Saturday, February 26, 2011

Countertop redo Part 1 . . .

I live in a 120 year old home. It was a rental for many years and it has it's own challenges when it comes to decorating. The kitchen is horrid. It has one small bank of cabinets with one countertop. Last year I repainted the entire kitchen including the cabinets. I love the dark brown cabinets. I have been lamenting over the nasty counters for YEARS and a trip to Lowe's last night made me decide to rip them out and do my first ever tile job.

Here is the countertop this week. From a distance it looks alright, don't let it fool you!

Notice the crack? That happened when we had to replace the sink a couple years ago. How about that fabulous caulk job, eh?

First thing this morning (okay about 11:30) I got to work. First to go was the sink. That was pretty easy. The crobar took care of the counter top pretty easily. I broke one nail and I ripped a bunch of the plaster off the wall on the backside.

I was left with a pretty nice surface. I thought the cabinets would be open at the top, but they were not. It was nice to find a good solid surface there.

Next was the plywood base. I was so very lucky that the entire counter was 2 foot x 8 foot, so one peice of 1/2 inch ply cut in half worked perfectly for my base. I only had to cut a small notch in the right end and an inch or so off the back of the left end. I was feeling pretty confident at this point.
I was confident way to soon. By the time it was time put the cement backer board on I was at the point I always reach in every project when I think, "Why on God's green Eart did I decide to do this? I could've spent a nice lazt Saturday on the couch!" I was so over it! The backerboard scored nicely with a carbide blade that you put in a utility knife and the first few peices snapped easily. When I needed some smaller pieces it sucked! But I got the job done. I also found that I needed to use a larger size drill bit to drill some pilot holes to countersink the screw heads. ( I used dry wall screws) Above you see the counters all cement boarded and ready to lay the adhesive.
I decided I wanted to lay out the tiles and decided where we should out the glass tiles. I bought 2 x 2 inch white tiles that were stuck together with glue dots to make 12 x 12 inch sheets. I laid them out and we placed the glass tiles on top to make a random pattern. I used 2x2 blue, green, brown, and tan. I also bought a 12 x 12 sheet of 1x1 inch tiles that were the same brown, some were burnished so those got mixed in as well. I marked the white sheets by number and then with B, G, B, T, and 4 to signify where the colored tiles went. Yep, you read that right. I didn't realized I marked both the brown and the blue the same! Oooops, fail! Thank goodness for the above photo so I could figure out the layout. I also dry fit the sink at the time, just to be sure.

The first swiped of adhesive! I was sceeered! Lord have mercy, I think I went through a whole roll of paper towels! That adhesive was all over my hands and I knew I didn't want it on the tiles. I was a mess!

So, to install, I cut out the white tiles with a utility knife and layed in the glass. It was surprisingly easy.

By this point, I was getting pretty confident and was spreading the adhesive like a pro.

This is all the tile laid in the adhesive. I was thrilled. But because I cannot ever do anything in one trip to Lowes . . .

Last night the clerk asked me if I was going to do a backsplash. I said no. She suggested some subway tiles with the glass tiles across the top. At this point I decided that I already had an enormous mess and all the materials out that I should just go for it. I went back to Lowes and bought 16 subway tiles. I used the remainder of the small glass tiles cut in strips to line the top. (I back buttered those) Can you believe I tiled and entire counter top and only had to cut ONE tile? Serious. I had to run back to Lowes and get about 2 inches off one subway tile.

Right now I have by butt on the couch and I am watching TV. I have to wait 24 hours to grout. That should be amusing!

Stay tuned for part 2 . . .


* said...

Oh my gosh! How do you know how to do all this stuff? I admire your dive right in style. My husband would freak if I tried that with our counters....but you know, I really like the look of yours. Hmmm....

ms nk rey said...

I am so impressed. Good job Sheri! Can't wait to see the finished product.

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

I love the look of glass tiles.

I just know if I tried this I would have to hand cut like, 35 tiles. No way would they all fit except for 1. Awesome job!

Carol said...

You are a much braver woman than I! I would be at the "Why on God's green Earth did I decide to do this?" point long before you got there.

Your job looks really nice.

I would be interested in hearing how you like the tile counters. We bought our house about 14 years ago and it has tile counters (that don't look as nice as yours).

Miz Kizzle said...

You are indeed a bold and daring woman. The tiles are pretty and they go with your cabinets that look to be fifties era or a bit older. My house was built in 1860, an "eclectic manse" as they called it at the time with a foyer, reception hall, back stairs and sleeping porches. They knew carpentry back then, as you know from comparing your house to modern ones.
One question: why didn't you go for granite countertops or C*orian?