Home improvement Backsplash June 11, 2013

I am neither patient, nor detailed, therefore, I completely suck at tiling.  Still, I have tiled hundreds of square feet of backsplashes, floors, and bathroom walls.  In the kitchen, I knew I wanted to backsplash the entire wall between the countertop and under the cabinets.  Traditionally you put a 4″ granite backsplash above the countertop and then you backsplash tile above that, but recently all the photos I’ve seen on Houzz haven’t used a 4″ granite backsplash at all, and I like the cleaner look.  A couple samples of what we were going for are below:

An added bonus is the cost savings.  The average costs of granite is $68 a square foot installed, according to Homewyse (this web-site is a great resource when budgeting):

I only paid $7 a square foot for marble backsplash tile, so at 16 linear feet you save almost $400.  That pretty much paid for the range hood and the new faucet.

The marble tile I used was very white, almost no vein to be seen, so it was pretty inexpensive.  I used my trusty Enrich N Seal to seal it twice before installing and twice after I grouted.

We started this tile project using SimpleMat, which is basically a roll of double sided tape that you put on the wall to stick your tile to so that you don’t have to use Thin-Set.  I’ve heard good things about tile setting tapes, and I’m sure there are some great ones out there, but this one didn’t work for us.  The tape stuck to the wall fine, but the tiles kept falling off of the tape itself.  It just wasn’t sticky enough to hold everything up, so we had to thinset on top of the tape.  It caused all kinds of issues, because some of the tiles were still stuck, and some had thinset, and the ones that stuck ended up being crooked because they slid down after the tiles below them fell off the wall.  Ultimately we had a crooked mess.  This became more evident when I tried to use dark grey grout, which, next to the white tile, enhanced the uneven grout lines.  I ended up chipping out all the grout and re-grouting with an off white.  It looked fine after that, up close it’s apparent, but unless someone is really inspecting it, it looks fine.

One last bit of advice-we rented a wet saw from Home Depot, they have some pretty awesome, high end saws to rent-they cut like a dream, far better than the two mid-range ones we have used before.  I would definitely recommend going that route.

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