When I'm not shoveling snow, I like to kick back and install some tile.
I had a three-day weekend so I thought it was the perfect opportunity
to devote the whole weekend to getting the backsplash tiled.
I can't stress enough the importance of planning. You never want
to end up at the end of a row with a tiny sliver of tile. If you don't
trust your math, why not just lay them out along your counter?
(Of course, you should use your spacers.)
I thought I would add a short backsplash on the sink wall
of the kitchen so I did this little mockup with two rows of subway.
The tile will meet up in one corner of the kitchen so I'm adding the
same bullnose to the stove wall so that detail carries through on both sides.
All fairly easy until I got to my first outlet.
I held a tile in place and marked out the sides of the outlet
with a black china marker. Of course, I turned off the power
to the outlets before unscrewing them from the box. One
thing I don't mess with is electricity!
Then I marked the bottom edge of the outlet.
And then drew the outline of the cut I wanted to make.
I bought a wet saw when I was replacing a bathroom floor
in my first condo ten years ago. I recall it was about $100
at Home Depot and it was money very well spent.
It has an adjustable guide that will ensure straight cuts.
I cut down one side and then the other.
But now what?
I decided to make a diagonal cut just to remove a
good amount of the tile I wanted to remove.
Then I made another diagonal cut to remove more.
I didn't quite hit the bottom corner but when I went to
make a second cut, it broke cleanly at the bottom edge.
With the remaining triangle, I made a series of cuts stopping
each time at the bottom edge of the opening. These break
off very easily when you press on them.
All seemed perfect until I dropped it on the counter when
I was setting it in to place. I kind of panicked at this point because
you'll also notice that the tile got stained from the terracotta-dirtied
water from the wet saw. See it in the cracks? I thought I might
have to come up with some other method of cutting the
tile...until I thought of painter's tape.
I mean, this stuff's supposed to lock out paint so maybe its
edge-lock technology would be enough to keep the
terracotta juice from staining my tile.
I left the "cut line" exposed and covered the areas
on both sides that might have gotten wet.
This worked like a charm!
This is my second attempt at the outlet opening with a piece
of tape down each side of the cut and one across the bottom.
This is what the back looks like.
After the first one, they're really pretty easy.
Also note that I cut the tile close enough to the top
and bottom to catch the flange of the outlet but not
close enough to cover up the screw holes. So no spacers
are needed to bring the outlet flush with the tile. But
I did need to get longer screws on some of the outlets.
I stupidly thought I could get this done in one weekend.
But everything takes at least three times as long as you expect.
And I'm not in any rush. So what if it takes three weekends?
Slow and steady wins the race.
I really love that cigar detail a few rows up from the counter.
It makes it look a little more special.
Someone pointed out on my grout post that the ungrouted tile
shows you what dark gray grout would look like.
I kind of like it.