One of our more gutsy DIY plans involved removing the existing rustic stone kitchen backsplash and doing something a bit more clean and minimal. In hopes of motivating us, on our first weekend of owning the house, James started chipping away at the backsplash next to the refrigerator and made a sizable hole for the world to see. A year later and a list of reasons for procrastinating, I decided enough was enough. After watching several YouTube videos on repeat (here, here, and here), and tile cutter in hand, I decided to tackle this project solo as a surprise to James when he returned from a two-week long work trip. Take a look at the project in process below. Just look at that ledger board action! What do you think of the results?
- If you have the option of beginning your tiling on an existing wall or cabinet and the ability to end wherever you need to, START AGAINST THE EXISTING WALL. I made the mistake of arbitrarily starting at a nice looking place to begin on the refrigerator side (where any excess tile could have just continued on behind the refrigerator), and then had to make more tiles cuts than would have otherwise been necessary.
- I would not have been able to complete this project if there had been outlets or curves to maneuver around with just a tile cutter. So if you have outlets and such, consider learning about wet saws.
- A little mini-lesson on tile adhesive - "mastic" is an organic compound that is used in areas that are not likely to get wet, while "thin set mortar" is composed of cement (and some other things) that is used in areas like bathrooms that may get wet. Here is some more info if you are interested.
- Use grout boost instead of water to mix your grout to avoid an extra step of sealing the grout!
- Mixing the grout is tricky, and I freaked a bit over how much grout boost to add. It should be good if the grout does not drip from your mixing tool.
- Subway tiles and 3 bullnose subway tiles (for the edging) for 20 square feet (I only needed tile for 12 square feet, but definitely needed extra practice tile for cutting!) from Mission Stone Tile in Ice White -- $56
- Blue Hawk 19" tile cutter from Lowe's -- $20
- Mapei unsanded grout in Avalanche -- $12
- Grout boost -- $20
- Paint bucket -- $2
- Grout float -- $9
- V-notched trowel -- $9
- Sponge -- $4
- Mastic Grade 1 left over from a neighbor's project -- $0
GRAND TOTAL: $150