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!