Bill V, Mogoct, & Other Tile Experts--Pls Help w/ Kitchen BS ?s

mydreamhomeOctober 6, 2012

I know this is the bathroom forum, but as someone else recently stated, "this is where the tile experts are!"

DH & I are trying to decide on the tile backsplash for our kitchen. We are planning to only tile on the range wall mainly because after living & cooking in the house for a year, that's the only area where the wall gets messy. We have some 18x18 tumbled marble tile (almond beige) left from another project that I really like a lot that I think we have enough of for the BS, but I'm worried about staining from food splatters--tomato sauce, grease, etc. If the tumbled won't work, I have a similar honed Turkish marble backup in mind. What are your thoughts/experiences?

The other option I was thinking about going with is a ceramic/porcelain subway tile and centering an accent section above the rangetop. The accent tile we like is a mini-brick mosaic that has some small marble tiles interspersed with lots of glass mini-brick tiles (tiles are ~1" x 1/2"). The worry here is having more grout lines and subsequently staining them with tomato sauce, grease, etc. The marble mini-bricks also worry me, but they will be up higher from the rangetop and there will be fewer of them. Any thoughts/experience on the grout staining and cleanup?

What are your grout recommendations? We will likely go with a pearl color. I prefer unsanded for the smooth look. In the bathrooms, the unsanded has been far easier to clean than the sanded, so I'm guessing the same would hold true in the kitchen.

Thanks for any help/insight you can give!

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I install a lot of tumbled marble on backsplashes and have no problems with cleaning. I give it a good coat of enhancing sealer after install, grout it with sanded grout and then a second coat of sealer over everything, after the grout has cured.

Wipe up any splatters promptly promptly. The sanded grout shrinks far less than unsanded and the sealer helps to repel stains.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 12:54PM
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bump :-)

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 1:17PM
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Pretty much the same advice as StoneTech.

Plus, consider turning down the burner a bit? lol

Some tumbled stone has fissures and voids. If yours does, I'd fill those to minimize nooks and crannies in the surface of the tile.

Other than that, seal it well, and wipe it down as needed. Especially tomato splatters, which in addition to staining, can be acidic and etch unprotected stone.

Tumbled stone can require a wider grout joint and thus force you into using sanded grout. You could consider a dark grout to hide any splat damage. Depends on the stone, the pattern, etc. But natural stone with a dark charcoal grout can look very dramatic.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 1:55PM
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Thanks for the input and advice Stonetech & Mongoct. LOL on turning the burners down! I still consider myself to be on a learning curve with this pro rangetop!!

I was looking at the tumbled stone we have and it's interesting--its like they took a honed tile, laid it out flat and chipped away at the top layers. The bottom layers are still intact & smooth.

Any more thoughts on the grout getting stained by grease and tomato splatters? How easy should it be to clean? That's probably DH's biggest concern. Grease splatters are much more common in our house than tomato sauce (we don't have a grill yet, so all grilling is done in a grill pan on the rangetop). I definitely want to make sure that we won't end up with dark grease splotches on the grout that I can't get clean. I am so not feeling the sanded grout, so will do everything possible to make sure whatever tile I choose can be set with 1/16" or narrower grout lines. Any suggestions on what brand/type to buy?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 10:47PM
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Would you consider an epoxy grout?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 11:18PM
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What are the benefits of an epoxy grout vs. a regular unsanded grout?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 7:38PM
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Epoxy is impervious to staining. Non-porous. No need to seal it. Pretty much bulletproof.

For the most part in residential construction I consider it to be overkill. Where is is useful? On tiled countertops, though I'm still perfectly befuddled why anyone in the world would ever want a tiled countertop in their kitchen. If urine is an issue, either with kids, geriatric adults, or pets. Or in a shower if a person uses hair dyes in the shower, etc.

If you're truly concerned about grease and tomato splatters, then epoxy would be a valid choice for you.

Some manufacturer's don't offer a true white epoxy, for good reason. I'll advise you to avoid "white" whites, as epoxy can tend to yellow over time. You won't notice it in a colored epoxy, but you may in a "white" white epoxy.

Check out Laticrete's Spectralock. It's the only one I'd recommend using.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 12:33AM
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