Kitchen details: The Backsplash

I know everyone has been waiting for this post. Devoted readers (I believe I’m up to 3) seeing photos with the brilliant blue tiles and saying, “Enough about the cabinets, lady. Where are those tiles from?” So I’m finally going to tell you.

Since the kitchen was so neutral (brown, white, and beige) I wanted a pop of color and I was inspired by some beautiful kitchens I found on the web.

Sea Glass Green subway tiles in a beachy kitchen from Country Living:

And this watery blue backsplash from a classic white and wood kitchen featured in Better Homes and Gardens:

After lots of searching I found these blue lantern tiles at Overstock.com. I love the variation in blue on each tile and the Moroccan lantern shape. The price is spectacular and Overstock’s shipping is only $2.95 on anything. I’ll take it!

We did the installation ourselves and it wasn’t too horrible. We got a few lessons from my wonderful cousin Bob and we were off and running.

We laid the sheets of tile out first and made a pattern (this avoids having one tile that needs to be a tiny chip to fit onto the backsplash). But as all well laid plans go, there were some tiles that ended up being cut into tiny chips to fit. We used a regular tile cutter (one that scores the tile and then snaps it along the score line) to do the simple straight cuts, for the more complicated cuts and tiny chips we borrowed cousin Bob’s tile saw.

As for prep work: we scraped the walls down of any bumps or texture to make sure the tiles would be on an even surface. We covered our brand new countertops with plastic sheeting, and to ensure the correct spacing between the countertop and backsplash we used a very high tech piece of cardboard.

To adhere the tile to the wall we used AcrylPro ceramic tile adhesive.We applied a thin layer with a notched trowel and gently applied the sheet of tiles to the adhesive on the wall. (It really helped to have two people doing this). This adhesive takes a while to set so there is time to adjust tiles for even spacing and proper placement. When I was satisfied with their placement I pressed down on the tiles with even pressure using a grout float. We did this all the way across the wall and then cleaned up any adhesive that had come through the spaces.

The adhesive needs to dry for 48 hours before grouting, so I took a couple of months…

I used premixed grout from Home Depot. I chose a light beige color (linen) that is similar to the walls and the countertops and looks great with the blue tiles. For this process, I scooped the grout from the bucket onto my float and applied it over the tiles using some pressure to push it into the small spaces between the tiles. Followed up by scraping off the excess grout at a 45 degree angle. Then, with a damp grouting sponge I removed most of the grout from the tiles being careful not to remove the grout from the joints. After 48 hours I came back and removed the haze from the tiles with a damp cloth and then a dry cloth.

Finally I sealed my grout, with Sealer’s Choice Gold, only the best for our new grout. I used a foam brush to apply in to the grout joints and wiped off with a dry cloth.

Phew! That was a lot of words, so here’s what everyone actually wants to see, the pictures.

The long wall under the window:

Closer:

Behind the stove:

I chose to do a strip of tiles directly above the stove and between the cabinets, leaving a scalloped edge. People either love it or hate it, and maybe one day I’ll continue the tile on or perhaps it will stay this way forever. I like it for now…

And as with all of my projects, this one is not yet done. I still need to caulk the edges where the backsplash meets the countertop and the wall and add some trim pieces. Some day…

Details:

Tile: Overstock.com SomerTile 12.5 x 12.5 in. Morocco 2.5 in Blue Porcelain Mosaic Tile (Pack of 10)

Adhesive: Custom Building Products AcrylPro Ceramic Tile adhesive

Grout: Custom Building Products Premixed grout in linen #122

Grout Sealer: Custom Building Products Sealer’s Choice Gold Sealer

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