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See part one of the tile post right here.

The thing about tiling is not that it’s difficult, but it really is a job that takes time, patience and a lot of supplies. Luckily, we still have a handful of tools leftover from our entryway, but I will say that if this is your first tiling job, it’ll likely be a large one time investment. After which, tile away! In any case, we finished our backsplash this weekend – hooray! – and in reality, the job was spread over four separate days and weeknights: Set > Grout > Seal > Caulk. So, let’s jump in to all the things that happened after we set the tile!

GROUTING TILE: SUPPLIES USED
Unsanded grout mix, Whisper Grey
Flexible grout admixture
Grout/tile sealer
Caulk, matched to grout color

GROUTING TILE: TOOLS USED
Rosin paper + painter’s tape
2 med-lg plastic buckets
Drill + grout mixer paddle
Grout float
Sponge
Microfiber cloths
Gloves
Paper towels

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WHAT WE DID. Just as before, we took the time to lay out rosin paper on our counters. Dropcloths would work just as well, but be sure to tape or tack your protective layer in place so you’re not fussing with it throughout this time sensitive process.

Next up, it was time to mix the grout! Because we used small 1/16″ spacers with our tile, we needed to use unsanded grout. (Anything 1/8″ or larger will use sanded grout, like the tile in our entry.) You know now that we had a last minute change of heart and rather than going with charcoal grout, we opted for a softer color, landing on Whisper Grey from Tile Shop. Using the paddle mixer attached to our drill, we mixed the admixture with the grout in one of our buckets until it was a thick toothpaste texture. The most important thing here is to add the admixture to the bucket first, and follow that with the grout mix until it reaches the proper consistency. Only mix as much as you can grout in about 20-30 minutes.

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I used the float to push the grout into the tiles, working my way across the backsplash at a 45-degree angle. We moved fast, so there aren’t many photos during this time, but we were able to grout the entire backsplash – both sides of the kitchen – in about 30 minutes. As I moved from section to section, Scott followed behind with a bucket full of clean water and a sponge, wiping away the excess. Tip: If your grout drips or oozes out of the cracks too easily, you likely need to add more unsanded grout to your mixture.

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Your first few swipes with a sponge will look incredibly messy, but that’s okay! The water bucket will need to be dumped and refreshed every few minutes (which adds to the hectic time crunch of it all), but it’s important to keep your sponge clean while not allowing the grout to sit for too long on the tile. In our case, Scott would wipe one section, move to the next, and then go back to the previous section for one more wipe down.

Once I had finished grouting and Scott had the tiles looking surface clean, we both buffed the tiles using a microfiber cloth. Keeping our hands as flat as possible (so as not to dig into the grout, which at this point is starting to harden), we moved our hands back and forth as if we were waving Hi! The microfibers removed every last bit of grout haze.

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After allowing the grout to fully harden for 48 hours, it was time to seal it. At the time of grout purchase, we were torn between Whisper Grey and Dove Grey, with Dove being darker but also a little too cool for our tastes. We were so stuck between the two, wishing that Whisper Grey could be a touch darker, but not wanting to use Dove Grey for the blue undertones.

Seeing our indecision, the manager at Tile Shop recommended that we go with Whisper Grey, and if we find that it’s too light, he suggested that we use an oil based enhanced sealer which will naturally darken the grout! Say what? Below on the left is the typical water based sealer that will keep the grout color true and on the left is the enhanced sealer:

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He then went on to say that all we’d need to do is wet the grout with water and note the difference in color. On the left, the grout is untouched, and on the right, the grout was wiped with a wet towel:

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We loved both, but in the end, we opted to stick with the lighter color. They were both so pretty, but the true color had already won us over. However, never having heard of the grout and tile enhancer, we still wanted to share this with you!

Finally, we used a color-matched caulk to trim the edges of our tile – where it meets with the cabinets, walls and pocket door. Oddly enough, this was the most stressful part of the job for me! We had made it so far, and the caulk was messy – like, messy messy. I’ve caulked my fair share of baseboards (boy, have I!), but the mix of tight spaces and grout lines put me in a panic. I survived (barely), and just like I would when caulking baseboards, I smoothed my lines with a wet fingertip and used a damp paper towel to wipe away excess.

