Thursday, June 6, 2013

Operation Hearth Re-Tile - Grouted Goodness!!

Are you ready for some grouted goodness?!?  I sure was…especially after steps 1, 2, 3 and 4 of my hearth re-tile project!! 

Before I could dive in head grout-float first, I had to seal things up.  One of the fantastic supplies The Tile Shop provided me with was Premium Gold Marble & Onyx Sealer. 

I made sure my marble was nice and clean, threw on some chemical-proof gloves, and sealed things up following the instructions on the back of the bottle.  Then I impatiently waited for 2 hours to tick by {the minimum time to pass before you could grout}.  Once time was up, I immediately hopped into the grouting process.

Hubby and I mixed up our grout following these instructions.  We combined the supplied admixture and dry grout in a clean bucket...mixing everything with a mixer bar until the consistency was that of toothpaste.  

The admixture is a latex-fortified liquid that speeds up cure time and helps prevent grout cracks due to shrinkage.  It also helps to maintain grout color consistency.  {I was super happy The Tile Shop recommended this product rather than having me mix the dry powder with just plain water.}

Once the grout was mixed, I let it sit for a few minutes {which is recommended}, and filled a bucket with some clean water and got my sponge and paper towels ready.  Then I got busy with my float. ;)

If I was a smart person and thought about how much of a mess grout can make when combined with wood grain, I would have taped off the wood that trims out the tile of our hearth.  But I was just so excited, and ahem...inexperienced, that unfortunately, that thought didn't occur to me until I grouted the first little patch of the hearth.  Thanks to my big tiling sponge, paper towels and hubby switching out my water bucket when things got a little dirty, the mess was manageable.

After everything was grouted using this method, I wiped the tiles down with a clean sponge to remove any lingering grout that didn't belong on top of the tiles.

Then I let the grout set for 48 hours, gave it another scrub down to make sure there was no grout or haze left, and applied a second round of sealer.  This coat would help to seal and protect the grout lines.

After that it was time to caulk.  Ohhhh magical material!  It helped things go from this... this.  MUCH better!

And then it was time to rig our spray painted fireplace screen back into place.  Ideally, hubby and I really, really, reallyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy wanted to install a gas insert to finish off the fireplace makeover, but after we received a quote...we realized we can't swing the cost of the unit right now.  Thankfully, we already have the gas line in place, so when we have enough saved, that piece of the puzzle is already taken care of.  {We took care of that when we were renovating the entire main floor and had plumbers here working on our two bathrooms.}

So for now, we'll sit back and enjoy the fan-freakin-tastic view we now have of our delicious marble hearth.

I mean seriously...I cannot get enough of this tile.  It looks amazing from any angle, and finally makes our fireplace feel like "us".

I'll leave you with one last before and after...

...and a HUGE thank you to The Tile Shop for making this project possible with their terrific products!  If anyone has a tiling project in their future, you must check out their extensive materials. :)

***Although I was super, duper lucky to get some free tile and materials for this project from The Tile Shop, this is not a sponsored post.  I've always promised to keep it real with you guys, so I wanted to let you guys know how much they rock! :)***

Monday, June 3, 2013

Operation Hearth Re-Tile - Let the Laying Begin...

With a ton of the "prep" work out of the way {inspiration, demolition and cutting/dry fitting}...our hearth re-tile project was heading towards the finish line.  Unfortunately for me, in order to get there, I'd have to get over my fear of messing something up, and permanently adhere my carefully cut tiles to my sorta smooth surface.

To those of you who have been keeping up with this's pretty clear that every step of the way has been a little nerve-wracking for me.  I mean, can you blame me?  I'm a complete novice.  I've never done any sort of tile work...ever.  So while I had little confidence in my tile setting skills, at least I could be 110% confident in the products I was using.  The Tile Shop totally hooked me up for this project...and not just with my drool-worthy tile, but with the perfect products to complete the job.

So with my dry-fit complete, it was time to move to the next step.  Before I went any further, I took the time to remove the dry-fit from the hearth, and re-assembled it, in order, right next to the hearth for easy access once I started tiling.

Then we broke out the thinset...the Pro-Flex Platinum, Latex Fortified Thinset Mortar to be exact. 

Hubs and I headed to the garage to mix things up.  We knew this could be messy and wouldn't dare to attempt this inside on our hardwood floors.  We mixed the water and the powder with a mixer bar, per these instructions.  {**Make sure you pour the water in first, and then add in the powder...otherwise you will find it hard to mix things at the bottom of the bucket.  Just sayin'...**}

I wasn't sure how quickly I'd move along since this was totally my first "rodeo" we mixed a little bit at a time.  As I needed more, hubby headed to the garage and whipped up a new batch for me.  {**Let the thinset sit for about 5-10 minutes after mixing it, before you start using it.**}

I spread my thinset and laid my tiles using this technique.  Because my starting surface wasn't the smoothest, there were a couple random tiles that needed to be built up a little higher.  For those situations, I would either back butter specific tiles, or lift the sheet up and stick a little more thinset where need be.  My goal was to have each tile even with it's neighbor.

Before I knew it, I was D-O-N-E, and already counting down the hours {at least 24 to be exact} until I could start grouting.  Ugh...patience was never my strong suit. ;)