Update On My Off The Grid House Projects

Yep, it is time to give a Gary off-grid house update… so what the heck have I been up to you may ask? I’m back at my property in NE Washington enjoying the beautiful weather and quiet. There are numerous projects to get done this season, mainly rapping up the inside of the house. The good news is mainly the finished work is all I have left – trim, baseboards, and just building some things to make my life easier. I needed a TV stand for the living room, but it had to be a certain height and width, and I wasn’t willing to pay $500 or more for a piece of crap made in China… off to get supplies I went. In the end, it was well worth it, it only cost me a little over $100 and will match all my other trim. It was pretty simple I bought an off the shelf 30X30X12 unfinished cabinet from Home Depot, a piece of finished plywood and some trim. I think it came out pretty good see the pics below:

After getting frustrated with some outrageous bids to do my countertops and bathroom shower/tub walls I decided to get creative and do it all on my own. I didn’t want to do the usual tile to match the floor, which I have done before, so I wanted it to be a little unique. I have never been a fan of granite, even though it is way cheaper to do it with granite tiles, I just didn’t like the look. After spending an hour or so walking through the tile isle something finally caught my eye. I found some natural stone decorative tile squares that I thought just might work. They had every color in them that I was using in the house, which I thought would be interesting to use on a countertop. I already had the right color grout that is premixed and has a sealing agent in it, so less work for me. I knew I was going into uncharted waters using the decorative tile for countertops, as I had never done it before and I had never seen it done by someone else – what could go wrong right 🙂

I did the bulk of the countertops last year before I left, but left the island, which would be the hardest one, so I thought, but in the end it ended up being the easiest. I’m not sure I would recommend doing it this way for a beginner, because there is a lot of attention to detail that goes into it. I have done a decent amount of tile work in the past, and this still pushed my patience at times. When it comes to tiling showers and tub enclosures you have to really know what you are doing or it will leak, eventually ruining your walls behind the tile and tiles will start to pop off. Trust me I have seen this happen on more than one occasion when installed incorrectly. The best way is to use the cement board as your shower/tub tile backer and seal it with a product called Red Gard. Also, use a high-quality pre-sealed grout, I use a product called QuartzLock2, it is the best colored and sealed grout I have ever used. The downside is pretty expensive over $100 for the 9lb tub, but it is definitely worth it. Here is the link for it on Amazon https://amzn.to/2tqo042 In the end by doing it myself the quality will be better and cost around 20% the price of the bids I received. To do all the countertops this way in the house it was around $500 total. I used the unused crown molding for the cabinets as the trim for the countertops so it matches perfectly. Here are some pics of how the countertops and tub/shower wall turned out.

I still haven’t done the upstairs bathroom shower yet that is on the to-do soon list. It will be more of a project because it will be all custom built from the same tile to include shower pan. I’m still brainstorming on exactly how I want to do it, so that is why I’m saving it for later. Be on the lookout for that project I will document it on the blog, as I think people will find it interesting.

Sure these projects are a lot of work, but in the end, you did them yourself, saved a ton of money, and your imagination is the only limitation.

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