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Despite my overreaction to the caulking, the tile is beautiful! You’ll have to excuse these tighter shots, but we’re so close to completion (not counting the back door wall, arugh!), and I’m looking forward to sharing the much larger picture (literally!) as we bring in all the final adjustments – baseboards, patio door, art and a touch of greenery.

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Later this week, we’ll be tying up our partnership with Rejuvenation, and we cannot wait to share those details with you!

  • SEM - March 17, 2015 - 7:26 AM

    stunning! Living vicariously through your renovations!ReplyCancel

  • Julia@Cukoo4Design - March 17, 2015 - 8:28 AM

    It looks so clean and pretty.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - March 17, 2015 - 9:03 AM

    I was caulking last night… I always feel like there must be a better way because I wipe off so much with my finger! Have you ever tried any of the caulking tools? This one has great reviews. I’m thinking about giving it a shot. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Workforce-3-in-1-Caulk-Tool-CT31HD/202251544#customer_reviewsReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 17, 2015 - 9:11 AM

      We have used something similar when we re-caulked our tub in our last home, but I think this was so frustrating because of the grout lines and all the angles around the cabinets/walls/etc. I think that for baseboards a tool like that would be helpful, and at that price, it doesn’t hurt to give it a try!ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ RatherSquare.com - March 17, 2015 - 9:06 AM

    Beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Debra - March 17, 2015 - 9:09 AM

    Very pretty! I really like the lighter grout which makes everything look clean and fresh.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 17, 2015 - 11:17 AM

      Clean and fresh – yes, we couldn’t agree more!ReplyCancel

  • Sara - March 17, 2015 - 10:17 AM

    It looks SO good, guys! Well done :)ReplyCancel

  • Emily - March 17, 2015 - 10:27 AM

    Smart call on the flexible grout admixture. Will that keep the grout from cracking if there is movement in the old house? We’ve already had issues with slight cracks in our grout because I don’t think ours is flexible, but I’m not sure how to fix it.

    Did you grout between the bottom tile and the countertop?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - March 17, 2015 - 10:41 AM

    Yup, it prevent cracking grout – a necessity in this beast. I would ask a local tile shop what they would recommend. You may even want to mix up additional grout and do a skim coat over what you have existing, especially if you have no plans to replace your tile anytime soon.

    We didn’t grout between the bottom tile and the countertop, but that’s where the caulk came into play. It sealed the miniscule gap that was there after tiling!ReplyCancel

  • Jannike - March 17, 2015 - 11:31 AM

    Gorgeous! Thank you for not using dark grout.ReplyCancel

  • Brooke - March 17, 2015 - 11:49 AM

    We recently did subway tile in our kitchen, too–and went with the darker gray grout. But I love the look of your choice as well! The caulk stressed me out so much, I had to walk away and let my husband finish–haha. But I’m very happy with the final outcome. I’ve loved seeing what you guys have chosen!ReplyCancel

  • Hollie @ Fancykins - March 17, 2015 - 1:12 PM

    Honestly, both light and darker grout are so pretty, I don’t know how how you could go wrong! Looks so good, you guys!ReplyCancel

  • Coco - March 18, 2015 - 6:32 PM

    It looks amazing! Great job!

    xo
    Coco
    cococozy.comReplyCancel

  • KT - March 28, 2015 - 12:00 PM

    Hi! I was looking for how you cut the tiles….did I miss it somewhere? just wondering if you used a wet saw or those clipper things.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 28, 2015 - 4:24 PM

      We bought both a clipper and a score + cut tool, both of which we returned. The wet saw worked out fine for every need we had!ReplyCancel

BACK TO TOP

Our tile backsplash is in place! We had about 50 square feet to complete, and our goal was to set the tile on Saturday and enjoy a day of nothing-ness on Sunday – and we did it! We still need to finish the job with grout, caulk and sealer (one night this week, if all goes well), but for now, we’re happy to bask in our almost completed backsplash.

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With a handful of tutorials readily available on the web, we want to share which ones worked for us, but perhaps most importantly, how things go down when nothing in your home is level. Or when your floors are crooked! And when your walls are a nightmare! Despite patches of new drywall and intense cabinet and counter leveling from the pros, we ultimately ran into a roadblock or two, but in the end, I’ll say that we’re really satisfied with the work we put in and how far we’ve come.

