We recently completed this tile backsplash job, which turned out great.  What’s involved in this type of project?  A common answer “more than meets the eye.”

First thing you must consider when thinking about a tile backsplash, is obviously the tile.  Some of the considerations are: How thick is the tile?  What trim pieces are available?  What type of a tile?

Tile thickness- is the tile thick? Often a thick heavy tile will require that thin-set mortar be used.  If that is the case, there is more prep required, which probably increases the time, cost and mess of the project.  A thinner tile that can be installed with mastic is a much less time intensive project.  Mastic is a type of adhesive that can usually be applied to the existing wall surface. (This is only the case with kitchen backsplashes, we would never recommend mastic in a tub or shower install.)

Trim pieces- Some brands of tile come with several trim pieces, others just “bullnose”, yet some have nothing beyond the basic tile.  This can be a huge variable in cost of the project.  Trim pieces are always the most expensive, but they can really tie it all together.  If you only need 18” from counter top to cabinet in one spot, no big deal.  If you find you need 30 feet of trim tile, the trim tiles could cost more than all the basic tile.  There are many ways to deal with exposed tile edges.  If it’s a thin tile, a bead of caulk may work.  Other times wood or metal trim work nicely. 

Type of tile- There are literally a million choices; material, texture, color, size and shape are just a few categories.  If choosing a natural stone like granite or marble, these will need to be sealed.  Natural stone sealers have come a long way, many not needing to be reapplied for 10 to 15 years. 

There are a few more issues you may need to deal with.  Switches and electrical outlets will need to be moved out so they match the new surface.  This can be done with box extensions.  If it’s a new build or remodeled kitchen and you know you will someday be installing a tile backsplash, then have your electrician install adjustable boxes.  When it’s time to bring them forward to the new surface, you just turn a screw in the box, giving you a fine adjustment to match the tile surface perfectly.  Another variable is the grout.  There are many versions of grout on the market today with a huge range of colors and costs. For most residential tile work, a latex modified grout is commonly used.  Finally, where the surface of the counter meets the backsplash, your best bet is a bead of caulk.  If that area is grouted, it has been our experience that eventually you will see cracking.  Speaking of the countertop, if you plan to replace it someday, realize it’s a lot easier to do so before you install your dream backsplash.

There are lots of great tile stores in the Rochester area that have awesome displays.  Many times people limit themselves to the big home centers, probably because we all visit them for so many needs.  For the biggest selection and most knowledgeable sales people, tile stores are where it’s at.  Take some time to drive around and go to places that specialize in tile.  You will get some great ideas from their displays, samples to take home and hopefully can visualize what your kitchen can be.  If you need more information or a quote, be sure to call us today! 

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