Tile expert question

flgargoyleFebruary 24, 2010

Since I know we have tile experts on here, I thought I'd ask for some advice. I'm planning to do the backsplashes in our kitchen in white subway tile. I'd also like to do a narrow stripe of black partway up. The kitchen is white on white, with brushed nickel hardware, and a dark gray 'granitey' formica. I would normally think white grout, but it will be a mess in the kitchen, Maybe a gray color? The other problem is that NONE of the dimensions work our evenly for tile dimensions! I'm not sure if I should trim the ends, or put one oddball in the center of an area, or? I ran into this with a fireplace surround once, and I cut 3 tile for the middle in a curved keystone design. It took hours with a rod saw, but it looked nice. I don't want to get that fancy with the kitchen, though. I have 3 areas to tile- one behind the stove, and two at the ends of a big counter that has a pass-through to the family room. I'm not sure what to do with those- maybe a stair-step design, or? Any ideas?

Jay

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Shades_of_idaho

I am FAR from a tile expert. I only have a couple of ideas as I have been told or read about or done myself. I am sure others know much more than I do. I mostly fly by the seat of my pants.

To make your tiles fit the space it is best to make the off cuts at the end closest to the corner. In the case of my bathroom counter I did NOT do that. LOL Even though I do have a tile saw I was a little timid to use it.Not to mention it was too cold outside. For me it was easier to cut the tiles to fit around the sink when they were smaller. I used my lepps and grinder for final fit. I think it is fine and it is me I need to please. But to do it right I should have started with full tiles on the right ,sink, end of counter and cut the shorter tiles when I got to the left, wall end.

In the guest bath my tiles were about 3/4 inch short front to back on the counter top. This is why I added in the pretty glass strip. That was not my design it was necessity.

Also on my master counter I was short of tiles front to back and again I made it work with the glass tiles and strips of glass for fill. So the counter matches or coordinates with the window sill and the cabinet I did in that same room.

You can do a test grout board. Take some tiles and lay them out on a board and pour dry grout over then in the colors you are considering. Usually this is done with tiles glued down but subway tiles are expensive and I think you can get the same effect with them just sitting there. Then decide which grout looks best. Be sure to use your little black strip in there for effect. When you are done scoop up your tiles brush them off and pour the grout back in the bag.

Directions always say to wipe grout down with wrung out sponge. Do not go there. Use old hand towels or sacrifice an old bath towel cut up and wipe that grout off with it DRY. Will keep you from smearing and smearing and having so much haze. I never use wet sponge or wet anything to wipe my grout off. I usually do a quick once over with one towel then go back with another clean towel and so on until it is cleaned and shined up. I put drop cloths on the floor and just let the wiped off grout go to the drop cloth. Then you can go back and even up your grout lines. Do not wipe it too soon to wipe it out between the tiles. I am still picking with my dental tool on some little spots I missed.

Be sure not to get grout in your sink. Use a bucket to rinse your hands in and dump it in the yard.

Have fun with it.

Chris

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 10:06PM
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larke

Yes, always make adjustments at the ends. As far as grout color goes, I'd be tempted to just use white, because the wow factor of the brightness will be higher than gray and do you really want that much darkness in the kitchen? I'm not even sure I'd want a black strip through the middle either.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 4:35AM
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Shades_of_idaho

Jay I was reading at kitchens and came across this post. Might be interesting for you.

Chris

Here is a link that might be useful: Dark Grout

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 9:19PM
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flgargoyle

Here's what I sketched up for the main backsplash behind the stove. I like the dark or even black grouts! Most of the kitchen is white, so I'm not worried about being too dark. When we first re-did the cabinets in white, it seemed like you needed sunglasses in there! I see now that the pattern doesn't look right on the left- should stagger the field tiles like I did on the right.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 11:02AM
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Shades_of_idaho

I think it will look great. LOL on the off drawing. I do that all the time and do not see it until a picture points it out. Why it is so good to use your camera. I do it all the time in my mosaic projects.

chris

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 12:06PM
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idie2live

Flagargoyle, that is a really nice pattern. I like the idea of the dark grout. I know tile countertops are 'dated' lol, but I think I may do tile beside the stove. Now you have me wanting a backsplash.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 7:03PM
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emagineer

Layout is no problem. The program just didn't center the tile over your stove.

Interesting that dark grout is back. The 70s was big for this and many tore it out. Of course the tile used then was always some odd color with gold streaks in it.

I think you will love a backsplash, so easy to keep clean and really pulls all together.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 7:41AM
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flgargoyle

It wasn't the program that messed up the tile pattern- it was the draftsman! I draw at work using a CAD/CAM program, so I had to draw each tile separately. That is the true location of the stove in relation to the wall behind it and to the left. On the right is the refrigerator, and I see no point in tiling behind it. I'm still not sure on the grout color- I like the black, but this is really aimed at re-sale, so I don't want to get carried away with what I like. When I build our next house, it will be for us and our preferences, not re-sale.

I like tile counters too, but we didn't want the cleaning and upkeep hassles. Formica works just fine for us. I might do maple in the next house, or even different surfaces for different purposes- maybe maple in some areas, granite or marble for rolling out dough, and formica in the wet areas.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 5:26PM
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idie2live

Jay, what did you decide to do for your tile backsplash? I bought some subway tile, but cannot decide on a pattern or grout color.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 5:57PM
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sunny631

Yeah, I'm curious how it turned out too. That's next on my to do list. Backsplash. Hope all went well.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 8:11PM
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flgargoyle

Nobody ever accused me of rushing things! I'm going to buy the tile today, so in a couple months I'll probably get started LOL!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 8:07AM
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Moccasin

Ahem, FlGargoyle, isn't life wonderful once you retire?
:)

But I jest.

And Sunny, I was wondering where you went, lady! Glad to see you posting on the forum. Good going.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 10:51AM
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flgargoyle

I wish I was retired! Once I am retired, I'll be able to put things off much more efficiently!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 12:46PM
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