How to install a tiled backsplash

We’re finally shopping for tile for behind our stove area so I wanted to revisit how our kitchen has evolved and the tile we chose for our back splash as well as review the steps we took to install the tile. Our kitchen when we bought the house was outdated…

When we moved we only paint the walls green, inserted new SS appliances and range hood. We lived with it for 3 years then painted the cabinets and finally replaced the countertop with granite (Virginia Jet Mist). Working as time and budget allow sometimes mean waiting for the things we want.
tile-backsplash-tutorial
We had a savings to get started on our dream kitchen (the dream where we have savings but the dream without winning the lottery.
The back splash:

Materials:
Venatino Polished Marble Tiles 12×12 mosaic, 5 Venatino Pencil Borders
OmniGrip Maximum Strength Adhesive
Tile Guard Natural Stone Penetrating Sealer
QuartzLock Grout – silver
FrogTape
Caulk

Tools:
Tile saw
Trowel
Float
Putty knife
Bucket
Sponge
Bucket
Paper towels
Rags
Caulk gun
DAP Pro Caulk Tool Kit

Back Splash Tutorial:

1.  Apply caulk to gap where countertop meets the wall.

2.  We used a DAP Pro Caulk Tools to make an even/straight line, but a using your finger (and water) works just as well.

3.  Prep area.  Cover countertop or clean as you go to protect the counter top.

4.  Upper cabinets sit back further than the edge of the countertop. We wanted out backsplash to cover the entire area. We started at the edge of the counter for our backsplash. Decide how your tile edge will be finished.  We used a matching border from the countertop’s edge vertically and ended at the bottom of the end of the wall cabinet.  We mitered the joint where vertical meets horizontal.
5.  Apply border and tile with OmniGrip Adhesive using a trowel.  Coat the wall (can be done directly on drywall).  OmniGrip is pre-mixed so there’s no guessing on consistency and this product works really well for a back splash.
6.  To lessen breakage and crumbling when cutting (the vibration nearly pulverizes edges of the marble), we used FrogTape on cuts.

7.  Apply pressure to ‘set’ tiles in place.

Another shot of how we ended the tile on the countertop/cabinet edge.

8.   Let dry at least 2 days.

9.  Seal tiles using Tile Guard.  Wipe on with a rag.  It dries within seconds.

10.  After drying, prep area by covering countertops or clean as you go – dried grout {We chose Quartz Lock in a darker gray} will be hard to remove.

Have a bucket of water handy.

11.  Apply generous amount of Quartz Lock to the float using a putty knife.

Quartz Lock is pre-mixed. We cover with a plastic grocery bag, then the lid with a tight seal and save leftover for a future project.
12.  Add grout to spaces between the tiles, filling every gap, working in small areas going to next step and starting again with the next area.  Smoosh it in the gaps.
13.  Using a well-wrung wet sponge, wipe in a diagonal motion (except when necessary against countertop and cabinets), wiping away grout from tile.  Grout should stay in the cracks and gaps, but be cleaned away from tiles.

