We finally did it. We dominated our floor tile project in the kitchen/dining room. I don't have a tutorial for how we did it, but I do have plenty of pictures to show the progress throughout the process.
First, I will tell you about the tile we chose.
This was a long process for me as I didn't want to buy something too modern, for resale purposes, and obviously I was on a budget. Honestly, anything would have been better than the burgundy and gold ceramic tile that we had, right?
Right. So, after about 6 months of tile searching, I decided that the best way to get a more modern look without spending $5/sf was to look for different tile sizes. I REALLY wanted 12 by 24 tiles, like really bad. But, alas, the ones I liked were all out of my price range. I honestly thought about buying large tiles and cutting them in half, but I am glad I didn't go that route after seeing how porcelain tile cuts.
I decided to go for 18 by 18 porcelain tile. I had been to Home Depot and Lowes probably 50 times looking at their tile options and I would have sworn there was nothing there that would work for me. Everything is so "builder grade", but the prices were right for me. I FINALLY discovered an 18 by 18 option that I liked. I bought a few and brought them home.
$1.87/SF from Home Depot:
It looks a little white/cream in this picture, but it has a beautiful gray veining and hides dirt extremely well (one of my main concerns due to the doggie door that enters onto this floor).
Let's start the process, shall we?
Remove the existing floor tile.
This step proved to be the most difficult task we have ever undertaken as homeowners. And we even finished an unfinished basement! I don't think I have every been so tired or achy from physical labor. Whoever put that hideous tile down wanted to make sure it didn't come up:(
And finally, after about 2 entire days of work, we had a clean surface...
The area in the kitchen had an extra layer of a plywood board that we also removed.
Laying the backer board:
We used a thin layer of...thin set under the board. We did a lot of research on this and found that there were pros and cons to this, but ultimately decided it was best.
Start laying tile!
We had a long drawn out discussion on where we wanted to start the tile and where the pattern should start. Eventually we decided we wanted one tile to be centered at the top of the staircase (not shown, but to the left of the picture). We laid the tile in rows and offset each row to create a standard brick pattern.
Notice our little helpers:)
I really wanted to use the smallest grout spacers possible, like 1/16 inch. However, it is not recommended when using larger tiles like 18 by 18. We ended up using 3/16 inch spacers, the smallest recommended size for our large tiles.
We took a break to go celebrate my niece's 1st Birthday:)
But, it was time to grout when we got home...
We used Polyblend Sanded Grout in Oyster Gray from Home Depot.
The haze took a while to get out. I found that a mixture of water and vinegar worked best.
We added some thresholds between the wood floors and the tile to create a seamless transition.
I finally took on the challenge of installing an over the range microwave and I am SO happy that I did. We didn't have an outlet in our cabinet above the vent hood, so I had to install one. We got lucky and our vent hood was on its own circuit so we were able to just move the wires up to the cabinet and install an outlet box. If you are thinking about this, make sure the outlet won't be on the same circuit as your lights, range, refrigerator, or kitchen outlets. I have heard about people having problems with their lights dimming every time they run their microwave:(
We got a new refrigerator as well...and as much as I would have loved stainless steel appliances, we didn't have the budget to replace all of our other appliances. Plus, they are in great condition and in our neighborhood it shouldn't affect resale.
So, let's do a little recap:
Still to do:
* Switch out beige switch plates to white
* Install new overhead and pendant lighting
* New backsplash?
* New countertops?
You might think I am crazy, or you might agree with me, but I am considering painting the kitchen cabinets again. It all depends on whether or not I feel like taking on some bigger projects like the countertops and/or backsplash. I would love a crisp white kitchen, but my white appliances and white countertops put a wrench in that plan. We'll see:)