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The Accidental Remodel Part 14 Backsplash  

Welcome back to Part 14 of The Accidental Remodel!

So, remember the delema about what to do about the backsplash?  Well, ultimately DH wanted "some tile".   Sadly, we had nearly killed ourselves getting the wallpaper off, then I had mudded texture on just trying to move forward, so we had to sand it all down smooth for tile.  More irony!

I fell in love with this white, yellow and blue tile, but at nearly $40 per square foot, it was only a dream.  It would have been more in keeping with the light, bright, soft look I had wanted for the room.  :(

Back to Lowe's.  I liked glass tile, but we all agreed that would add to the coldness and modernness of the room.

I do love stone, but it wasn't the soft bright look I had wanted for the kitchen.

With money ever primary, the cheapest tile I found were some ceramic 4x4" tiles for 16 cents each, but they were bright white and looked horrid with our off white cabinets.

The next cheapest was the tumbled marble 3x6" tiles, $4.48 per square foot.  I did a bunch of PhotoShop mock ups and let everyone in the family vote on the design.  I added the slate border and small slate squares behind the stove.

I had always wanted to try tiling.  I watched a bunch of YouTube videos and asked a lot of questions at the store.  I was extremely nervous at each step of the process, but being quoted $1,400 in labor alone, it was do it myself or it doesn't happen. 

The job was much more physically demanding than I expected.  I can't come near reaching the corner.  I had to use a stool, then climb half on the stove and counter to even touch the last foot on each side of the corner.  Made all the tiling steps so fun!  LOL!

Of course, I couldn't do something simple.  I had to use three different tiles and two colors of grout.  I ended up having to pull almost every stone off their backing to shift stones either for appearance or to make spacing more uniform.  The cheap slate border ($3.98 12") was a problem not only because of vastly messed up sizes of stones, spacing and overall heights, but the thickness of the stones.  There was a huge difference in thickness and when it comes to grouting and caulking, it's a big issue.  Of course, I'm a perfectionist, but you are forewarned about this border!

There are only a couple of places I'm not happy with, but they were unavoidable due to how the house was made and the fact that the cabinet man didn't center the opening for the stove under the opening in the upper cabinets.  That caused almost 1/2" unhappiness between dark slate and light tumbled marble, right at the door.  Grrrrr...

My family is impressed with the before and after and like it ok.  I feel the tiling looks good, especially for a first try.  But it gave the room an entirely different feel.  Yes it warmed it up some, which is good, but I wanted light, bright, soft and color.  What I have now is elegant, weathered, old world, darker.  I am shocked how once the granite was in, I lost control of the design.  It's like the materials available to me (financially) have funneled me into a completely different look than I was going for.  I'm shocked.  It's not ugly, it's just not at all what I have been doing all this labor for.  So crazy!  Price and materials have determined the design, not me!  LOL and I get to do it all over again when the cabinets and new counter are in (please God protect us!).

At this point, I'm in the 72 hr. cure period for the grout before I can seal the stone.  Then that will need 72 hrs.  I am being delayed because they had to special order the co-coordinating caulk for between the granite and the tile and it just came in this evening.  So now the 72 hr. cure starts all over before I can seal and they recommend two coats of sealer.

Update:  The caulk couldn't hardly be farther from matching the grout!  It has really messed up all my work.  :(  Trusting that when it cured it would match, I went ahead and did where all the existing counter and backsplash meet.   Lovely don't you think????  The grout is Biscuit on the lighter tiles above and Pewter on the border and supposedly Pewter special order matching caulk below on top the granite.  :(  Needing to be able to use the counter and cook again, I went ahead and sealed after 72 hours of it curing.  Now I'm told that any other caulk, that actually matches, won't stick because of the sealer.  When they come, I will have to do the new counter/backsplash on the new cabinets, with this same WRONG caulk so it will at least look deliberate.  :(  What was blending in with the granite now has a nearly fluorescent dividing line.  Big unhappy.

So, I wanted to use the enhanced stone sealer for the darker, slate stones to blend them with the granite more; the border and behind the stove, and use the not enchancing sealer for the lighter stones.  But, again, money has messed things up.  It's surely cheaper to buy one sealer than two and the enhanced was expensive, so I went ahead and used the enhanced on everything.  I phoned the manufacturer and was told I must seal it a second time an hour after the first.  I did.  I am so very unhappy.  My slate looked good after one coat.  Now it's like mud.  The lighter stones look yellow and dirty now.  Very not happy.  The container says redo in 3-5 yrs.  On the phone they said 2-3 yrs.  Know that I will NOT be using two coats of enhanced on the slate or ANY enhanced sealer on the lighter stone, which I hope will return to the soft off white it was before sealing.  The sealer darkened the room amazingly.  :(

In half an hour the sealer will have had it's 72 hr. cure, so I put things back on the counter.  They look odd to me now.  Out of place...LOL and OLD!  :)  The backsplash feels kinda waxy.  But hey, at least we can return to using the counter and using, or trying to learn to use the new stove!  Yeah!

Oh how I long for cabinet guy to come put the new ones in so I can paint them and we can move closer to NORMAL life!  It's been weeks now and he won't return DH's calls.  Concerned as he already has had our money for months.  Not looking forward to finding somewhere to make the granite for the new cabinets' counter after the nightmare we've had with the first fabricator.  This will be a small job and I fear won't get a good price.  Also, the first guy has our slab and I'm just hoping we can get a close enough match that it won't matter.  It seems to be a fairly consistent granite.   THEN another tiling job, the wall paint and window treatments and maybe then done till hopefully one day being able to replace the floor!  :(  Just realized that I will have to seal the new backsplash the same way this is to make them match...just like the clashing caulk.  This job surely hasn't gone the way I planed it.  The family is still happy with the change and that means a lot. 

See ya for the next installment!  Still a lot more to go!

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