We referenced these guidelines from Houzz and This Old House the most, and we were able to get by with a small shopping list and a lot of tools we had on hand. Although we tiled our entryway flooring last year, I convinced myself the backsplash would be incredibly hard (it really wasn’t) and take forever (it sort of did). Sure, a floor requires leveling, but a backsplash has outlets and switches and peaks and valleys and, well, you know. As novice tilers, the entire job of setting took us a solid 8 hour day, but again I say, we did it!

SETTING TILE: SUPPLIES USED
3″ x 6″ matte white subway tile
1/16″ spacers
Pre-mixed mastic (1 gal/50 sq ft)

SETTING TILE: TOOLS USED
Rosin paper
Painter’s tape
Level
Pencil
1/4″ v-notch trowel
tape measure and/or small ruler
Wet saw
Plastic sheeting

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WHAT WE DID: First and foremost, setting tile is a messy job. We took a good 30 minutes to set up our work space, laying and taping rosin paper to our counters, draping plastic over the hutch and creating a zone with additional plastic for the wet saw. I laid out all of our tools, stacked tile within reach and scattered piles of spacers.

With everything in order, we started by drawing a level plumb line behind our focal point (the sink) on the wet wall. Using our trowel, we spread enough pre-mixed mastic to cover about a square foot of tile to start, and we placed our first tile to the left of the plumb line. We then worked out from that starting point, making our way left, then right, spreading mastic as needed and applying our 1/16″ spacers for consistency.

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Over time, we learned that a little mastic goes a long way! Too much would ooze between the tiles, and it would cause them to slip about (even with the spacers). Tip: For extra tight spaces, you can purchase a smaller v-notch trowel. Because we didn’t have one, we found that using a small putty knife to apply the mastic worked just as well! Once the mastic was applied, we dragged the short end of our large trowel to create the grooves that are necessary for suction.

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As we placed each tile, we’d give it a little push up and down until settling it into place. When moving on to the next row, a small ruler helped to ensure the simple pattern stayed on track.

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We fell into a rhythm where I’d spread the mastic and set the tile, and Scott would follow behind with end cuts and the more intricate measurements around the outlets. For all of his intricate cuts, he used the wet saw exclusively. We also purchased tile nippers and a (score-and-snap) tile cutter, both of which we personally found were unnecessary. Scott found that working with the wet saw gave him the most accurate cuts, and he was the most comfortable sticking with that. Our wet saw is a small tabletop version, but keep in mind that they can be rented, too.

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As we completed each row, we were mindful to take a moment and make sure we were staying level, which, on the wet wall, we were! Although the wet wall required the most time, we were in the zone and it was, surprisingly, smooth sailing.

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That is, until we moved onto the stove side! Our cabinets and counters, while independently level, were off by a very small amount with each other. Our floor does slope, causing the cabinet on the left to be slightly (and I mean slightly) lower than that on the right. We started by screwing in a dummy board below the surface of the counters taking into account this seemingly minor difference, which would help to give our tiles a place to sit and stack upon each other:

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As our tiles continued to grow towards the upper cabinets, that insignificant difference in level magnified more than we would have liked, but you know what? We’re going to go ahead and call that one Old House Charm. No amount of fussing or pulling off tiles and reapplying tiles seemed to better the situation. Simply put, there were too many differences competing with each other – the downhill floor! The imperfect drywall! – but once the tile is grouted, the itty bitty curvature of the pattern will be (almost) non-existent.

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Looking back at these photos now, I’m realizing that we may have gotten a bit too caught up in the details (me? No way!). All in all, we’re pretty thrilled with our DIY job! Our favorite part may be where the tile meets our pocket door, which was trimmed with the same molding we’ve been using throughout the home. We brought the tile up to the same height as the nook above the sink, capped it with a bullnose, and we continued it down to the baseboard:

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We ended the tile at the corner, which feels clean and uncomplicated (hi, CC!):

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And the matte finish? It’s so subtle! So pretty!

