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Down with Some Tile.

January 4, 2012

Ok, so it took three days of cutting and laying tile (and a New Years party and maybe hangover in between) but we are officially doing the (overly) excited happy dance.   Our floors are two thirds the way to finished and we couldn’t be more psyched.  Without further ado, here’s the 411:

We started out (after laying Hardie Backer, mentioned here) by planning the lie of the pattern.  We knew we wanted a diagonal brick pattern (found here) but needed to figure out the exact 45 degree angle to get the long, wide-open look we desired.  Ryan started off by measuring our starting point (the corner by our oven) while I cut the tiles using our MK Diamond tile saw.

Our MK Diamond saw fits tiles up to 12″.  The tiles we purchased are 13″x13″.  Because we decided on a diagonal pattern, that extended the length needed to be cut.  Needless to say, Michelle had to use some serious skillz (yes, that’s skills with a ‘Z’, because I’m that good) in cutting 100 square feet of tile at a diagonal on a saw too small for the job.  (Oh, and it was snowing to boot).

The snow on Sunday was cold, but it was the wind that was frigid!  Every cut sprayed a nice layer of cold water on my face and hands, which is why I opted for latex gloves on top of my work gloves.  I also wore some major ear protection, because that sucker is LOUD!  (sorry to my neighbors if you were sleeping at 9am).

After getting a head start on measuring/cutting the first area of tiles, it was time to mix some thinset mortar with the drill and mixing bit .  Thinset offers a strong bond for applying tile to floors.  Ryan applied it with a standard floor trowel.

Once the (most crucial) starting point was in with thinset, the pattern started to take shape.  We used 3/16″ spacers from Lowes to keep each tile evenly spaced apart.

Ryan marked the starting point of each new row of tile at 6.5″ (the middle of each tile) to make sure the brick pattern never got off kilter.  Our kitchen is such a weird shape, so we needed to tile the kitchen in 3 separate sections over 3 days.  On the morning of tile day #2 we got out the dolly and moved the fridge to the dining room.  We had to remove the handles from the fridge and turn it sideways to get it out.  Luckily, we have a bunch of extensions cords, so we having a fully functioning kitchen in our dining room, which includes a microwave, toaster oven, and fridge.  For the record, living like this really sucks, but better than not having appliances at all.

Progress on day #2 included getting back into the new “L” shaped counter top area (more on that here).  We couldn’t tile ourselves backward into this space because there was no where to go, which is why this became a three step project.

On tile day #3 (Monday)  I had to cut the random trim ‘triangle’ pieces to cut around the perimeter of the entire kitchen.

The last tile recieved it’s very own tile photo-shoot, I hope it feels proud…lol:

Here is the final product.  Please excuse the awful lighting.  I was so zonked after working all day that I forgot to take the “after” pictures in the daylight.  I promise I will get better ones when the sun is actually shinning.

We are totally psyched with how the tile turned out.  It took 3 days to lay 100 square feet, but it’s finally set and ready for some grout.  Of course, this project could never been accomplished without great supervisors. Tulipai and Ninka did a wonderful job over-seeing the entire process, Ninka the Project Manager.

Still on the list:

  • Grout
  • Trim and quarter round
  • Paint existing and new trim
  • Countertops
  • Tile backsplash
  • Replace electrical outlets
  • Add new cabinet door hinges
  • Make cabinet doors for bottom cabinet on addition
  • Add upper cabinet on new counter addition
  • Do touch-up paint on all cabinets
The list is getting shorter, so that’s a plus.  Next step: Grout!
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