Tiling Experts - Please Help

sweetbabyjames5November 27, 2012

Hi everyone. So this question is about tiling - but a backsplash rather than a kitchen. I know there are some tile experts on this forum, so I decided to post here. Here is my dilema. We remodeled an old kitchen. It isn't plumb. My new cabinetry is level, but on a long 16' wall with two windows, the area between the counter (which is level) and the windowsills is not level. If I had known this before remodeling, I would have used slabs as my backsplash. I have soapstone counters, however, and do not want a black soapstone backsplash. I was hoping to use Carrara 2x4 tiles as a backsplash but then wondered if the uneven horizontal lines would bother me. I think yes. Then I considered Carrara 1x2 in a herringbone pattern - but my tiler said that would make the un-levelness (is that even a word?) more obvious. Do you agree? My tiler suggested a 3x6 tile, saying the bigger the better in terms of joint lines (??) Can someone please please please advise me on what I should do?? It's been a year and I would love to have a backsplash as soon as possible. Help!!!! And THANKS in advance!!!

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The larger the tile is that you use the easier it will be to disguise any wonkiness in the wall.

If your space between the countertop and the bottom of the window went from from 4" high on the left to to 3-3/4" high on the right, using 4" tall tiles you'd not really notice the difference of 1/4" over the 4" height of the tiles. But if you used four rows of 1" x 2" tiles, your top row of 1x2s would go from 1" tall on the left to to 3/4" tall on the right. A 1/4" difference on a 1" tall tile? Very noticeable.

Sometimes you can alter the window trim itself to hide the discrepancy.

If the window is simply picture framed, you can change proportions of the casing to hide the out-of-levelness of the window.

Do you have an apron on your window trim? I'll sometimes taper the wood apron to hide the out-of-level discrepancy. That way the tile can be straight and level.

Or if you can install a deep window sill, the depth of the sill can block a viewer from seeing where the tile meets the underside of the window sill.

So there are ways to do it with the trim, that way your tile and grout lines can be dead-on straight.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 2:44PM
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Thanks for your FAST response. I hadn't thought about the trim/windowsill. I actually have soapstone windowsills but I would be willing to get rid of them in liue of something my carpenter could do to help my tile look straight. I hadn't thought of that.

I'm embarrassed to admit how out of whack this wall in my kitchen is, but we live in an area with lots of movement in the soil, so it's common here. The space between the countertop and the bottom of the window on the LEFT goes from from 6" high on the left to to 6.5" high on the right. The space between the countertop and the bottom of the window on the RIGHT goes from 7.5" high on the left to 8" on the right - so we are talking a total of 2"!!!! :( There is a space of 56" between the two windows (a set of upper cabinets is in this space).

With that said, what would you recommend in terms of a backsplash? Laying linear? A pattern such as a herringbone? Having my carpenter try to do something with trim? Or is it just hopeless???

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 2:54PM
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What about a vertical tile that is full length top to bottom between the uppers and lowers? Then you would just have vertical lines. And as Mongo suggested, larger is better to help disguise uneven walls. Or how about bead board look tile?

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 7:07PM
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Can you post a photo of the wall?

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 9:13PM
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I am getting ready to tile my backsplash this weekend and have a similar problem. On the wall where my stove is going, the cabinet on the left side is 1/4 inch lower than the cabinet on the right side. The guy who did the countertop templates pointed it out to me and said we could raise the top to match or leave it if it didn't bother us. We opted to leave it alone. It wasn't until I started designing the backsplash that I realized I would somehow need to adjust the bottom line on the short side or my tile pattern would shift down on that side. I figured out that I could use a "shim" at the bottom of the short side so the pattern would be level all the way around. However, now I have to decide how to address the wider grout line on the bottom of the low side because I am using all white subway tile with a contrasting grout color. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 2:10PM
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