Well Hello Spring! I’m guessing everyone was as excited as me with the official First Day of Spring this week, right? Luckily, it really feels like spring too with almost all of the snow melted, sunny skies, birds singing, flower bulbs starting to push their way through the ground (starting to sound like Disney movie, right?).
And this morning’s spring rainstorm. Which means I can take a minute for blogging before heading out for my weekly volunteer session in my son’s classroom and an afternoon of crafting with a friend – yay! (If you want to see what we’re working on be sure to check my Instagram feed.)
Ready for an update on our DIY Kitchen Remodel? Last time I posted, we had just finished installing the new tile in my parent’s kitchen.
The photo above is what the kitchen looked like at the beginning of Day 9 of the remodel. This is after:
–Stage One: Demolition
–Stage Two: Texturing the Walls and Painting
–Stage Three: Installing Wood-look Tile Floors
Now we get to the part where we really start to see some progress…
One of the main reasons we tackled this kitchen remodel for my parents (in addition to reason #1 – they needed it!) was because they already had new-to-them cabinets so we wouldn’t have to spend a lot of the budget on the cabinetry.
The “new” cabinets came from a friend’s house. She had moved into a new house and had the kitchen cabinets refinished only to decide soon after they were refinished that they wanted to reconfigure the entire main floor of the house. So my mom purchased the newly refinished cabinets from her friend. And they have been sitting in my parents’ garage ever since.
We’re talking years here people. Like more than 5. Possibly 10? Multiple years storing cabinets in the garage with no real idea when they would get the chance to install them.
It was about time, right?
Pro: reusing cabinetry costs a lot less than new cabinetry. And let’s face it, if you’re a DIY kind of person, budget is definitely a consideration.
Con: Finding used cabinetry that will exactly fit your space is hard. Probably into the impossible range of hard. So you have to make concessions, plan carefully, and figure a few extra things out as you go. And everything works just a little bit differently in real life than it does on paper.
Like this. We started experimenting with the placement of the lower kitchen cabinets and quickly realized that the best fit would require moving the drain for the sink 4″ to the left. In order to do this we had to cut a hole in the wallboard in order to access the plumbing behind it. Then we cut the drain pipe, turned the section in the wall sideways and ran it through the stud before bringing it back out of the wall again on the other side.
That brings me to the story of the mouse. I hate mice. They freak me out. And in this house we’d been dealing with more than our share of those creepy little invadors – but that’s another story.
See, we cut the pipe, which not only drains the water from the sink but also has a section that runs up to a vent in the roof. And when we cut the pipe there was a pile of what I thought was dirt or lint there in the pipe. So I reached in (wearing my trusty work gloves, thank goodness!) to pull it out only to have the thing MOVE right before I touched it.
Of course I let out a yelp and back-pedalled fast.
The husband – a quicker thinker than myself at the time – grabbed the shop vac and sucked the (poor little?) mouse out of the pipe. So life could go on.
He later told me that when he emptied the vacuum he found not only the dead mouse (shop vacs kill mice, didja know? Came in handy later.) but the mouse’s half-petrified buddy which my husband had sawn in half when he cut the pipe. And that had been the thing I was reaching to remove.
Ew, ew, EW!
So we moved the drain pipe. Ta-da!
At this point we also patched the wall (I got really really good at that!) and added an outlet for the microwave in the corner.
Pro: No lead time waiting for cabinets to be built or delivered. You buy it, you take it home, and it’s ready to install. No waiting
Con: You are likely to see some wear and tear on the cabinetry even before it’s installed. In our case, we had to add an extra brace or two to the cabinet for the sink as they hadn’t been careful when removing it from the other kitchen. There were also some holes in random places. In more extreme cases you may have to refinish the cabinetry yourself.
Every project has its own puzzles and frustrations. One of the biggest ones for installing the repurposed kitchen cabinetry was the fact that the original kitchen had been L-shaped with an island. My parents’ kitchen is U-shaped and my my mom likes open space (not islands).
We knew before we began the project that we would have to customize something for the second corner of the kitchen.
My orginal idea had been to put the microwave above the stove. It had previously been in residence on the countertop in the corner and I wanted to free up as much counter space as possible. However, I just couldn’t come up with an open shelf design that would look right for it. And my mom is only 5′ tall so there was concern about her being able to reach it.
Eventually, I landed on the solution of building a space for the microwave into the lower cabinetry in the corner. Perfect solution.
My handy husband had no problem building an open shelving unit for the corner, taking care to match the toe kick on the existing cabinetry. He also lined the wall in the corner with 1/4″ plywood which I later stained to match the rest of the cabinetry.
The final result – at least to this point.
All in all, installing the kitchen cabinetry took a total of two full days. In that time we:
-laid out the final plan for the cabinetry installation
-installed the lower cabinetry
-moved some plumbing
-fed the water tubing for the dishwasher and refrigerator through the cabinetry between the appliances and the plumbing under the sink. The dishwasher had orignally been located over on the wall to the left. That was a later addition to the original kitchen.
-built a brand new shelving unit for the corner.
-added a temporary countertop
-came up with a final plan for the upper cabinetry. The actual installation of the upper cabinetry took place the morning of Day 12. More on what we did with those empty spaces next week – stay tuned!
