How to Quickly Clean Your Grout

Sometimes on the weekends I do really cool awesome things…. and sometimes I do really boring “have to” things – like laundry and moping. Every week I mop our tile in our laundry room and every week it just gets dirtier and dirtier. For seven years our grout has been collecting dirt – to the point where I told Spencer we were ripping it all up because it was so gross. I had NO idea what to do about it and was frustrated that nothing I had tried really worked – and that we made a HUGE first mistake – we picked a really light grout. But then the Heavens opened and I stumbled upon a cure – Cue angles singing in the background – and today I am here to tell you I found out how to quickly clean your grout!!! {Hallelujah! Hallelujah!!}

How to Quickly Clean Your Grout

Supplies you Need:

White Vinegar
Baking Soda
Dawn Dish Soap
Wash Rag
Old Toothbrush

Before you begin, mix Water and White Vinegar with a 1:4 ratio in a spray bottle. Mix in 2 tablespoons of Dawn.

I was almost hesitant to post this – because I am a tiny bit embarrassed by how nasty my grout was. This is one of those things that I look at and think “why didn’t I do this sooner!”

This area probably has the highest traffic in our house. There is a door to the garage, the basement and the laundry room + bathroom all in this area. So when the kids (and the husband) come in all muddy – this is where they go! So here are a couple before photos – keep in mind that the grout “should be” an off-whiteish color.

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Gross right?

Let’s clean it up – the easy way!

First, take your wet wash rag and wipe down the grout lines.

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Sprinkle/spread baking soda in your grout lines. I just got down and dirty and used my hands!

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Next, spray the baking soda with the water/vinegar/dawn mixture.

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The baking soda will fiz up. Let it sit for a few seconds – like maybe 20 seconds. I let it sit a few more seconds for the “dirtier” areas.

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Then simply scrub the dirt off with your old toothbrush! You don’t even need that much elbow grease – the baking soda and mixture do the trick!

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It seriously is so fast and so easy and leaves your grout looking awesome! Here you can see where I had already cleaned and where I needed to clean.

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Crazy right? and a little bit gross. I cleaned the bathroom, the laundry room and the entry way to the garage in about an hour and a half – and somewhere in there I fed my three little kids some mac n’ cheese! I’m tellin’ ya – it is really easy and seriously look at the difference:

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I had debated calling in a grout cleaning company but I am so happy I tired this first. My tile/grout looks brand new and now I don’t want new tile quite so badly – (it’s still on the to-do list – just further down the list now!)

If you haven’t cleaned your grout in a while – hurry up and buy some vinegar and baking soda! You will LOVE the results!


20 Amazing Clear Glass Showers

I recently read an article that stated the new bathroom trend is clear glass shower surrounds. Apparently, gone are the days of shower curtains, frosted glass and even bathtubs… sounds a bit risky!
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Crazy right?
I thought so as well and began my search and found tons of beautiful showers that I would love to have in my home. Each one is so unique and different and the glass really makes the tile stand out and make a statement.
Sliding Glass Door for Showers
Bathroom, Awesome Glass Shower Room And Large Mirror With Pretty Washbasin: 17 Miraculous Photos Of Small Bathroom Remodels Ideas
Bathroom, Appealing White Modern Bathroom Vanity Ideas For Small Bathrooms With Float Style With White Modern Washbasin Long Wall Lights Charming Trash Can Glass Door Shower Room Wide Light Brown Tile Floor And Wall: Awesome Modern and Classic Bathroom Vanity Ideas for Small Bathrooms
Marble Tiles Home Flooring Wooden Grain Styles
Bathroom, : Modern Frameless Glass Shower Stall With Wood Wall Tile Pattern Combined And Modern Bathroom Vanity For Modern Bathroom Decoration Ideas
Old style subway tile shower with modern glass door and wall and pebble floor.
Transitional Bathroom | White Natural Stone | Tile Shower | Dark wood cabinetry | Bath Design
Appliances, Curved Glass Shower Enclosure Door, Big Mirror, White Washbasin And White Towel In Green Bathroom Design Ideas : Stunning Shower Enclosure Kits Design Ideas
Bathroom, : Extravagant Shower Enclosure Ideas With Minimalist Glass Door Design For Minimalist Bathroom Layout Design
glass shower door
Bathroom Interior, The Right Types of Frameless Glass Shower Doors: Picture Elegant Frameless Glass Shower Doors
How do you feel about the new ‘trend?” I kind of, sort of, Love it! Spencer and I really want to redo our Master bathroom and I would love to have the new tile be the statement with a clear glass surround.
I just may be saying goodbye to our current garden tub and hello to a clear glass shower, with lots of awesome shower heads of course!
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The Alden Street House Reveal

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After three LONG weeks of grueling work and one LONG week of teaser posts – we are finally ready for the BIG REVEAL! 