14.  Rinse sponge.

15.  Repeat.

16.  Let dry.  Grout will hide imperfections/crumbled edges of marble tile.  Don’t stress with tiny chips. Grout will disguise them. We have an old farmhouse, so our motto is “imperfection adds character”.
Before Grout:
After Grout:
Kitchen before:
Kitchen after:
We’re thinking of stainless steel tiles for behind the stove but I haven’t decided on the pattern or shape of tiles yet.
We just calculated that we’ll be in our house 7 years this summer. And we’re ready to put the finishing touches on the kitchen. About time, right?  We’ll be removing the cabinets above the stove to install a proper vent. It means losing those two cupboards but more on a pantry coming soon too. What do you think?
I think the chef’s dream stove/range is on that ‘winning the lottery’ dream kitchen and he’ll have to make do with what we have but it’s functional. Sorry, Mr. DIY.
See more about our kitchen makeover at our Home Tour
DIY Show Off farmhouse kitchen makeover
Similar products for this project:
Star Quartz Quartz Lock 2 Ug Tile Grout-Birch 18lb bucket
Carrara Marble Italian White Bianco Carrera 3×6 Marble Subway Tile Honed
Custom Building Products TLOSQT-3 TileLab OneStep Cleaner and Resealer
Frog Tape 82021 Pro Painters Masking Tape, 1-1/2-Inch by 60-Yards, Green
Pro Caulk Complete Caulking Kit (As Seen On TV)
Goldblatt G02391 1/4-Inch By 3/8-Inch By 1/4-Inch Square Notch Trowel With Plastic Handle
TBC Margin Trowel Float 6″x 2-1/2″ Professional Gum Rubber Face Bonder to Foam Rubber Pad. Speciality Grout Float Designed for Hard to Reach Areas. Narrow Width & Offset Handle Allow Work Under Toe-Kick Space Under Cabinets and Small Areas. Float 11″
SKIL 3540-02 4.2-Amp 7-Inch Wet Tile SawThis is a sponsored post brought to you by FrogTape. The opinions are completely my own based on my own experience. FrogTape Blog Squad

Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations {apartment progress}

I am no stranger to painting cabinets (painted kitchen cabinets). I get a lot of questions about Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations and I love that I had the opportunity to test the product for myself. My honest opinion? I seriously LOVED the kit. Reason #1 – no sanding! That step is my least favorite (and most time consuming and messy) part of re-doing kitchen cabinets.

The apartment kitchen before was looking outdated and sad…(and super dirty!)

apartment kitchen makeover before

and after some clean up and the Rustoleum Countertop Transformations {review} definitely made even the cabinets look better…

Rustoleum Countertops

but with such a small space, I really wanted to lighten things up.

I chose “pure white”. This kitchen is super tiny but I used Rustoleum’s how to measure guide to confirm that one kit would cover our space. It turned out to be more than enough.

painting kitchen cabinets prep work

I removed the doors and hardware. I used FrogTape to label my doors

prep for painting kitchen cabinets

and to prepare my space for painting (where cabinets met the wall and floor in certain areas).

paint prep using FrogTape

 Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations

The first step in the kit is ‘deglossing’. Simply generously apply the declosser to the wood (or laminate or even metal!) with the provided green scrubby. Rinse with a wet rag and let dry. This removed a lot of the dirt, grease and the “shine”.

Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations

The next step is applying the bonding coat (or … white paint provided by the kit).  I started with the front side of the doors and while they were drying, moved to the cabinet frames.

Elevating doors made them easier to paint.

When painting doors, I find that after painting the edges, that running my finger along the underside helps prevent ‘drips’. This means painted fingers and old paint pants come in handy but if you skip this, you will definitely have drips/extra paint on the other side!

Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations

I gave everything 2 coats. I decided not to use the glaze which was provided in the kit since I wanted a clean white look. I think that if you’re not doing the glaze, that two coats is enough (because it will help achieve an awesome glazed look) but if going for the pure white, I recommend using a primer first (not provided) or giving everything 3 coats of paint if you have enough (which I did). I gave the outside of the doors (the most viewed area) 3 coats. The sides of cabinets, which are not seen, got two coats.

painting kitchen cabinets

I removed my FrogTape as soon as I applied the last round of the bonding coat. I felt confident applying the clear protective coat without the FrogTape using an angled brush and didn’t want to pull off any of the bonding coat which can easily happen once paint dries.

removing FrogTape

Once the last bonding coat was dry, it was time to apply the protective coat. Only ONE coat is recommended. I brushed it on in the direction of the wood grain (do the same with the paint). It goes on shiny (wet) but has a beautiful, durable matte finish.

Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations

Once the protective coat is dry, re-attach doors and hardware.

attach cabinet doors

I was going to just re-use the old hardware but I found an awesome deal at a yard sale with a bit of a prettier look. So new knobs for $2.00!

thrifted cabinet knobs

I think the result is beautiful. Painting cabinets is always time consuming but I found that the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations kit is a great easy way to give old cabinets a new durable look!

