Where do I end the backsplash? Cabinets shorter than counter

athenabFebruary 21, 2013

Hello everyone,

I have a bit of a dilemma. One of my upper cabinets is shorter than it should be and doesn't extend to the end of the counter, by about 2 inches. It's not noticeable but now I am preparing to put up the backsplash and don't know what to do? Do I end it where the granite counter ends and have a bullnose tile extend past the upper cabinet on top? Or do I end the splash at the end of the cabinet and the granite extends 2 inches more? My feeling is that the tile ends where the granite ends. My 'tiler' thinks it should end where the cabinet ends?

This is the cabinet I'm talking about although you can't see the end from this angle, but there are 2 inches more of wall space before the window trim.

Any thoughts?

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rkb21

We have a similar issue, but much worse. Since yours is just 2inches, I would probably opt to end where the granite ends. I'm no expert though :)

What granite countertop do you have?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 7:52AM
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athenab

Hi rkb21, our countertops are Colonial Cream granite. We love them because they are light. I have a fairly 'dark' house as it faces north, so I am greedy about getting as much light whenever I can.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 8:13AM
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epressler

i would always end with the countertop. I always think it looks funny when the backsplash ends a couple inches before the countertop does.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 8:18AM
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localeater

I agree end with countertop. Try it out with construction paper as the tile, you will be convinced.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 8:37AM
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purplepansies

Mine is like that, too, and the backsplash ends at the countertop. I don't even notice it.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 8:37AM
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natebear zone 10B

Another vote to end it with the counter :)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 9:13AM
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rkb21

athenab- I choose Colonial Dream for ours...I also loved the light warm colors. I bet they are similar :)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 9:19AM
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beekeeperswife

We ended ours with the uppers in the last house.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 9:50AM
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Lake_Girl

Like BKF, we ended ours with the upper cabinet. But the countertop only extends less than an inch I think. I thought that would be less noticeable than the tile extending past the cabinet, and figuring out what to do with that look. We didn't use a decorative edge on the backspash.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 10:04AM
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wi-sailorgirl

I asked my cabinetmaker about making the upper cabinet 1.5 inches wider (or whatever the overhang on a counter would be) to avoid this problem when it came to the backsplash and he said he thought that would look weird and that everyone has this issue of where to end the backsplash. Now that I think about it, I can't remember how we resolved that and what we decided to do. Should be interesting to find out!

For what it's worth, I think from the examples shown here that either looks fine.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 11:58AM
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robo (z6a)

Love the idea of ending early BUT with a trim piece so it looks deliberate. BKW's pic looks great. Lots of example pics on earlier threads in the forum as well.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 12:03PM
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breezygirl

I prefer the look of ending the tile with the cabinet. I dislike the random 2" or whatever of tile that sticks out on the wall for no good reason. That seems to always catch my eye much more than when the counter projects a bit out without tile, like Bee's. I don't notice the counter sticking out; I notice the tile sticking out. Plus, you get a nice, clean vertical line like Bee.

This post was edited by breezygirl on Thu, Feb 21, 13 at 13:33

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 12:50PM
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athenab

Thanks for all your input! It looks like it's a split decision with everyone. I do like the tile on Bee's last kitchen, but definitely, with the liner trim/edge.

Breezy, I think you mean ending the tile with the cabinet?

I think I will try to put paper up there and see how it looks. With Bee's kitchen, the counter curves and extends quite a bit. With only 2 inches...not sure how it will look.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 1:31PM
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breezygirl

Yes, I meant cabinet. I edited my post to fix that. I remember someone showing a small 2" or so bit of counter sticking out beyond the tile/cab on another thread on the same subject. This question does come up every once in a while. I'll try to remember whose kitchen was posted.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 1:35PM
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annettacm

We install backsplashes all the time.... we are about 50/50 on whether we end at the upper cabinets or with the end of the counter. If you end with the end of the counter, you'll have to finish the "top" of the backsplash where it sticks out past the cabinet. Ending with the cabinet usually is a cleaner, straighter line. I personally like it ending at the cabinet myself.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 1:36PM
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breezygirl

I remembered! It was Firsthouse_mp. I found pics on her reveal thread. If you scroll down about halfway (and wipe the drool off your keyboard after oohing and aahing over her unbelievable kitchen), you'll see a couple of pics. Her backsplash is quartzite, but that matters not.

Here is a link that might be useful: Firsthouse's pics of counter/cab

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 1:55PM
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annettacm

Most cabinets stop about 1.5" short of the counters (because of overhang). 2" is not abnormal.... it will look fine either way.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 3:35PM
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Gina_W

It depends on the color of the backsplash tile - if the backsplash will look obtrusive sticking out into wallspace, then I prefer it to end with the cabinet. Else it will look like a square of tile floating on the wall. If folks want to do that, it's almost better aesthetically to go all the way up to the ceiling. But that's my feeling. As you see - the aesthetic is so individual.

In your case, with just a couple inches to the end of the wall, it isn't as big of a deal, but if it is a darker color I would keep it ending at the cabinet.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 3:59PM
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marcolo

End with the upper. Tile wandering across the wall looking for a place to turn left is not a "feature."

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 4:09PM
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Lake_Girl

There are threads out there like "show me your subway tile". Search that out and see if you can get some ideas on backsplashes and how they end. Even if you're not doing subway tiles, you'll have lots of pictures to look at.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 9:01PM
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athenab

Breezy, I always loved that kitchen! I admired it for other reasons of course, and never paid attention to the issue of the backsplash. Thanks for remembering it.

Marcolo....love it! haha.

Thanks again everyone!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 11:08PM
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