Crema Marfil Backsplash?

sail_awayMarch 13, 2013

Honed or polished? Which would you recommend? So far, we've found honed subway tiles at Home Depot at a very low cost. They look like they would work well with the Black Pearl granite we are getting.

How difficult is this to work with? Any special tips? DH has done other tile work, but with ceramic tile---floors, a stand-alone shower, around the bathtub. What about sealing the crema marfil? What would you use, how many coats? I don't think we're terribly messy, but it would have some things splashed on the backsplash. The cooktop is on an island, so no worry about cooking splatters.

Please educate us on using marble for a backsplash, including pros and cons.

I want to call tile shops locally to see whether they have the crema marfil in subway (or a bit larger, like 3 or 4 x 10 or12 ) at a reasonable cost. If not, we will probably just go with the Home Depot tile.

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I got mine from Lowes, at a VERY discounted price, and my tile guy was NOT thrilled with it. Luckily I had plenty. It was crumbly, and irregularly spaced on the mesh, did not hold well to the mesh, and then chipped when he troweled it. The pieces are not consistent thickness, so it quite rustic looking. Luckily, that works in my kitchen.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 1:20PM
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We used honed subway very similar to the Home Depot tile (ours was a just slightly different size). Since it's a natural stone, there can (and probably will be)quite a bit of variation in the color and pattern. Some also have cracks or inclusions that may make the tile break when you go to install it. We sorted through our tile several times pulling out the tiles we didn't want to use based on color, pattern, damage, etc. We had previously done a floor with natural stone so knew there would be unusable tile and bought extra accordingly.

On the plus side, the marble cuts easily and if you need to make wierd cut outs, it is fairly simple to do with a saw and file.

The tiles need to have the backsplash side sealed before you grout the tile, so the grout doesn't stick to the face of your backsplash. Then you need to seal it again after grouting. We used a standard stone sealer and sealed it once before and once after grouting. We'll probably seal it again in a few years, or when we think it needs it. We used it behind our range, and so far, anything that has splashed on it has wiped right off.

You can see how ours turned out in the link below:

Here is a link that might be useful: Crema marfil backsplash

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 3:30PM
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I love Crema Marfil. Its a shame to hear there have been problems though. Could it just be the brands? I know from the tile guys in the bathroom forum expensive doesn't equal quality. Hmmm. I feel the need to go look for it now though.

Sorry for getting off topic.I think honed would be beautiful.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 4:03PM
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Nancy, I think our tile is pretty crumbly, too. There's a fine powder all over whatever surface I put them on, and the back of the tile is really irregular. It makes me wonder how they get the front of the pieces so smooth, without the indentations that the back has. Do they cut the pieces thicker than needed and then somehow grind it down to a smooth surface? Or maybe they fill the front side with something. It's really a remarkable difference between front and back? I really like the look of the marble, but I've tried to find something else that would be easier for DH to work with. However, he says he thinks he will like working with it, I think mostly because he took one tile out in the garage and was happy to find that he could easily polish the sides of the tile pieces so that they would look more finished at the end of the counter run, where the one side is exposed. It sounds like, despite the challenges, you're happy with your choice of backsplash, correct?

Anna, Thanks for the link to your kitchen---it's lovely. You really achieved a remarkable transformation, and I do like how your backsplash works with it all. I really like the larger size---what size are they? They look like they're maybe 4x8? We'd like larger, but so far we've only found the subway size at Home Depot that is affordable. Was you tile also a bit crumbly and uneven on the back side? Where did you get yours? Thank you, too, for the information about sealing. It makes sense, now that I think about it, that it would be important to seal before grouting. So you put the tile on the wall, let it dry, then seal, let that dry, then grout, then seal again? Do you use the sealer on the grout, too, not just the marble? We have always sealed our grout, but it would be nice to just use one product that would cover everything.

The decision to use the Crema Marfil is not 100% certain, because the granite hasn't been installed yet. We don't want to make the final decision until we have the entire slab installed and we can look at our samples with the installed countertop. However, it was the first thing I found that I liked, remains my favorite, and it's the one DH prefers at this time; so likely we will go ahead with it. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. It's so helpful.

Edited to Add: Oops, Anna, I went back and looked at your lovely photos again and noted that in your summary you said that your tiles were 3x6. Guess I didn't read carefully the first time through.

This post was edited by sail-away on Wed, Mar 13, 13 at 16:38

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 4:20PM
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Look at Kitchenaddicts kitchen. She used Crema Marfil in her kitchen. Maybe do a shout out to her for advise. I think she has been pleased with it with no problems.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 5:18PM
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Our tile was 3 x 6 roughly. We thought we might get a few extra a Home Depot, but that tile was I think 1/4" different in width or length and wasn't an exact match sizewise.

I bought the tile online from a source that someone else here had used. The tile came from FL and we are in CA, and the boxes took a beating because of the way they shipped it. Because of the breakage, we ended up getting 3 different shipments of tile, and there were differences. We sorted through and kept the ones we wanted to use and sort of randomized the lighter/darker shades within the backsplash. I'm not sure I'd recommend the source to anyone looking to buy tile, especially if it has to go any distance. The breakage was caused almost totally from the boxes not being strong enough to hold the tile, and they were not palletized either, which would have helped. If they don't know how to ship their own product........

I would go to Home Depot and take out all the tiles in a box and see what kind of variation is there and if you like it or not.

We just used one type of sealer for both grout and marble tile.

My DH also liked being able to work with the tile. If you look at the crown molding above the hood, you might be able to see where he cut the tile to the profile of the molding. The tile doesn't go underneath. He did it pretty easily with the tile saw and a hand file.

Good luck with your backsplash, whatever you end up using.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 5:46PM
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Ellendi, Thanks for telling me about KitchenAddict---I searched on Google and found pictures of her lovely kitchen. I hope she sees this thread and posts with any information she might have to share.

Anna, I think you're right about shipping the tile---I would much rather buy it locally than from out-of-state. Of course, it's likely that Home Depot would have to order tile and have it shipped to the store so we would have enough for our backsplash. But at least, if there are broken tiles, I would only have to drive to Home Depot, not contact someone from farther away and possibly ship them back or, at least, wait for them to ship more tiles to finish the job. So your DH did the tiling, also? He did a really good job, and I'm confident my DH could, as well. We just might need some extra tiles for breakage.

I guess that, despite the softness of the Crema Marfil, it must be okay for a backsplash since so many lovely kitchens have it for their backsplashes. It's truly a bargain at Home Depot, so if we can get them there, that might be the way to go. I don't think they're top quality, but maybe all the irregularity of the back surface and the crumbling is just the nature of the tile.DH and I both like it and he has no objection to installing it, so I guess we'll be good to go. Thanks, again, for answering my specific questions. I have a better idea how we should proceed now.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 6:11PM
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