This is not recommended by Rustoleum but using the same steps, I even gave the dingy scratched fridge the same treatment. Time will tell if it will hold up but since it works on laminate and metal…I felt it was a safe option. I gave it a ‘light’ brushing of the bonding coat and a layer of protective coat. The fridge looked extra yellow and dirty next to the new cabinets. Who wants that? Now it looks brand new!

Once again, before: {I know – I keep sharing this before but with each new project, I want you to see the progress and what we started with.}

apartment kitchen before

After:

Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations pure white

a close up…

pure white

Yes! Time to move onto some decorative details in the kitchen! Wahooooooo! More to come!

kitchen makeover

I can’t wait for this clutter to be gone and for the decorating to begin!

painted white kitchen cabinets

It’s getting there!

More helpful links:

Rustoleum Countertop Transformations tutorial and review.

countertop before and after feature

·         Rust-Oleum has an appliance epoxy for painting appliances: http://www.rustoleum.com/CBGProduct.asp?pid=391

·         Rust-Oleum also has a product called Furniture Transformations http://rustoleumtransformations.com/furniture/

Sharing here: Home Stories A2Z
Best Sept. DIY party

*I share my experience in this post and it is not meant as a full tutorial. Rustoleum includes detailed written instructions and an instructional DVD tutorial with each kit with additional help at Rustoleum Transformations website. I received product in exchange for my review.

This is a sponsored post brought to you by FrogTape. The opinions are completely my own based on my own experience. 

FrogTape Blog Squad

Apartment Kitchen DIY – 1 before and 1 after

Hellooooo, DIY friends! So it’s almost midnight here and even up until about a half hour ago, I had high hopes of editing photos and writing up a painting kitchen cabinets tutorial and Rusteoleum Cabinet Transformations review but my long work days have caught up with me and I can barely keep my eyes open so um, yea…not happening. I sometimes tend to get a little ambitious with trying to squeeze so much into one day. When I say DIY is my passion, I’m not joking. And I love blogging but I discovered some times there isn’t enough time for both. You’ve noticed that too, right? This past week and the next few days will reflect all work, no play, no blogging, no socializing but lots of rewards!

I plan to be up at the crack of dawn (or maybe a few minutes after that) to head back to the rental to work on some more DIY. You all know I love me some DIY projects and it’s a three day DIY weekend, friends! At least in this household it’ll be 3 fun days of DIY (although we may be persuaded to spend an afternoon with family, food and swimming one day because that does sound like a lot more fun than our summer: DIY apartment part 452, doesn’t it?).

So anyway, as I head off to bed for a few hours of sleep before heading back to DIY, DIY and more DIY, in place of sharing a full tutorial and review today, I leave you with this…

This is one area of the apartment that we started with…

apartment kitchen before

{and that’s the cleaned up version…see the scary before here}

and this is what it looks like now (still some more to reveal yet/coming soon to a DIY blog near you. There will be much more to this kitchen than this current state!)

DIY apartment kitchen after

{Rustoleum Countertop Transformations review & tutorial}

Well, that is what it looks like now minus the clutter of additional tools and materials and MINUS that smooth ceiling to the left because there was a leak in the bathroom upstairs (uh oh!) and after a major freak out minor breakdown where I had to walk away to cry before gathering my strength, wiping my nose and wishing desperately that I could just run away to somewhere tropical and never DIY ever again –  to return to clean up wet crumbling drywall and water. I may have ran out the door an wailed. Ask the neighbors. It wasn’t pretty. ::sigh:: The joys of DIY. Not always smooth sailing and according to plan. But, nothing to do but persevere and just clean it up and mentally make up a drywall patch check list because it won’t fix itself and a huge 5 x 2 foot hole in the ceiling to expose floor joints and the wood floor above isn’t going to make for a pretty reveal.

