May 22, 2014

installing the backsplash

Ok, so here's the story about the kitchen backsplash.  We started and got most of the backsplash done at the beginning of March...almost 3 MONTHS ago.  But, I still have yet to actually finish the caulking and finish out the window sill, so I had been waiting to post until then.

But then, real life happened, and we got busy and I didn't post them.  We also got new appliances and are almost done updating the island, and I really want to share separately so you can see the impact that we did.  So without further ado, here are the backsplash pictures...that are 3 months old. 

After we had our counters installed, we knew we wanted an 18" backsplash, but picking the tile was difficult.  I think between Lowe's and Home Depot, we brought home 12-15 tile samples.  We found the winner at Lowe's in this grey "wood vein" tile.  It was $10/sf, which was right in the middle of the range of prices we looked at ($4/sf-$18/sf).

The funny part was that when I asked Matt what he wanted for the backsplash (before he even saw and knew this tile existed), he said "maybe something light grey that's got some type of wood grain pattern". I immediately told him that wouldn't look very good, but then we brought this home and he was right. 

He's always right about these things.  I should just listen. :)
 Installation was okay.  We re-tiled our fireplace before, and that went very well.  But, we used Simplemat for that project, but it was simply too expensive for us to splurge on for this larger project.  So traditional, albeit pre-mixed, mortar was on the menu for this project.  

It was not fun to slap this stuff on the wall and spread it to the right thickness. Not to mention Simplemat doesn't dry out and you can grout right away.
The first half of the kitchen went pretty quick, and we were loving the look.
 For any cuts we had (luckily we had no "L" cuts), we used this $22 tile cutter from Home Depot.  This thing was a dream.  You just line up your tile where you want to cut it...
 ...then press down and it snaps (very loudly) apart.
 I couldn't believe how precise the cuts were, actually. 
 When we got to the other half of the kitchen with the floating shelves, we had to mark out and drill holes into the tile for the shelf brackets.  We used the existing anchors from when we installed them and marked where each hole needed to be.
 For the holes themselves, enter the most amazing drill bit I've ever seen in my entire life. It was $10 at Home Depot and it made life unbelievably easy and I was shocked every time the holes were perfect.

The way it works is you take this plastic piece and put a little sticker on the back and attach it to the tile, lining up the hole with where your hole needs to go.
 You then start filling the plastic box with water that slowly drips down over the part that the bit goes through. 
 Speaking of bits, here is the diamond-encrusted bit that is included.   This is what they meant when they said "Diamonds are a Girl's best friend"...
The drilling itself takes a few minutes, actually, but it's amazing and the results were great.
 We went with a grey grout and the tile looks awesome, all finished up.
 I can tell you now that we were originally planning to frame out this window but hadn't/haven't gotten around to it and we actually like the look without it.  Plus, if we ever decide we want to frame it out, we can always do that in the future.
Now that I've finally shared our backsplash, we will hopefully have this kitchen done soon so I can share how amazing it's looking now!


  1. Looks awesome! Thanks for the tip on the drill bit too!


  2. Beautiful! Planning to do my own backsplash tiling after our new counters are installed. Thanks for the tip on the cutter. Will definitely be purchasing.


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