Tile Backspash with white countertop

Tile Backsplash – Top 10 Tips

On a daily basis, I have clients come into the showroom asking me if they should use tile for the backsplash. While it’s not for everyone, tile backsplash can add tons of character to any kitchen. With thousands of style and colors the design options are endless.

Top 10 Tips to a Beautiful Tile Backsplash:

  1. Add Some Character – A little bit of glass or accent tile can really add some style and character.
  2. Under-Counter Lighting – Lighting really accentuates the beauty of the tile, highlighting the texture and beauty of the tile and grout.
  3. Silicone – Talk with your installer prior to starting the job. The tile should not be grouted to the countertop surface. Leave a space equal to the grout line and apply a color matched silicone between the two. The silicone remains flexible and will allow for expansion and contraction of walls, countertops, etc. and can eliminate the grout joint cracking thus eliminating the need to re-grout.
  4. Flat and Level – Install countertop flat and level. Very important to have the countertop flat. This will ensure the tile stays nice and level with straight grout lines.
  5. Proportional Grout – While some tile such as terracotta need a thick grout line, most tile is best when inconspicuous. Typically, the smaller the tile, the tighter the grout line. When shopping for tile, take a look at the different sample boards to get a feel for the size you might like.
  6. Cove Splash – If you plan to use a product like Corian, Staron or HI-MACS, a tile backsplash can be a beautiful compliment to the material. With ‘Corian’ clients, I suggest a small coved backsplash (anywhere from 1-4’’ in height). The cove splash provides a nice seamless transition that is easy to clean.
  7. Neutral Tones – When selecting a tile for granite, select a light or neutral color to offset the darker color granite.
  8. Pizazz – Don’t be afraid to add some pizazz. This is your opportunity to really add the style you want at a low cost. When you are tired of the design the cost to replace will be substantially less than replacing the countertop.
  9. Low Cost Countertop – Tile can really dress up a countertop. Selecting a lower cost product like Corian, the addition of tile can transform a basic countertop into a masterpiece.
  10. DIY Project – If you feel comfortable with basic carpentry tools, tile backsplashes can be the perfect project. All tools and supplies can be purchased from your local home center. Tile saw rental may be a great option if using glass or ceramic tiles.
Tile Countertop Removal

Tile Removal -Tired of Tile Countertops?

Many of our customers come to our showroom wanting to replace their existing tile countertops. They are simply tired of cleaning the grout. Though removing the tile countertops is a must, replacing the cabinets is not an option.

“Is this possible”, they ask?

Of course it is possible! We do replacement countertops all the time.
Because maintenance is the number one reason for replacement, we begin by introducing our customers to either solid surface or quartz surfacing material. Both of the products offer easy maintenance and virtually endless design possibilities.

Removing a tile countertop can be a daunting task. Following these basic steps can make the process as pain free as possible.

Removing tile is a messy job. But there are certainly steps that can be taken, including covering the floors with tarps, using plastic to mask off the area of work, dust collection on tools, etc. that help to keep the mess to a minimum.

Zip Walls are also a great way to contain any stray dust. Zip Walls are temporary, plastic walls that go floor to ceiling, limiting the migration of dust to adjacent rooms. Be sure to ask your fabricator how they protect the area that they will be working in.

Tile Countertop DemolitionYes, absolutely there will be damage to walls and cabinets when tile is removed. Typically, tile is set in a mortar base and most tile installers use the large 2’’ drop edge pieces where there is finished edges on countertops.

When that tile and mortar is removed you will typically find that there will be some damage, or at least fading of stain on the front of the cabinets. This can certainly be remedied by asking your countertop fabricator to extend your edge height from the typical 1 ½’’ to a 2 – 2 ½’’ height to cover the damage. Keep in mind, there is additional cost involved in taller edges, but that cost would certainly be much less expensive than refinishing or re-facing existing cabinets.

If you have tile extending up the wall for backsplash, the removal of that tile will most certainly damage the drywall or plaster behind it. Again, there is no reason to panic. A quality countertop fabricator should be able to create a backsplash with the same material you have chosen for your countertop to cover up any damage to the wall. In fact, you can even ask your installer to go up a ¼’’ – ½’’ or so past what is the existing height of your current backsplash in order to cover up any old paint or grout lines.

When your tile countertops are past the point of repair, don’t let the tile removal process overwhelm you. With the right tools and equipment, removal of existing tile countertop will be as smooth as selecting the new counter.