Sooooo…if you don’t see me around for a few days, I will be working on this list:

  • painting faux tileboard, ceiling, trim
  • grouting a bathroom floor
  • patching a ceiling
  • installing baseboards
  • fixing a painted accent wall
  • working on a few other *fun* DIY projects (YAY! Finally!)
  • installing a bathroom vanity, sink and faucets
  • installing a bathroom light
  • installing a toilet
  • staining/poly’ing hardwood floors

Again, with the ambition! I’m optimistic. I’ll be working my butt off to get as much done as I can. I’m not kidding myself. I know I’m not going to make my deadline of it being ALL done this weekend but we’re getting closer! What are YOU doing THIS weekend? If you’re enjoying one of those Pinterest inspired recipes…I’m so envious! Anyone else notice that busy DIY days = unhealthy eating?

HAVE AN AMAZING LABOR DAY HOLIDAY WEEKEND if you’re celebrating!

If you’d like to see snippets of progress before it’s posted, I share updates on Facebook, Twitter and instagram. 

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Thanks so much for stopping by! I love company! If you’re not available to patch a ceiling or grout tile this weekend, I invite you to catch up on past posts, links from the DIY party or our home tourvisit links on our project page or to start thinking about inspiration for fall!

Did you know that if you subscribe by email (left side bar)…you can view the full post delivered right to your email? A great alternative to the truncated feed! 

Kitchen Remodel ~ It’s Overflowing {OPC Before & After Project Winner}

I browsed through 158 remodeling projects at

Supporting Habitat for Humanity
When Ethan from One Project Closer asked if I’d like to participate, I was thrilled. Ethan was one of the very first bloggers I met last year (here) and OPC started their before/after series contest 5 years ago to raise awareness which is something I support too! You can get more details by clicking the button above because there is still time to enter to win!
It’s always so hard to choose just winner from so many amazing DIY projects…I’m just a fan of DIY. Period. And throw in some pretty amazing spaces competing and I want to choose them all. But narrow it down, I did.

And now, {drumroll please}, the winner is…

Kitchen Remodel ~ It’s Overflowing

This is Aimee’s kitchen when they moved in. Outdated, for sure! But look at all of those cabinets and all of that space. Lots of potential!

kitchen before

kitchen before

This is Aimee’s kitchen now:

kitchen after

kitchen after

Wow, right?

The sunny yellow accents with all of the fresh white make this one happy space to prepare meals and gather…

kitchen corner sink and window

Love how everything looks so clean and bright…

subway tile

There is so much to see! Even a DIY cabinet housing the microwave and adding additional storage!

20 tips to a dream kitchen

I love beautiful materials Aimee chose and her DIY work in this kitchen:

  • white granite
  • subway tile backsplash
  • painting and framing the kitchen cabinets
You can see ALL of the details, more pictures and links to her DIY projects at Aimee’s Kitchen Remodel Steps post.
It's Overflowing
Congratulations, Aimee!
Now pop over to enter your DIY makeover for a chance to win!

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Rustoleum Countertop Transformations

When I first saw the scratched, lightly burned and stained creamy colored laminate countertop in the rental, I knew I needed  to either board up the door and run for the hills or an affordable and easy DIY solution. Rustoleum’s Countertop Transformations kit was a great way to rescue this kitchen.

kitchen before…

apartment kitchen before

Rustoleum’s Countertop Transformations kit comes in 5 colors: Onyx, Charcoal, Java Stone, Desert Sand and Pebbled Ivory. Since the previous light color was stained, I decided to go with a darker color to avoid the same issue in the future. “Sleek and contemporary, Onyx is one of today’s most-sought after colors. Onyx’s black gleaming finish will modernize your kitchen and accent any decor. It perfectly complements kitchens with stark colors, white cabinets and stainless steel appliances.” The description sold me…an easy DIY way to modernize a kitchen?

A DIY option that doesn’t include removing the old and measuring for new, cutting new/etc.? Count me in! There’s a lot of DIY going on in this apartment and budget friendly, easy choices are a huge help!

