Friday, April 20

Tile Back Splashes

Back splashes, sometimes called splash backs, are a great way to add a little more personality into a kitchen.  Tile is one of the easier options, and especially D-I-Y friendly.  When trying to figure out what to do with your new tile back splash, the options are endless, surly enough to confuse any home owner.  So where do you start?  Obviously, browsing the local box store's tile selection has already been done, but that's all you have done, and didn't see anything that jumped out and screamed, "I am your new Back Splash!"

This chart, based on a simple L-Shaped Kitchen,
shows how to calculate your back splashes.  
First, you want to at least have the measurements of your back splash, so while you are looking at the various and large variety of tile options, you have an idea of what your costs might be. A tile that is $1.00 a square foot vs. another tile that is $5.00 may not be so bad if you have a small area.  If you have a larger kitchen it could be a considerable jump in price. When figuring out your splash, take it one wall at a time, measure each section width and height.  It is often easier to measure everything in the same form, so stick with inches, it's easier to calculate.  See the chart below on how to figure out your square footage.

Don't just look for tile at the local big box retailer.  While they have some great choices, they are limited choices.  There are a lot of independent tile shops in all areas, where you are likely to find a wide range of tile and installation products, which are sure to put your personality into your new splash.

This glass subway tile by Ann Sacks is a great way to have a traditional splash with some flair.  The glass allows for light to go through the tile, and creates a great look. 

Once you find your tile, be sure to look at all options for installation.  A new product on the market is the Simple Mat Tile Setting Mat.  A great D-I-Y product.  This mat allows you to set your tile, and grout it in the same day, without mastic!  An excellent choice for splashes, however it is a little more expensive than a traditional mastic or mortar.  Each box covers approximately 10 square feet, and is priced at $19.97 at The Home Depot.

Next thing to look at, is your many grout selections.  Be sure, if you use a natural stone, that you seal the stone before installing, or it can soak up the grout.  If you are using a small grout line, 1/8th inch or smaller, it is best to use a non-sanded grout.  If your grout line is going to be bigger, then sanded is best.  If you are wanting to go with a maintenance free grout, then another great product on the market is epoxy grout.  While epoxy grout is much harder to work with, it is maintenance free, so when paired with a tile that requires no maintenance, like porcelain, your entire splash will be maintenance free.

There is a lot of technology, products, and design elements for your new splash.  It is important you look around and see what all is out there, and ask questions!  The people working in the showrooms, aisles, and selling the product know the product, and know how to help you make this project easier, whether you are installing yourself or hiring a professional.  I also recommend highly that you take a sample of your cabinetry and counter surface to the showrooms so you can see what blends, and looks best.  It's also important to bring samples of the tile home to look at in your own lighting.  This will give you a chance to look at and enjoy the surfaces more than just in the showroom.