Before and After Collage

Before we get started on all the great photos I wanted to answer some questions really quick!

  • Spencer is a General Contractor and Owner of a Licensed Business Called Redline Construction. However, I did think of the company name!
  • Spencer works with an investor and a real estate agent. He is the General and we do not own the house.
  • Spencer must make sure everything is up to code and is passed off with a City Inspector.
  • Spencer had a crew of himself, two part-time (PRN) guys, an electrician, a tile guy, a painter and the carpet guy.
  • Yes! Three weeks to remodel a house is grueling and hard on everyone involved — or a least everyone under this roof. There were many, many nights I would be in bed when he came home and still asleep when he left in the morning.
  • Yes! We would meet up for lunch dates (with three tag- alongs) so that we could see each other at decent hours of the day and so our children would remember who their daddy was. (just kidding, sort of)
  • Sort of! I did feel like a single mom. I was with our kids from sun up to sun down and every moment in-between without any relief from another parent. However, single mammas have to go to work and I have the privilege of staying home with our three rugrats darling kiddos!
  • Yes, our marriage survives long hours such as these because we understand one another and we both sorta love each other!

Okay!! here we go!! The BIG REVEAL! I have been excited about this all week long!

I am only going to narrate a little bit throughout all these photos so you can just enjoy them.  It is sort of like that game where you have two pictures and you have to pick out the differences!

This house was built in 1924 in the Sugar House area of Salt Lake City.

(some pictures were taken from the MSL site … just giving credit where credit is due!)

Outside Before:

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Outside After: 

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Front Room Before: 


Front Room After: You guys! I swear to you it is the same room!! Amazing right!!??

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Dining Room Before:


Dining Room After: I really love those old corner cabinets and was glad Spencer was able to incorporate them back into the dining room. 

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Kitchen Before: 


Kitchen After: I love that we still kept some of the old charm from the original home, like the brick wall in the middle and beam on the ceiling, but were still able to update and make it fresh and new.

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Main Bath Before: 


Main Bath After: 

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Master Bedroom: I am not sure why there isn’t a before, but just imagine crappy paint, horrible wood floors and and nasty baseboard – and you pretty much have the before.

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The little door on the wall is the ironing board cabinet and the metal piece is where the iron sits. I love this feature and love to think about all moms that have lived there that ironed all their little kids clothing on that board. The cover is new, but I love the charm of the history behind it.

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From the Kitchen we will go downstairs first.

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A lot of work went into this area right here (and I sadly don’t have one good picture of it) to move the water lines and dryer vents and such to make this room a laundry room. Spencer moved the laundry out from underneath the stairs in a crawl space to this larger and more convenient space. The crawl space area can now provide storage.

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There are three doors in this room, one to go upstairs, one to outside and one into a mother-in-law apartment. The most work done here was in the kitchen and bath. These rooms simply got a coat of paint.

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Here is a before of the Basement kitchen


and the after…


And an after of the basement bathroom.


From the Kitchen you can also go upstairs. If you have been following along this week, then you already know about the love affair I have with these stairs! If not, then I’ll tell you that I LOVE these stairs! The character and personality and charm they give the house is simply perfect!

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 Upstairs Bedroom Before: Most of the rooms upstairs looked just like this one.


Upstairs Bedroom Afters:

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And the Upstairs Bathroom:

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All the crazy bushes and trees and ivy and such in the backyard was cut back and under control once again.


And that my friends is the end of the tour!

Did you like it? It is crazy to see how much one house can change in just three weeks!

It is always kind of sad when a good thing is over – right?

If you want to see more of this house and the work done you can read the series here:

Alden Street House
Alden Street Demolition
Alden Street Rebuild Part 1
Alden Street Rebuild Part 2

If you want to see more pictures of all our hard work or more information on the house you can look up the house here.

Linked to Remodelaholic and Tatertots & Jello

Linked up To #CWTS2012
CWTS LOGO 2014 Sponsors Final

We hope you have a great Weekend and we will see you all on Monday!

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The Alden Street House Rebuild Part 1

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Now that the house is completely torn apart – the real fun begins!

