Installing Porcelain Backsplash

sail_awayApril 20, 2013

I've found a porcelain tile that we are thinking of using for our backsplash. We had previously been considering Crema Marfil, which I love, but I think something a bit quieter will look better with our granite and cabinets. The porcelain tile is something DH and I both like.

I'm just wondering whether it is difficult to work with. It is thicker and seems much more solid than other tiles we had considered. Is it tricky to cut it (with a wet saw) without chipping or breaking? Or does it just cut more slowly?

Also, can it be, or should it be, sealed?

Any advice?

I've included a link to the tile we are thinking of using. It's the Heritage porcelain tile, color = Chandelle. We want the shape toward the bottom, just before the ''Technical Specifications" section---long narrow strips of varying height, which would be run horizontally (as pictured)---they come together in a 12-inch by 12-inch piece with the different size rectangles combined.

Here is a link that might be useful: Heritage Tile---Chandelle

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Holly- Kay

Very nice. It has the look of stacked stone.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 7:46PM
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Holly-Kay, Thanks, I think so, too. Yet it's nice and flat, which I perceive as easier to clean, and fairly quiet, but not boring.

We have the much maligned oak cabinets which are in great shape and which we couldn't afford to change out anyway. So we chose Black Pearl granite, rather than a granite with movement and a lot of pizazz so it wouldn't clash with the busier wood grain of the oak. I had always thought I would pair that with Crema Marfil, but I think this, more solid look will play better with the oak cabinets. Plus, I like keeping a fairly neutral backdrop with the big, unlikely to change elements in the kitchen and then use other accents to provide a little more sizzle. I also like the idea that the accents can easily be changed if I tire of them, while keeping the same backdrop.

Anyway, the main reason for this post is to see what anyone can tell me about the pros and cons of porcelain tile. But it's reassuring to hear someone else say they think it looks good, too.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 8:27PM
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It says glazed, so no sealing needed except the grout. I used porcelain tile in my bathroom, and I believe there was slightly more breakage than one would expect with, say, a ceramic tile. Mine aren't the smooth kind, and they're easy to keep clean, even in the bathroom. Assuming you seal your grout, I don't think you should have any maintenance issues with it as a backsplash. Very nice choice!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 11:17PM
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We used porcelain tile for our backsplash. It's actually going to be a lot easier to work with. As far as cutting, it should cut easily with a wet saw. Porcelain is very sturdy and you won't need to seal it. We used epoxy grout so it wouldn't need sealing either. You are going to love the porcelain!!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 9:38AM
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Just so we can see:

Very nice! I agree that this will be a better choice than marble in your space. And may I say that I don't hate oak cabinets. Choosing new, I'd choose something else, but the ones in place are fine. Don't forget that cabinets can be given a new lease on life with a good cleaning and new knobs/pulls.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 10:56AM
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KBSpider, I guess I missed the part about it being glazed--it has a matte finish, so I didn't think of that. Good to know. Glad to hear it's easy maintenance.

Teachertile, Easier to work with sounds good! Can you tell me a little more about epoxy grout? How is it compared to regular grout (whatever that's made of)? Pros/cons of each? Is there a particular brand you would recommend? Also, I've just started doing my research and have read that you can get caulk that is color matched with the grout. Can you do that with the epoxy grout? Should the caulk be the same brand as the grout? Sorry for all the questions, but I'm just starting to get things together for the backsplash.

Suzannes, Thank you for posting the photo---much easier. I appreciate your comments on the oak cabinets. DH loves them, and I don't hate them. I do tend to like calmer, cleaner lines, so it probably wouldn't be my first choice, but I think/hope things are coming together pretty well. We did clean them well and, then, DH went over them with a light coat of stain. It really did revive them quite a bit, and, as I said, they are well built. Our kitchen has some design flaws that I would correct if we were doing a full-scale remodel, but that isn't going to happen. So, instead, we're trying to make it the best it can be---sprucing it up, rearranging what is in some cabinets, and adding varius organizational elements to make it work as efficiently a possible. I'm choosing to be pleased with what I can do rather than focusing on what else could have been done. I still have to figure out the hardware. About a year ago, in anticipation of doing this, I did pick up a number of handles to see what looked best; now, with almost everything else done, I'm going to have to start all over. But that's the subject of another post, I think.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 1:39PM
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Holly- Kay

