My no-backsplash backsplash

mtnrdredux_gwFebruary 16, 2012

Our kitchen was "done" about 10 months ago. Among the nuisances/unfinished items in my kitchen is my backsplash.

I purposely chose to have no backsplash at all (except the back of a stone flp for my range). A few reasons. One, i wanted a vintage kitchen and I feel b/s are a little modern. Two, there is almost no place to put b/s. All my uppers go to the counter. All my other counter space is underneath window expanses, with maybe an inch between the counter and sill, and not much space left to right either.

However .... i have come to realize that you probably need something. Right now, behind my sink, is a wood counter meeting a painted sheetrock wall. This has become a maintenance issue.

Our crack GC says "we can try bondo". Don't you love that? Gazillions of dollars to these guys and they will "try" Bondo.

So, forget those phony loser "experts" I've hired. What do you guys, the real experts say? Can I have plain sheetrock behind my faucets? If not, what can I do that is as close to invisible as possible?

Thanks in advance.

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a piece of glass over a piece of vintage wallpaper?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 5:22PM
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What, exactly, will he "try" to bondo? The seam where the counter meets the wall? Or the wall itself?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 5:24PM
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I think there might be some sort of product you can paint over the paint to "water proof" it. BUT, my personal gut feeling is that if water starts getting through there, and you end up with mold growing where you can't see it...ugh. You could be looking at a lot of trouble. I know while I was waiting for the tile to go up we had painted drywall, I was a little nervous with the water going back there.

Maybe he can try the bondo on his truck where the rust has worn through and you can see inside his trunk.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 5:31PM
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I did 3 graduated waincot beaded boards painted to match my cabs. I wanted the sink wall of cabs to look like an old built in cab. 3 1/2 years of use and no problem.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 5:40PM
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You should replace the sheetrock in the wet area with waterproof wallboard, like you'd use in your bathroom. Sheetrock is not meant to be used around water.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 6:04PM
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KarenBelle, I "misspoke". I'm pretty sure it's not plain ole drywall. I think it is that green wonder board stuff.

I don't think I can fit any of these suggestions ... I have about an inch.

Bee, GCs around here have the same luxury automobiles at their clients. I'd feel much bettter if he had a rusty truck, lol

May try to post a pic


    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 6:49PM
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BOndo? It seems to be a plethora of fools out these

Glass over the wall. Probably the water proof wall board
is best.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 6:51PM
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The glass seems a little modern to me. Can you extend your window molding down to touch the countertop?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 8:33PM
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Greenboard is water resistant, not water proof. If you do a websearch on waterproof wallboard you can find products that will work better than greenboard. I tried to link something for you but it didn't work for some unknown reason.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 9:33PM
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Karen_belle, I don't really know what it is but i vaguely recalled it was green, so I will have to ask.

IN any event, where the wall meets the wood the paint is off and it is crumbly. Can't find the camera but here are some old photos showing the tiny space. This actually shows where the dunderheads had to shave off the windowsill to fit the faucets (even though from day one they all knew the window was not to be touched, and all my cabs were custom, but I digress)

And here is the matching rub of cabs on the other side of the room. You can see why i didnt use any b/s.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 10:11PM
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I am confused about your situation. Are you having issues with the drywall/unfinished backsplash and if so, what type of issues are you having? If you are concerned about future issues, my opinion would be that if you have a "scrubbable" paint, there shouldn't be a need for any other treatment.

We also have no backsplash currently in the kitchen. I have thought about eventually putting up stained beadboard, but I might just leave it painted wall also. We have been using the space since August and haven't had any issues with the wall behind being damaged. We are not particularly careful or tidy people, but I just wipe down the counters and around the faucet if I see puddles or splashes. Our counters are soapstone instead of wood, but I can't imagine that would make a difference??? When the counters were installed, the fabricators did run a very small bead of clear caulk between the wall and the stone. Here are pics of our unfinished space.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 10:17PM
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Hi Westie, that's very helpful because your setup is very similar to mine (although you have a bit more room to the sill. Great kitchen, btw.

I don't think there is any caulk of any kind where my wall meets my wood counter.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 10:23PM
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I can't tell from your pics, but is the area on the other side of your sink window a heated space, or is it a "cold" area? The picture you posted almost looks like there could be a moisture/condensation issue coming from the inside of the wall. The overall uneven texture over a large area doesn't look like it is the result of occasional sink splashing. After they replaced the sill, was this area smoothed back out?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 10:33PM
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Westie, the other side of the window is a heated room, yes.

I am not sure why the surface looked like that mid construction (before the sink had ever been used). The room was down to the studs so all was new. I think I need to show those photos to the GC and ask. May illuminate things.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 10:41PM
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Can you put a thin piece of stone underneath? I don't know what your window sill is. If you can, maybe consider changing out the bottom sill for marble and adding a small piece underneath to the counter. I've seen old homes with an extended piece of wood trim along the bottom of the window (in your case marble). The sides of the trim underneath is usually beveled on each side. I hope that makes sense. I can see why you haven't changed it yet. I also agree that the glass seems too modern.

Probably whatever marble you can find with the least amount of stripes/movement might be more up your alley.