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Remember when we were planning on using charcoal grout? That idea has been nixed completely, and instead, we’re moving forward with Whisper Grey. (Thank you for your input on that, by the way!) In the end, we felt that the soft color would feel more casual and lend a home-y vibe; I mean, that makes sense, yes? From there, all the edges will get caulked, and we’ll check tile! off the to-do!

See how we grouted, sealed and caulked right here!

  • Katya - March 11, 2015 - 6:57 AM

    Great job, guys, it looks so great!ReplyCancel

  • Brittany - March 11, 2015 - 8:33 AM

    Looks SO good! I love how high you took the subway tile. It’s really more of a feature than just a backsplash. We’re getting ready to install white subway tiles in our kitchen, but we have only a small area to cover, so we’re using the sheets of smaller tiles. Can you share where you found the light above your sink? I’ve been searching for a small flush mount, and the one I want at CB2 is out of stock until May. Finding attractive, affordable flush/semi-flush mount lighting is a task in itself! Anyway, great progress! Can’t wait to see when the hardware gets added!ReplyCancel

  • susan - March 11, 2015 - 8:57 AM

    this looks fabulous! i really like how you tiled past the counter top to the pocket door carrying the tile down to the baseboard and up to match the height by the sink. it must not have used that much more tile, but looks oh so classy.

    you could even continue that look by tiling the skinny part on the other side of the pocket door to match and make it look like a tiled wall…

    very, very nice work guys!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 11, 2015 - 10:14 AM

      You know, we considered that! It might be neat to not only carry it to the other side of the pocket door, but also flanking the back door wall once that’s installed, ending at the same height. But, ugh, just not sure if that might be overboard? We do love that look in photos, but we’ll have to play it by ear!ReplyCancel

      • susan - March 11, 2015 - 10:25 AM

        well, i was going to suggest that too, but didn’t want to pile onto your 5%!!

        but depending on how much actual wall shows after the door is finished, it may not be too much tile. you can try photoshopping to test drive the look… i love it!ReplyCancel

        • Kim - March 11, 2015 - 10:29 AM

          Haha, thank you! Aah, that pesky 5%.ReplyCancel

  • andee - March 11, 2015 - 9:09 AM

    It really looks amazing! I cannot wait to see everything finished!ReplyCancel

  • Emily R - March 11, 2015 - 9:33 AM

    I recently renovated the kitchen in my 150 year old townhouse. I count my lucky stars that my very very anal cabinet installer perfectly leveled my cabinets. My floor slope about two inches in a little over 5’! It made counter install and back splash install a breeze!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 11, 2015 - 9:40 AM

      Where can I find your cabinet installer?! Kidding. The counters/cabinets are perfectly level, but from each side of the stove, one was higher than the other by about 1/8″… but as the tiles build up, that difference seemed to get bigger. We were super frustrated, but I’m realizing that it’s not noticeable as all – in my head it seemed a lot worse!ReplyCancel

  • Debra - March 11, 2015 - 9:35 AM

    That looks so lovely and I adore the super small grout lines. So clean! So fresh!ReplyCancel

  • Heather - March 11, 2015 - 9:53 AM

    Looks great. Y’all are almost there! Great looking light, too!ReplyCancel

  • Adrienne J - March 11, 2015 - 10:02 AM

    Aw, love that little light over the sink! Also, I want to pet that tile. I think that’s a creative thing. :)ReplyCancel

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - March 11, 2015 - 10:12 AM

    So crisp. So clean. I can’t wait to see it grouted! And hardware on the cabinets! So close!ReplyCancel

  • Heather {AFirePoleintheDiningRoom} - March 11, 2015 - 11:28 AM

    Looks great! I also love the treatment by the pocket door!ReplyCancel

  • Clever Girl Reviews - March 11, 2015 - 11:42 AM

    It looks great! I like the smaller grout lines!ReplyCancel

  • Alexandria - March 11, 2015 - 12:40 PM

    Who doesn’t like white backsplash? It’s beautiful and gives the room a clean an open feel! The day I finally stop traveling and settle down somewhere, I can’t wait to customize my kitchen and bathrooms with this stuff!ReplyCancel

  • Joy - March 11, 2015 - 1:37 PM

    great job–loving the light above the sink!ReplyCancel

  • Uncle Brain - March 11, 2015 - 4:14 PM

    I think I just cried a little due the the absolute beauty. It is just too much to take in all at once.ReplyCancel

