New Kitchen Tile: Complete!

Put a fork in it. The kitchen tile job is done. For a recap, here's where the kitchen stood at the end of night one.

With that part under our belt, it was time to grout.

Polyblend Grout

Before we mixed it up, we needed to check each space between the tiles for any thin-set that may have sneaked out while pressing the tile down. Each space needed to be clear to absorb the grout we'd scrape on. We simply scraped it all out with the tip of a screwdriver.

For our first time mixing grout, we went a little overboard.

Mixing Grout

We knew the consistency should be like that of peanut butter, but we added too much water at the start. In the end, we ended up using nearly all of the grout powder in the bag to overcompensate for the amount of water. You live and you learn. Next time, we'll put the powder in first, and then slowly add the water. In the end, we had a good product that seemed like it'd be easy to spread. Just for the record, I prefer actual peanut butter.

Grout. Yum.

As for the process, we watched a few more YouTube videos on grouting tile, and went to work. We used the grout float to grab a bunch of grout from the bucket and spread it at a 45 degree angle against the tile.

Grouting Tile Backsplash

Matt worked along the entire length of the wall, while I followed behind and picked up the goop that fell, because we didn't want that to dry in the bottom gap between the counter and the tile. We'd need that gap clear for caulking down the line.We let it sit for a couple of days and then took off the rosin paper and cleaned up the counters with a vacuum.

You can really see the difference the grout makes below. We went with bright white grout. I toyed with the idea of a dark grout for literally years. In the end, I went with the simple option that would be neutral for a different buyer (way) down the road.

While the grout dried, we attached the venting to the microwave and Matt cut a custom board to fit in the space above the microwave. I still need to paint that part, but things are really coming together. The worst part of the grouting process was the speed with which you need to work. The grout dries quickly, and since we used the whole bag of it, we needed to make haste so we didn't go to Home Depot for the 9th time for this tiling project. Another very tedious part was putting the tile-specific caulk in the gap between the counter and bottom tile and along the edges.

Tile Caulk

We ended up very happy with the result, but making it smooth and perfect proved difficult the first time around. We ended up with two layers of caulk.

We still have a few items on the to-do list for this space before we can call it done, but the tile phase is complete. How about some "after" pictures? I don't have it staged with fresh fruit or a cutting board spilling over with farmer's market veggies, but I think some fresh flowers from the garden will do the trick.

A little reminder of the kitchen on move-in day...

...and the kitchen with new tile! 

I'm so happy with the progress. Sure, we need to get new trim and fix the spot over the microwave, but we should be done by my loose deadline of September 1.

Anyone else thinking about some new tile? Now that I've done this, and I see how easy it was, I want to tile the whole house. Not really, but maybe the bathroom shower next... 

Happy Wednesday!

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