May 28, 2014

Kitchen Set Tiling

As we continued the kitchen set renovation, the next step was to tile the counter. I was back and forth on whether we should paint the cabinet first and then tile, or tile then paint. In the end I decided to tile, then paint. I found these glass mini tile sheets in Ivory Iridescence at Home Depot and I liked the neutral colors. They are also very thin, which will work well on these counters because the line up perfectly with the metal lip around the edge.

I measured the counter to be 15” by 30” at the widest points, so I made sure to buy enough tile to cover everything. I laid out the tile sheets and pre-cut what I could with scissors.

Once I everything was laid out, I carefully pulled everything off and put a thin coat of thinset down. I made notches with the trowel and laid down the tiles. Big sheets first, then the smaller sheets.

For the partial tiles at the edges and around the sink, I used a glass tile nipper from Home Depot. It cost about $12 and was awful. It was so bad I want to take it back to Home Depot and complain to a manager. I was SO frustrated. No matter how many times I tried, it couldn’t make a decent cut. Every tile would shatter and crack and the lines were wobbly and all over the place. Glass splinters everywhere. The tiles were way too small for our wet tile saw, so eventually I just had to let it go, tell myself that it’s just a toy kitchen set and use the wonky chipped pieces. But if I was tiling my kitchen backsplash I would definitely look into other options because this particular tile nipper was a nightmare.

Once everything was glued down with thinset, I felt much better. The wonky cut tiles blended in already and I knew with grout it would look even better.

The thinset had to dry overnight. The following day I was able to grout. Unfortunately it was also raining, so I had to do my grouting inside in the basement. Excuse the anemic basement pictures, it was the best I could do.

I actually bought a pre-mixed tub of 2-in-1 thinset and grout for glass tile. Normally it’s much more cost effective to buy the powdered stuff and mix it yourself, but this was such a tiny area and the leftover mixes we had were for ceramic tile. I put it on with a grout float and then wiped it off the excess carefully with a grout sponge and a bucket of water. I wiped it over and over until the tiles were gleaming, surrounded by fresh white grout. I left it to dry overnight.

The next day I returned to the basement to paint the cabinet and made an unpleasant discovery. The grout did not dry well - the lines between the tiles were pockmarked and uneven all over the entire counter. You can kind of see it in the photo (again excuse the awful basement lighting):

I’m not sure if it was because we used a 2-in1 product or if this is normal for glass tile grout because I’m new to both. But it was definitely disappointing. I had to regrout the entire thing all over again. The only good news was that the second round did the trick and the following day the grout looked great after fully drying. I am really pleased with how the counter turned out - even if it did take two coats of grout!

I plan on sealing the grout as well since little kids are messy, but I have to wait for the grout to fully cure first. In the meantime, it was time to finally starting painting and caulking.

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