal your tile
  12. Put on your finishing switch covers with spacers
  13. Enjoy your new tiled wall!
In progress...
Sounds easy enough, right?  Well...not so fast.  For us, we put up our tiles on Friday and let them cure overnight only to decide we wanted to tile a little bit more, so then we had to buy more tile, put that up and let it cure again.  It was now Sunday by the time they were cured.
The little section we couldn't live without tile after day 1.
On Sunday afternoon, we grouted.  First we were waiting 15-30 minutes to wipe off the grout.  Well, that's not so great.  We literally scrapped every single tile on this section of the kitchen.  Yes, you read that right.  Every tile was whipped down with a damp cloth, then a sponge, then a Q-Tip.  We had to be extremely careful not to hit the grout lines while doing this because the grout hadn't cured yet and we still needed to get it off the tiles before it dried & cured on them!

Hand cleaning each tile...

After hand cleaning.
Then, we waited, and waited some more, and then finally found the time 3 days later, on Wednesday night, to caulk the tiles' edges.  I left this job for Neal to do.  At first he made the thinnest little caulk lines and thought they looked great.  Personally, I think he was sick of not having a kitchen & by this point he honestly didn't want to do anymore so he could be done with the project.  I felt the same way.  He gave in and put a much thicker caulk line.
We let Thursday go by as I was out of town for the majority of the day.  I left for Nashville at 7am and arrived back home around midnight!  Yikes!
On Friday, Neal came home with grout sealer, and we finally wrapped up the project!
We have been able to admire our new back splash for the last few days.  I am so glad we did it, but now I definitely know that remodeling a home will not be something I am looking forward to doing as we both can procrastinate & we both are, as most adults, busy people.

Question of the day:
Have you done a DIY project with a friend or family member that seemed to drag on & on? 


  1. Yes I once restored a Queen Anne house that took forever!

    1. I vaguely remember that :) It was the most beautiful house. Such a special place for me to have grown up in. Love you Dad! This is for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQYNM6SjD_o