  • Lucas - March 11, 2015 - 5:08 PM

    Are you planning on casing the opening between the kitchen and the dining room? I can’t remember if there is a full jamb or if the other side of the opening is the wall running through.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 11, 2015 - 5:12 PM

      We went back and forth on this for a while, but the problem is that the tiny wing wall isn’t wide enough for our usual door trim, so we’d have to cut it down width-wise. That wouldn’t be the END of the world, but it does seem ridiculous for such a prominent doorway that connects the main space to the kitchen. So, we decided to leave that opening trim-free, and we’re sort of only trimming the doorways that have actual doors. :)ReplyCancel

  • Lucas - March 11, 2015 - 5:09 PM

    PS: Everything looks fantastic! I have been working on my 5% for about 3 months now and you have definitely inspired me to push and FINISH!ReplyCancel

  • Danielle M - March 11, 2015 - 7:00 PM

    This looks beautiful! I’m at the tail end of my own kitchen renovation in a 100 year old house and dealing with “charming” slopes, plaster walls- etc. I know you understand! I actually looked at the tile you ended up using but I was worried it was too “white” for my slightly off white cabinets and honed marble counter tops. I ended up ordering their “white” tile but it doesn’t come in matte. Curious, do you think it’s more important for the shade of white to be perfect or the finish? Ahh. I go round and round and round on this decision! Can’t wait to see the big reveal :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 12, 2015 - 8:51 AM

      That’s really tough, because I don’t think everything has to match exactly – otherwise, how boring! You know what they say, it just has to “go” :)

      When we went tile shopping, we brought a sample of our countertop, a piece of board painted with our wall color and small sample of wood painted with our cabinet color. We checked The Tile Shop for their white matte subway tiles, but the color was a little too off-white for our cabinets, but the Daltile brand was a perfect balance. Perhaps you should check The Tile Shop?

      I think you should do whatever makes you the happiest. If the different shades of white bothered you at first, it might always bother you! Go with your gut, it’s rarely wrong.ReplyCancel

      • Danielle - March 12, 2015 - 6:48 PM

        I so agree- I think I’ve been over thinking it (I mean, it’s subway tile for goodness sake!) It’s my last decision to make in the kitchen and I think I’m having decision paralysis at this point. I’m pretty sure everyone who’s done a kitchen can relate :) Thanks for your encouragement!ReplyCancel

  • The Kentucky Gent - March 11, 2015 - 7:38 PM

    CAN’T go wrong with a white kitchen, and with a white backsplash it’s even more of a win, win.

    Best,
    Josh – The Kentucky Gent
    http://thekentuckygent.comReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - March 11, 2015 - 9:23 PM

    Holy moley, does that look beautiful! What a difference!ReplyCancel

  • Trude - March 12, 2015 - 11:40 AM

    It looks absolutely beautiful. That matte finish! And that shot at the top of the post *swoon*.ReplyCancel

  • Hollie @ Fancykins - March 12, 2015 - 5:22 PM

    HOOOOOOLY cats, this tile looks so stinking good. I don’t envy your leveling woes, but I do envy the finished product :)ReplyCancel

  • Christin - March 15, 2015 - 6:49 PM

    Looking great! Can’t wait to see it all done. I just started my own blog. Feel free to check mine out. http://www.theauburnfox.blogspot.comReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 16, 2015 - 9:42 AM

      Congrats on starting your own blog! I’m hopping over to check it out!ReplyCancel

  • Christina Gutierrez on Home Plans - March 17, 2015 - 3:04 AM

    Very detailed – such a great instruction material. Thanks for sharing your knowledge – we will definitely keep this with our resource library. ^_^ReplyCancel

BACK TO TOP

As much as we love the stone we chose for our counters, I’ll start by saying that I was a little confused after the fabricators left. I snapped some photos for Scott (they’re done, and they’re gorgeous!, I texted), but the more I looked at them, the more I felt they were – too high? It seemed as though they were floating above the cabinets, leaving too large of a gap between our drawers and counters. I showed Scott what I meant when he came home, and at first we thought, well, this is just us not being used to having counters, right?

