Installing a Subway Tile Backsplash & Wall II

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year ya’ll! (I’m trying that on for size, since I’m a Texan now…) I can’t believe 2017 is DAYS away. Christmas brought a much needed break from the hustle of life. Work, school, pups, husband and home had been busy and stressful. I come into 2017 feeling refreshed with a grateful heart. AND a completed backsplash & tiled wall in the kitchen.

Let’s recap. If you’d have walked into my kitchen just 9 short months ago, you would have seen this:

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After a full gut, new drywall, cabinets, flooring and paint, we were on our way to our dream kitchen. Part of my design plan was a large tiled wall. Over Thanksgiving, I worked on installing the tile and backsplash.

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The next step was grout. For this step, I needed the grout, tile sponge and float as mentioned in the previous post about installation.

Mixing grout seems simple enough, but I learned through this project that how you mix grout can have a major effect on it’s application. For this step, you’ll want to nix the mixing arm that you used for the mortar. Most grout manufacturers suggest that grout be mixed by hand. Over mixing grout with an electric drill can pull air into the grout, making installation a nightmare full of air bubbles that you can’t seem to get rid of.

You’ll also want to be mindful of the consistency of your grout. Wet grout can be slippery to work with, while dry grout won’t adhere properly. Go for a creamy peanut butter consistency, and always read an follow the directions on the back of the bag.

I used sanded grout for this installation. If your backsplash has smaller than 1/8″ joints, you should use unsanded grout. I also went with white, for my clean look.

Mmm. Looks like frosting.

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I started grouting by scooping the grout with my float, and smooshing it on the tile. I found that this job gets a whole lot less messy if you only scoop a little bit of the grout out at at a time. If you get overzealous and scoop a lot onto the tile, it falls all over the place. Regardless, it’s a messy job so protect your counters accordingly for less clean up later (I am shame faced).

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Make sure that each space has grout squeezed into it. If the joints aren’t filled at the get-go, they won’t fill themselves later. Take a minute to step back and look for gaps you missed every few minutes.

Angled the float, scrape off any excess grout from the tops of the tile and scrape the grout back into the bucket.

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For smaller gaps that aren’t easily accessible with the float, I used a butter knife. This actually worked incredibly well. I used it for the gap between the counter and tile as well as the little spaces around the edges.

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The grout will need to dry in it’s messy state for 10-20 minutes (read the directions on the back of the grout you choose) before being wiped off.

I used the grout sponge and a bucket of warm water to gentley wipe off the excess grout. If gaps or air bubbles form during this step, reapply the grout in those spots and let it dry for a few minutes before wiping it off again.

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The tile will still be hazy after the first wipe. I suggest wiping it down at least once more. Unfortunately the grout haze won’t be completely off. To get the tile back to its shiny state, I had to use a green scrub sponge and some elbow grease to rub the whole thing down.

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I used a mixture of minwax stains in gray and browns to stain the window for contrast against the white tile and cabinets

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 After a big clean up, some caulk and window stain, my kitchen is nearly complete 🙂

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I love the bronze light fixture above the sinkimg_0292

As a Christmas gift, my friend Elsa gave me this cute date sign that went perfectly above the sink img_0290

The old -school washboard detail on the IKEA apron sink is one of my favorite parts of the kitchen, along with the vintage style faucet.img_0300

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This weekend, I’ll be working on some DIY floating shelves as one of the last projects needed to finish this kitchen ! Final kitchen reveal & full source list coming soon….

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Missed the first step in installing this tile?

Read Next: Kitchen Revival – Installing a Backsplash & Tiled Wall I

Did you miss the BIG Reveal? Check  it out: Kitchen Revival: The Reveal

 

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