Thursday, January 4, 2018

Laundry Room Backsplash

I shared how last Christmas I put up a backsplash in the laundry room and the kitchen. I finally found a tile I liked and was certain I would get tired of. I also had the time. I shared at the end of my post that I had leftover tile and was thinking of using this Christmas down-time to put it to use. I just had to psych myself up, and I did!

I didn’t calculate exactly how much tile I had before I started, but I would start at the top and work my way down until I ran out of tile.

I had my setup crew get the room ready.

I did not start in the center like I did on the other walls. I just started on the far side of the room and went from there. It ended up being perfect spacing. 

I did make sure that my first row was level. I placed a long level under the tile already on the wall and the tile I was placing.

Because I didn’t know how far I was going to go down, I back-buttered the tile. I used the smooth side of my trowel to put the adhesive on.

And the notched side to make the grooves needed.

The adhesive I used was by mapei.

I used the 1/8 inch spacers.

After placing the tiles on the wall, I’d hit them with my mallet.

The hammering is usually needed more for when you are applying tile to a wall that already has adhesive on it, but this step made me feel better, so I did. But the hammering would knock the spacers out.

My method was not the fastest way, but I was letting my perfectionist side come out and I was okay with that. I cleaned off every tile and the area around it after I laid the individual tile piece. I was trying to lighten my load at the end.

I was okay with having 3-4 rows of tile. I wanted enough that it disappeared behind the washer and dryer. When I got to the third row is when I counted how much tile I had and how far it would get me. I had enough tile I could make 10 rows! Obviously, I miscalculated how much tile I needed for the first project if I had this much tile leftover!

I only have a tile cutter and not a wet saw, so I could easily cut straight lines in tile, but not cut out spaces for the outlets, etc. I ended up marking all the tile and continued tiling and just left spaces.

I don’t recommend this. I was pretty good at marking the wall and picking the pattern back up, but there is one spot that I got off quite a bit. And it’s a spot that was not hidden! 

When I marked the tile, I used a special pencil. I put the tile in a position to mark one line.

Then I moved the tile to get the other line needed.

I then labeled the back of the tile with where it goes in the lineup so that I did not have to play too big of a guessing game when it came to installation.

I ended up having a large pile of tile that needed to be cut. Our local Lowes will cut your tile for you. They will only cut 10, but they offer this service and it is great! Our local Home Depot does not have this service. All you have to do is bring in the already marked tile. 

Lowes and Home Depot are not close to us, so I couldn’t just drive there every time I needed to cut a notch. That’s why I continued on laying tile so I could figure out all my cuts needed. Now, you do run into the off chance that you get a non-expert cutting your tile. They know how to operate the machine, but that’s it. Our guy kept saying he would not be perfect and I said I was okay with that. The only down side, is he was not cutting on my lines!

Now, to do the cuts out of the middle of a tile for an outlet, you make “Slivers” within the area you want to remove and then you break those slivers off. This is where our tile cutter did not follow my lines. His slivers went PAST my marked line. Oh well. I told the Lowes employee he did not have to remove all the slivers. I have the tools to do that, so I did it myself. I just needed the wet saw capability.

My sander would have taken a long time to smooth out those edges, and I was at the point that I didn’t care. I got it pretty good and I was okay with it.

Part of why I gave up, was while I was sanding, I broke a tile! I used too much force and just chipped off an edge. I still used the piece and it was fine. No one will be staring up close. But I didn’t want to risk messing up more tile for the sake of perfection.

I got all the pieces installed and finished for the night. Before you can grout, you need time for the adhesive to dry. I was ready for the grout. Having the dark shadows where the grout is to go, is not a look I like. I like the same color on the same color look. It makes it look the same, but adds texture. That’s currently my style.
The next morning, I got up ready to grout. I thought this would be a thirty minute task, but ended up being a bit longer. Again, I was being a perfectionist and fixing all the little things. I also did a third of the wall at a time as I wanted to make sure the tile I started with wasn’t too dry before I went back over it for the first wash.
As I explained in my other backsplash post, I made sure my tile around the electrical outlets was cut in enough so that the outlets had tile to rest on and did not need the special spacers.

The normal outlets were raised onto the tile, the huge dryer outlets were not. I did not want to mess with them, since they are foreign to me. The look bugs me, but I will live with it. And now that I edit the photos and look at them, the rough edges really are rough, but thank goodness they are hidden behind the appliances. This is not my typical work, as you can tell, I was just glad to have it done!

Now the washer hookups got no special treatment either. I just tiled right up to them. I also did not caulk around them. I was unsure if the plumber would ever need to take the stuff off and if caulking would prevent it. So I left it alone.

I ended up not going all the way down to the floor. I had enough to go one more row, but not quite enough to go two rows (what I lacked). It ended up being perfect just resting on my newly trimmed dryer vents.

Mister Pfitzer loves to mimic all we do. He was in the laundry room several times offering his help. He was really good at cleaning. I'd spray a spot and he'd scrub it.

The backsplash definitely gives a finished look to the laundry room. The tile is shiny and the light that comes in from the window bounces off the tile and out through the glass door and into the hallway.

And speaking of window, we got plantation shutters installed in the laundry room the day after Christmas. I had lived without it because I thought it didn’t need one. And it doesn’t; but from the outside it looked unfinished. You saw all the other windows with the shutter and this lone window without them. From the inside, it really finishes the room as well.

The laundry room is now the fanciest room in the house. It has a backsplash on both walls, double the washer and dryer, cabinets, sink and a fun color on the ceiling. I definitely enjoy the time I spend in there.

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