Posts Tagged ‘kitchen’

Install Tile Backsplash: Using Silicone

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

We had planned on installing a tile backsplash in our kitchen after we got the countertops in.  I asked the countertop installers what their recommendations were based upon their experience going into hundreds of homes.  Without hesitation, they said “a tumbled stone, to hide the irregularities in the wall, and silicone.”  By irregularities, he meant – the damaged wall where they tore out the old backsplash, and by silicone, he meant – no thinset or mastic – just glue them suckers right on the wall!  He said it would be a super easy do it yourself project and inexpensive.

Oh, the horrors of not following the tile installer’s bible.  Just glue them on?  Really?  Yep.  He said that the backsplash was not a high water area like the shower/bathtub.  He also said the irregularities of the tumbled stone would blend in/hide the irregularities on the wall.  If we had used a smooth tile, we would have had to use thinset as a leveling compound.  For 4 inch tiles, silicone would be fine…  After all, the tiles in his own house have been adhered for over 10 years without a problem, so it’s gotta be true!

We couldn’t find a tube of just “silicone” at Lowes so we bought an uber silicone product from Loctite called, “Tub and Tile Ultra Sealant”.  The description says it will stick to just about anything.

We prepped by patching holes, by removing last remnants of wallpaper, and by cleaning the walls.  We then laid out our first row of tiles along the countertop to test fit them before we glued them on.  I then broke a bunch of toothpicks to use as spacers for the bottom of the first row of tiles.  We only need the slightest of clearances to caulk the tiles and countertop together.  For the rest of the tiles, we used 1/8 inch spacers.  Ready, set, go!

We squeezed out a dollop of silicone in the center of each tile and pressed it on the wall.  The goo took several minutes to set, which gave us wiggle room to get the spacing just right.

Once we locked a few tiles in place to use as anchors for the first row, the rest went up very, very quickly.  When I say locked, I meant that we let those tiles dry over night so they were rock solid.

We did 2 rows of the 4 inchers and then we did 2 strips of tumbled stone cut from a mosaic tile.

Looking good so far!  Come back to see tips on how to cut tiles and how to work with mosaics.

Installing New Countertops Part 2

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

It took the installers a day to build the countertop at their shop and they came back the day after to install it.  First order of business, chisel and sand away all the liquid nail globs.

Evelyn munched on books and supervised from the living room.

Next, they hauled in the countertop in one solid piece.  Lucky for them it was a straight shot from our back deck, through the living room, and into the kitchen.  If they had to come through the front door, they would have been screwed! 

Evelyn is making sure they don’t ding the walls with that huge top.

Here it is!  We chose a brown granite looking laminate called Butterum Granite #7732-58.  I actually like it a lot!  The hubby thought it would be darker.  It matches the rest of our house and is a nice neutral color.  Not to mention all the stains it will hide.  :-) 

We had them narrow the bartop down from 36 inches to 30 inches.  I cannot believe how big of a difference 6 inches makes in our dining room.  Before, we had such a large overhang that you couldn’t even center the table underneath the light.  Now, people can actually move around the table while people are eating without squeezing by.  The dining room feels Huge!

Evelyn charmed all the contractors, even the grizzly one.  It’s so funny watching a crochety old man turn around and say in a high pitch voice, “Welllll, helloooo sweetheart.  You’re just a cutie pie aren’t you?”  She gave the counter top her seal of approval and I like it too.

Next up, installing the sink and new faucet.  This weekend we tile the backsplash, or attempt to if we can find the time!

Installing New Countertops Part 1

Monday, July 18th, 2011

We initially had no plans to replace the countertops before listing the house, but rather chose to throw in $1000 as an incentive for the buyer to have the countertops replaced.  Our realtor quickly nixed that idea and said that offering incentives automatically raise a red flag with the buyer that this is a fixer upper.  Due to the poor condition of the counters, he said we really needed to have them replaced before we listed.

This was almost 6 weeks ago…

We went to Lowes and Home Depot to price countertop installations.  Lowes came back with $1,800 and Home Depot $1,200.  Our countertops were custom built, which means we couldn’t use off the shelf laminate tops.  That raised the price at either store, but by $600 at Lowes for the exact same laminate?  Not only that, but Lowes charged us $35 to come out and do the quote.  Home Depot – zero. 

After about 6 weeks, the laminate finally arrived at the installers and they were coming out to tear out our old counters.  We had some fun with Sharpies and I drew the story of my life in this little house from 2000 – 2011.  I wanted to spill some achohol and light it on fire to see if it would burn the counters.   The hubby didn’t want to risk damaging the new puck lights that my dad installed.  Boo to sensible hubby.  (Yes dad, I’m still a little pyromaniac. Sorry for setting my bedroom on fire when I was little…)

We had to remove all the drawers and empty all the cabinets.  It seems that just when we make headway clearing and cleaning stuff up we just trash the house all over again.  It’s a bit demoralizing at times, but yadda yadda yadda its all for the greater good right?

Evelyn was an excellent foreman.  She kept those guys on track and moving fast.

The entire time they were here, all I could hear was grumbling about the crazy people who had installed it initially and what a crappy job they did.  Our counter had been liquid nailed to the cabinet AND screwed in.  It had also been relaminated and the glue that held the two sheets together failed causing all the bubbling on the counter.  It was one thing after another.  I’m very glad that we decided against tearing out the counters ourselves to save money!  Sometimes, it just isn’t worth it…

Buh- bye old counter! 

The tear out took about 2 hours and then they brought in particle board to make a template for the new countertops.  They are going to make the countertop at their shop and bring the entire thing back another day to install it.  The countertops will be scribed to fit the walls exactly and will match the pitch of the base cabinets.  In otherwords, they are not going to shim anything to level things out. hmmmm…

We are without a sink and have very little room left to move around.  I built a corral in the living room out of boxes so the kids have a safe area to play.  For the rest of us, it’s bruised shins, stubbed toes, and lots of careful maneuvering.  (Someone please tell me again why we are doing this???)

We are getting closer to listing the house.  The counters were a big hold up.  We plan to tile this weekend and clean/finish painting next week.  Nearing the home stretch people!

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