I don't know if they make some sort of board that is waterproof that you could substitute in for the marble I suggested. Maybe that would work.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 11:08PM
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In my last home, I had a small area behind my sink that I put Clear Contact Paper and it never even showed . If you did not know it was there , you would not notice it.
The same kind of clear paper you can get at Walmart or Target that you can use to cover books etc. etc.
Kept the wall dry and clean, just needed to be wiped dry once in a while.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 11:19PM
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when I re-did my kitchen about five years ago, I couldn't decide on a backsplash so I just painted the sheetrock with Valspar Kitchen and Bath enamel; I finally put a backsplash in when we put the house up for sale last year. I never had any problem with the wall - I am not an exceptionally neat person but I don't sling water everywhere either.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 11:30PM
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Circus Peanut

You're sure there's no transparent caulk between wall and countertop? That seems like a very likely culprit - wallboard of any kind will wick terribly on its cut edges, and if you have a piece against the counter with no silicone caulk acting as a barrier, perhaps that's what's happening - it's thirstily soaking up any stray water?

Alternately, do your other house windows have an apron under the sill? If so, just replicate that painted wood apron under the sill down to the counter?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 12:10AM
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After seeing your picture I would do a strip of wood painted to match window trim and clear calk to counter.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 7:50AM
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Eandhl, I think you are right. But the points others have made are worth discussing with our GC. What kind of board did he use there? Why does the area look irregular before it was even used, etc.

Thanks all.

Here is a current pic showing the problem:

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 10:48AM
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Without calking the sheet rock has absorbed moisture, most likely from the bottom. If possible at this point I would want that piece of sheet rock cut out (I would be concerned about mold developing) and a completely sealed, top & bottom edges of wood installed, painted and calked. I pretty sure it would resolve the problem.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 12:28PM
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So sorry to see that. It's a bit of a bear to fix.

First, I'd find out if any caulk will hold to the finish on that wood and, if so, which type of caulk. If Brooks made that counter they will be able to tell you. I'd send them the pic.

Once that's settled I'm fussy so I'd have them remove the faucet, be sure there was no mold in the area (not likely but they should check) and attach a 3/8" thick strip of solid surface material that matches the paint, or a strip of thin white marble veneer the full length of the window -- no seam. Then caulk that to the counter. It needs to tuck right up under the sill and look like the wall. Without seeing it IRL that's my best suggestion though there also would be an edge resolution issue (but not serious)

Believe it or not, Corian cut as the veneer might be the best solution. I saw it on a neighbor's shower window sill and it looked like matte expensive tile. And they can cut it as needed for length and height without fear of breakage. Once installed, it should disappear.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 2:46PM
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I'm no expert, but after seeing your picture, it doesn't appear that you have any water issues with the counter itself. That tells me that you haven't had any water sitting on the surface long enough to do the damage shown or to have the drywall be able to "wick" it up of the counter and do any damage. I think the problem started with whatever shape the drywall was in and how it was prepped and textured prior to finishing/painting. It looks like the surface was not properly prepped in the beginning and this is what has caused your paint to fail, not necessarily any moisture issues from the sink.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 3:49PM
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Good point Westy. Without doubt I would want the sheet rock cut out now and replaced. Also have someone check carefully the window instillation to see if any moisture is coming from the outside.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 4:35PM
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Thanks, Westie and Eandhl. Eanhdl the window is not an outside window... it looks into our dining room

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 5:14PM
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Okay then it must be from moisture collected in the sheet rock from the faucet. Much easier fix than improperly installed window.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 6:23PM
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I had a similar issue and we put in tile behind the sink. We did have a little bit more room to work with because we were able to put one row of subway tile behind the sink. A wood piece to match the sill or the counter would look the best though, but I'm not sure if that's an option for you. I would knock that sheetrock out first to make sure there aren't any moisture issues first.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 6:36PM
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Maybe once you have resolved the sheet rock issue, installed wood down to the counter with proper caulking, etc., you might want to consider a Marine type paint formulated to match the rest of the woodwork. We found that the Marine-type paint held up very well next to a kitchen sink that had issues from either sprayed or splashed water. You also might have the wood primed and painted on both sides prior to installing - just would need to touch up nail holes, etc....Just some random thoughts...I have always coveted your stunning vintage kitchen ...beautifully augmented by elements of marble, pewter, wood and glass ...each with a wee vignette of its own to tell. Hope this irritating issue can easily be fixed and you can move on!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 5:30PM
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i, too, have no backsplash. there is painted wall between the blue pearl granite countertop and the cabinets and sink. i thought i would make my own tile for the space but all my ideas look too busy and take away from the granite. so i am now using a painted wall as the backsplash. do you think i could polyurethane the area behind the sink so as to protect the painted surface from dirt and splashback.
all help is appreciated

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 5:05PM
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What about a strip of the same dark wood you used for countertops? You can get away with having it only in the area directly behind the sink. Or put a painted wood apron piece there under the chin of the window sill to match the woodwork on the window. The balance of the room looks fine without anything. Save some paint so you can retouch in future. Use scrubbable paint.

I'm going to use a 2.5 inch band of readymade mosaic marble strips around the perimeter of my kitchen, except behind the sink, where there is a window down to the countertop. No actual need for the trim, but it's rather cool and it's paid for.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 8:22PM
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I'm not seeing a current picture witht he sink -- just the one with the paper down on the wood which I understand to be before use. That wall looks like it has a raw end of drywall, not a side that is finished (paper or whatever) or maybe even no drywall. It looks like they tried to smooth joint compound in there, either by itself over your studs and built up or over something less than a full side of finished drywall. Joint compound will turn to mud (that's what they call it when it's wet -- hence the verb to "mud" the walls) and dissolve away if it gets wet. Paint will only seal the surface, and if water gets behind it -- well, I dare say it is probably worse than damp sheetrock, which is worse than damp green board.

You say they had to sheer away your window sill. Did that sill come below the window too? I don't think you've got clean drywall there. I think you've got a really poor job of mudding and an even worse job of sealing the joint. That's my guess.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 11:19PM
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cut Kerlite to the shape you need.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 12:22PM
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