So for this project I have actually finished my island with broken tile and grout. And then I ended up redoing it like a year later. And as you will see from the pictures that I have posted that I have definitely gotten better at doing these things. I decided one day when we moved the island to the other side of my kitchen, that I was fed up with looking at the poor thing and it was going to get redone.
\ So we took the old off (which came apart in like 2 pieces) and on with the new. It took me one night to redo the whole thing. Since luckily I still had a lot of the broken pieces from the last time. Most of my pieces I used were already broken but I still had to take a bunch of them and hammer them up into smaller pieces for filling areas in.
So then what you will want to do is to take all of your pieces and line them out some. So that you can somewhat see what it is you have to work with. That way you can start to envision them on your countertop. I always just start at a corner and pick a somewhat big one that looks cool there and lay it down. And then I will start working around that big one. Pieces my different colors and sizes so that they are all fitting sort of like a puzzle.
You definitely want to stay away from putting too many of one type or color in the same area. But these are broken tiles and you can do it however you want to. That is the awesome thing about working with these. There are no set rules on exactly how to lay them. But if you are working with different colors or different designs on your tiles then in my opinion I think it looks better to keep them looking random and all over the place.
Then once you get enough on there, you will want to take them off and start spreading your grout or thinset. Ok so I am a newby to all of this and I have a way of just doing my own thing with whatever it is that I have in stock. Not the best way to do things I admit. But it is what it is. And I have learned alot with my trial and error type of ways. So I actually just used grout this go around. Oh and on my first time of laying this island I have to share how I had ended up using black grout (probably not for you if you are a beginner) and I let this black grout dry one night without getting it wiped down really well with my wet sponge.
Big mistake! I was sanding for days because of my mistake. And black is just so very dark. It will really show your every little mistake. Then I ended up going over it all with a light color of grout. That was actually the premixed stuff. Awesome stuff I have to say! I have included a link to both premixed and powder form of grout below. You also will want to use sanded grout for a project such as this. Your joints will be way bigger than 1/8″. And you only want to use non-sanded grout if your joints will be 1/8″ or smaller. For projects such as this with way bigger joints you will want to use sanded grout.
Another thing before you get started with any of this is to make sure that your area is clean. Make sure you get everything off of the space you will be working on. Clear of dust and debris. Now moving on. Whichever type of bonding agent you would use you will want to make sure and lay it all very evenly. You have to make sure that your grout is all as even as possible so that when you lay your tile down on it, they will all be the same height and perfectly level. Same goes with your tile pieces.
That was another mistake I ended up making in the beginning. I had some of my tile pieces being of different thickness. And so let me say that it ended up being a very big problem when it came to laying my grout down and it actually setting right. So what you will want to use in order to spread your grout evenly is a notched trial. I have provided a picture and link below.
The notches on your trial will help you to be able and spread the grout nice and evenly. And once you have your grout spreak out in the area you are ready to lay in, then you will start laying your tile pieces in. Just put them back in there in the same order you had them. Try not to have too much of a gap between your pieces as you go. You will want to fill it in the best you can throughout your laying. So if you have to just grab a hammer and start busting up some of your pieces until you get the size and shape that is needed in order to fill in your gaps. I actually use a rubber mallet when I bust mine up. But either one will do the job
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So after you get one section done then move onto another section the same way you did that section. Until you are all done with it. Then once you are all done with your placing of your tiles, you will want to let them dry for 24 hours. To ensure that everything is all the way dry and set. Once all of your grout is dry you may have to go over all of it and sand it some. Depending on how good you are at grouting will depend on how much sanding that you will end up doing. Now I actually ended up going over my entire countertop with epoxy right after it was dry.
The reason that I did this was because my grout was bad and I knew it. So rather than go and get some new grout I decided to just try this out. I wanted epoxy on my countertops anyways. And I wanted to see whether or not this would work. And it actually worked great! The grout did not have time to start cracking up like it likes to do once it is so old. And now it is protected forever underneath the layers of epoxy.
Now if you are not going to use epoxy like I did, then you would want to use some grout sealer on your grout lines. And normally all you would have to do is have a rag and put some of your sealer on it. Then just apply the sealer to all of your grout lines. Be careful about putting too much on while your doing it. Because if you get too much and it starts dripping on your tiles, it will leave a haze that is pretty hard to get back off. So I would just keep that in mind. I have never had any problems so far when I used it. But someone else may have some issues with it.
And that is about all there is to it. I hope that I did not forget anything at least. But I encourage you to try your hand at grouting and tiling. I love it and never dreamed years ago that I would be doing stuff like this and actually liking it!. I guess one never knows what they are truly into until they actually try it out. So good luck and happy projecting!