Hello, Blank Wall Space…..Meet Ceramic Tile.

When I purchased my 1949 home 1.5 years ago, I did it with an open mind. My house was foreclosed, outdated, unattended, and unloved. The ugliest and most outdated room in the house was the kitchen (of course)..But I think people should have an eye for things-especially when it comes to using your creativity. My poor kitchen had wallpapered cabinets (which can be cute if done right), outdoor carpet on the floor, yellow countertops and a weird fish shaped table that took up half the room. The kitchen has been a work in progress over the past year. With the help of friends, family, and the guys on the isles at Lowes and Home Depot..I was able to create a beautiful kitchen. One project I started myself was transforming most of the blank space (the backsplash) into a ceramic focal point. This was so easy. I literally walked up to a worker at Lowes and said, “Sir, how do you tile?” He looked at me, with disbelief..and told me what I needed and what to do. And the rest I just figured out on my own.

Here is my kitchen, when I purchased the house. And steps leading up to tiling the backsplash.

Removed all cabinets, sanded cabinets on walls, put in countertops, tiled floors..

Painted cabinets, installed dishwasher, venta-hood, stove..

Here is how I tiled..

Things you need: level, spackle knife, sandpaper, mastic (adhesive), mastic trowel (tool for applying the adhesive), tile, tile saw, spacers, grout, blade float (spreads grout), sealer, tape, caulk, sponge, measuring tape (All this can be found on the tile isle at Lowes/Home Depot)

1. Measure space. Figure out the size tile and style/color you want. I decided instead of tiling horizontally, I wanted diamonds. Every girl likes diamonds, right?! Makes the cuts harder, but looks very pretty…and different. My uncle quoted, “Lindsay why did you make this project twice as hard?,” Of course I reply…”Because it looks better!!!” (which of course he agreed later that it did).

1a.Clean the surface of the wall. Find the center of the wall with a measuring tape. Most people start tiling from the middle point. This usually gives you equal tiles and equal cuts, but not always. I laid mine out to see where I should place them (since I used two colors the cuts are more noticeable).

2. Apply the mastic to the wall. Only do about a 12×12 space at a time because it will start to dry. My MISTAKE was starting at the bottom of my wall. Gravity pulls the tiles down and moves them, so I would suggest starting in the middle of the wall or top. Create lines in the mastic with the mastic trowel tool. Apply your tile in the space!

3. Complete your space. Figure out where you need cuts. Measure and make your cuts. (I had my talented uncle do this for me with a table saw). Then add spacers in between your tiles. The size of the spacer is based off the size tile you use. My tiles were 4×4″ tiles. Spacers create space for the grout and caulk. I added spacers throughout my project and didn’t wait until the end. Some tiles ended up moving anyways. (Good thing the grout hides imperfections!)

4. Tile needs to set 24 hours before the grout can be applied. Apply grout using the rubber-blade float (you choose your color grout /mine was tan and sanded). Every ten minutes wipe the grout off with the damp sponge. Don’t wipe the direction of the grout lines, and don’t wipe the grout off. Basically your pushing grout in the empty spaces and wiping off excess grout from the top of the tiles. Don’t worry about the light haze of grout on the tile. Leave some on there overnight.

After finished, wait until the next day and take the damp sponge and wipe off the extra grout. There will be haze of it all over the place for days, just keep cleaning it! And floor tiling is pretty similar, I used these steps for tiling my laundry room!

You’ll notice, I added hardware. It was the perfect touch to the kitchen, and not expensive. For my 30 cabinets and 6 drawers, it was $60. I got my hardware at Target. I think the tile really adds to my kitchen, and is certainly the focal point of the room.

Kitchen now…

Now for the crazy part….. The cost of these projects..

  • Tile floor- $100 (end of isle Lowes special; including materials)
  • Tile for backsplash- $150 (tile was less than $0.40 ea./including materials)
  • Paint/Primer- (cabinets/walls) $200
  • Countertops- $350 (Lowes in stock/including materials)
  • Framing- $100
  • Furniture/Misc- $150 (table ($50), stools ($50), rug ($15), tray ($10), wall crates ($25))
  • Hardware for cabinets-$60
  • Total flip cost for this kitchen: $1,110.00
  • If you include the new appliances installed (Stove $550, Ventahood $70, Dishwasher $350, Sink $100) the total comes to: $2180.00

So. I redid my entire kitchen for a little over $2000.00 (which I am sure little odds and ends here and there adds a little more). You’ll notice, I got good deals on tile and appliances. I waited for sales and took millions of trips to Lowes and Home Depot to compare prices. This is why these projects all did not happen at once and happened over time. Doing the labor yourself saves a TON of money.

Here is a link to the whole house and it’s updates!: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2148650&id=38900632&l=d9fc1351f4



1 Comment

Filed under Home projects

One response to “Hello, Blank Wall Space…..Meet Ceramic Tile.

  1. You did such a fantastic job – kitchen is beautiful! What a transformation!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s