To bring this house up to code, the entire home had to be rewired. Spencer had to cut out walls, flooring and ceilings so his electrician could run all the proper wires, outlets, breakers and everything else needed for new electricity. So, when you see large holes in the pictures with a bunch of wires… now you know why!

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The brick on the outside of the house was all taped off and a new coat of paint was applied to all the stucco (plaster) and all the eves for the porches and doors.

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A brand new garage door was purchased and installed and new framing went up around the opening to fix the weather damage in the front.

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New subflooring was installed in certain rooms and everywhere where flooring was taken out for new wiring.

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New and proper headers were installed so the house didn’t come crumbling down!

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With all new framing, plumbing and electrical – it was time for sheetrock.

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As well as all new marble tile.

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And then a fresh new coat of paint! Painting is always my favorite part because I feel like it makes the biggest change and brings all the progress together. Can you even believe the above picture is the same room as the picture below?

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Brand new room heaters were installed in each room.

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And the master bedroom floor was sanded down and refinished. The front room also had really beautiful wooden floors, but after the mirrors and tile in the corners were removed it was discovered that the wood under the tile was water damaged and ruined. We could either rip up the damaged wood and replace it or carpet over the wood flooring. The choice was made to carpet.

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I mentioned in the introduction post that there was a really great staircase in the home and it is my very favorite part of the home! There is a door leading from the kitchen towards the back of the house and you can either go up or down. The stairs leading downstairs and straight and boring. The stairs leading up are awesome with so much character. They wrap around the wall and to the top floor. They just add so much personality to the home and you just don’t see stairs like this anymore.

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At this point in time, we have about a week until the open house! Are you making a list of the things we are missing? Because we sure are!


White Subway Tile Backsplash

I am in la, la, la love with my white subway tile backsplash. When we set the first few tiles I sort of gritted my teeth and hoped I had made the right decision but every day I just love it more and more! I love the contrast of the white tile and gray grout with the granite counter tops and (hopefully soon) cherry cabinets!

White Subway Tile Backsplash

Are you ready for a picture overload??

Here we go!!

A couple before and after’s….


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It’s quite the difference huh? The white makes our kitchen so much brighter and cleaner and adds such a fun farmhouse aspect to our home.

(farmhouse may or may not be a little bit of foreshadowing!!) {wink!} {wink!}

Here are a few more beauty shots for you to enjoy!


One of my favorite things about the new tile, is that it goes up and over the window around the sink. At first we only had it as high as the tile underneath the cabinets, but then changed our minds and carried it all the way up and it was the best decision.

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Another fun decision we made that we both really love is replacing our white outlet covers for silver covers. We purchased ours from Home Depot and they are actually nickel covers and you can find them here. I love the simple step detail of the covers. It adds a bit of personality without being “too much.”


What do you think? Do you guys like the subway tile? Do you guys have it in your kitchens? Are you thinking about it now!!

I hope so!!

If you are on the fence – do it! You will love it!

To create this look in your home you can find all the tips and tutorials you need here:

How To Use A Tile Saw
How to Cut Tile for an Outlet
Create a Subway Tile Backsplash
How to Grout Tile
How to Seal Tile


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How to Seal Tile and Grout

Let’s talk sealer shall we?!  We have tiled and grouted and scrubbed the tile clean and now it is time to protect all our hard work! I know nothing about good sealers so I went to Home Depot and looked around at the ones they had. I compared a few by looking at the bottles and finally settled on this one:

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SurfaceGard Maximum Strength Sealer — in a spray bottle.

I bought for a few reasons, the first being I was tiling  backsplash and I liked that I could just spray it onto the wall. Second, it is made for natural stone, tile, grout and masonry. Third, it is “supposed” to protect for 20 years. Lastly… it didn’t get too bad of reviews.

All I did was spray it on all over the tile. Easy right?

I made sure I sprayed it on in a uniform pattern and made sure all my sprays overlapped. I paid close attention to the grout lines and the amount of sealer they were absorbing – if I felt there was a spot that was absorbing too quickly or was too dry, I would give it another quick spray.

After waiting about 5 minutes I wiped off all the extra sealer with a clean dry rag.

Because we like to over-do some things…. I repeated the process one more time just to make sure it was really sealed!

I sealed the tile in the morning and waited until the evening to really utilize my kitchen. You only need to wait about 3 hours for it to fully dry but since I did two coats I personally wanted to wait just a bit longer.

We have had this backsplash finished since July. Surprise! This project was one of the many projects we completed over the summer while we were gearing up to start our blog and share with you. Since it has been done since July… I feel I can give you a better  and honest review of the tile sealer.

