ONE ROOM CHALLENGE WEEK 5 | SUBWAY TILE AND CONCRETE-LOOKING QUARTZ
I cannot believe that next week is the big reveal for the One Room Challenge that we've entered our laundry room into! This space has come so far already and in case you haven't seen the previous progress posts, here they are:
This mama is so happy about the progress that we made in the laundry room because it's officially functional again! We built the massive IKEA pantry cabinet and installed it in the corner of the room. And then the washer and dryer were able to be installed. HALLELUJAH! We then installed a ledge around the nook where the washer and dryer sit that holds the countertop. And just like that, I can do laundry without planning ahead to schedule laundry day to make sure my hubby is around to help me move the washer and dryer into the laundry room - how handy! haha.
Can we chat about this countertop for a minute? I AM IN LOVE. I went to the local countertop store where we've sourced our kitchen, ensuite, and main bathroom's quartz in search of a white countertop. However, when I came across this concrete-looking quartz, I immediately knew this was the one. The grey colour is perfect to tie together the wood stain that we are going to put on our floating wood shelves, the greys that are in the wood-looking floor tile, and the grey spots that are in the wallpaper. The concrete-look provides a masculine touch in a space that is otherwise quite feminine. This quartz is just so neat with its beautiful tone of grey and flecks of dark grey, black, and white in it. Ok, you can clearly see the huge crush I have on this countertop!
We also installed subway tiles above the countertop in the laundry room this week! And we're actually going to show you step-by-step on how we installed them because we LOVE subway tiles for several reasons:
- It only took us 2 hours to install the tiles on this wall so they make a big statement in a short amount of time.
- Subway tiles are affordable.
- Subway tiles come in a variety of colours, sizes, and sheens making it a possible choice for anyone! The subway tiles that we've used throughout our house, including this laundry room are 4" x 12" and matte white.
- You skip using a wet tile saw for most of the project, only using the big saw for the difficult cuts. For the easier cuts, you just need a manual tile cutter which is simple, quick to use, and can be kept right in the room where you are working because it isn't messy.
Here's some tips in case you'd like to try a little backsplash-ing yourself ... and we do recommend it - it's an easy way to dress up and customize any kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room! Take a peek:
In order to get started, we applied mortar to the wall with a 3/16" trowel. We only apply the mortar to small sections of the wall at a time so it doesn't dry out before you can get all the tiles in place. We love setting the tiles in a one-third tile pattern so you can pre-cut a bunch of tiles into one-thirds and two-thirds sized cuts. We apply the first tile at the bottom left of the wall that we are wanting to tile. We press the tile into the mortar and try to evenly and gently push it into the mortar, while giving it a bit of a wiggle to get good adhesion. We use at least two 1/8" spacers between each tile to evenly space them.
We were able to make it pretty far up the wall only using the manual tile cutter. However, once we reached the bottom of the lights, we had to use the wet tile saw in order to make the special cuts required to work our way past the lights.
We were lucky enough to have our last row of tiles before the ceiling be full-height tiles. However, it is likely that you'll get to the last row and realize a full-height tile is not going to fit so you'll need to cut the tiles length-wise to make them fit.
Once we had all the tiles in place, we let them dry for 24 hours. Next, we applied the same grout that we used on our main bath, ensuite, and laundry room floor because we LOVE the colour! The grout colour is called 'New Taupe' by 'Polyblend'. We used the non-sanded grout because we like how it looks less porous. Although the latex based grout is a bit more tedious to evenly apply, the smooth look of the grout is definitely worth it in the end and it is easier to keep clean - what more could this mama ask for! (besides my husband to stop wearing this 30 year old shirt that he refuses to throw out? haha.) This non-sanded grout is only recommended for grout joints up to 1/8" so we made sure to use 1/8" spacers. And one last tip related to grout - the dark grout colours are a bit fussy so you have to ensure that you follow the directions on the package to make sure the correct amount of water is added while mixing it. And, it is super important to mix it for the time listed on the instructions to get a consistent colour.
This space has come soo far from the unfinished basement corner that we started with! We've gotten all the major projects out of the way, but I'll be honest, we have a pretty long list of small jobs on our to-do list to get this project across the finish line! Lights, wallpaper, building and staining and sealing floating wood shelves, sealing grout, installing crown moulding above the pantry, side panels on the pantry cupboard, installing handles on the pantry cupboard, trim work, paint touch-ups, and making a cover for the floor drain. And of course decorating! We better get back to work ... like right now! haha. Wish us luck in the final stretch of this challenge, friends!
Here's where we are at right now!
Be sure to check out all the other beautiful projects going on in the spring 2018 One Room Challenge - click here to see more amazing DIY'ers