Welcome to the final week of our guest blog series! If you are new to this series, during the month of August, ICC Floors will be featuring a guest blog series from our very own, Blake Powell. In this series, Blake Powell tackled an extraordinary DIY project, where he built a custom outdoor bar that features a big green egg smoker. He is here to share with you what he learned and show you how you can do it yourself. No professional experience is required! Let’s take a look at the final part:
“In this week’s post, we will take a deeper look at the tiles I chose, how I installed them, and everything else I did to finish up my outdoor bar.”
“Beginning with tile, I used custom Schluter pieces to help give the tiles a nice, clean break. You use Schluter pieces in order to not have two pieces of tile against one another. You will see in the image that the Schluter pieces are featured as corner and transitional pieces to create a much cleaner look.”
Schluter Edging Materials:
Pro-Tip: Make sure you use a good tile saw when resizing porcelain or retrofitted tile. You want a straight-edge for clean cuts, angle cuts, and timing.”
“When adhering down the tile, I used two different products from Mapei: Kerabond & Keralastic System. I used these specific products because they can hold up a long time against outdoor elements and environmental changes in the Midwest.”
“When tiling the bar, you want to make sure that the tiles lay at the same height throughout the entire surround of the bar. This will guarantee a smooth transition from one piece to the next.”
Pro-Tip: “I also used tile clips and wedges when installing my bar’s tile. The clips are placed on the corners or middle of the tile to ensure that you get the right spacing (grout joints have the same spacing) and combat that with the tile wedge to help make sure that the tile faces are flush together. The wedges help guarantee that if you were to run your hand against the tile, it would be a smooth transition.”
“For grouting, I chose a similar color to the tile’s color; it was a dark grout color which worked out perfectly for the outdoors.”
TEC’s Power Grout in Raven.
Lesson Learned: “When grouting outdoors, I realized that I was not doing it during the ideal times of the day. The hotter it was outside, the fastest it will set. I ended up having to restart areas because it was set before I could get to it.”
Pro-Tip: I recommend doing 1/4 or 1/5 of the material at a time. You do want to get too far because you will still need to wipe down your time. During this process, you will learn it is a “go, go, go” process. To avoid extreme heat and the inevitable setting from the intense heat, I recommend doing outdoor areas in the early morning or late at night. Like I previously mentioned, the hotter it is, the faster it will set.
“All in all, I learned a lot from this experience. I genuinely hope that my trial and errors give you guidance and direction for your next DIY project and also give you hope that you too can do it yourself.”
“I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback below in the comment section. Thanks for reading!”