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Another Brick Tile in the Wall

2013 June 7
by Becky

**See more kitchen renovation posts hereherehere, and here

The Pink Floyd song has been on repeat in my head as I slowly approached the end of my tiling journey. Even Ethan said, “Dad, look at the bricks mama made!”

I will admit, while frustrating at times, it has been really fun and VERY satisfying doing the tile portion of our kitchen renovation on my own.


When did I learn how to cut and lay tile? About four days ago. It’s super easy! Who knew? Yes, it does involve a power tool, for which I have a great fear respect, but I sucked it up and learned how to use the tile saw…it wasn’t bad at all.


Since I was laying individual tiles, there were LOTS of cuts. Some took one try and bam, fit. Others took many many trips out to the saw, trimming off tiny slivers until I got the snug look I was going for. Some I literally pounded into place shouting “You are fitting!!!” Also, my pattern was a classic stagger causing issues every two minutes—especially around corners and in tiny spaces.


But with my handy pencil and speed square, I was up to the challenge.

I feel like a freaking rock star.
(But seriously, it’s not that hard)


My timing was limited so I had to plan. Nap time = cutting time. The saw is loud and I don’t want to piss off our new neighbors while they tried to enjoy the nice weather after work, so my 2 hours of nap time was when I did many many cuts, hoping my measurements (AKA eye-balling and pencil marking with a speed square) were accurate. I also had time during Ethan’s “school”, but that only worked out to about 2.5 hours twice this week when you add in pick up and drop off and getting some other things done around the house (booooring). 


The biggest help in this project was Stu’s surprise Monday off. I hate to take any joy in office closings created by tornado damage (apparently there was quite a bit of damage by the airport last Friday night) but having free child care gave me about nine hours of tiling time, only stopping to hang out with Ethan for a bit here and there. Otherwise it was Daddy Day (or Tile Day).

There were a few sections that almost got me waving the white flag of surrender, but for the most part I moved along swiftly and feel like I used my tiles wisely. Nothing like getting two cuts out of one tile, finding what I needed in the scrap box, and finding an alternate purpose for a mis-cut tile. In the end I think I used a little over seven boxes of tile (around 90 square feet). Good thing white subway tile is only $22/box.


The injuries were kept to a minimum. I only electrocuted myself once when getting a little too friendly tiling around a plug. But really, what’s a kitchen project without dangerously exposed outlets? Stu was sure to remind me that, had my hands been wet, I may have died. Great. Thanks honey. (Note: try to shut down your outlets. Hopefully they aren’t hooked up to important things like the fridge like ours were.)


Once I got to the top of “The Wall”, utilizing the floating-shelves-of-steel (to be talked about in another post) became crucial for balancing myself all over the counter top, even leaning on them to catapult myself across the surface of the stove.

Something to check before beginning any tiling project? The height of the counter top backsplash. Our contractor noticed the different heights while mounting a board behind our stove (to support tile). It’s taller on the left side than the right side to accomodate the different heights of the windows. In three months of living here, we never noticed. Can you tell?

White Subway Tile Grey Grout and Floating Shelves at

No? Just blinded by that GORGEOUS tile job? Understandable.

So, quick tip. I’m no expert, but I learned it and think it’s worth sharing. If you have several of the same cuts to make, for instance, at the very top of the entire length of your wall, you can measure one cut, make sure it fits, then cut the rest using a speed square on the saw. Line up your tested cut against the speed square, then remove the cut tile and put in a full tile. Your square will guide your tiles to the perfect cut so you can just zip through 10 tiles in like 3 minutes.

Did that make any sense?


One last tip: If in doubt, cut a little larger than your mark. You can always shave a little off. Even if that fourth walk back to the saw is painful, it will look great.

Putting in that last tile was absolutely exhilarating.


And I’m pretty happy with the finished (at least finished tile-wise) product.


White Subway Tile Grey Grout Kitchen at Preparing for Peanut




Oh so open!

Oh so bright!

I can’t wait to add all my pretty dishes and pops of color.

Now I just have to grout. UGH. You may notice some grouting right around where the range hood will be mounted on Saturday morning by Stu and our contractor…it’s really heavy. Just that little bit of grout took forever and made a huge mess. Hate. Grouting. But it looks so good.

Here’s the hood, all covered up and waiting. Took me three weeks to find it and only two days to ship. Amazon, what did we do without you?


I won’t be here for the hanging because I’ll be hopping a flight to Denver tomorrow to visit my best friend Erika and her brand new little man AJ! It’s my first flight in 2.5 years without Ethan and I won’t lie…I’m pretty excited. But I’m most excited to snuggle with the cuteness.

