Backsplash!Monday, December 07, 2015
Hey hey hey, we have backsplash! Holy cats and dogs people, look out! The kitchen is rolling fast and furious! Yay!
For the record let it be known that, after emailing about eight or so options to peruse and getting a snarky two word response in return ("Holy hell."), Mike selected the tile. He wanted to make sure everyone was clear on that. That he chose it. Mike's pick. He's very proud.
So when he choses, I get.
And I did. It's the uh, hang on...Merola Prism Glossy in white,* porcelain mosaic tile. Yes white. Are you shocked? Yeah me too. White. Who woulda thunk. I never opt white.
Yeah ya know, I splurged (for me). It makes me squirmy and all and of course I tried to online-shop a better price but it's kinda difficult to do that when you can only get the thing in one single place.
So it was. Sometimes splurging is not a bad thing, like when whatever you're splurging on is going in a high visibility area or high traffic area or an area of major import such as a kitchen.
Still. Squirmy. What can I say? Budget Queen.
Things we liked about this particular tile? It has a funky shape and it's dimensional. The pictures are a smidge of an exaggeration on its dimensional-ness in that Home Depot link above, but know planar it is not nonetheless. And white purposefully, yes, to tie together with the wallpaper. Trying not to go toooo deep off the edge of sanity. It's hard. It really is.
After receiving the order with nine sheets chipped then returning those and ordering more then waiting for those, the day came and it was time to get a move on.
Mmm hm. Mmk babe, I'll do my best.
I was tweaky about this project as, even though I've installed mosaics before, I have not worked with one like this, with dimension, with a tile saw. Last time I used a table saw, I broke a finger. So uh, a wee cagey about tools in the table-top-spinning-circular-blade category.
As it turns out, the part that wasn't scary or hard at all was using the itty tile saw* (the linked one there is very similar to what I bought). Granted mine is not the sturdiest contraption out there, the guide was a tad fussy, I was constantly being sprayed with water but it worked and worked well.
The hardest part was getting the darn tiles on the wall. Which should be the easier part, right?! Ugh. It must be me.
Smartly I purchased a tester sheet of squares to analyze lots o' aspects of this project. First was cutting and that went smooth as all get out. Big sigh of relief, heh.
|Go Becky! Go Becky! My first cut ever on a tile saw. All ten fingers still intact!|
|Good a' place to start as any, right?|
|What a freakin' train wreck.|
After it finally set up enough that I could back away for a minute, I looked around...it was like a murder scene up in here but with water and mortar everywhere -- the counters, the cabinets, the stove, the microwave, me, the kitchen floor, the hardwood floor, the stairs, the basement floor. Probably Finn. A hot grisly mess.
That ordeal forced me into not following directions, as I'm wont to do. Added more mortar powder to the mix to make it thick and dry. Put splops of mortar on each tile. Smushed on wall. Bingo.
|Do.Not.Care if this is wrong. Don't.Care. Sorry. (Not sorry)|
At one point I stopped then realized all right, I may be tired (again, started at like 4 pm) but I need to get all the way across. Eventually I made it.
Next day or day later or sometime I wrapped up all the tiling. Which yeah, I know, I should've done it all in one shot as I had an issue here and there but I got it all to work. (Don't ever move the coffee maker.) I became Master Tile Saw Trimmer Girl, getting all the bitty pieces cut shockingly just right.
|Woot!! Heh, coffee maker. The one goof is behind the stove mostly and not that bad.|
So when I asked Mike, "well babe, what color grout we should go with, I dunno, what, maybe gray?" he paused, turned, looked at me all sorts a' funny, paused and said, "well I dunno babe. Gray? Pffffft."
See, I was trying to exercise some variant of restraint, exhibit a modicum of modesty, reign in my whack-a-doodly-do crazy person-ness. But nuh uh, Mike wasn't having it.
He busts out with, "what about yellow?"
Holy crap, listen to that guy.
"Yellow? Wow, like a big bright color?" I spurted, agog.
After I scooped my jaw up off the floor, eyeballs drooling on the insides over yellow, I named some color and he came back with blue. Blue? Ok, sweet!
I love that guy.
Ya know, heh......I am gettin' this goofy inkling that Mike super secretly likes my kooky taste but will never fess up, what with all the egging-on that he does. Using me as a cover, a scapegoat, his implementor. I'm onto that fella, yeah huh.
At some point in time, I had pinned this and this, thinking whoa dude, gah, that is soooo cool. When can I do that?! Well, that time is now.
Interwebbing was surprisingly futile as there was not much info out there on how to get a vibrant grout color. I found one discussion where professional tilers Lit Up some poor person for inquiring about using latex paint. Why do people have to be so mean? Jeez.
Finally I fell upon a discussion on Houzz where folks mentioned Tints All* which are like the smaller crafters size version of Cal Tints* that we use in theater. Folks also mentioned acrylic paint. Coulda sworn I bookmarked that discussion to share with you but now I can't find it anywhere. Darn it.
Shipping one tiny tube of the Tints All ran more than the tube itself so I opted to give acrylic paint a whirl. Added bonus there, so I assumed, the paint will be similar enough to adding an acrylic additive. Enough. Ish. Ahem.
Whatev's man, I love stretching limits. I made a whole career of it doing props. And it's damn fun trying.
A trip to Joann resulted in four two ounce bottles of a light blue. Eh, turned out too light.
|First round of blue acrylic paint. Much too light. I think you can buy this color grout premixed actually.|
Here's a tip: when mixed with white grout, acrylic paint will dry several shades lighter. Keep that in mind if you try this.
So it was moment of truth time. I dumped two and a half-ish pounds of white unsanded grout into a bucket and half the bottle of paint, trying to make repeatable enough measurements just in case. More grout than I needed but I didn't want to be under and have to remix, leaving open the possibility of the color not matching.
Added water slowly, mixed, opted to dump entire bottle in for color strength, added water, mixed, let sit. Bit nails.
|The big mix! White grout, blue acrylic paint.|
|Ack! Holy crap, what have I done?!|
|All done and all cleaned up. Awesome!|
|Emptying the bottle helped color-wise.|
|Awesome! Look at that blue grout!|
|What fun, right?!|
|Here are all four of the recent kitchen changes in one handy photo: the tile, the wallpaper, the painted cabinets, and the new hardware.|
|ACK!!! Ouch!! Listing photo, what the...?! Holy crap, harsh move, I know. No one was expecting this egregiously painful photo at this juncture but let's just see how far we've come, shall we? Why not?!|
|Omg. What a huge huge difference. Wow.|
In the mean time, if I missed any links on the kitchen, click on the "All the Changes" <--there or at the top. Orrrrr, if you've got load of time to kill, click on "kitchen" under the "Things I Bather About Most" over on the right side.
Oh, and by the way, if you ever tried to subscribe by email, yeah, it wasn't working and I had no idea. It's fixed now.
Mwah, catch ya soon!
*The tile saw, Tints All, Cal Tint, and outlet spacer links are Amazon affiliate links. The Americana True Blue 8oz paint is a Joann affiliate link. And the Merola tile is an affiliate link as well. Mwah, thanks! Please see the "boring stuff" tab above for more info.