I’m shooting down low so you can see what I mean, but here is how they looked after installation:

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It doesn’t look terribly funny, but it just felt a little off to us, and after looking through way too many kitchen photos online to see if we were losing it (totally possible, by the way), we realized that – surprise, surprise! – there was miscommunication between us, our cabinet maker and the fabricators. This is why:

  • Our cabinet maker created the measurements based on our old laminate counter. That countertop had a lip, which brought the front edge down by an additional 1/2″ – at least.
  • We didn’t think or know to tell him that our new counters wouldn’t have a lip, and I imagine there was the assumption that we would be mounting new stone in a similar way. As a result, while the spacing between each drawer and door is 1/4″, he left a sizable front face at the top – approximately 1″.
  • When we hired our fabricators, we wanted the most simple edge available. They said, great! And when they came to measure, we let them do their thing.
  • The installation went as smooth as possible, but I was called down once to confirm that yes, our floors are sloped a bit. (Our floors are just plain, old crooked. There’s a difference of almost 1″ from the left end of the wet wall counter to the right, plus a little dip in the middle for good measure. This isn’t visible in person, but it’s very noticeable with every single DIY!) They let me know they’d need to shim more than normal to keep things level, and I agreed. The cabinets were also shimmed from below, so imagine a shimming bonanza to keep everything straight and level.
  • This new countertop edge, as you can see, comes straight out from the cabinets,with no lip. As a result, we have a look that felt as if it was “floating.”

You can see the most shimmed section of counter here, which is only visible if you’re, say, of the four-legged variety (while you can see the shims in this photo, it’s caulked behind clear silicone):

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All this to say, this is no one’s fault, it’s just something we didn’t know to point out or ask of anyone. We could absolutely let this go, but we really think that it’s all in the details (hello, 5%!). We’re sharing this because while it may not be the most obvious in photos – especially if you’re taller than 3’! – we thought it might be helpful for anyone else who doesn’t know all the questions to ask. Every single decision in this room has been heavily considered more than we delve into here (we’re sparing you, we promise), and as with any renovation, there will be slips – and that’s okay. The good news is that we were able to fix it inexpensively with a little trim in an afternoon!

First, we picked up a 1″ x 4″ x 8′ piece of select pine, and we ripped it down to thin sections on our table saw. This had to be done in a few sections, with some needing to be 3/4″ tall and some being 5/8″. A quick dry fit ensured we were on the right path.

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Our cabinet maker gave us leftover touch up lacquer, which is only meant to be applied with a sprayer. For ease of use, we went to a local Benjamin Moore location, showed them what we had, and they recommended a quart of INSL-X Cabinet Coat in the same color (Distant Gray) and finish (satin), which could be applied with a brush or roller.

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After I painted all the strips, we used our nail gun to put them in place. We realized that the thickness of a paint stir stick was the closest match to the drawer spacing, so we used a couple of them as a guide during the install.

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A dab of spackle and paint covered the holes created by the nail gun, and then it was time to caulk. In the lowest spots, there were still some 1/4″-or-so gaps between our trim work and the underside of the counter, but caulk backing is a time saver for things like this:

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The backing helps to fill any gaps that are abnormally large (this would also be a great way to fill any space between your floor and wall before baseboards!), and it allows the caulk to have a place to rest. This also prevents the need to apply layer after layer of caulk.

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Once that was in, I used white silicone caulk to create a seamless transition from trim to counter. The biggest difference is the former blank space above our dishwasher; that alone felt worth it! Despite the additional trim, the dishwasher can still be pulled out in the future if necessary, and all the drawers and doors open and close no different than they did before.

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We chose to stop the trim where the drawer ends, rather than carry it around. Below on the left is without trim, and on the right, you can see how that finished end looks:

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This was purely an aesthetic change, but one that helped to pull those counters back down! If we hadn’t done a thing, we doubt anyone would notice, but now that we’ve finished the task, it feels so much better to us. You know how baseboards finish a room? These little strips finished the cabinets, er, counters. Both, really!

With the exception of some finicky under cabinet wires, we’ve almost completed the lighting, and next up? Tile!

