General chatter - need help from home improvements types!!

07-06-2008, 12:44 PM
Hi all,

My very active and vibrant parents, who are in their late 60s, decided last summer to re-do their very small, very outdated kitchen. This is something I know they have wanted to do since they moved into the house about 36 years ago, but of course, they could never afford it.

We are all very happy for them that they are finally doing it for themselves. They are not very handy, so they are not doing any of the work themselves. They started with Lowe's last summer (about 11 months ago!!!!) and it took about 8 months to get the cabinets, appliances, and floors installed. They had one problem after another with Lowe's - it was a real fiasco, but they are FINALLY nearing completion.

My mom who is just so-so with decorating and design has been making all the choices - she has asked for input along the way, and she is not too confident in her choices. Well, the latest thing to be completed was putting tile on the wall behind the sink - and then a very small part of another wall (behind the stove). She choice a natural looking stone (small stones) border and a plain tile to go with it.

I went over recently to see the tiles, and it doesn't match at ALL. The cabinets are cream. The counter is primarily brownish with specks of different colors - really beautiful. The little rock tile border looks great with cupboards and counter - they are beiges and browns and creams. THE OTHER TILES THAT COVER THE WALL ARE DARK DINGY GRAY!!! My mom says she is "trying to get used to it" - I know she realizes she made a mistake. In a different light the tiles look white (which still was a bad choice) - but now on the wall they are GRAY.

My dad I know just wants to be DONE.

My mom is trying to be a trooper, but I know she does not like them. This is a kitchen she has waited for for 40 years.

QUESTION: Considering they cannot do any of work themselves - how much trouble is it to rip out the tile just put in and replace? Also, what kind of expense? It is a very small area of tile - behind the sink - under window- and then a little bit of a wall. Then a little bit of a wall behind the stove.

I really want them to have a kitchen they can walk into and LOVE. I want to advise them to get it ripped out and fixed, but I don't know the expense and trouble....

Any words of advice would be helpful!!!! Thanks!

07-06-2008, 01:21 PM
Personally I would call a contractor and have them come and give an estimate -- it doesn't cost anything :) . (Skip Lowes -- they use subcontractors anyway!!) You are right, they deserve to love the finished product. They need to make better computer programs -- everything looks nice on the shelf -- I would love to be able to take a digital picture of my rooms and them be able to mix and match wallpaper, floors, etc. to see how they look together!!

07-06-2008, 01:35 PM
Agreed - get an estimate and go from there. If it is not an option, how about altering the look of the tile? Ceramic paint, decals, stencils, etc. I bet the right colors of beige and brown and cream on that gray would totally alter the look.

07-06-2008, 03:13 PM
That's a good idea.

I hope it won't be a huge expense and mess to tear it out and replace.


07-06-2008, 03:30 PM
unfortunately, it will be expensive....but if they decide to, they need to get a guarantee in writing from the contractor that he will be responsible for any damages caused when he is pulling the tile out. (think sledgehammer).

07-06-2008, 03:55 PM
I am the hands-on type so I would rip and redo the tiles myself - heck, I would most likely install them myself in the first place, but I do understand that your parents are not going to tackle it.
If it is such a small area, can't they hire just a local guy - does not have to be a contractor - just one of those Mr. Fix It guys. I know, some of them can me total disasters, but can't they ask friends and neighbours for recommendation?
Sorry to hear it took such a long time to get the kitchen redone.

07-06-2008, 04:20 PM
Oh, my. A sledgehammer? I was hoping they could just be sort of pried off - somewhat gently - so the drywall was not disturbed.

Tomato - the guy that did it is a handyman, who has done various work for them during this kitchen renovation. Their kitchen and dining room were very small, so he took down the wall in between. He has repaired some drywall around the fridge where Lowe's messed it up. He is not a tile specialist, but he has done tile before, so they had him do it.

I think my mom just made a bad choice of tile - I think they just hate the thought of the expense, mess, time, etc. to rip it out and start over. In fact, I think my dad would just say no (he's at the end of his rope).

But I hope I can talk my mom into trying to re-do it... they really deserve a ktichen they love. It's been such a fiasco from day 1...

Thanks for all the replies!