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Mark755 02-26-2010 12:13 AM

Tiling / backsplash question
Hi folks,

When installing a granite countertop adjacent to a tiled kitchen wall, is it better to use a 4" backsplash? Functionally, it's probably unnecessary, so I guess the choice is purely from an appearance standpoint (would it look unfinished without the backsplash)? Is 4" pretty much standard for backsplashes, or do they come in several different heights?

Also, if the tile is in place before installing the granite countertop, is the countertop/backsplash just butted up against the tile and grouted? If neither the granite or tile has been installed, I assume it would be best to install the countertop first, then tile above the backsplash with no overlap. But I could be wrong.

A bit of background - the kitchen I'll be refurbing is a rental unit and I want to leave the existing linoleum counter in place for now, but will install granite in a couple of years, when I'll personally use the house. In the meantime, I want to tile the wall area above the backsplash. I'm wondering how the backsplash for a future granite countertop would fit with the tile installation.

I suppose the granite can be cut to the same height as the gap after the old counter is removed. Another issue would be the thickness of the tile plus backer board, which would likely make the backsplash close to being flush with the tile above it. This would look rather strange. I could leave out the backer board and install the tile directly onto the sheetrock, which would help a bit.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

oh'mike 02-26-2010 06:52 AM

I think you are making a mistake tiling the back splash before the new counters are installed.

Here's why ; The old counters are probably not perfectly level,or straight.
The back splash tiles are usually installed on top of the granite splash-this helps to hide any waviness in the wall--There will be some gaps.

You DO NOT need a backer board for a back splash--The drywall is good enough.--Mike--

Mop in Hand 02-26-2010 09:19 AM

It is going to look unfinished without a backsplash. It will not look correct or be correct if the tiles were installed first. Maybe one row of 6" tiles for the time being? As far as "cutting the granite to the same height" later, bad idea. Granite doesn't work that way. Backsplashes can be any height you wish. (My laundry room is 2 1/2" stainless steel. My kitchen is 12" stainless steel tiles) 4" is the norm for most. One more thing to consider is the removel of the old counter top without damage to the new splash, can it be done?

Mark755 02-26-2010 12:34 PM

Thanks for the input, everyone. You saved me some headaches down the road. I think I'll just paint the area above the current backsplash or use vinyl tiles for now, and install the granite and real tile later at the same time.

Looking forward, how well would tile adhere to drywall that has been painted? Would the paint need to be stripped off before applying thinset? If I use vinyl tiles temporarily, when they are removed, I assume it will damage the drywall a bit. Will this affect how well the new tiles adhere to the drywall?

drtbk4ever 02-26-2010 01:01 PM

You may have to patch the drywall when you take the temporary tiles off, but that isn't a big deal. Worst case scenario if those tiles don't come off easily is you may have to replace the drywall in the back splash area.

I don't think tiling over painted drywall is a problem.

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