I really love it and have not had any problems with it. One time I splashed bright red spaghetti sauce all over the backsplash by the stovetop and was able to wipe it all off without any hassle and my grout looked just fine. Some people give advice and suggest to reseal every 6 months but our sealer is holding up just fine and we haven’t had any problems. In the summer, I may reseal around the sink and the stovetop because those are wiped down on a regular basis just to be extra sure they are sealed in tight but other than that we have had no problems and our grout and tile still look awesome!

On Friday, I will show you the finished project!! I am so excited!


How to Grout Tile

Are you ready to grout? Has your tile cured for at least 48 hours? Yes!!?? Then let’s grout!

You will need:

  • Grout
  • A grout float
  • A large grout sponge
  • A large bowl of luke warm water
      We chose to buy and use a pre-made grout. Since we were only doing a small space this worked out best for us. I really wanted the lines to pop a little bit so we went with a gray grout – plus, we really loved the gray grout tile from

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    A grout float is a float with a smooth bottom side and the best sponge to buy is a large one with a scrubber on one side and a sponge on the other!

I am really excited about this post because I (Amanda) did all the work! I grouted my new backsplash! Woot! Woot! I’ll admit, I was nervous but once I started it was pretty easy and once I found my groove there was no turning back!

How to Grout Tile:

Add a small amount of grout to the bottom of your grout float.

Using the float, push the grout into the open lines of your tile. There are no tips or tricks really – it sort of comes natural. You push in the grout and then smooth it out and move onto the next line. You want to make sure that you fill the entire space with grout so there are no holes or air bubbles.

I did it small space by small space so the grout wouldn’t dry too much by the time I went to wipe off the excess. Use the scrubber side of your sponge and wipe off as much grout as you can. Make sure that you wipe off with flat and straight motions. Wiping grout out of the grout lines defeats the purpose a little bit (wink!)

When you have most of it off, flip the sponge over and wipe off the remaining grout. You shouldn’t have too much to wipe off but make sure it is as nice and clean as you can get it. You will still have a little bit of grout left of the tiles, it will pretty much just look like dirty water but let the grout dry for 48 hours.

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After 48 hours you can seal the grout. Before you apply your sealer, give the tile one more good scrub. I like to clean each tile one by one. It is tedious – but it would drive me nuts to seal a dirty tile and then have to see it every day!

This tutorial is for a backsplash, but you would use the same exact steps to grout any tile (shower surround, flooring, bathroom backsplash, walls and so on). Just make sure you press the grout in and clean it up really nice.

Tomorrow I will show you the grout sealer that I purchased and used and I’ll tell you why I went with the one I did.


How to Create a Subway Tile Backsplash

Hello Friends! How was your weekend!? I was able to knock-out a couple organizational projects (I love to deep clean in January!) one of which we will be sharing – soon… I hope! But today we are going to show you how to tile a subway tile backsplash!

For this project you can use any rectangular tile you want and adjust the measurements as necessary. We picked out a White Daltile 3” x 6” tile from Home Depot. I am not sure how much they are per tile, but a box is only $22! We bought 4 boxes and had more than enough. The best part is that we could bring back the tiles we didn’t use. Okay… that’s not the best part… the best part is our amazing white tile subway backsplash… the returning part is just a fun little perk!

For our backsplash we used 1/8” tile spacers. We had a mixture of purple ones and white ones. I tried to take pictures with the purple ones so you can see them better. We like to dump ours in a paper bowl for easy access.

The mortar we used is a thin set pre-mixed mortar that we bought at Home Depot. I loved this because there was no mixing and no mess – we could just get to work! You also want to make sure you use thin set mortar on your backsplash. It is the perfect consistency so your tiles stay put and isn’t too thick.

You also want to make sure you use a slotted blade! Why? Because the cutouts create space between the tile and the wall and when you press the tile onto the wall it “sucks” it on so it stays better! Simply put your mortar on your tile and when you scrape off the extra, the slots will make the lines for the mortar you need to use.


Set your tile saw up somewhere close and outside since it is a water saw and let’s get to work!

For our backsplash, we started on the side of the kitchen with a bar top counter and a window and went from there. The most important part of tiling is making sure you are inline and straight. You want to make sure all your lines line up both horizontally and vertically. One of the best ways to do this is to take your level and make a line on your wall so you know where your tiles should line up.

