Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tuesday Coffee Chat: DIY

This may be the least flattering picture of me in the whole entirety of my existence.
Booking liposuction on my neck right now. 
Many of you may justifiably be wondering why I haven't posted about our fabulous new backsplash, especially given that I posted some sneak previews on Facebook a couple of weeks ago.
Here's why: as do-it-yourselfers we've encountered some snafus that would be completely preventable if we were professionals.

By the way, this post is part of the Tuesday Coffee Chat over at Time Out for Mom.

If you look at the picture up top, you'll see that I'm wearing ear protection and glasses (not safety glasses, but good enough, right?), but no gloves. In fact, when I first started, I wasn't even wearing the ear protectors and, let me tell you, that wet saw is LOUD.

About half an hour into the job, I realized that the tiny chips of ceramic glaze were slivering my finger tips. That's when I finally got out the protective gloves.

Aside from those basic safety concerns, here are the other things we've encountered that are keeping the kitchen from being DONE and ready for its "after" photos.

Actually, there's really just one: the electrical boxes should have been mounted to protrude from the drywall, rather than being flush. This would have ensured that my tile butted right up against the power box, which would have made it easier to lay and cut the tiles and also would have made it easier to put on the cover plates.

Instead, I have this:

See the gaps all the way around the box? Those need to be covered. Even an oversize cover plate won't cover the sliver on the left.

Okay, I should have known better with this one (did I really think a cover plate would extend that far above the sockets?), but I didn't. But I really didn't think that the needed to come that close to the boxes, especially as there was no drywall there.

The problem now is that we really can't get behind the tile to reinstall the boxes in their proper positions. We're going to have to figure out a way to fill the gaps that is safe and doesn't look like crud. This whole problem would not have happened if we were professional electricians or tilers. Live & learn, eh?

On the other hand, we have a (relative) surplus of time and a limited cash so the time it will take to redo this is far, far preferable to the thousands of dollars we would have had to pay the pros.

On the bright side, you can see that we have grouted. I think it looks fabulous! We matched the colour of the grout to the tile for a less dramatic (less busy) effect.

Next steps:
1. Fill gaps (with tile, as feasible)
2. Grout the new tiles
3. Remove all grout haze from the tiles and counters
4. Seal the grout from stains

In case you missed it, here's the sneak preview I posted on FB.

That was the very first section of backsplash I did.


  1. Nicely done! And great job on the grout! I hope you successfully figure out the gap issue - I had that with some drywall hanging, but at least with drywall it's just a matter of adding a few small pieces and mudding them smooth. Tile is a bit trickier, but I bet you'll get it done! Looking forward to the final after pics! :)

    Princess Nagger Awarded; Rock Balancing in Boulder; DIY Fun with Coffee Chat and RTT Rebel

    1. I'm sure we'll get it figured out. It's just frustrating to be so-o-o-o close!

  2. Oh I fear what the owners might discover regarding our own kitchen renovation. Now granted, we did hire for electrical and plumbing because ... well, we are dumb DIYers and can't do that. we did try the backsplash tile, but since it was the one splurge - being marble - after honey wrecked too many tiles in danger of blowing the budget, we brought in a pro there too. but so many other things, like my hubby being 6 feet, so he measured the top of the counter according to where it hit his middle... which means I am practically on tip toe!! LOL
    but I love your subway tiles and the grout. It's such a classic look and you can never go wrong with that. but your counter tile is absolutely fabulous!!! Wow.

    1. Steve is tall, too, but I believe he put the counter at "standard" height, which is a little tall for me if I'm trying to mix something by hand. As for the counter -- yes, I love it. It's a granite called "vanilla cream."

  3. Great tile, Wynn Ann. Paul suggests googling "electrical box extension". You should be able to pick up a switch box extension at Home Depot, or a shop that stocks electrical supplies, like Nedco.

    1. You know what? I wondered if such a thing existed -- I'm sure we're not the first to make this mistake!


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