Kitchen Details: The Window Ledge

I often find that when it comes to renovation, the big stuff – like how to tile a kitchen backsplash - is all over the web.  But what if you run into a unique problem that isn’t covered by standard tutorials?

Most of the time, you don’t even realize that your case is unique until you’re smack dab in the middle of a project… and then you’re suddenly aware that you’re probably doing it all wrong, and then you worry that the whole project will look like you didn’t even try to make it look professional (which of course, isn’t true… but I am very familiar with “the DIY doubts”).  You simply get stuck, frozen in indecision (or are forced to push forward without the information that would have made things work better).  Which leads to either procrastination and tile still sitting in a box, or a hastily made fix that you stare at for weeks on end wondering “what if”.  And no one is happy with that.

So, just in case there are a few out there confused about some of these seemingly “minor” details, I thought it might be better to take a few shots specific to how the tile near the window ledge went down.  I can’t say that how I did it was really even the way that it should be done; but it looks far better than if I hadn’t thought things through.

To begin with, I’d been reading tutorials (like this one from Pretty Handy Girl, excellent tutorial btw), and most recommended simply cutting small pieces out of the molding to slip the tile underneath.  Seems simple enough, and for nearly all of the sides of my kitchen window, that method would work just fine since the molding was thicker than the tile.  Only unlike the windows in the tutorials I’d read, mine had a piece of trim underneath the ledge as well.  And after holding up the tile next to this piece, I realized that the depth of the tile would actually be just as thick, or thicker, than the molding.  So cutting under the trim wasn’t really even possible.  And if I didn’t remove it, my tile would look sort of like it’s eating the molding around the window.  Which, for a kitchen, I suppose may seem appropriate (in that things are eaten in a kitchen).  But I’ll pass on that one.

So, I removed the molding before I began the tile work (this was before patching the drywall and priming as well).

Then as I tiled around the sink and window, I made sure I tiled just enough under the area where the molding would go back onto the wall (I didn’t want to tile all the way up to the ledge since I would have to re-attach the molding somehow, and taking a nail gun to something as hard as tile isn’t exactly easy or potentially injury-free).

Since I knew that most of this area would be covered with the molding, I was able to use broken/spare pieces in the corners where some of it would be exposed (but not the upper/chipped part, obviously).

After letting the tiles cure, it was time to re-attach the molding (I could have waited to attach it after grouting, but I just went ahead and put it back up already).  But I still had an issue concerning depth.  If I had tried to tack on the molding without something behind it, the middle section would likely bow inward to the drywall, which would look strange and still cause the middle of the window to look like it’s sinking into the tile.  So, I found a couple of wood shims (which just happened to be exactly as thick as the tile at its widest part) and stuck them onto the wall with a little caulk adhesive (not much, as the nails would basically do the rest).

Next, I trimmed off the old caulk to make sure there would be nothing wedged between the molding and the underside of the ledge (to get things to fit as snugly as possible).

Then, I hung the molding back up and used tape on either end to make sure it was held in place exactly in the middle of the ledge (the molding was shorter & angled slightly on both ends; so I needed to make sure it centered).

…and shot a few finishing nails along the molding piece (through the thick part of the wood shim) to secure it back to the wall.  I also shot a couple of short finishing nails angled upward, which secured the piece to the ledge as well (shorter nails prevented the nail from poking through the surface).

Caulk is next, and filling any remaining holes (I still hadn’t patched the original holes from when I pried it off the window).

I’ll be grouting the tile once the final wall is fully tiled (finishing up just a few things tonight!).  Can’t wait until it’s all done.  (And psst – sneak peek of the paint color!)

Hope you’re having a great week!

Comments

  1. says

    I was nodding all the way through your opening….mmmhmmmm…mmhmm. Thinking back to our most recent project of adding board and batten to our entry/upper hall/and the darn stringer–yep–finally had figured out what that moulding part above the stairs is called! I have to say that I would have not thought of NOT tiling all the way to the window. Just one of those things I would have clued in later when time to nail–and then I guess my husband or I would have tried to pry off the tiles?? So GOOOOD thinkin’! It is crazy how the bottom of the moulding appears to have fallen right at the grout line! Paint looks very pretty. :)

  2. says

    yes! exactly. sometimes i wonder, how can i possibly be the ONLY person on the planet with this problem! it’s looking great! can’t wait to see it after it’s grouted. :)

  3. says

    Love that paint color and yay for random detailed tutorials! That’s probably my biggest pet peeve with online tutorials but I know that I do it too since I’m no professional. I only know what I mess up sometimes it seems. Thanks for this!

  4. says

    Looks great! Very nice job. Now, BEFORE you grout the tile, caulk the joint between the tile and the counter. Grout in that joint will crack every time.
    Tip: apply masking tape tightly to the counter to get a great line where the caulk meets the wood.

    • says

      Thanks for the tip about caulking before grouting! But because my counters are oiled, tape won’t actually stick (tried it already when tiling to keep the counter protected & had to use cling wrap). I’m trying to find a solution that will still give me a clean line.

      • Cat says

        I wish I would have caulked my tile where it meets the counter. As you know, I experienced that very thing where the grout has cracked and chipped away.

  5. says

    I come across the same problem on tutorials and then I go ahead and do the same thing on my own tutorials! Woops! I sometimes get so caught up thinking about how to execute I forget I’m “supposed” to be blogging and taking pictures along the way. Very well done on this though – it’s a great solutions and very smart of you to have even thought about!

    Its been a busy week but I still want to read your post on the tiling itself when I have time. I read so many but still walk about with – how much grout is acceptable? How to do you keep the surface level, not the just the spacing level? When do you butter the tile vs butter the wall? I guess once I finally tackle a tiling project myself I’ll gain some experience and have more of a feel as to what to do!

  6. Carla says

    It looks so good! Thanks for all the details on how you reattached it! My piece of trim was taken off today for the tile, and I’m not totally sure if I’m even going to attach it back. Going to wait until it’s all grouted and make a decision. Seems like I’ve done that with my whole project! (Took my original grout back today and exchanged it for a darker one.) Oh well….I just decide as I go. :)

    • says

      Yeah I considered leaving it off too! But there was just such a gap between the bottom ledge and the drywall that patching it was going to be more work than I wanted to do, and I liked the look of the extra molding anyway. Deciding as you go is probably a good idea :)

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