Mosaic Tile Back Splash & Counter – Kitchen Remodel Part Two

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After finishing the previous project of repainting our kitchen cabinets I couldn’t wait to get the quartz counters installed so I could get the mosaic backslash in. Our kitchen was entirely too white and we’ve been wanting to remodel our kitchen for quite some time so I was excited to get it done.

 

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Here is our super white kitchen right before we got the new counters and back-splash installed. Even though it is almost as bright as the sun it is still way better than what was originally there.

 

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20130731_121849I don’t have a lot to say about the process of installing the counters other than I think I might have been able to do it faster and possibly better myself. I shopped around for over a week and found the best deal at Home Depot. The company they used sent out two guys to do the installation. The first seemed to almost know what he was doing but possibly was never in charge of an install before because it took him over 3 hours to just cut the OSB strips and get everything leveled out to “his” standard. The other guy must have been new because the first guy kept yelling at him and telling him what to do but I felt that he might have done a better job overall if the first guy wasn’t there. All complaints aside, our counters turned out pretty nice even though
they took nearly 10 hours to get installed.
20130731_182503I did have a mini crisis about a half hour before the installers got there. I unboxed my granite composite under mount sink that I ordered from HomeDepot and found that it was cracked! They don’t carry these in stores so I was freaking out for a while before I remembered that Lowe’s carries these but at a higher price. I jumped in my truck and headed to Lowe’s while calling Home Depot to verify that I could return my expensive online purchase in a store and then called Lowe’s to have them get a sink off the shelf and up to the front of the store. When I got there I was glad that the cashier matched Home Depot’s price so I wasn’t out anything except for maybe some of my dark brown hairs that were replaced with grey ones…

 

20130802_004951As soon as the counters were installed I got started laying out the tile. Even though I have installed my fair share of tile in the past including backsplash and mosaic tile around my fireplace, this was by far the hardest install I’ve ever done. It was super uncomfortable leaning over the counter and under the cabinets to make sure everything was straight. Since it took longer than I anticipated I mixed and put down too much thinset and it started drying before I got to it so I had to scrape off a fair amount and mix some more. After that I mixed smaller batches.20130804_204521

 

20130804_232829The only thing worse in this project than laying the tile was grouting it. This is kind of backwards since grouting is normally the easy thing. Once again leaning over the counter and under the cabinets for extended periods of time was uncomfortable. After laying down a nice layer of grout I had a heck of a time spreading it around and then wiping it off. I probably should have either sealed the tiles first or at least got them semi wet first. The natural stone seemed to suck the moisture out of the grout faster than I could spread it around to all of the tiny grout lines.

 

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Even though the backsplash took about 5 times longer than I anticipated, everything came out really nice. I think we have a kitchen that could almost be in one of those fancy home decorating magazines like HGTV or something.

Lessons Learned

  • When ordering parts online for a project, make sure you open the box to check them out with enough time to get a new one!
  • When doing backsplash tile where you have to bend over and under, expect it to take longer than expected.
  • When working with natural stone tiles, compensate for the tile sucking the moisture out of the grout. Maybe mix it a little thinner or work on smaller sections at a time.
  • While there are people there installing something in your house, try not to watch everything they do or it might drive you nuts.

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