Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Kitchen Backsplash; An Instant Kitchen Update

by Sheila
This is the tile I finally decided on.  These tiles are attached to a mesh background to keep them evenly spaced and easier to install.

Now that the cement countertops are in at my Cairo investment house, it's time to finish off the details in the kitchen.  Nothing adds pizazz like an attractive backsplash.  I hemmed and hawed about which one to pick and was pretty stuck on a classic subway tile, but in the end it just seemed too blah with the basic white tile floor and beige countertops.  I brought home a dozen different options to look at in the space.  Most were too dark, many were too busy, and for some the color just wasn't quite right.  In the end, I selected a mosaic with white (gloss) and grey/green (matte) glass tiles and beige travertine tiles mixed in the pattern.  A mosaic in this instance is when small tiles come attached to a mesh to create a tile pattern - usually one square foot.  This makes the installation much easier than if you had to line up each individual tile yourself.

I have done my own tile work, both floors and back-splashes.  But for this project I hired my favorite handy tile guy, Pepe.  He is a master with tile, even using a dremel tool to make intricate cuts around trim work or other obstacles.  He is fast (which I am not) and sometimes time is money.  It's important when you are doing rehab work for investment to know when doing it yourself is costing you, and this was one of those times where I felt it was worth hiring the work done.  

My costs:

$256 - tile (32 square feet @ $8 per square foot)
$12 - grout (non-sanded, left over from cement countertops
$13 - mortar (or mastic) 
$200 - labor  (This also takes into account the tools you wouldn't have to buy when you DIY)

$481 - total

The mortar or the "glue" that sticks the tiles on the surface.
Grout goes in-between the individual tiles once the mortar is set.  This gives a finished, seamless look.  You can use a contrast color, or choose one that blends in.

The tile and the walls before installation.
These walls were just begging for a pretty backsplash!  The two tiles in the background were under consideration, but didn't make the cut.
And the backsplash in place.  I really like it.  Now I just need to get in the light fixtures, GFCI's, appliances...
I am pleased with the results.  It adds an instant update to the kitchen, and adds protection to the walls.  The hardest part was selecting the tile.  While $8 per square feet seems kind of expensive, and it is compared to floor tile, you have to realize that you only need a relatively small amount of tile. I think it was well worth it.


  1. Love it! Selecting colors & designs really is the hardest part :)

  2. Gorgeous! Great choice! Do you think Pepe would make a trip to the Midwest?