Handyman, My life

Tiling my kitchen on my birthday

I painted the cabinets this week, and decided today to install the tile backsplash before moving all the stuff back in. I went to Floor & Decor and found rough-cut Carrara marble squares for $2 a one-foot sheet! They have occasional green hints that I think will work with the green counter tops.

I started with the back wall by the fridge because it’s awkward to get to. Fortunately it didn’t require any cutting except around the outlet. The trim strip on the left edge is cut from a marble tile. (Sorry, photo is fuzzy.)


Next I started from the window by the sink. This required some cutting around the windowsill and smoothing the corner tile pieces. The edge pieces at the top are strips from a marble tile. You can see how rough-cut the marble is. I normally wouldn’t have chosen it but the price was too good to pass up and I’m selling the house anyway.


I worked back to the corner. Outlets and switches can be simple or tricky, depending on where they are. This one only needed cuts at the top and bottom. The tiles lined up perfectly with the sides of the box.


This outlet, on the other hand, required cuts on all four sides. Sometimes if you’re lucky you happen to have the scraps you need.


When I got to the back corner, I had a gap of not quite half an inch to fill.


To cut strips, you flip the sheet over so the mesh holds it flat. It’s tricky, though; sometimes the marble splits while you’re cutting, and sometimes it sags and your cut ends up angled.


Here’s another view of the sheet on the saw. I invested in a good tile saw some years ago because I did a lot of tiling in my handyman business.


This cut came out well.


Here is the sink corner with the gap filled in with little pieces.


And here is the section of kitchen I tiled today. There are two more sections to do, one this big and one about a third as much.


I’ll need to grout it tomorrow or Monday. I think it will look great.


30 thoughts on “Tiling my kitchen on my birthday

  1. Happy B-day, Cuisine, or do you prefer Roadkill? Just kidding, who wants to be called Roadkill? I like the tile. Are you going to use white grout? I was thinking, at first, that you could cut the tiles individually, but that might be hard on the fingers with that saw!

    • Sometimes I cut the tiles individually if there aren’t many to do. I plan to use white or off-white grout that matches the marble closely. So far I have done all this work without using a tape measure. I just hold the tiles up and mark them with a pencil, or I make a good guess.

  2. Looks really good Tim. Are you sure you want to sell the house after you’ve put so much of your hard work in it? I love what you have done to the kitchen.
    Happy Birthday Tim.

  3. g. says:

    Happy Birthday! Everyone I know who does their own tile really quite enjoys it–so I’m looking forward to trying a backsplash in our own kitchen. Fingers crossed it looks anywhere near as nice as yours. Also, the tile you chose looks great.
    I was wondering, too, if you’d use white grout. (I picked white grout for our bathroom tiles, but now I’m a bit worried it’ll look crappy really fast. Thoughts?)

    • For a backsplash white grout is fine because it doesn’t get much dirt on it. I chose a grayish off-white to go with these tiles. For a floor, white is a problem. (I made that mistake in my last house.) For a shower, it’s normal, but no matter what color you use, you’ll have to battle with mold in a year or so. Using a good sealer is helpful. They sell some really pricy stuff to mix with the grout if you want something more permanent than the kind you paint or spray on afterwards.

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