Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kitchen Remodel: DIY Tile Backplash {Part 4}

You're probably wondering, "Yeesh, she's STILL writing that DIY tile tutorial?!". Yes, I am. Tiling isn't hard, but like painting, there's a lot of steps and some drying time involved. In Phase 1, we covered actually laying the tiles with adhesive, and in Phase 2 we covered grouting the tiles for a beautiful, seamless and professional look. Now we'll protect our investment and wrap things up in the tiling department with sealant and caulk!

How to DIY a Tile Backsplash: Phase 3 {Seal and Caulk}

1) Gather your supplies for this phase.

Tile Sealer
Painter's/Masking Tape
Paper Towels
Old Towels
Clean/Microfiber Rags

2) Take the clean rags and wipe down your tiles to ensure that no dust, grout haze or foreign particles are on there - you don't want to seal them on there!

3) We decided to seal the tiles before caulking, so next I put down an old towel to protect the countertop from any stray drips, and poured some of the tile sealer onto my sponge.

4) I tested it in an inconspicuous area first (and also for some esteem-building practice) by wiping down a few tiles with the sponge that are partially hidden behind the fridge.

5) I wiped on the sealer, trying to concentrate on the grout lines (since the tiles are pretty much sealed themselves anyways, the sealer is just for the grout). Then I waited for about 7 minutes (the instructions said 5-10), then began to wipe off the sealer with a clean rag.

6) Repeat, repeat, and repeat! I did 3 coats on the entire backsplash. It is recommended to do 2 or more if this is new tilework (yes) and you want it sealed well (yes). In the future it will only need 1 coat to keep it nice and shiny and pretty, so really that's not too bad on the upkeep.

7) Wait a day or so for the sealer to dry. I think the box said 3-4 hours, but we didn't end up doing anything for about 24. Then it was time to caulk.

8) Since Tom felt like he was missing out on the fun because he actually hadn't had a hand yet in our new kitchen backsplash (or I made him do this part because I was sick and tired of working on this stupid-but-now-beautiful backsplash), he offered agreed to caulk.

9) He started out freehanding it and simply squeezing the caulk into the seam between the backsplash and counter tiles and smoothing it out with his finger, but then he realized that, gosh-darnnit, the resulting caulk-line was very amateur-looking. Drat.

10) So it was time to whip out the big guns: the ever-amazing painter/masking tape! Seriously, I don't know how I ever lived without that stuff. So, just put down the tape where you want your caulk line to end, caulk as normal over the tape, and then take the tape up before the caulk dries. Ta-da! Beautiful, instant, professional and straight caulking lines.

11) We caulked the line between the backsplash and countertops, and also the corners where the 2 wall planes meet. You can put grout in the corners (or where 2 different planes meet), but due to normal settling of the house the grout might start cracking. So we took the safe route and went caulk all the way, baby.

12) Step back and marvel at your beautiful caulking and sealing job, and your cheap-and-chic DIY tiled backsplash!

And of course stay tuned for the final reveal of the backsplash! (I'm such a tease, huh?)
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  1. That's looking just gorgeous! And thanks for the painters tape tip, that's one I've never heard of!

  2. I have spread what I expect is the equivalent of my body weight in caulk over the last month and never thought about using painters tape to keep everything "in the lines". Huh.

    You learn something new every day.

  3. Glad you guys like the tip! Most of the time we don't have to whip out the painter's tape when we're caulking (because we're usually painting over it, anyways), but in cases like this where you won't be painting over it (and if it's up against another color like our black countertop), the tape trick is a lifesaver!

    Thanks for dropping by!



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