Built-in BBQ DIY .... OMG, what I learned.

Friday, June 15

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Whenever I start a new project ... especially a major undertaking ...
I try to do my homework.
For me that usually means ... Google and Google and Google.
The larger the project ... the more time I spend just going over the whole thing in my mind.
( This includes late at night when I'm trying to go to sleep )

This barbecue and buffet had been in the back of my mind for years.

I stared at  this empty space for a long ... long ... time.
One summer day ... I decided it was time to take the bull by the horns.
See my before and after  HERE

I started by drawing meticulous plans ... plans for the base skeleton and also
plans for the layout and placement of the tiles.
( I'm kind of obsessed with detailed drawings )

Okay ... enough of the buildup.  Here are a few of the things I learned.

When building the base out of 2 x 4s ... it's much ... much easier to  use screws
rather than hammer and and nails.  They also sell screws that eliminate the need to
drill holes first ... at least most of the time.

Also ... make sure to use  treated wood  for any part that may come in contact with water.
I just used this ... more expensive wood ... where the joists touched the patio.

My tip:   Make your job easier ... don't hammer ... screw!
***okay ... quit snickering***

I thought you needed a big ...  expensive wet saw  to cut your tiles.

  Not wanting to buy one ... I rented one.  
Not wanting to keep it 2 days ...  I cut all of my tiles in one day.
( It's called THRIFTY ... hellooo )

Shouldn't be too hard ...  I had my detailed plans.

 But ... coming back to the project  the next day ...
 seeing the huge pile of a gazillion pieces of cut tile ...

Holy Crow!

Even with the plans ... it was like trying to put an  all-white jigsaw puzzle together.
And here's the kicker ... when I was returning the wet saw to the rental store ... the guy told me,

"Oh you don't need a big fancy saw... here's one you can buy for under $100 that will work great!"

 Thanks ... just a bit late.
"Excuse me I've got to go home now and put my puzzle together for the next two weeks"
It's much easier to  cut and paste your tiles as you go ... so to speak.

My tip :   Buy an inexpensive tile saw. 

I had to mix the mortar ... to adhere the heavy Mexican Pavers and Slate tiles to the walls.
Evidently ... pre - mix mortar is not recommended for vertical hanging.
( That sounded kind of hinky... hmmm )

I've seen those mixing tools ... with the long handles.  
They stir the dry mortar and water so fast and easy. 

Again ... not wanting to spend all that money for a whole new power tool ... 
I mixed bucket after bucket by hand.
( Okay ... okay ... I'm kinda cheap )

Let me tell you ... that ain't easy!  That mortar is  flippn'  HARD  to mix!

Per usual ... back at the tile store ... that same man saw how tired I was ... and he said,

"Oh ... you don't need a whole tool ... just a long bit for your drill ... only like $10"

Are you flippin' kidding me!

My tip:   Just by the  drill bit if you already have drills.

Another mortar related tip involves  apparel.   Since it was summer ... I thought ...
heck yeah ... I'm wearing shorts.  That night when my arms and legs were
covered with a rash ... I  called my mom ... and she said,

"Dear I think they put  lye  in that stuff.  That irritates your skin."

My tip:  No matter how hot ... cover your extremities when working with cement.

Tiles set ... looking pretty good ... now it's  time to grout.

Okay ... not as easy as I thought ... but it turned out alright.  
I used my fingers to help smooth out the lines. 

 Now I'm not totally stupid ... not totally ... I did wear gloves.
They were ... unfortunately ... just rubber gloves that I probably had around the house.

Bad move ... horrible move!

Though I couldn't tell at the time ... as I was smoothing the grout with my fingers ...
the rubber wore through in spots .   OMG later than evening ... 

my fingers were on FIRE! 
( I thought I'd use red for the word  "FIRE" ... dramatic effect )

 The grout had enough sand or whatever ... it  rubbed off the tips of my fingers.  


First Aid tip:  Fingers have an enormous amount of nerve endings!
My tip:    Invest in some REALLY GOOD gloves.

So ... there you have a few of my tips from what I learned.
Problem is ... I hope I do something like this again ... so I can actually
use ... what I've learned.

Maybe next time I'll tell you about the time I fell off the roof!

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1 comment:

frikken DUCKIE said...

Omg what brand is that tile cutter!? We have (okay, mostly JOEY) been putting off finishing our countertops because we have to rent a tile cutter to cut the tiles for it but something always comes up when we try to plan a day to rent it so our counters have been bare for the past...oh, year or so. Yup. That's how long we've gone with uncovered countertops. They're bare concrete. And I haven't had a kitchen sink since we ripped out the old tiles. So PLEASE let me know the brand of that tile cutter and I'll just buy it and not have to spend $68 per day to rent one.

♥ Duckie.

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