Backsplash dilemma . . . what to do around window?

gardenburgherAugust 15, 2008

I thought we had everything figured out. DH started the backsplash last weekend and plans to finish this weekend. Last night, we stood and looked at the partially finished product and it dawned on me that we hadnÂt thought about the windows!

WeÂre tiling up to the cabinets. We have 2 windows, but they are at different heights. HereÂs the window above the sink.

And hereÂs the window above the counter. (stove is to the left)

The idea of tiling into the window frame never occurred to us. DH says to just tile to the edge and then paint the edge to match, so it doesnÂt stand out. My fear is that it will look unfinished.

As you can see, since the tile ends at the window on the left side, only the right side of the window is effected by the tile placement. That adds to the dilemma.

I have one more question . . . What do you think of the left side ending like it is? With no bullnose. I just assumed there would be bullnose around all edges. DH just assumed there wouldnÂt be, and unbeknownst to me, bullnose tile werenÂt ordered. He says itÂll look fine and because itÂs not in a prominent location.

I'm hoping to present a good case to DH, but I may not win this argument anyway. DH has argued for very few elements in the kitchen and sometimes I just have to let it go. :-)

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We tiled up to the window and painted the recessed area around the window. It looks fine and doesn't look unfinished at all. We didn't use bullnose at the ends of the tile either. HTH.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 12:10PM
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If your tile does not end into something like a window trim or wall, not using bullnose looks like it was DIY. Those little details are what makes a gorgeous job work. Personally...I'd get that bullnose ordered.

As to the windows, I'd tile right up to the edge and then need to paint inside the frame, just leave that as it is (as the walls above are right?)

On a personal note, I don't like where the tile line ends on the left. It ruins the line by making the window seem out of balance on the left side. I'd run it to the counter edge and up the wall so the window does no feel so unbalanced.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 12:43PM
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I would SWEAR I just answered this about an hour ago!! Anyway, here goes again.

Concerning the window, I agree that if you don't tile the return to the window it'll look unfinished. But whether you tile it or not, I think the window will look asymetrical. Additionally, although I agree that the tile accents the misalignment of the window and the edge of the counter, I have a feeling that if the tile were to be run up the side of the window, flush with the edge of the counter, it would accent it even more, looking like someone ran out of tile, so this looks like a good stopping place. It WOULD solve the symetry issue, though. I guess it's all about taste-- what would look best to YOU. No matter what, it's going to be a screwey detail.

As for the bullnose thing, I can't see in your pics, but if the tile edge is the same color, you can just use the field tile for the edge. It's a little unorthodox, but not unheard of. If it's not the same color as the face of the tile, though, I'd strongly recommend using the bullnose.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 1:59PM
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do they even make bullnose for those 1" glass mosaics? i've never seen it.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 4:28PM
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What is to the left of the stove? Ceiling height? At my current home we ran the tile behind the stove since there is some countertop to the left where we continued the tile to.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 4:48PM
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do they even make bullnose for those 1" glass mosaics? i've never seen it.

Are those glass?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 5:07PM
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Thanks everyone for your responses.

Right now, there is one row of cut-in-half 4"x4" ceramic tile and 4 rows of glass tile. That will then be topped with more ceramic tile. So yes, itÂs glass. :-) HereÂs a close up. Does that help? (You can't tell in the photo, but the granite is 'chestnut' and the rust/burgundy tiles pull out the chestnut color in the granite.)

And nope, Edlakin, I donÂt believe there are glass mosaic bullnose tiles. My original thought was to run a strip of ceramic bullnose up to the window sill to frame in the left side of backsplash. ThatÂs why I asked the granite fabricators to extend the counter a little bit beyond the sill. I guess I didnÂt make that clear to DH beforehand. And I guess I should have asked here before I made the tile decisions!

