Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hello, gorgeous!

Old one (aka ugly)
New one (aka shiny and new)

This is a true testament to how boring my life really is: I am super excited about getting my new dishwasher. There is just something really satisfying about having an almost completely new-looking kitchen - especially having the appliances match! I happily paid Sears to install this for me, knowing my dislike of working in small, dark, awkward places. I think the $150 was totally worth it, especially seeing how difficult it was to get the old one out (which we're FreeCycling, if anyone is interested). As you can see, I now need to renotch the cork floor to make it fit but am otherwise happy to see the new addition. On top of all this, I got to chat up the installation guy, who also owns his own handy-person-type business. He showed me some pictures of what he's done and I think it might be a good match to help us with mudroom as well as the garage nightmare. We'll see about some estimates. Goodbye, ugly - hello, gorgeous!
Next on the list: finishing the stupid thresholds. However, the furnace just started making funny noises, which I assume are death pangs. The thing is over 50 years old and it's probably time for it to go to furnace heaven. Sigh.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Grouting = Big Mess

Despite feeling like crud today, I finished up this puppy. Honestly, it was a huge mess and I had way more fun doing the actual tiling than the grouting. I don't know if it's just me but some of these tools are just not made for smaller women's hands and in these tighter spaces - I had a hard time with both the trowel and float. In the end, I just donned some plastic gloves and slopped in on by hand. I suppose this would have been fun if I wasn't constantly concerned about getting it all over the countertop.
Now that it's done, though, I'm pretty happy. I think there are some things I would have done differently, however, if I had to do it again: I would have made sure the walls were plumb. I would have used a smaller grout line (this was Thom's idea to have 1/8" so I blame him). And, while I like the look of the interspersed glass tiles, they were not the same depth as the subway tiles and this made it difficult to grout well. It's all fine though. And, it's done - that's the most important part.
All that's left now is to get the molding up and figure out the thresholds!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Done tiling!

I finished the long expanse this morning - probably in about 4 hours. I took a break in there to run to Home Depot (thanks for the coupon, Sarah!) to get grout and more thinset but I ended up not needing more - I had exactly enough to finish the whole thing! It was definitely easier to do this long wall - very few intricate cuts needed as compared to the short walls around all the outlets, etc.
You'll notice I went back to the 3-3 pattern. When he got home last night, Thom said he really liked that better than the random pattern I did on the adjacent wall. I was more partial to the more random look but I think the pattern works better on the long expanse.
I have a sneaking feeling, however, that I am now going to be quite unhappy with the cream colored outlets and switches. I have no desire to really change them out though. Maybe I can talk my darling life partner to do it for me :)
It's certainly not perfect (come to find out the distance from the countertop to the bottom of the cabinets on this side of the kitchen is actually shorter than it is on the other side of the room and we definitely do NOT have plumb walls whatsoever) but it is what it is. I will grout either tomorrow or Monday - maybe Monday. It will be nice to have it all done. I am inexplicably tired, however. I think I'm just not used to standing up for so long anymore. I guess when you pair that with being hunched over for hours at a time it is perhaps not surprising.

Friday, March 6, 2009

One more part done

I got the little side done by the stove - only 2 hours! Phew! I am done for the day - off to see if I can wash this stuff off my hands and then I'm getting a beer. See y'all tomorrow - hopefully I can finish putting them up tomorrow and then I can grout on Sunday or Monday.

A few square feet down...about a million to go

It has been a day so far, I'll tell you that much. I ran to HD around 7:30 to pick up the tile nippers and some extension boxes for the electrical outlets and switches. Thinking this would be relatively easy to do (you'd think I'd learn by now, right?), I went downstairs, turned off the power to the outlet there on the left, and then started unscrewing them to affix the box over the receptacles. Guess what? I didn't turn off the correct breaker. Susie has experienced her first electrical shock. Hooray for the dipshit. I should say that I was lucky that it was just a bit of one and I learned me a lesson good. After calling Thom to tell him how smart his wife is, I went back down to the basement and turned them ALL off. I then proceeded to take about an hour to get them all on there (it's trickier than it looks - like most things in life) before I could resume tiling.

As I was trimming the tile to go around the now notorious outlet, I cut my hand. Duh.

After all injuries were accounted for, I was able to finish the little corner by the fridge. I now have the remaining long expanse of the counter on the other side of the kitchen but thankfully the longer run may require fewer cuts. I am, however, very happy that we invested in that little wet saw. It really makes quick work of things.

On another note, I'm not so sure about the pattern we have going. Thom said he initially liked the pattern with every three subway tiles and the three small glass tiles (he's got an OCD-like thing with numbers) but we both now think there are too few of the blues ones. Luckily, my experimental corner will be well hidden behind toaster, microwave, and blender, so if I put in a few more blue ones on the long expanse it won't make much difference. Trial and error - that should be the name of this blog.

I'm off to get me some healthy McDonald's lunch - I decided I deserve it - and then back to grind.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tiling begins (and then promptly ceases)

I have finally taken the plunge and decided to test out my tiling skills. After watching nearly thousands of shows demonstrating how to do this, you'd think I'd remember a thing or two. Well, no, I didn't. I started the first row fine, as seen here:

And, then I even got a few more rows done (with our cool blue glass tiles interspersed). But then abruptly stopped when I reached the row with the dreaded outlet box.

Once I got there, I realized I didn't have the right tools to make this cut (by the way, my $88 Home Depot wet saw rocks the house). I started making all the small little cuts and then realized I have no way to actually finish the line across. So, I will be making a HD run in the morning to get some tile nippers, I guess. Anyway, at least I know I'm fairly competent. We'll see what it looks like when it's all done and grouted but for now, at least, it's coming along. I started the little corner by the door so if I do screw up, it will be hidden behind the microwave.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Still prepping for tiling

Well, we figured out the countertop issue (by unattaching it, scribing it, sanding it, and then putting back in) and now we're getting close to being ready to tile. I went out and bought an inexpensive wet saw, since we figured we're going to have to do the bathroom too at some point, and we're just about ready to go.

I think I'm a bit nervous though so I'm hesitating on getting started. I'm sure once we actually do it will be fine. I think it's just the typical I-Haven't-Done-This-Before hesitation. We'll get some pictures up as we progress.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Seeking advice: Gap between wall and countertop

Seeking advice from my fellow home improvement types: getting ready to tile the backsplash we realize we have a few problems that we need to address. A major one is that we have uneven walls in the kitchen. This unevenness means that the gap we have in some places between the wall and the countertop is the required 1/8" (these are Ikea wood countertops with no lip built in) and at other times it's almost 1/2". When we actually tile, then, this is going to look weird and it's also going to be an issue should water, etc. go back behind the tile.

I think what we should have done when we installed the countertop, of course, would have been to scribe for the differences but we're past that point. What suggestions do you all have for rectifying this one? Thanks for any thoughts in advance.