Kitchen Backsplash Install -Pt. 2

We finished putting all the tiles in place on Sunday night and planned to grout as soon as I got home from work on Monday evening (with the assessment on Tuesday we were cutting it close). I woke up Monday morning to a scene from the inside of a snow globe and trucked my way into work. My spirits were slightly lifted as I listened to the weatherman warn of a severe winter storm headed our way; I hoped that it would bring some end-of-the-day cancellations and I would be able to leave work a little early. After getting to work the snowfall got worse and I was sent home after only two hours! When I arrived home, we wasted little time in preparing for day three of our backsplash install, which included grouting and putting our kitchen back together. Here is a quick reminder of how the kitchen looked when we ended on Sunday (part 1):

Left Side Tiling Done

We choose to use a beige colored grout because we wanted it to blend nicely with our backsplash tile and also wanted something light. Using the same mixing paddle we had used for the mortar, Peddy mixed the grout according to the instructions.

Rubber Grout Float @ Work

Using a rubber grout float he applied it to the backsplash in small, manageable sections and I came in after and gently wiped away the excess using a soft (a.k.a. no scrub pad!!!!!) damp sponge and double checked to make sure that all the cracks and crevasses were filled in. As I made my way across the wall I made sure to fill in any voids in the grout and also made sure that none of the glass or stone was covered. If I found a tile that had its edges covered with grout (making them look round instead of square) I carefully cleaned them off using the corner of the damp sponge.

Applying Grout

Grouting around the new LED switch required a little more thought and execution. Due to the odd shape of the switch itself and the fact that it was mounted flush against the drywall created a rather interesting undertaking. I decided to use my fingers because I was able to get the grout into the different angles, unlike the rubber float was able to. I wanted the grout around the ends of tiles to be level with the rest of the backsplash and then gradually slant inwards towards the switch.

LED switch

Once I had enough grout around the switch I shaped and smoothed it with my finger and used a q-tip to touch up the edges, removing as much excess from the switch as possible.

Tile: Filmy Coating

The instructions said to wait 30 minutes for the grout to dry before I could wipe the tile down for the second (and last) time. Because the grout had been wet the first time around it left a filmy residue. Using a damp sponge I gently wiped the tiles removing as much of the residue as possible. When I finished I thought they still looked a little hazy so I decided to go over them with a dry paper towel because I really wanted them to sparkle and shine.

Tile: CleanedWe gave the grout a little more drying time and then got to work mounting our electrical outlets, switches and faceplates. Due to the depth difference created by the tile we needed to raise the receptacles or the faceplates would not fit. In order to achieve this we used two washers (per screw) on the backside of the receptacles to make it as flush to the tile as possible. The outlets are slightly slanted to one side, but it is barely visible with the faceplates on! (If building or doing more of a demo than we did they do make special electrical boxes for tiling projects.)

Close Up: Receptacle/ Gap

Now that the backsplash is grouted you can barely tell that the space between the first and second row of tiles gets bigger the closer you get to the door casing and the LED switch blends much better with its surroundings. Overall we are very impressed with ourselves! For a first time tile job it could have gone a LOT worse.

Close Up: Switch/ Gap

Now, before the big reveal let me just refresh your memory on what we started with….

Kitchen - Before

versus NOW!

Backsplash Finished

Next step is to seal the deal backsplash so it will be better protected from the wear of everyday kitchen use. The grout instructions said we would need to wait 2-3 days before sealing tile for the grout to fully set. We will probably get around to this in the summer when we can open the windows and let in some fresh air!

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