Kitchen Backsplash

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The major DIY portion of our kitchen renovation was the backsplash.  My husband installed it himself, and you'd never know it was his VERY FIRST tiling job.  He did a fantastic job!

After considering a few different options (including patterned encaustic and mosaic tiles), I ultimately circled back to a favorite: ceramic tile installed in a classic subway pattern.  A few factors contributed to the decision:

1. Subway tile is classic and timeless.  Ceramic is highly durable, and a subway pattern never gets old.  We actually installed a classic subway pattern in our guest bathroom shower, and a modern version in the main bathroom.

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2. Material was a significant factor when deciding on the backsplash.  I wanted to minimize any install issues since this was my husband's first tiling job.  Ceramic tile is generally user-friendly when it comes to cuts, as opposed to glass or marble.  It is also durable (strong) and practical (easy to clean) - ideal characteristics in utilitarian spaces like kitchens.

3. After doing some research, it seemed that most people did NOT recommend installing tile mosaics for a "first time" tiling project.  Reasons varied, but the most common seemed to relate to pattern placement.  Again, since this was my hubby's first tiling job, I wanted to make it as "straightforward" as possible.  That being said, some of the cuts were not easy, especially around the cabinet crown molding.  But he did it, and he did a great job!

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4. Older homes like ours come with quirks like uneven walls.  We knew that we'd have to "fudge" the tile installation a bit to account for it.  Although a classic subway pattern can be tricky since it is linear, it was also easy to "manipulate" to disguise wall imperfections.

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5. The particular 3" x 6" ceramic tile we chose had "grooves", so spacers were not required.  I actually helped tile the area behind the range, and I found the tile quite "easy" to lay because of the grooves.  Keep in mind, my DIY skills are limited...

6. You can't go wrong with subway tile from a resale perspective.  Although we don't have any plans to sell, it never hurts to think long-term.  Subway tile is very timeless and transcends many design preferences.

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7. Subway tile suits the ranch architecture of our home, as well as the overall classic modern farmhouse aesthetic that we wanted to achieve.  I did want some contrast against the white perimeter cabinetry, yet nothing too jarring.  The soft gray color was perfect, and it picked up on the gray veining in the countertops.

8. Finally, the COST was unbeatable.  We paid ~$115 for 40 square feet of tile.  The installation quotes were at least 5x the actual tile cost, so the savings from the DIY install can go towards something else like island lighting.  I didn't tally the exact backsplash cost, but I think it came out to ~$200 [$115 tile, $20 tile cutter, ~$70 for miscellaneous supplies (backerboard, thinset, grout, etc.)].

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For those of you who are considering installing tile yourself, especially something like ours, you CAN do it!  It just takes time, patience, the right tools, and proper preparation.  Tip: Measure once, twice, three times, then cut.  The less cuts you have to make, the better!

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Sharing with: Remodelaholic, TDC

13 comments :

  1. Beautiful!!! Love this backsplash. I currently dont have one...as in at all. I've been hoping for subway tile once I finally do the kitchen reno. :)

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    1. Thanks Stephanie! Subway tile is so classic, and I'm sure will make a great kitchen "backdrop" for your beautiful and colorful global eclectic decor. :)

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  2. Wow - I can't believe that was your husband's first tile job. It looks absolutely perfect! Great job!! My sister in law just had her kitchen backsplash installed and it totally changed the whole space - it feels so finished and upscale now. I agree with you that you can't go wrong with classic subway tiles.....and the soft grey looks so pretty with your white cabinets and that delicious countertop! I want your exact kitchen, every single element is beautiful Carol!

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    1. Aww, thanks Lisa! You're so sweet. There are so many beautiful choices out there, but cost and DIY-friendly were priorities since this was a DIY install. I'm so thankful my hubby was able to install it pretty easily. I can't wait to follow your impending kitchen reno! :)

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  3. Love your kitchen! Where did you get your fruit/veggie stand at?

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    1. Thanks Misty!! The tiered stand is from World Market. :)

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  4. Beautiful kitchen! What specific color subway tile did you use? I am looking for a very light grey and everything I have found is too dark!

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    1. Hi Crystal! The color is matte desert gray by Daltile. It is a very subtle gray. Hope that helps! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. :)

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    2. Your backsplash looks great! What color grout did you go with? I am about to tile my backsplash with the matt desert gray and am contemplating a grout color...

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    3. We used Delorean gray, and mixed it with a lighter shade of gray/white (can't recall the name and we no longer have the grout). Basically, we diluted the Delorean shade so it blended with the tile. Good luck with your project!

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  5. Your backsplash looks great! What color grout did you use with the desert grey tile?

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    1. My husband mixed two different grout colors (which I don't recall off hand). Let me ask him and will reply here as soon as possible.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post and leave a comment. I truly appreciate your thoughts, and I try to respond to every single comment!