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Installation Stories: Bettina’s Chaine Homme Kitchen

Hi there! My name is Bettina Johnson a “stay at home mom” by day, and a DIY blogger by night.  With a growing interest for handmade items, I started my blog Oh Everything Handmade where I share all my DIY projects, recipes, jewelry with “step by step” instructions for others alike!  Today I'm here to share the final stage of my kitchen renovation, the installation of my Fireclay Tile Backsplash.

Just the thought of remodeling an entire kitchen, used to make me nauseous and bring my heartbeat up in a split-second. All the anxiety that I was surrounded in right before we (my husband and I) actually started with our kitchen remodel, intimidated me, but for no good reason!  One month later, I am sitting in my kitchen looking at what we’ve accomplished–If you could only see the big smile on my face!

From the moment I saw Fireclay's Chaine Homme shape on my desktop screen, I knew that the houndstooth pattern with it’s ocean-inspired sea green color Fennel, and the recycled clay body would be perfect in my new kitchen.

Color shown: Fennel; Pattern: Chaine Homme

Long story short, we designed our entire kitchen based on our new tile, and today I get to share how we did it!

Before we start, I always like to include what products we used for DIY projects.

Here is what we needed for our Fireclay installation:

– Wet Tile Saw

– Painters tape

– 1/4″ tile spacer

– 1/4″ notched trowel

– Thin-Set Mortar – white (I used 2 GAL for my kitchen which was a bit over 28 sq/ft)

– Brown Builder’s Paper

– Latex Gloves

Step 1.

I had to protect my new butcher block countertops from any damage, So I covered them with a water blocking paper.

Step 2.

Smooth out the drywall, this can be done with a sanding block of 220. (This step will help you achieve a greater bond).

Step 3.

Before I continued with my wall, I laid out my tile.  Fireclay's tiles are handmade and there can be some variation in the color and fitting, so make sure you lay them out the way you'd like them to go on the wall.

Step 4.

We added a metal trim to the ends to give our kitchen a high-end and professional look. I installed the trim by applying the adhesive to the wall over a small area. Scoop out some adhesive using the narrow edge of the trowel. Drop it on the wall and use the flat surface of the notched trowel to smooth it over the surface.

Step 5.

Use the margin trowel to scrape excess adhesive from the wall. Also wipe clean immediately to ensure further repeated use.

Step 6.

Push the tile into the adhesive by twisting it into place. This twisting motion will seat the tile firmly to the adhesive. Apply pressure to the tile so that it makes contact across the whole area of the adhesive that was applied with the notched trowel.

Step 8.

Clean off any excess mortar that can seep through after pressure has been applied to your tile. The clean-up should be fairly easy as long as your mortar is still wet.

Step 9.

Continue with step 4-8 until all of your tile is installed!

*Note: My reasons for using a premixed Thin-Set Mortar were:

– No batch by batch mixing required

– Easy to handle and store

– Affordable

After our kitchen was tiled, we allowed the mortar to set/dry for 24 hours (or see manufacturer's requirements) before we continued with grouting the tile. The next day we completed our tiling project by applying the grout.

These are the items we used:

– Bucket

– Gloves

– Microfiber Sponge for Grouting

– 1x Fusion pro grout, Color: #381 Bright White

– Margin Float For Grout

Grouting Step 1.

Wipe off any dust, dirt or dried mortar with a damp sponge.

Grouting Step 2.

Scoop grout from the bucket with your grout float and apply it to the wall with upward strokes. Don't worry about getting it into the joints yet.

Grouting Step 3.

For a long-lasting grout job, make sure all the joints are completely filled with grout. To accomplish this, make several passes over the same area from different directions with the grout float. Hold the float with its face at an angle of about 45 degrees to the tile to force the grout into the joint. When the joints are filled, remove excess grout from the face of the tiles by holding the float at almost 90 degrees to the tile and scraping it off.

Grouting Step 4.

The fusion pro grout manufacturer's recommend to have it set for 3-4 minutes before wiping off the excess in a circular motion. Start with a clean bucket of water. Wet your grouting sponge and wring it out until it's just damp. Then, after you've used both sides of the sponge, rinse it in clean water, wring it out, and continue the process until you've cleaned the entire area once. Clean the tiles two or three more times using the same process until they're free of grout residue. A thin film of grout may appear when the water evaporates. Buff this off with a soft cloth.

Grouting Step 5.

After we finished grouting the entire space, we waited another 24 hours to let it dry and add finishing touches to the kitchen backsplash. This included installing outlet covers and sealing the ends off with silicon.

I'd also like to mention some of the things we struggled with and things we would have done different during the tile installation:

– This project is a two-man-job; one person cutting tile and the other person installing the tile will make this project a breeze.

– Prepare your working surface, the counter tops and the floors. We didn’t think about the floors during the installation, but mortar or grout may fall on the floor during the process. You will be glad to have covered the floors to save yourself some major scrubbing time.

– Check the mortar before applying grout, I read that weather conditions like; humidity, rain, or very cold weather may lengthen the dry-time for the mortar. And you don’t want to apply grout if the mortar isn’t set yet!

We love our new kitchen, and are very pleased and satisfied to have installed this unique Fireclay Tile by ourselves!

Want to learn more about Bettina and her kitchen remodel?  Check out her blog, Oh Everything Handmade.  Love this look?  Shop Fennel now.

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Welcome to Fireclay Tile’s Design Blog, dedicated to sustainable and beautiful design for people + the planet. We have invited several of our staff + friends to share their stories and inspirations with us. Do you have a Fireclay Story you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you.

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