Subway Tile Back-splash For Style
This job in Havertown entailed installing a 4 x 12 subway tile kitchen back-splash. The customer chose to use a tile color to match a tone that could was found in the stone counter-top. Also, he wanted something that would work with the white cabinets. The medium grey tile works with both, and grey is also popular now. Additionally, he wanted a classy look to the back-splash so we inserted a contoured accent strip through the mid-section. He chose a darker tone, a very dark grey, that offered contrast and artistic styling to the back-splash.
The kitchen walls are drywall so a waterproof backing is recommended to be installed before the tiles are applied. Home stores now stock a light weight foam type backer board that is easy to cut. It can be cut with a utility knife. The product is called “Go Board” and is available at Home Depot. It is made to be an underlayment for tile and is applied with drywall type screws that are inserted through the Go Board into the studs.
A wet saw is used when cutting ceramic tiles. A professional quality one will enable intricate cuts on the tile. Accurate measurements and careful use of the tile saw enable even spaces throughout the work that gives consistent grout line widths resulting in a uniform appearance throughout the entire project.
Installing the Tiles
Spacers come in different widths giving a different look. We chose one quarter inch thick spacers on this project, which gives a more classic look. These were installed as the tiles were applied to keep the tiles in the exact desired position until the adhesive has dried.
The ceramic tiles we used for this project were 12 inches long by 4 inches high. We decided to stagger the joints at 1/3 length intervals. Traditionally tiles are staggered at 1/2 intervals as bricks on an exterior. However, we used 1/3 stagger yielding a different effect, and we think a pleasant appearance with this length of tile. A white grout was selected by the homeowner and offers a nice look against the tiles and the contrast is an appealing blend with the grey tiles
All the receptacles and switches in the backsplash area have to be brought out the combined thickness of the backer board and tile. This requires an electrical box extender. This takes time, but that’s what needs to happen. We cut the tiles so the receptacle and switch plates will cover the tile ends when screwed on.
Finishing the Job
Then we grout and seal the grout and finally polish the tiles as needed to complete the job. The customer is very pleased with this new back-splash to compete his new kitchen. The cost of labor is $500 and upward depending on complexity of the tile and amount of square footage of back-splash. This work is time consuming and patience is required at every step. However, these subway tiles are one of the easiest tiles to install with herringbone being the most difficult and time consuming. It took several days to complete this back-splash installation because of the time required for the adhesive to dry and then additional time for the grout to set. You may also want to see my Remodeling page.
And we used the same subway tile for a back-splash in the bathroom but tiling the whole wall of the sink, as you can see in the pictures below.