Sunday, March 9, 2014

How to Tile a Backsplash Without Fighting

Several times throughout the fourteen months we spent rebuilding our home, I mentioned to the Big Guy that we needed to discuss tile for the kitchen backsplash. We'd get to it, he said. We had plenty of time, he said. We'd probably just do it ourselves, he said. So, I ordered the kitchen cabinets (those were my domain) and told the cabinet maker that we'd be doing the tile ourselves, later.

When the cabinets arrived, the Big Guy was slightly pissed that they arrived without backsplashes and I ever so kindly (so not kindly) reminded him of all the things he'd said regarding the option of tiling the backsplash vs. ordering one from laminate. Let me just say, if your marriage can endure building a house, you've really got something to hang on to. If in doubt, just don't do it. Just don't.

I'm happy to say we've been married almost twenty-four years and we've survived building a house. True story.

Anyway...the cabinets arrived with no backsplash and were installed with a nice 1/4 inch gap between the cabinet and the wall that caught water from the sink and all manner of food particles. Gross. I had been carrying around three tiles (yes, three...just three) for almost two years. I picked them out at a furniture store early in the rebuilding process and I carried them around with my paint chips and matched them to absolutely everything we purchased for the house from furniture to dishes. So, of course, when we went back to buy them, they were gone. Extinct. No longer in production. Crapola.

Off to the local big box we went.

We found the perfect tile. The problem was, it came in two sizes. The Big Guy liked this big tile. 

And of course, I did not. I like this smaller, trendier, harder-to-install tile. 

So, we cleaned the counter. 

Did all this prep work. (I supervised.)

And then the Big Guy combined both our tile choices into this very cool pattern. I love him so much. (He might have growled a little bit.)

He convinced me to apply the grout with a decorating bag by applauding my mad cake decorating skills and I totally bought it. 

The Big Guy packed the grout in with a little floaty thingie and it was at this point that I began to panic. Surely we were not doing this right. This stuff was going to stain my tiles and it would never wash off. I was almost certain this would be a disaster. 

People who call tools little floatie thingies should not pass judgement on such projects. The Big Guy worked magic with the sponge and some water and my amazing backsplash emerged. 

How awesome is that? And we didn't have a single fight. (Because in the grand scheme of rebuilding your entire house, this was nothin'!) 



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