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You may also want to play around with your design to make sure you like how the tiles will fall. I wanted a longer tile to overhang the bar top so we started there and made our lines and cuts based off that tile. Since our tile is 6” we have a line drawn at 6” and at 9”.

(Sorry about the awesome picture… taking a picture into the light of the window is a challenge for me!)

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With our lines drawn we cut and mortared up our first tile! To mark your tile, simply take a permanent marker and mark the tile where it touches the pen line. This makes it easier to get an accurate cut then trying to measure and mark from under the bar top.

At first we thought we wanted a little space between the countertop and the tile (you can see the purple spacers), but after placing a few we decided against it and simply put the tile onto the counter. Our counter is level so it makes a good starting “line.” After placing the first few tiles, we were on a roll.


We had a few outlets and light switches to cut around. You can find the tutorial on how to cut out the outlets here.  Remember to step back every so often and make sure all your lines are lining up.

Whenever we came to a “tricky” spot, we would bust out the level, draw a simple little line and keep on going. This ensured we would cut the tile where it needed to be cut and ease the pain of screwing up.

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After all the tile was done and set and before we grouted, we sealed the tile to the counter with a premium waterproof (clear) permanent silicone. We didn’t want to take the chance of something getting under the tile and since it is the kitchen – you want it waterproof!

Apply a small bead and then simply smooth it out with your finger.


Now we wait for the mortar to cure and then we grout!! I am so excited about this project that I feel like I have been in a permanent state of “happy dances!” since we finished it!

Want to know how to grout? Good!! Because we a a tutorial for that too!!


How to Cut Tile for an Outlet

Now that you know how to cut tile with a tile saw, lets get down to business! Today we are going to give you step-by-step instructions on how to cut small tile for an outlet. It may seem super complicated… but it’s not and when you see how easy it really is you may start thinking about adding tile for your backsplash!

First, hold the tile up to the wall where you will be placing it and (using a permanent marker) mark where the cutout for the outlet box is width wise.

With your tile facing the same way, move it to the side of the outlet and position it where it will go and mark the tile length-wise.

Using a level, so your line is nice and straight and well… level {wink!} …draw a line using your mark length-wise.


Use your level and do the same for the width marks.

You will now have a nice little outline of the outlet.

Take your tile to your tile saw and cut out the outlet piece.

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You may have seen this tile before because we used this tile in our post and video about how to use a tile saw. You will want to watch the video! Spencer walks you through the whole process of cutting the tile and gives lots of good tips to make it easier for you. I have embedded it below but here is a link in case it won’t pull up for you.

Your cut out piece will slip nicely over your outlet…

And will pretty much look freakin’ awesome!!

Now that we have shown you some tips and tricks for creating a backsplash, next up… How to Tile a Backsplash!

See you Monday!


How to Use a Tile Saw

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Hey Friends! Amanda here and today Spencer and I are going to show you how to use a tile saw! Since I am dreaming of a white tile backsplash… and am getting what I am dreaming of (Yay! happy dance!!) we are going to take you through a “how to tile a backsplash” series and offer up how-to’s and tips to help build your confidence on tiling a backsplash as well. You can use these tips for almost any tiling project.

Did you know that a tile saw doesn’t cut you? We have tiled quite a few places in our home and have used a tile saw but I had no clue the “saw” wouldn’t cut you… until Spencer stuck his hand right into the blade and dang near gave me a heart attack! I threw my hands up in front of my face and just knew he had lost a finger when he simply said “amanda, it doesn’t cut you…” and after I mustered up the courage to look… sure enough… no blood. Crazy right? It will tear through ceramic and stone and porcelain but not your flesh!

Alright… here is a simple little video we made just for you to show how to use the tile saw. Enjoy!

And if you don’t care to watch the video (although I don’t know why you wouldn’t!) or can’t for some reason, here are some photos and a little tutorial just for you!

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Here is the top view of the tile saw. You can see the blade and a blackish/silverish table. That moves back and forth so you simply put your tile piece on it and slide it back and forth. We mostly use it to steady the piece of tile we are cutting.

Mark your tile where you need to cut it. For this piece we are going to be cutting a little bit off the corner.

Line your marks up with the blade to make sure you will be cutting where you need too and then smoothly and steadily make your cuts.


More than likely, your cuts will not totally line up and match and you will have a small space in between cuts. Simply and carefully break the piece off.

You will have a little “tag” where the piece was being held on. Move your tile across the blade and smooth it out.


And you are done!

There is more white tile backsplash fun coming your way so stay tuned!