-installed the dishwasher. Well, technically the husband did this on (what are we up to now?) Day 11 while also taking care of our sick little guy. My mom and I went to the city to select the countertops.
Phew! At almost 2 weeks without a functional kitchen we were very glad to hit this point. With the temporary countertops in, we were able to put the stove and fridge back in place and partially use the space for meal prep while waiting for the countertops to arrive.
Linking to: Home Matters Party, Creativity Unleashed Party, Remodelaholics Anonymous, BFF Open House, Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make, Pretty Pintastic Party, Saturday Sharefest, DIY Party, Made By You Monday,
We have now hit Stage 3 on our big DIY Kitchen Remodel – installing the tile!
Installing tile yourself is a great way to save money on a kitchen update. And I have a few tips to help you learn how to install tile.
If you remember, this is where we left my parents’ kitchen remodel last time. At this point we had completed a few days of Stage 1 – Demolition, and Stage 2 – Texturing and Painting the walls and ceiling.
Removing the old vinyl flooring wasn’t easy and we weren’t really happy with the state of the subflooring when we were done. We decided to replace the top layer of subfloor with cement board – which is usually something they recommend you put down before installing tile.
Look what we found when we pulled up the old subfloor. The original parquet vinyl tiles – ha! I had completely forgotten that was what the floor looked like when I was little.
We opted to cover it right back up again with the new cement board.
In case I haven’t mentioned it before – you do have a set or two of good work gloves, don’t you?
You’ll thank me for this one, especially when moving large sheets of wood or cement board. That cement board is not fun on your bare hands. And if you’re lucky you can find some girlie ones like THESE! 😉 I have purple work gloves and they make me happy.
#2 on the list of useful tools of the day – a handheld drill. I don’t know how many screws we installed in that cement board but it was a LOT. And don’t forget a spare battery! You don’t want to have to stop in the middle of a project just to wait for your battery to charge.
While we’re on the subject – grab yourself a pair of knee pads too. If you’re installing tile you’re gonna spend hours on those poor knees. We used construction knee pads, which worked just fine. Though I did find myself wondering if a more flexible pair like THIS might have been an even better option.
So. Cement board installed. Time to get down to business with the tile.
I have been very interested in the wood look tile that is gaining in popularity lately. We decided to try it out on this project.
I think it was a good choice. Looks realistic, doesn’t it?
I wanted a random look, but I’m too much of a perfectionist to just grab the pieces as I go. So we laid out the tile pattern ahead of time to make sure everything looked good.
The last decision we had to make before beginning to install the tile was where to start. Our goal is to eventually continue the tile through the adjoining living room since my parents have dogs and tile is a lot easier to clean than carpet. We decided to start with a clean line of tile in the archway between the two rooms.
As this was our first big tile project, I will leave the step-by-step installation instructions to the experts (just check Google or Pinterest – you’ll find a lot of great ones). I do, however, have a few tips that you may want to keep in mind.
–See those little spacers? Buy a lot of them. Like, twice as many as you think you will need. They’re cheap so it’s not a big deal. We used 1/8″ size like THESE.
–This would be a good time to send the kids (and dogs!) to Grandma’s for the weekend. It was really, really hard to keep everyone (even the adults!) off the floors until they were completely dry. Adequate, undisturbed drying time is a must. (Any time I have to wait on a project is torture, but we have to do it right?)
–Pay very close attention to keeping the edges of all the tiles level with each other. We thought we were doing a good job of this, but later discovered a couple of places where one tile rode a little higher than its neighbors. This may have been due to someone stepping on them wet. Maybe not.
–It’s super important that the subfloor is level and free of debris. Double check all the edges where each piece meets the next one. We found a couple of spots where the seams formed bumps. We took care of this with a knife or the hammer. In one case near the stairs, we missed a high spot and a couple of tile pieces came loose. It was a pain-in-the-you-know-what to gouge out the dried mortar and replace those. Save yourself the trouble.
–Have a partner help with the install. Unless you’re a pro, it’s always nice to have some extra help with the big projects. You really do have to work in small sections at a time in order to get it done before the mortar starts to set. It’s useful to have another set of hands for all kinds of reasons.
Back to the actual install photos. 😉
By the time we had laid a whole line of 3-4 rows the husband who had once been skeptical about my insistance that we could handle this tile project was heard saying that we would have no problem tiling the living room when the time came. (It’s nice to have my optimism proven right!)
And there we go. We were very pleased with ourselves when we got to this point. (And our knees and backs were so glad to get a break!)
I think I’m in love with this wood look tile. Pretty sure I want to do something similar in the entire main living areas of our new house – whenever that may be.
All in all, the tile took a grand total of three days to install. One day to replace the subfloor. One day to install the tile. Skip a day for the mortar to cure (which happened to be the first day of school for the kids). And one day for grout.
I don’t feel like we went any faster or slower than the average person would, so I think that’s a fairly reasonable estimate to expect if you tackle your own tile project. And if you do – I’d love to see photos! Always feel free to drop me a comment on here or Facebook.
Want to see the first couple of phases of the remodel? You can check out the Before photos and the first couple days of demolition HERE or the wall treatment and paint HERE. Or get a sneak peak into the final result when you check out the Farmhouse Barnwood Sign I made to decorate the wall above the kitchen sink.
Until next time – let’s go make something great!
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