  • Loryn - March 5, 2015 - 8:16 AM

    YES. That made such a big difference!ReplyCancel

  • Mallory - March 5, 2015 - 8:24 AM

    We installed new cabinets and had pros do the counters. If it wasn’t for my husband, who worked at a counter shop back in high school, we wouldn’t have known all the nuances of countertop ordering either. It’s something that takes experience to know.

    I think you came up with a great solution! It definitely is the last 5% that brings everything together!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 5, 2015 - 8:40 AM

      Thank you! We could have spent way too much time wondering why the cabinet maker did ask or the fabricators didn’t ask (we’ll never know), but this worked perfectly!ReplyCancel

  • Priscilla - March 5, 2015 - 8:45 AM

    Thank you for this! I would clearly miss these details when I tackle my kitchen renovation. Super helpful information!ReplyCancel

  • soozey - March 5, 2015 - 8:56 AM

    I am really glad you wrote this post. You had a great fix, I’m sure this can easily happen and it will help many. I got freaked out about the situation and it’s not even my counter! :)

    That being said, I think it’s the fabricator’s fault. They have seen hundreds of situations and didn’t ask the correct questions. Sorry, you guys hire them for the expertise. My opinion of course!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 5, 2015 - 9:05 AM

      I’ll admit that the more I thought about, the more frustrated I was! I wanted to blame the cabinet maker for not asking about our future counters, the fabricators for not asking about the gap, and US for not asking more questions. Thank goodness it was such an easy fix, and while it’s not the most blog-worthy revelation, we thought that if it could help someone else in the future, it was worth sharing.ReplyCancel

      • Kristin - March 5, 2015 - 9:32 AM

        I agree with soozey – the fabricator should have discussed this with you. Most countertops have a lip in front that make them look deeper than they actually are. Even if you wanted a thinner look, they would know by looking at the construction of your cabinets that it wasn’t going to work (or look right) in the end. Atypical details in a kitchen require a lot of planning and custom cabinetry detailing. Your fix does look good, though, so nicely done.ReplyCancel

  • jenn aka the picky girl - March 5, 2015 - 9:20 AM

    That actually made a HUGE difference. Oh man, I would have been so upset, but you guys do such a great job of just seeing the problem and tackling it. Looks amazing.ReplyCancel

  • Kris - March 5, 2015 - 10:18 AM

    That piece of trim looks like it should be there and not to cover an oops. Sorry for the annoyance but the end result looks like it was intentional.ReplyCancel

  • Linda - March 5, 2015 - 11:00 AM

    Thankfully you were able to fix this problem fairly easily…BUT, as a single woman who has limited diy skills and tools, this kind of mistake is disastrous. Years ago I had counters installed and there was a mistake in the measurement that left a pretty wide gap at the back. I was told the tile guy would be able to fix it when the backsplash was installed. Well the fix required quite a bit of work by the tile guy and it cost me more money. Instead of complaining and asking for the additional costs to be paid by the counter people I just let it go. Now I would have handled the whole thing differently, but it still irritates me to this day. Now I ask a lot more questions when having work done!!! And I really appreciate bloggers who share the lessons they’ve learned so the rest of us can avoid some of the same problems. Thanks.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 5, 2015 - 11:10 AM

      Ugh, that’s awful! I’m sure no one notices but you, but you should be thrilled with your kitchen. And yes, more questions! Sometimes it seems that no matter how many questions we ask or things we put in writing, there’s always something that goes wrong. ALWAYS. When working with contractors, this isn’t uncommon, and in talking with friends about issues, it also just seems accepted! Sometimes we wonder if it’s more common in a big city, too – with so much competition. Although, you’d think that would make people want to go above and beyond? It’s a head scratcher, that is for damn sure.ReplyCancel

  • Kate S. - March 5, 2015 - 11:27 AM

    That made a remarkable difference! Nice save.ReplyCancel

  • Julia at Home on 129 Acres - March 5, 2015 - 11:35 AM

    I didn’t know such a thing as caulk backing existed. That will be very helpful. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Joy - March 5, 2015 - 1:09 PM

    Huge difference! Good thing you guys are handy (an understatement to be sure) and could troubleshoot this on your own. Also good to know that caulk backing exists.ReplyCancel

