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Unread 12-30-2009, 02:07 PM   #1
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DIY advice for handmade tiles for kitchen backsplash

Got my beautiful 3x6 "bossy gray" tile from Sonoma Tilemakers. (i live in sonoma county so that was a plus for me.) DH got back from tile store and is concerned about grout lines with these "custom-made" tiles. They don't look like irregular or "not-uniformed to me, but DH is worried that the spacing will be difficult and will look bad. Any helpful hints about using these kind of tiles? We're also using some walter zanger oyster gray 1x3 for accent. My husband is very good and meticulous with all of his work. THe only thing he didn't do is the quartz countertops, and it's the only thing that i didn't feel like we had perfect craftsmanship and pride of craftsmanship on the countertops. I'm concerned that he may be TOO exacting with the tile and drive himself crazy. HELP! We've come too far to let this make him regret ever getting into this remodel.
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Unread 12-30-2009, 02:16 PM   #2
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You don't seem to be sure on whether these 3X6 tiles are the same, I would suggest you lay some out use some spacers. Do a dry run, try different spacing, layouts, then you'll see what you like or don't like. If these are not
exactly the same then it can be more of a challenge and you will have to use your eyes more than the spacers. If they are exactly the same then do the same and try different spacing again just laying them out on a flat surface.

Jon Donmoyer

JD Tile

CTEF Certified Installer #825

Custom Tile Installation in Hershey & surrounding areas

Serving Dauphin, Lebanon, Berks, Chester, & Montgomery Counties PA
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Unread 12-30-2009, 02:18 PM   #3
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The tiles can be installed perfectly with little problems. It sounds like you husband can easily handle this project with a little guidance. If you use a high grip mastic such as Omnigrip, you can place each tile exactly in place with no 'slip' or 'sag'. The only thing left is to determine where the tiles go. You can plot lines on the walls, use a level, a laser, tape measures, whatever floats your boat to get the tiles evenly spaced. The pictures below show a recent backsplash where this method was followed. No spacers were used.
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For when DIY isn't such a good idea...
Houston TX area Kitchen & Bath Remodeling

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Unread 12-30-2009, 02:54 PM   #4
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I set a lot of handmade tile and am a manufacturer as well 20+ years experience . . . probably as close to a handmade tile expert as there is round here, though, there are many

Handmade tile can vary immensely dimensionally, but this is part of what makes it so cool. Fudge your tile to be "net-straight"; meaning split the difference piece to piece, and get a level on there after each row to
check it's "net-straightness" Variance is a good thing as long as you don't get out of hand.

As a pro, I'll free set handmade -- This is why it's important to use an adhesive that will keep the tile where you place it relative to the adjacent

Omnigrip would be fine as mentioned -- give it plenty of drying time.

I prefer a non sag lightweight thinset like pro-light (custom) or 255
(laticrete) both have mold inhibitor as an added benefit -- which, will
really only help you behind the sink where there is constant moisture.

Be sure and use white so as to not stain the bisque.

Leave a small gap at the transition to the counter and to the uppers.
Use a matching silicone sealant on those seams. Grout and wait 72 hours
before sealing with a top-quality sealer like porous plus.

All that said -- be sure and check with Sonoma to see what they recommend. It's important, as every manufacturer has a different protocal . . .

. . . Some recommend a pre-seal to deal with crazing, not sure with sonoma

You CAN do this -- take your time and have fun

good luck and post pics
Stephen -- Man vs. Tile -- The Battle Continues . . .
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