I know what you mean about maligned oak! I have the very same and I have to admit I am tired of them. I think they would be lovely with a different stain on them. DD was looking at new cabs at Lowes and one of the prettiest ones there was oak. Anyway I think that your kitchen will be beautiful and oak really is a lovely wood because of it's beautiful grain. I can tell you if I had a good lay out in my kitchen I would have kept my cabs and either had them restained in a medium brown or painted a creamy white.

Good luck with your redo and please post pics when you are finished. I think it will be gorgeous!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 2:37PM
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Holly-Kay, You're so kind to say that. Compared with some of the masterpiece kitchens here, ours is pretty modest. In fact, on occasion, I've seen some ''before'' photos posted of kitchens that were pretty much what I would aspire to.

We had discussed doing a much more extensive reno, but we would have to take out a loan to do so, and we weren't comfortable with that. Also, the structure of our home would limit how much we could do anyway. We decided we would be happier and feel more secure doing it this way. I am pleased with how things are going so far, and it definitely looks better than before. I will try to post some photos when we finish, but in order to do so DH has to borrow a camera from work, and that's not always possible.

I don't mind that not everyone likes oak cabinets; as I said they're not my favorite either, but I do appreciate how solid they are and how good they look after >20 years, with just a little cleaning and a bit of stain to refresh them. I had, however, deliberately avoided mentioning our oak cabinets when asking questions about granite or sinks, as I wanted to avoid the sometimes knee-jerk reaction of saying that, if they're oak, I should just use laminate, etc. I think that's a valid consideration, but we had already made the decision, so I was looking for answers that would be of more use at that point. We did consider laminate, but in the end decided we would go with the granite for two reasons---first, and most importantly, because I really wanted a new sink and I wanted it to be an undermount sink; and, second, for possible resale value when/if we decide to downsize.

Oh my, look how quickly I've rambled on and gotten off-point. Really just wanted to say thanks for the encouragement.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 3:12PM
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Holly- Kay

Oh my, we all tend to forget how very blessed we are. As much as I am looking forward to a new kitchen I am also in awe of the blessings we have seen in our lives. In the end it is the love and lives shared in our spaces that are important and not the trappings of cabinets, faucets, and counter tops. Hugs and good wishes to you and I can't wait to see your finished pics!

I just love that beautiful porcelain that you picked out!!!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 3:53PM
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Holly-Kay, So true about realizing what's important. I do find myself stressing sometimes about each and every little decision along the way, but the end result---a kitchen where we can produce nutritious and enjoyable meals for my family and friends is what really matters.

If I think long at all, I realize how happy I am to have running water in my house---we've visited families in other countries who don't have that luxury. Or I think of my parents, living in their home for over fifty years, and they've never replaced anyhing other than appliances in thier kitchen.

Or I think how happy I am that we will have soon paid off our mortgage early on our house. We maybe could have had a bigger, better home; but the satisfaction of being mortgage-free will more than make up for less luxurious surroundings.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 9:30PM
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We chose Laticrete epoxy grout because its already sealed and less resistant to staining. My kitchen is heavily used so I didn't want to take any chances. Some say its more difficult to work with, but our tile guy, and my dad who used it in their kitchen both said it wasn't bad at all. It does dry faster so some think that makes it difficult to work with. Yes epoxy grout has matching caulk. I would stick with matching brands just so you can match up the colors.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 5:45PM
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Teachertile, someone else (who has done tile work professionally in the past) recommended urethane grout. Do you know anything about that?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 6:08PM
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Holly- Kay

Sail, good for you to pay off your house early. No mortgage here either and it is wonderful to not have a big payment going out each month. You will be able to save a lot each month when that mortgage goes away! I can't wait to see your pics when that lovely BS is done!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 7:21PM
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