  • Monika - March 5, 2015 - 2:37 PM

    What’s that expression…you don’t know what you don’t know? Unless I was hugging on the adorable Chocolate Chunk, I’d never have noticed, but I know how that can bug a biped. But luckily you guys know enough how to fix it in the end. And as always, it’s a beautiful job!ReplyCancel

  • Aly - March 5, 2015 - 3:15 PM

    Thanks for sharing this! I would never think to ask about this. Your solution worked perfectly!ReplyCancel

  • Melanie - March 5, 2015 - 4:01 PM

    oh wow, thanks for this. We will be getting our new kitchen in a few weeks. I’ll be bookmarking incase I get this issue as well!ReplyCancel

  • Sajida - March 5, 2015 - 5:52 PM

    It looks fantastic. I love how you take the time and care to make those finishes really nice. It’s also nice that you share those hiccups because we have all been in those frustrating situations. And I like that you are just creative and show that there is no exact science to these things. The results are what count in the end, and yours are always beautiful!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 6, 2015 - 8:36 AM

      Thank you, and you’re right! There are a ton of hiccups no matter how much you plan, but a little trick here and there can go a long way…ReplyCancel

  • Uncle Brain - March 5, 2015 - 9:46 PM

    This is a happy mistake. You got the nice, clean, narrow profile, sleek edge on the counter top and, as a bonus, that trim piece cleans up the face of the drawer fronts.

    It was an extra step but I think it looks better than had it been communicated as you intended. In fact, when I saw the original images I didn’t even comment on that gap as I figured a trim piece was the plan all along.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 6, 2015 - 8:35 AM

      Uncle Brain, you’re too funny – you know you could have just said something from the very beginning! You’ve been very helpful during our renovation, since you just went through yours.ReplyCancel

  • Kat - March 6, 2015 - 12:57 AM

    Well! I just kinda freaked out all over again for you. I had a sick sort of dread feeling! I’m happy you were able to fix it so easily :) The kitchen looks great!ReplyCancel

  • Christy - March 6, 2015 - 9:45 AM

    I have to second the opinion that it was the fabricator’s fault, and it’s definitely not just a small detail. When you discussed the simple, straight edge, it was up to them to say, “by the way, counters usually have a lip, so you may need to install some extra trim to hide gaps when we shim the counters.” They are the experts. It is as if you had a roofer and the roofer didn’t mention that, oh, by the way, if we don’t flash around the chimney you’ll have leaks. You guys are being super sweet and nice about it and of course it probably would have been more frustrating and less productive to finger point when you could just fix the problem in an afternoon, but the fabricators really should have known and said something. Of course, it’s just my opinion, but I think they should have paid to have the problem fixed professionally.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 6, 2015 - 9:58 AM

      We definitely felt that for a minute as well, but at the same time, we wondered, why didn’t our cabinet maker ask us what type of counter we would install? There are so many places where the information got lost in translation. We were given a sheet of choices for the counter, and we did prefer the straight out, no-lip look, since the front lip would have looked extra bulky (and we already paid for the thicker 3mm countertop). Before starting this, we thought to contact our cabinet guy to have him install a strip, but knowing it might be more costly to go that route and knowing we could absolutely handle it ourselves, we decided to leave well enough alone.

      I’m really glad I wrote this so others know what questions to ask! A bit bummed that none of the professionals asked us in the first place (how were we to know that these questions should have been raised), but aside from this snafu, we did receive friendly service from both the cabinet maker AND the fabricator.ReplyCancel

  • Marie - March 6, 2015 - 11:34 AM

    A room without any baseboards ? Don’t know what you’re talking about :-DReplyCancel

  • The Kentucky Gent - March 6, 2015 - 11:46 AM

    Definitely not the biggest change in the world, but sometimes it’s the lightest things that make the biggest difference! I love how this all turned out.

    Best,
    Josh – The Kentucky Gent
    http://thekentuckygent.comReplyCancel

  • Julia@Cukoo4Design - March 11, 2015 - 6:21 AM

    I use cabinet coat everywhere in my house too. Cabinets, trim and doors. The paint is awesome.ReplyCancel

  • Iryna @ RedBarberry.com - March 18, 2015 - 3:36 PM

    Definitely pinning this for when we get ready to update our kitchen! Tile work scares me!ReplyCancel

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