– Ben Martens

Kitchen Backsplash

Our kitchen backsplash was in need of repair. It had the original 90’s wood backsplash which didn’t bother us a ton aesthetically, but having wood right behind the sink wasn’t a great design choice. It was difficult to keep the wood from getting rotten and moldy. We have long talked about a large remodeling project for the downstairs so that always got lumped in, but finally I decided that I should just fix the backsplash even if we end up ripping it out later.

While I’ve seen tile projects done before, I’ve never actually done one myself. Thanks to YouTube, I felt like I could figure it out. After some searching, I found a mosaic tile that would fit in the 4″ gap between the counter and our windows, greatly simplifying the project. I was also able to use pre-mixed adhesive and pre-mixed grout which simplified the project more. And even though I only needed to make about a dozen cuts, I rented a wet tile saw for a day.

The whole project went pretty smoothly. There was definitely a learning curve and I would do better if I was repeating the process, but nothing in the final result made me want to rip it out and start over. The hardest parts were the 45 degree angles in the bump out around our sink.

A day or two before I started working, I realized I didn’t have any tile spacers. While the mosaic tile came on a mat, I figured there would be spots where I’d need the spacers and I also needed spacers to hold the tile off the counter top at a consistent height. Rather than try to find spacers that exactly matched the tile layout, I pulled out my calipers, got the measurements, and 3d printed a huge number of the spaces. Each one cost less than a penny and only took about 3 minutes to print.

During the project, I missed some adhesive that dried onto the wall outside of where it was needed. I had also nicked the wall with a knife in that spot. Whenever we do paint projects in the house, I buy a small sample jar of the same color and keep that, but after ~12 years, would it still match? I was surprised to see that, yes, it matched perfectly!

So now I’ve got a tile project under my belt and I feel more confident to try something bigger. That’s good because our upstairs guest bathroom could use a makeover. Maybe I’ll have a bigger tile project in my future.