Hampton Carrara Polished Kitchen Backsplash

The back splash is finished!  It took an embarrassingly long time to finish.  The majority of the project was done a long, long time ago.  About 97%  has been done for months.  As usual, the last 3% of the project took forever, mainly the small details (i.e. trim, re-cutting a few pieces, re-grouting, caulking, etc.).  I’m happy to say we’re done! 

Please commit the above pictures to memory, you’ll never see the kitchen that clean again.

Tiling Materials:

  •  Hampton Carrara Polished 3 x 6 in –from the Tile Shop (plus whatever bullnose pieces you need).  It took us 3 orders to finally order everything we needed, we kept underestimating our needed quantities (mostly bullnose).  If you order tile from The Tile Shop try and wait for a sale.  I follow them on Instagram and they have sales fairly regularly around holidays.  
  • Jeffrey Court Carrara from Home Depot (trim pieces for the window)
  • Simple Mat
  • Silicone
  • Spacers (we used 1/8″ spacers for the tiles and dimes for where the tiles come down on the counter top)
  • Grout: We used Delorean Gray
  • Caulk

Tiling Tools:

  • Tile Saw
  • Rubber Float
  • Sponge
  • Bucket

Tiling Problems:

  • Tiling uneven surfaces

    • One problem we faced was two of our walls being bowed.  We fixed this by applying layer upon layer upon layer of joint compound.  This was a tedious process… Spreading joint compound, waiting 24 hours, sanding, marking uneven spots, and repeating over and over until everything was level/even…  One of the walls was uneven because we ripped it out to install the pot filler (it was covered with sheet rock, not just joint compound), the other wall was just built uneven.
      Pot filler wall
      Uneven wall

The other uneven surface we dealt with was the window sill.  We hadn’t anticipated this and didn’t recognize the problem until we had already laid the simple mat down and had started tiling.. We ended up solving our problem with pennies..  No idea if this was a terrible problem solving idea or not, but it appears to have worked and is holding up well.  We just stuck pennies under the tiles to get them all even and used liberal amounts of silicone to secure the pennies and the tile.

  •  Sagging Tiles

    • For this project we ended up being unimpressed with simple mat (we’ve been happy with it in the past with smaller projects).  I think with lighter tile it works fine.  However, after the tiling the first wall we were unhappy with the amount of sag showing up in the grout lines.  So we asked a friend (who is a professional tiler) and he recommended using silicone.  We started adding a few globs of silicone onto each piece and it stopped our saggy tile problem.  

Other than a few difficult cuts, the only other big hurdle for us was deciding how to tile around the window.  Our three ideas/options for the window were adding wood trim around it, ending it in plain bull nose, or adding marble trim in some fashion around the edges…  We decided to add two marble trim pieces straight across the bottom and top and having bull nose pieces edge around it.  Also, along the edges of the cabinets (between the top and bottom trim pieces) we decided to have the tile go vertical instead of horizontal. 

The trim pieces we used are called Jeffrey Court Carrara from Home Depot.  We were really happy with them, but they proved difficult to put up since they were so heavy.  We put the Jeffrey Court pieces up first with liberal amounts of silicone, held them in place until our arms felt like they were going to fall off, and then used blue tape to help secure them.  We let them set for 24 hours before tiling above them.  The top and side tiles on the inside of the window were also annoying and time consuming, nothing a little extra silicone couldn’t fix 🙂

For the corner pieces on the inside of the windows we cut each piece at a 45 degree angle. 

Other than the few problems mentioned above this was a surprisingly easy DIY.  Most of the time projects end up being harder than we anticipate, but this one (although time consuming) was fairly straight up.  If you’re thinking about doing a tiling project I’d highly suggest trying out a small project first.  We tiled underneath our sink and a closet (both places nobody could see if we did a terrible job :-)) before we took on this project.

I plan on doing a separate post on some of the smaller details of this project along with the new lighting we installed.

Just so we don’t forget what we started out with…..

Some Before/After Backsplash pictures. . . These should really say Before & After Backsplash AND Lighting

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