Monday, February 16, 2009

A Home Project...Finally!

I'm all about public transportation but this subway tile backsplash project is not exactly off on the right foot.

We had spoke with two seemingly intelligent people at Lowe's before Christmas about the backsplash and tiling process. At that time, we bought 5 sample tiles (@ 19 cents each) to see if we really liked the color, shape etc with the rest of the kitchen. We did and that stack of tiles sat for a couple months on the countertop.

Saturday, we decided that our hiatus from home projects was up and that we really should get to the backsplash. I printed out some free graph paper from this cool site and we got to work measuring.

Roadblock #1. Our cabinets are not exactly level. While this is not a huge surprise (we ran into this while installing the countertops as well), it can mess up tiling quite easily. Luckily we played with spacing and figured out the tile amounts for the test area.

OKAY! We have the measurements and tile counts all set for our test area and we headed off to the Y to workout. After the Y, we went to Lowe's where we were prepared to walk in, get our list of stuff and walk out.

Roadblock #2. Lowe's did not have the finished edge tiles that you need for the end of the rows. We determined this after speaking with a huge moron that works there. The people that helped us previously were no where to be found. He recommended going to home depot. We also asked him about tile cutters vs. wet saws. Thankfully a guy in the tile aisle with some experience told us that the wet saw was the way to go. The Lowe's worker was less than helpful in this area as well. Our next question was, "Should we buy a wet saw because they don't appear to be expensive and that way we don't have to worry about renting?" "No, you should rent one becuase it is really cheap to rent one from home depot" Moron Lowe's Guy replied.

We left Lowe's purchasing two handles for our pantry doors and that was it. On to Home Depot.

Roadblock #3. HD also did not have the finished edge pieces. Apparently they have been waiting to remodel their tile section and they didn't know when they were going to get them. They seemed to think that they DID have them at one point though. As we were leaving, the woman who cut our shades too small approached us and asked if we needed help. We explained that we wanted to do a subway tile backsplash and that we were having some trouble. She said that HD did not carry subway tile. Hmm...that's interesting becuase we were just looking at it! "That's not realy subway tile" was her reply. Oh? What is "real" subway tile then? "You know McDonald's floor? THAT is subway tile". WHAT?! Is this for real? I was not going to get into debating "real" subway tile with her so I said that we wanted these white 3x6 tiles. She confirmed what the first guy said but referred us to Color Tile, just south of our house. Before we left HD we took a walk over to the tool rental section. Turns out that tool rental is a rip off and even if we only use the wet saw for this one project, it will be cheaper to buy one than to rent one. we are back on the road going to Color Tile. Keep in mind that we are disgustingly gross from working out still. We drive along the street she said it was on and of course there are several OTHER tile places but no color tile. We pull into the Tile Shop.

Roadblock #4. D-bag man at the Tile Shop selects us to help. We explain that all we want are 18 subway tiles and 8 end piece 3x6 tiles. He takes us over to this beautiful display to the white ceramic 3x6 tiles, which apparently ARE subway tiles according to him. GREAT! He says, "you only want 26 tiles"? We explained that we in fact only needed this many tiles because we only measured this one area that is not really connected to the rest of the backsplash to test out. "Well, I work on commission so can't you just order all of the tiles?" No Mr. D-Bag man, we cannot. He then tries selling us a wet saw for $99 (without the blade). No, we just want the tile. How about some adhesive mix? No we just want the tile.

He goes in the back to locate the tile. Comes back with 18 tiles and then only 3 of the end pieces. "We are going to have to order the others". He rings up these 21 tiles. $60....and some odd cents. WHAT? You are telling me these 21 tiles that would have been $3.99 at Lowe's were over SIXTY DOLLARS?! I really thought Nate's eyes were going to pop out of his head. We did not buy the tile.

Now we are back in the car. Really smelly and Really annoyed. We decide to stop at the HOBO store just to see if they have anything. They did have quite a selection of tile, but not the tile we want. Funny but they had the same exact wet saw that was at the Tile Shop for $70 WITH the blade. One of the HOBO workers begged us not to support the Tile Shop because they were evil. Ok...time to go home.

And that is what we did. I think I will be calling places BEFORE we trek all over to get the tile. Nate is ready to abandon ship with the tile, paint the backsplash white and call it a day.

P.S. I happened to Google Color Tile (the HD lady's recommended tile source) and it turns out that the MKE store went out of business in 1996!!!!! Maybe because they were giving their clients McDonald's flooring when they asked for subway tile.


Ali said...

I truly am sorry for your tiling misfortunes, but that was just about the funniest post. D-bag man, McDonald's tile...thanks for making a Monday morning more enjoyable! (and I do hope that you get some tile, too...)

chacha said...

Finished edge pieces... you mentioned 3x6 size for the end pieces. I have never seen these at Lowe's or HD (and I have been to 3 different HDs and 2 Lowes to buy various pieces of tile). I used the 2x6 end pieces and they run along the sides as a border. I believe they are aroung 80 cents each. It sounds like you guys in the Midwest have slightly cheaper prices though - 19 cents versus the 22 cents that we paid per piece.

I actually finished it this morning (finally), I'll probably try to get some pics up on the blog today or tomorrow.

Oh and you are best buying the tile saw, unless you think you can make all your cuts in one day. Renting a saw for one day is like $45 and that adds up. If you're eventually doing your bathroom with tile, you might consider getting a nicer one, also.

You might try checking out Harbor Freight tools (that's where we got ours - they have good prices):

There's one in Madison.