So Monday will probably be a post all about AJ and his squishy little face, but after that I’m back to kitchen posts and will share the deets of those awesome floating shelves.

I just thank my lucky stars all our tiling required me to stand, as I finally found out yesterday that I officially have a herniated disc. Sweet. But doing this project didn’t hurt me in the least. It’s not till I sit or lay down that my butt and leg light on fire. Tuesday I will get an injection and hopefully start physical therapy, pain free. Fingers crossed I’ll be back to new soon.

So stay tuned for more kitchen (and baby) goodness!

22 Responses
  1. June 7, 2013

    Good job!! Good update on your back and hopefully you will be pain free soon.

  2. June 7, 2013

    Can you come home and tile my bathroom?!!!! Please!!!!!

  3. Kristan permalink
    June 7, 2013

    I am SO freaking impressed!! Cannot believe you dud all that all on your own, not to mention the back issues! Sorry to hear about the herniated disc, I hope physical therapy gets you starting to feel better. Miss you!!

  4. Grandpa Joe permalink
    June 7, 2013

    I “second the motion” on the request to tile our bathroom.

  5. Linda Johnson permalink
    June 7, 2013

    I “third the motion”. How about floors! Can you tile my bathroom floor?

  6. June 7, 2013

    Dude, amazing. And only a little electrocution? Pfff, you’re a pro!
    Jen recently posted..his first last day of schoolMy Profile

  7. Lisa permalink
    January 2, 2014

    What is the wall color/paint that you used? I’ve been trying to track down this exact color with no luck yet. Too light, too dark, too green, ect.

    Nice job! It looks great!

    • Becky permalink*
      January 2, 2014

      Thanks Lisa! Sorry I didn’t include the paint color, it’s Moonshine by Benjamin Moore. I used it in all my hallways too, it’s my favorite gray!!

  8. Julie permalink
    February 16, 2014

    Kudos for tackling this yourself – it looks great.

    We are in the process of doing the white tile / grey grout combination for a backsplash, but we are struggling with the colour of grout…how light / dark to go.

    What colour did you use as it has the look we are going for? Also, it didn’t look like you used spacers – something else we want to avoid.

    Look forward to your input.

    • Becky permalink*
      February 17, 2014

      Thank you! I would recommend the subway tiles with dark grout to anyone, it’s such a classic look and so affordable. We bought our tiles at Home Depot, they are Dal Tile brand, and they are “self spacing” meaning they have beveled edges for the grout to sit on. You can butt them right up against each other, the grout line will be good to go. You can use spacers for a bigger grout line, but it will give you more of a brick look, which is great in some applications but not what we wanted in our kitchen.

      We used Polyblend’s Pewter colored grout, it goes on really dark but dries a bit lighter, which was perfect.

      Good luck!!

  9. May 24, 2017

    I love DIY projects like these, especially when you learn how easy it is! The finished product looks awesome, thanks for sharing!

  10. April 30, 2018

    It looks more wide and pleasant. Thank you for sharing this and I’m also planning to do the same thing in our kitchen, our home needs some work to do. Anyways, thank you for sharing this.
    Esther Diaz recently posted..Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Porcelain Floor Tiles for SaleMy Profile

  11. May 23, 2018

    Hi Blog Admin

    I enjoyed reading your post on tiles. I am a fan tiles, used anywhere in a house. Tiling of n the floor is surely the best way to have a durable floor, be it is in the kitchen, bathroom, of other area of the house. Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts with us.

  12. May 30, 2018

    Great DIY project! For remodeling my kitchen, I need a tile cutter. DO you have any idea on tile cutter?
    Rebekah Purnell recently posted..Top 5 Best Work Backpacks for WomenMy Profile

  13. July 24, 2018

    Those brick tiles really brighten up your kitchen and give it a look of being much bigger. Looks heaps better without those cupboards there as well.
    Shane recently posted..Floor Tiling in Brisbane’s SouthMy Profile

  14. August 3, 2018

    Hi Ethan,

    Hope you are fine.

    I have got some amazing information from your post. I like the tiles. In fact, I am the fan of tiles.
    It increases the attraction of the kitchen room. Thank you so much like this post.
    ELLA recently posted..WEN 3975 5 inch Metal-Cutting Bench top Band sawMy Profile

  15. January 3, 2019

    Great job on finishing a superb work! I am into DIYs too, and I just like to say that this is by far the neatest DIY I have read so far! I know that doing this job alone is hard, but you have made it look easy! You are indeed a rockstar! Thank you so much for sharing this!

  16. January 11, 2019

    Great Job, appreciate your work. Really interesting article thank you so much for sharing.
    Alex Arnold recently posted..Hiking with Dogs: Tails From the TrailsMy Profile

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