Do It Yourself Tile & Grout….

Last weekend I completed the tile and grout work on the new canning cabinet. Dad built the cabinets for me and cut the tile. I wanted to try my hand at laying and finishing tile. I’ve seen him do it on dozens of projects over the years and wanted to have a go at it.

The tile I selected is what I would call a true terracotta. The sanded grout that I picked was called mushroom. In retrospect, I don’t think I would use sanded grout again, but I think that’s what was used throughout the rest of my house so I figured it would be best. It was a little a little “gritty” uuummmmm yeah…..SANDED grout…..duh……don’t know what I was expecting. I think that the un-sanded would have been a little easier to work with, but it was fine.

Dad had already cut the tile and made sure that the spacing was correct so that all I had to do was slap it down, space it properly, let it dry and then grout. The first thing we did was to affix a thin strip of pressed hard board to the front of the counter top to support the front tiles. If you don’t support them, they’ll more than likely slide out of alignment or off completely. You can see it in the image below. It’s the dark board sticking out from under the counter top.

Next, I just started slathering the tile adhesive on, slapping down a piece of tile and inserting a spacer.

Once I had the top done, I started on the front. This part was a little more tricky than the top. It was a bit messy, but not really “hard”.

I applied adhesive to both the wood and the tile for the front pieces. It’s sort of reminiscent of peanut butter…….

I started with a grout trowel but it was too big for the fronts. I ended up using an old butter knife to apply the adhesive. I could control the application much better this way.In the image above you can see that the tile is resting on the hard board that we applied before we started.

Once all of the tile was applied, I carefully removed any adhesive that I’d gotten on the tile fronts and tops. Once I cleaned it up, I let it dry for 24 hours before starting on the grout.

The grout that I purchased only came in a 10 lb box. I only used 2 lbs. The directions on the box didn’t call for enough water to even wet the grout so I improvised. I just added water until I thought it was good. I’ve seen Dad mix grout before and I’ve worked with grout that he’s mixed for me so I was pretty confident that I wasn’t going to do any harm just guessing.

Using a grout trowel I filled the joints. Using a moist sponge, I came along behind and removed the excess that was outside the joints. Pretty simple. I just tried not to use too much water. The front joints were the hardest. I had used a little too much adhesive and didn’t leave my joints very deep. This made it more difficult to get the grout to stay in the front joints.

No, my arms really aren’t that hairy. 🙂 Hubby helped with the last of the “sponging” while I filed the joints.
Let it dry, remove your hard board support and voila! Tile is done! Yay!
My dad is awesome……. These cabinets are EXACTLY what I wanted.


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