Remodelfla, to the left of the stove is a wall. No more counter space. On the to-do list is to add an over the range microwave. We deliberated long and hard about whether or not to put tile behind the stove, up to the microwave. The cons were that the glass tile wouldnÂt be seen at all. And since the stove is free standing, you can see the wall behind it. I didnÂt want to just do a section of tile above with painted wall below, and I didnÂt want to tile from the floor to the microwave either. I couldnÂt think of an easy compromise, so we just stopped at the window.

HereÂs a photo of the full wall. (I really hope the colors look better on your monitor than they do on mine!)

The funny thing is, Bill and Igloochic, I never thought my arrangement was off balance! Now that I look at my photo, I can see what youÂre talking about. I guess in real life, there are enough other things going on that I donÂt focus in on the asymmetry. The whole wall is asymmetrical! Does seeing the whole wall help?

Unfortunately, the tile edge is not the same color as the tile. I guess IÂll have to talk DH into the bullnose then. Monkeyjac, I canÂt tell for sure, but it looks like your tile edges are the same as the front. It looks good in the picture.

Thank you all for your thoughtful replies!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 7:29AM
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I agree. The asymetry won't even matter in that kitchn, because it's already "right side heavy", for lack of a better term. It'll go right along with the rest of the room. I think you'll be fine to end it where you have, but I'd still say do the return to the window.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 9:28AM
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gardenburgher, this is a small detail perhaps, but you might consider using some of the glass tile as a wall hanging behind the stove...........trivet-like.... to better integrate the splash with the rest of the wall. You might also consider tiling behind the stove at the same height and painting the wall a matching color, below, where is shows on either side of the stove.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 10:36AM
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P.S. I think what's most important as I look at the wall is a consistant sight line for the wall. That can be done in the above post manner. Consider where the microwave is going to end, tile up to there, and finish the same all way around the wall. Note how I used a bit of tile around the window to finish up that area. I think a dramatic bachsplash as you have chosen with an even sight line will draw attention and provide more order to the view.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 10:45AM
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Sorry, now you've got me going. Here is the idea, hope its not too primative. I think its better balanced this way. Can you just tile the sides of the wall on either side of the stove?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 10:59AM
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Is the size/space on either side of the stove right for a field tile run vertically?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 11:10AM
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If not tile, how about some wood stained to match the cabinets, to mimic wainscoting, on the sides of the stove. You would only need some small pieces.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 11:59AM
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What great responses. Thank you!

Yesterday, we spent the day with the in-laws. During the 1 ½ hour drive, DH and I argued about whether or not we needed to tile the window return and what to do behind the stove. Even though I was using the TKO experts as my argument, I was losing the battle.

Then I asked my FIL what he thought. Without any influence from me, he said to definitely tile the window return. He also said to tile behind the stove . . . do exactly what Karencon said. Tile behind the stove, then paint below the tile in a darker color so the lower wall is less noticeable. WhatÂs so great is that DH agreed! Whoohoo! I love it when a decision is made. :-) (Karencon - thanks for the photos and the diagram.)

We got home late last night, so IÂm sure weÂll get a better idea today in the daylight. But so far, hereÂs my plan:

  1. Tile the window return. WeÂll have to order some bullnose tile, but that shouldnÂt be a problem.

  2. Tile behind the stove, up to the microwave. We definitely have enough of the 4x4 tile.

  3. Paint below the tile using a darker color (probably the burgundy/rust color IÂm using as the trim in my kitchen)

    Or use KarenconÂs other idea and put wood/wainscoting down there. LOVE that idea, but donÂt know if DH will go for it. Our neighbor is putting wainscoting in his bathroom right now. Maybe heÂll have a little left over?!!

  1. IÂm now contemplating a different tile arrangement above the stove. Maybe using some of the glass ABOVE the stove so we can actually see it. Not sure if DH will go for this either. (He works a lot of hours and is getting tired of the whole DIY project.)

Thanks again everyone! I appreciate your input.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 7:42AM
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I like your FIL. Good luck, let us know how it goes.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 5:39PM
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Oh, Oh.............. at the risk of making your decision more difficult, you could continue a wainscoting along the wall where your pots are hanging if you went with that option.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 7:10PM
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