? re: not doing the 4" extended countertop-into-backsplash

Molly PhillipsOctober 7, 2012

So, as I build my budget, I dropped into Home Depot today to get a quote on countertops, just to have something to reference when I GASP at the final amount we need to save to do this "mini" (but quickly evolving to a large and expensive) remodel.

Anyway, the clerk seemed surprised when she asked what I'm sure she thought was a routine question - don't I want to include the 4" backsplash in the countertop quote? - and I said no. She asked what I planned to do and I told her I was going to do tile all the way down, to which she replied, "Well, you do know that the grout is porous so bacteria/salmonella will leak into it, which is why that 4" backsplash is highly recommended."

I am owning the fact that I was at Home Depot and I'm sure the training there isn't stellar. However, I thought she did raise a valid point and just KNEW my friends here would have the right answer, as I know you guys have researched this already.

If you don't have the 4" backsplash, do you treat your other backsplash in a special way when you're cleaning?

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I don't know the right answer, but have to ask what you would be doing to contaminate the backsplash with significant amounts of bacteria (other than wiping It with a sponge) and then transfer that bacteria to food at a future point in time? And wouldn't the same apply to the seam between the flat and vertical stone surfaces?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 10:26PM
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That sounds pretty ridiculous to me. I don't have a 4 inch backsplash and only have tile behind my cooktop. Didn't have a 4 inch backsplash at my previous home either. No salmonella or other food borne bacterial diseases in 30+ years of being without a 4 inch backsplash.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 10:34PM
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The people without 4" backsplashes wanted to answer you, but they all died.

As a temporary safety measure until you renovate, stop rubbing your food on the wall. Just for now.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 11:02PM
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We had a thread on this forum in which people told all the silliest and/or craziest things they heard from contractors and/or salespeople. I thought I'd heard them all after reading that thread, and also being a gardenweb member for some years. But the whopper the HD person told you is a new one!

My preference is for the tile to meet the countertop, with no 4" strip of counter on the wall. For me, the only reason I would have a 4" strip of counter on the wall is if I were not going to have any other backsplash otherwise, and wanted to protect the wall from splatters, etc. Having said that, if YOU like the look of the 4" backsplash go for it, but not because you are afraid of bacteria! I would guess that the reason the HD salesperson was pushing it was because there's a big upcharge to add that 4" backsplash without a lot of work, i.e more profit for them.

The reason why it used to be standard to have a 3-4" strip of counter-backsplash dates back to the formica days. Now that we have modern counter fabrication where a counter is cut precisely to meet the wall, with no gap, there isn't a practical reason to have the strip. But if you like the look (i.e. people like the vintagey mid-century appearance of the 4" strip), go for it.

In any case, I will list the reasons why I do not like a small strip of counter on the backsplash:

- you will spend a lot of effort designing a beautiful tile backsplash; why cut it short by 4".

- the additional horizontal line of the 4" strip will visually make the space between your counter and upper cabinets look smaller and more cramped.

- the 4" backsplash creates a small "ledge" which collects dust. Yet one more thing to clean.

- you will be charged for the material and installation for the 4" backsplash; money that you may have preferred to spend elsewhere.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 12:38AM
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1.) You don't use grout in the joint between the counter and bs, you use caulk, usually silicone, that is non-porous and water tight. This is true whether that bs is 4" of counter material, or tile.
2.) What williamsem said.
3.) Just because something is non-porous doesn't mean it can't have salmonella on it. Stainless steel can be contaminated with salmonella if you place raw chicken on it. Because it is non-porous, you can bleach the surface and more effectively eliminate the contaminant than you can on a porous surface. But both porpous and non-porous surfaces can (and should regularly) be decontaminated (10% bleach for 10 minutes).

The 4" bs is a really dated look.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 12:57AM
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marcolo...I just spewed my coffee all over my computer screen! Thanks for the belly laugh!! :)

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 7:30AM
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Yes, marcolo a little levity goes a long way in the AM.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 7:39AM
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That story is crazy, and I would just ignore what HD said. Just like when we went to HD for cabinets, and wanted frameless cabinets. At the time, HD was not selling frameless cabinets, so the "kitchen designer" there told us "don't you know that frameless cabinets will fall out of your wall and come crashing down on you. Do you have children?"

You mentioned you are still in the planning stages of your kitchen. My advice is to shop elsewhere than HD for your cabinets. Not only will you get a better kitchen plan from a qualified designer at a good cabinet place, but you will save money. Our quote from HD was about 20% higher than where we ended up getting our cabinets. And HD's design had filler in four different places. Our cabinet rep's plan had no filler.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 8:42AM
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Molly Phillips

Okay, thanks for the laugh. The more I thought about it, the more ridiculous it sounded, but I'm glad I added some levity to your days and marcolo, you win the Comment of the Post. :)

And I'm not really using HD - just am getting basic prices to form a budget and then will shop locally. Saving money from that budget will make me look GENIUS to my husband, so bonus!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 8:57PM
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akchicago, that thread sounds like an amusing read! Do you happen to have a link for it or a suggestion of keywords to try searching? I've tried a few combinations (via google, not the forum search) and haven't found anything - but that thread sounds like so much fun and just what I need right now!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 12:55AM
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I prefer the backsplash tile to meet the counters also to give an updated look.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 1:25AM
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I have nothing to offer as all here are evidently dead from a dreadful bacterial infection. Why are we the last to know these things?

P.S. We did get our cabinets at HD and like them alot, but didn't get our granite, or pretty much anything else, from there.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 1:53AM
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Artichokey, it may have been this one, I can't quite recall; there've been a few over the years.

Here is a link that might be useful: Thread Called Crazy Things Salesmen or KD Have Told You

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 8:51AM
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