Friday, February 26, 2016

New Marble Backsplash

Our kitchen has never been a favorite room in our house for me, but it is quickly jumping the ranks after our latest project.  Our old backsplash made a statement in our kitchen, but I didn't like what it was saying.  It felt dated to me, and a little more of a country feel than I prefer.

My dream kitchen would have white, shaker cabinets, marble backsplash, and a farmhouse sink.  With just changing the backsplash, I really get the feel that I love in a kitchen.

So our first step was to pick the tile.  We ended up going to the Tile Shop.  They have all the tile you can imagine, and they can usually get it within a week for you.  Oh the dozens of choices of different types of marble and sizes and finishes we had to choose among.  We picked the polished tempesta marble, but they ordered the tumbled...womp, womp.  They were quick to fix the mistake, and I'm just thankful I peeked in the boxes before we were ready to begin the project.

So before we could start slapping up our new tile, we had to take down our old.  Our biggest mistake would be demo.  We wasted so much time and energy had we known then what we know now.  The original tile had a mesh back to it, and they weren't coming down easily without damaging our drywall.  We tried to salvage as much of the drywall as possible, and this demo cost Weston almost 6 hours of his time.  And even then, we ended up with an odd patchwork wall.

With all of the electrical boxes and the strange cut outs, it was difficult to put in new drywall that patched in perfectly.  We wasted another 3 hours cutting drywall for this before we decided to rip everything out and just put up all new drywall.  This was our best idea yet, but we wished we had known this 9 labor hours earlier.

Another hour or two later, our walls were ready for our tiling that next weekend!

So we chose a small subway style tile.  These came in mesh 12"x12" squares.  It was a little bit of a pain around the 11 electrical boxes we had to tile around.  However, overall, tiling went very smooth.  We laid out all our boxes of tile to choose our favorite sheets and mixed up the coloring of tile between boxes.  We didn't want one wall to look more tan and then another wall look gray or blue.

 Then we mixed our mortar to the prescribed "toothpaste" consistency, and we went to town.  Weston and I each had our jobs.  Weston did all the cuts on the wet saw.  He was also in charge of the spacers between the tiles.  I was in charge of spreading the mortar and putting up the tiles.  And a special shoutout and thank you to NuNu for watching Hannah for the two days we worked on it.

This was our progress after day 1.  We worked 11am to 2 am.  We ate lunch standing up and only stopped for a dinner break.

The next day we just had a small wall by the fridge to complete.  It only took us a couple hours to finish, and then we had to wait 24 hours to take out our spacers.  Hannah loved this job!  I love how Weston is wearing a Sofia the First necklace.

After the spacers came out, we grouted.  We went with a white, unsanded grout.  We had read that sanded grout can scratch your marble.  We used an admixture in the grout to prevent shrinkage with the unsanded grout.  I did the grouting which requires some serious forearm strength, and Weston mixed our grout batches and rinsed our sponges between wiping.  You don't want your sponge too wet, and he could ring them out really well.  After the grout, you need to wait a couple days, and then you can seal your tiles.  During that waiting time to seal, you can caulk between your tile and countertop.  You don't want to grout in this area.  Here are a few before and afters.







My new view to greet me when I walk in through my garage.  It makes me happy every time.

I'm really happy with the way it turned out.  I think it lightens and updates our kitchen to the look I love.  I'm also thankful for a husband willing to spend his vacation week doing something like this.  Thanks for letting me share! :)