Monday, October 8, 2012

White Subway Kitchen Tile

To start on our subway tile adventure in the kitchen we gathered some necessary supplies including a notched trowel, grout trowel, tile nippers, tile spacers, tiles, mortar, grout, tile saw, and a sponge.  Also a dash of excitement never hurts. 

We decided on white subway tile sheets.  This seemed a lot less tedious then having to lay each tiny tile individually.  We laid out the tile to configure what tiles we needed to cut.  We started at each edge and worked back to the cabinet wall.  This would mean that the straight wall's tile placement would be determined by where each edge coming into that wall landed.  

After we configured that we went out to the garage and cut those tiles!  We picked up a tile saw for pretty inexpensively at home depot.  The sheets did not have any bull nose edges so we had to buy those individual tiles and cut them to size.  The bull nose edge makes the tile look nice and finished on the ends.

Once the individual bull nose pieces were measured for the edges we were ready to rock and roll!

We started with thin set mortar and a 1/4 inch notched trowel. 

Spread some of that mortar on the wall with a putty knife and notch it by using the notched trowel to make the lines in the mortar.

Then start putting in the tiles that you measured. We started in the upper right hand corner and worked our way down and in. They should fit together like a big puzzle piece.  I was very nervous that they would just fall right off the wall but they thankfully stuck!

The level was pretty important to make sure the tiles were going in a straight line rather than slowly slanting downward.  

The level is also pretty crucial to make sure that ALL sides are level so you don't have a crooked tile line coming into the bottom or corner of your job.  We used the tile spacers to make sure that everything was nice and evenly spaced. 

Once we started working our way in it looked a little like this.  You will notice that we don't have anything down protecting our counter tops.  We quickly wiped up everything we dropped and figured it would be hard to get the tile flush with the counter top with all the plastic and tape in the way.  It turned out excellent and we had no residue left behind!

After we were finished with the first wall, we started on the second wall behind the stove and worked our way into the corner.  We decided to follow the tile line all the way to the baseboard behind the stove.  To save money we didn't do the whole wall, just enough where it would be fully covered by the stove and it would appear that the whole wall was tiled.

After both sides were finished with the tile we started on the middle section under the cabinets.  

After we tiled the entire stretch we waited the allotted time before applying grout.  You can grout after 24 hours, but we waited a couple of days because life got in the way.  Either way after 24 hours you have the green like to go grout crazy!

Even though it was pre mixed grout we gave it a little stir for good measure!

Then we got our grout trowel out of storage. 

We dipped the grout trowel into the grout bucket and spread it so the grout got into all the little spaces between tiles.  After we were done with each section we washed the grout off the tile faces so it wouldn't harden.  We worked in sections with applying grout and then washing until we had the whole project grouted.

Here is a close up of what the grout will look like when spread all over the tile.  You can see the space we left open behind the stove.  

The whole wall will look a little something like this!  This was a tedious project.  We worked on it in sections and actually tiled over several days just due to time constraints.  But now that it is done, soooooooo worth it.  Check back in for the full effect of our subway tile kitchen!


  1. Looks great! We are doing nearly the same thing right now. Which type of tiles you used in your rooms?? -- like it very much! thanks!

  2. Thanks tool venture. We got them from Home Depot. I have rummaged through all of our stuff and looked online and can't find the exact pattern. They were brand new several months ago at our local Home Depot - we actually got them the first day they rolled the product out and had to go to two Home Depots to get all of them. I will keep looking and if the specific name pops up I will re-post and let you know!


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