JD Phelps

lifestyle blog


Our Kitchen Tile DIY

Let me just start this off by telling you what I have really learned today… This is the SECOND time I am writing this post, because I didn’t save my first one. Nooooooo! Horrible. 

Have you ever done something that you never expected to do in your life?  Pretty much every project in our home is turning out to be that “something” for me.  Sticking with the flooring theme, we decided to tile the kitchen floor.

When we purchased our home, the flooring in the kitchen was an avocado-green vinyl sheet flooring.  It was chipped in some areas and lifting up in others.


We had to do a lot of preparation for this project.  We started by pulling off the baseboards on the walls and scraping up the areas of the vinyl that were lifting up.  The floors in the kitchen were SO squeaky.  This happens when the subflooring begins to pull away from the floor joists, underneath.  We spent a lot of time going through the kitchen and finding those areas that were squeaky and screwing them back down to the floor joists.

We then measured the space and got the right amount of tile for the area.  We chose and 12 inch x 24 inch tile in a medium grey.  We planned to have 1/8 inch gaps between the tiles.  Prior to laying the tile, we measured and marked where all of our rows would go.

Next, we mixed the mortar and started laying the tile.  This proved to be time-consuming and a LOT of work.  We found that the most efficient way to lay the tile was to have Tyler measure and cut, while my sister, Maddy, and I laid the tile in place.  We used a level to make sure that all the tiles were level.  And we also used a lot of spacers so that we would have the correct amount of space between each tile and so that each tile would be straight.

In hind site, I would have been less messy.  Now, I can remember Tyler saying that I needed to be careful with the mortar, because I would have to clean it off.  It wasn’t until after the mortar had set that I tried to wipe off the excess.  It all came off easily enough with a little elbow grease.  But it would have been better if I wiped it off when it was still wet!

A few days later, we were ready to grout.  (You can grout sooner.  You can grout 24 hours after your tile has set. We just couldn’t do it sooner.)  We chose a light grey grout.  I love how clean the combination the medium grey tile and the light grey grout look.


The finished product was, honestly, the most satisfying part of the whole project.  The grout really makes your hard work look SO good.  And, surprisingly, it is very forgiving. This project was a LOT of work, but such a good beginner tile project.  I thought that the floor was a good place to start.  The next tile project we did was the shower walls, which proved to be a lot more challenging.  Especially, because we built an alcove into the wall of the shower.

Materials used: 





1/8 inch spacers

1/4 inch shims

1/2 square notch trowel

grout float

2 buckets, for mixing mortar and grout

power drill

grout mixing paddle


tile saw


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