I’m often asked about this DIY kit, so it was great to have the opportunity to give it a try for myself. Summary? Definitely worth the money and work to achieve the look of a brand new countertop!

My Rustoleum Countertop Transformations Experience

I read through the instructions. I also wrote down highlights when I watched the instructional DVD. The kit includes nearly everything but I did have to purchase 2 angled 2″ brushes, gloves, a 6″ microfiber roller and a 6″ foam roller (shown on the outside of the box). A shop vac is handy too.

I set up a work station close by with all of the materials on hand and ready to go.

countertop transformations prep

and prepped the area using plastic drop cloths and FrogTape. I did not remove the sink, however removing the sink will make the process much easier.

laminate countertop before

Tip: I taped around the sink. However, if you have a steady hand and an angled brush, I think it’s easier to wipe away basecoat when you get it on the sink. Tape will peel away some of the finish and require touch ups but those are super easy to do too! More on that below. Tape off wall near backsplash, cover cabinets, appliances (if near by) and floor with plastic drop cloths.

The first step is to sand the counters using the diamond embedded sanding block (provided in kit) to remove the shine from the laminate, sanding in a circular motion. It actually not only removed the glossy finish but the some of the stains as well. This is by far the hardest step – not too difficult, just time consuming and requires some muscle.

sanding laminate countertop

{as you can see above, I removed the loose laminate side strips because they were not secure and applied each step to the non-laminated sides}

Once the sanding was done, I cleaned the countertops with a damp cloth, removing all of the dust (several times) then let them dry.

Step 2 is applying the adhesive base coat. Have the materials ready to go including: adhesive base coat, wetting spray, paint tray and microfiber roller, 2″ angled brush and decorative color chips (in the spreader). Stir the adhesive base coat.

Rustoleum Countertop Transformations

Starting with the backsplash area, apply a heavy coat (like icing on a cake) of the adhesive base coat to the top and front of the backsplash and two inches of the countertop against the backsplash. Use the brush to apply the adhesive base coat to the sides and front of the countertop. Pour the adhesive base coat into the paint tray and roll onto the large flat area of the countertop. Make sure that none of the countertop shows through. Work quickly!

adhesive base coat

adhesive base coat around sink

Once every spot is covered, quickly move to the next steps. Spray the wetting agent and spread decorative color chips using the spreader according to instructions. Take handfuls and apply decorative color chips in hard to reach places, covering every area of adhesive base coat. There are plenty of decorative chips. Spare no expense!

applying decorative color chips

It does make quite a mess but don’t worry, they’re very easy to sweep up. I let this sit overnight then swept up the excess decorative color chips with a shop vac.

sweeping chips

It’s starting to look awesome!

laminate countertop transformation

Using the scraper provided, start removing build up of dried decorative chips along the coated surfaces (being careful not to dig or remove too much).

scraping decorative color chips

Next, using the sanding block in the kit, sand down the decorative color chips. And sand some more. And sand again.

sanding decorative color chips

Vacuum up the dust

vaccum

and compare the sanded countertop with the sample piece.

textured sample

Sand and vacuum again if needed.

sanding and vacuuming countertop

Clean with a damp cloth, making sure to get all of the dust removed and let dry. Score the FrogTape with a utility knife (we only had a razor on hand) and remove tape.

removing FrogTape

Touch ups: When I removed my FrogTape from around the sink, it did peel away some of the finish. Not to worry. Simply touch up with the adhesive base coat using a foam brush, (wipe away base coat if it gets onto the sink/etc.), apply decorative chips and wait four hours.

Rustoleum countertop touch up

Sweep up the chips. Sand. Clean.

