Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Under cabinet lighting, and tile backsplash

It has been a week and a half since the last blog post, so you'd think I'd have more done than I do.  But I don't.  Doesn't mean I haven't been working, I just haven't been working myself the long hours that I had previously.

I installed the deco strips (trim under the upper cabinets, see here) and toe kicks (trim under the base cabinets, covering the feet).  Those were relatively straightforward, the only major hint I have for the deco strips would be to attach the right angle brackets to the deco strip, then hold it in place under the cabinet.  Use a pen to mark along the entire length of the elongated hole bracket (you'll know what I mean).  Pre-drill in the middle of the marked area, careful not to drill through into the bottom of the cabinet.  Start your screws in the holes, then place your deco strip in screws before tightening them down.

Toe kicks were also fairly simple.  Measure, cut to size, stick the clips on the back and pop onto the legs.  IKEA really did make it easy.

Next up was the under-cabinet lighting for the new section (my guinea pig section).  You can read more about the type of  lights I used in this blog post.

Lights with deco strip

Lights and dimmer without deco strip

This section was easiest, because it was simply a cut to fit, stick on, and mount the dimmer. The lights look really good, the color is nice and warm. Still hard to believe the whole section was only $25.

Deco strips, done, toe kicks, done.  Tile backsplash and baseboards are left.  I've done plenty of baseboards before, and I usually gravitate towards what I've already done...  But I really wanted to see what the tile looked like.  

The tile will be mostly 3"x6" subway tile, with a 3" high strip of 1" greenish glass tiles for an accent strip.  We've had the tile since May, possibly even April.  I've never done anything with tile before, so I was rather intimidated.  I measured, I marked, I calculated, I played with the layout on Google Sketchup.  How many tiles would I have to cut?  How hard would it be?  Should I calculate it all out first, and make all the tile cuts before I start spreading mastic?  Well, I got tired of trying to figure out on paper (or screen) something I'd never done before, and tiling is always made out to be an easy task on the HGTV shows, so I figured I'd just go for it.  I used mastic rather than thinset because 1) it's easier to work with, and less droopy than thinset, and 2) it's premixed, so you can work in small batches if you need to.  From what I understand, mastic isn't water proof/resistant, so it's okay for backsplashes, but not for bath/tub surrounds.

My friend Phil let me borrow his wet tile saw, and I tried it out on a tile.  Cuts beautifully. Didn't need to cut the tiles before the project, just measure and mark on the tile where it needs cut, walk it out to the saw, and cut it.   So Saturday morning (September 22), I started tiling.  First 5-10 tiles, it was very, very slow going.  I thought it was going to take me forever.  Then, I started picking up speed.  The 7 1/2' backsplash took about 4 hours total. If you're into calculations, that means I can tile at 0.000355113636 miles per hour.  

I think it came out pretty good for a first time at tiling.  I see there were a couple tiles that I didn't get quite as even with the other tiles, as far as how far they stick out from the wall.  Hopefully wont be too noticeable with the grout, we'll see.  The grout is another day, as according to what I've read, you want to mix the whole bag.  I want to get the other cabinets' lighting done first, as it was rather convenient to tile with the lighting right there.  

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