What a crazy couple of weeks it has been! Connor and I decided we were ready to take on the next big project for our house, and boy was it a bigger project than we had anticipated. We wanted to replace the linoleum floor in our kitchen and powder room with porcelain tile. I found a really pretty one for a discounted price, so I took the first step in purchasing it, as well as the tools we would need (wet saw, grout and mortar, trowel, spacers, etc.). I had only a slight hesitation thinking about what we were getting ourselves into.
Two weeks later, the tile has been set, but we still have to seal the grout. We just finally got our kitchen put back together on Monday, as our appliances and pretty much everything was sitting in our dining room out of the way. Tiling the kitchen floor and not being able to walk on it meant crawling across the counter to get food or eating out more often then I would have liked. It was tough. I was literally so excited to finally step on that tile just so I could catch up on dishes for the next hour.
Anyway, a little run down of the process:
1. We started by prepping the floor and laying down the cement backer board. Despite what some people say, the backer board is incredibly important. And just as the prep for most jobs is the worst part, it is like others, long and boring, but important for quality. After doing some research, we found out that in some cases, like ours, we could lay it down right over the linoleum floor. In other cases, it is not suggested. I also learned that you should stagger the backer board so that there are not four corners touching.
2. Next, it was time to mix the mortar and start laying the tile. This made me so nervous, as I wanted it to be just perfect. Connor didn’t like this part so I did most of the spreading of the mortar. What helped us prepare for this part was looking at YouTube videos, especially on channels such as Lowes do-it-yourself projects. It made me feel a bit more confident in what I was doing. A couple tips learned along the way–(a) Life is easier when the mortar is the right consistency (b) Don’t let the mortar dry where you haven’t placed a tile unless you want to spend hours chipping away at it to get the surface even again (c) always check with a level to make sure you are flush and even with the surrounding tiles (d) work from the center of the floor to the perimeter so there aren’t any weird cuts in the middle, and make sure to do a quick layout before you actually start laying the tiles in mortar.
3. Grout the seams: This was all Connor, because by this point I was so burned out and tired of the project I just couldn’t deal with it any longer. Besides, you need some strong wrists for this, as well as a lot more patience than I had at the time. It requires a lot of cleaning to keep the tiles clean, and that seemed to be Connor’s favorite part throughout the process.
4. Seal the Grout: We are still waiting to do this part, as after each step, you must wait a few days for it to dry and set. We will be working on this tomorrow, but it seems like (hopefully) the easiest part of the process. Here is what the flooring looks like now (almost done after we seal it and lay down an area rug)…
I am so relieved to have this project wrapping up. There are parts of tiling I like, but when it is a big space like this (kitchen with lots of jogs and corners around cabinetry, powder room, and back entry), it just takes way longer than I would ever want to do again. Something at a smaller scale, like a small bathroom or backsplash, it would be much more doable. Unfortunately, we figured this out AFTER we bought a super awesome wet saw.
Have you tiled a floor or backsplash or wall yourself before? I would love to hear your tips if I ever decide to go round two!