Tip: Note that this process is messy and remember to over protect areas you don’t want involved. I have a little paint touch ups to do.

touch up needed

Again, make sure countertops are completely dust/dirt free and dry. {looking better already, isn’t it?}

cleaning countertop

On to the last step! Once the countertop has been sanded and cleaned, gather supplies and pour Part A of the protective coat with Part B and stir.

mixing Rustoleum countertop transformations

Apply the protective clear coat starting with the top and front of the backsplash and onto about 2 inches of the level countertop. Pour some of the protective coat into a paint tray and apply to the flat areas of the countertop using the foam roller. Don’t forget to apply protective coat to the sides also.

apply protective coat

Keep kids and pets out of the room until the protective coat dries to avoid fingerprints, pet hair, etc. in the finish.

The transformation is amazing. What a gorgeous finish and huge improvement!

rustoleum countertop transformations onyx

Let dry 48 hours for light use and 7 days to fully cure for normal use.

Thoughts: This do-it-yourself Rustoleum Countertop Transformations kit is messy but easy to use, an affordable option and the result is gorgeous. Dried nice to a nice hard finish. The countertop feels durable and looks 100% better! We’re thrilled with the results! Thanks to Bri for her help with this project! Two people are definitely better than one!

Rustoleum Countertop Transformations before and after

What do you think? Have you tried the Rustoleum Countertop Transformations?

Rustoleum Countertop Transformations After - Onyx

Thinking about it? I hope sharing our experience helps! This YouTube video shares DIY tips.

Up next…oh yes I did! I painted those cabinets! I’ll share the process next week. But here’s a sneak peek…

DIY countertop and cabinets

You might also be interested in Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations…making painting cabinets easy (no sanding!):

pure white

 

I did receive product (Rustoleum Countertop Transformations kit) in exchange for a review however experience, pictures and opinion are my own. For more information about Rustoleum Countertop Transformations including a how-to-guide, colors, virtual tool, photo gallery with before and after pictures and where to buy, visit Rustoleum Countertop Transformations

This is a sponsored post brought to you by FrogTape. The opinions are completely my own based on my own experience. 

FrogTape Blog Squad

Kitchen Before and After

My kitchen reveal in reverse!

I just found some pictures from when we bought our house. I know you’ve seen the after shots but I thought you’d enjoy seeing a few before and ‘now’ pictures for comparison. This is one of the reasons I started blogging – watching the transformation of this old house and while I tend to see all that we have yet to do, these pictures are a reminder that we’ve come a long way, baby! Of course a really ugly before makes anything look like an improvement. So, even though our kitchen isn’t quite done, I have shared these after photos (there aren’t any super new ones) but it’s a reveal in reverse…before pictures to prove that we’ve made some changes. 🙂

Warning: The before photos are very scary and a lot of ‘yuck’ from neglect/previous owners. Our home sat empty for awhile. A year or two maybe? I don’t remember. But it’s the location and size and character of this old house that won my heart…not the dirt and outdated/cheap finishes. I saw past the grime. I had a vision.

Kitchen before – it’s love at first sight, right? ha! love the Mr. Yuck stickers on the bottom cabinets, don’t you?

farmhouse kitchen before

kitchen now

farmhouse kitchen

Kitchen before: that’s a ceiling fan pull cord hanging down.

kitchen before

Kitchen after…

farmhouse kitchen

Kitchen before – what is that on the wall? I’m guessing the location of the previous owner’s kitchen garbage can? We don’t really want to know, do we?

kitchen before

kitchen now

Kitchen before…I’m amazed how much smaller this door makes that wall look!

farmhouse kitchen before

See the ugly sidewalk and rusty grape arbor in the background below? French door installation in progress:

kitchen French door installation

Kitchen now…let there be light!

I know…these aren’t really “now” pictures as in “today”. They are at least six months ago before the move to WordPress as you can tell by the watermark. But, I did just return from Haven so you know my kitchen isn’t photography-worthy but thanks for looking – I was happy to find the before pictures!

{patio & grape arbor after too}

So, what do you think? A better idea of where we started and our home is a fixer upper for sure! If you haven’t already, you can see more in our home tour. 🙂

Now if only the upstairs bathrooms still didn’t look like the before pictures. I’m doubting it, but was your house move-in ready or did you have to work at cleaning some filth?
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My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia