4" Backsplash - Yes? No?

laurencpApril 9, 2014

I'm installing soapstone countertops in my kitchen, Styling will resemble farmhouse, with 30" Shaws sink and Perrin and Rowe bridge faucet. The fabricator said he likes to do a 3" backsplash - he said the grout at the base has problems after a year if you do not. I prefer NOT to do this, I think the 3" back will take away from the faucet and overall look. Any recommendations? Most of the photos I have seen in threads have opted not to do the 3/4" backsplash...


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Our soapstone guy recommends going all the way up to the range hood and the sink window, and 2" blackspash for the rest of the kitchen.

Our KD agrees that will be very nice. But we haven't given a lot of thought to it yet, as we are still in the cabinet-planning stage.

We did see both 2" and 4" soapstone backsplash in reality. The soapstone guy says 4" is usually for areas where water could be an issue, for instance, bathroom vanity.

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Wed, Apr 9, 14 at 14:46

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 2:44PM
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I did a 1-1/2 inch backsplash in soapstone and although it achieved the function your fabricator is talking about, it was almost unnoticeable

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 2:55PM
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Our GC strongly suggested a 4" BS for,the same reason your fabricator did. Said the grout line between our quartz countertop and subway tile BS would crack within the first year because the "L" shaped countertops are both on outside walls and we have the freeze/thaw cycle typical of the upper Midwest.

I suspect his recommendation was also because it is easier for his sub to install the BS. We went with the 4" quartz BS (a little higher behind the sink so the quartz goes up to the window sill). This does not appear to be a popular choice among those on this forum.

However, our subway tile BS was installed today and I am very happy with how it looks.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 12:28AM
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No!!! Ditch the 3" and do tile from the counter all the way up.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 5:50AM
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We went with a 4 inch SS backsplash. I was concerned with water issues behind the sink and now that we have it, I'm glad we did. I does get wet behind the faucet and sink despite seven inches between the sink and backsplash. I don't think tile/grout getting moisture is a good thing.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 8:03AM
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"he said the grout at the base has problems after a year if you do not."

You don't use grout between the horizontal counter and vertical bs, you use caulk.

ditch the 4" bs, and confirm the material this guy is going to use to install your sink too. Sounds like he's not that knowledgeable.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 8:23AM
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EAM's is correct. You do not use grout at this junction. I would not do a 4" bs either. Bring your bs all the way down to the counter.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 8:30AM
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He's right, grout would crack there.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 8:53AM
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I did a low SS backsplash at our lakehouse. The kitchen is central in the open floor plan and I wanted only a painted backsplash. I have a bank of windows going down to the counter over the SS apron sink that has the most beautiful views and I wanted the focus to be there. It's worked out well from a functional standpoint, too. Our fabricator did a small SS shelf as BS behind the range.

I know this goes against the current trend, but while I generally prefer tile backsplashes to the counter I do not dislike a short 3-4" BS done in the counter material with paint above. In some kitchens I think less is more.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 9:11AM
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Thank you all for your replies. He definitely said grout , so I will ask him about caulk. Currently the corian backsplash goes up to the moulding of the window above the sink. It is 4". I don't think I will like the dark soapstone behind the sink, and if it is 3" then will tile above it look silly? Would also love backsplash suggestions. The Shaws sink with the Perrin and Rowe faucet will replace what's in the photo. Thanks so much! Not much light in the morning, sorry for the dark photo.

This post was edited by laurencp on Thu, Apr 10, 14 at 11:07

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 9:25AM
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I'm skipping the 4" backsplash. I assume the caulk line will need maintenance.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 2:39PM
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We went with a 2" granite backsplash with tile above & I LOVE it!!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 2:58PM
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Isn't there a caulked seam between the counter and a tiled wall, even without a 3-4" piece? Whichever look one prefers, there is still a caulk line.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 11:45PM
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Thank you for all of your replies, I still don't know what I will do. Anne1495 and teachertile thank you so much for your photos, your choices are beautiful! I am having visions of a pretty blue/gray tile behind the faucet, based on a photo on the Rohl website with my sink and faucet. My gut is telling me the 4" backsplash is going to bug me....

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 10:48AM
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Aesthetically, I think the countertop material really matters. Patterned stones visually read *very* differently horizontally and vertically, so if you do a patterned stone backsplash, understand that it will not necessary read as "part of the countertop". It often does stand out as a separate, patterned, element. I like Palimpsest's solution of a 1.5" backsplash, but it may have looked quite different if the countertop wasn't black soapstone.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 12:03PM
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What Suska says: What's between the horizontal and vertical of a counter with 4" backsplash? Silicone caulk?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 2:56PM
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I'm not seeing the functional difference either. I thought either way there would be a joint at the back of the countertop sealed with silicone chaulk. I alway thought the installation related issue was that the soapstone backsplash will cover a bigger gap at the wall. So that's easier for the stone installer. Otherwise I thought it was just a matter of taste. What am I missing?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 3:25PM
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Feel free to google or run a GW search for a more thorough explanation, or just look at your bathtub. The tiles are grouted but at the line where tiles (vertical) meet the tub (a slight horizontal lip) there is caulk.

In the kitchen no matter what surface you choose for the counter or bs, the line where horizontal meets vertical should be caulked. Your cabinets are going to expand and contract a little, so your counter top is going to move ever so slightly. If you choose a rigid substance like grout it will crack over time. Caulk is flexible, and allows for expansion. Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 8:51PM
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