Is backer board essential behind tile backsplash?

gardenpea_gwDecember 12, 2011

We're redoing our galley kitchen, and one installer says we must have backerboard and another says we don't. The walls already have sheetrock on them, although they're messy from removing the formica.

The second problem involves finishing the ends of the tile. There are no bullnose pieces or rods(?) that match our mosaic to put at the end of the run or between the uppers and the window sill. With backerboard, they say we'll have a half inch "glob" of grout to finish it off. Without the backerboard, it'll only be the width of the mosaic. What is the best way to have a finished look. I don't want to stare at a huge glob of grout everytime I'm at the sink.

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No backerboard required on gyproc.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 1:01PM
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Our tile guy didn't use Backerboard. We have painted drywall behind our tile.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 1:06PM
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We researched this one before we did our backsplash. No backerboard required. Unlike a shower which is continually soaked by water, a backsplash just catches the occasional splurt of some liquid or other. The tile you put up with the sealer you put over it is more than adequate to deal with that amount of liquid. Our wallboard, like yours, wasn't in pristine shape. We patched all the holes, cut-outs, and dings, primed, and put up the tile. Be sure to seal with silicone where the tile meets the countertop.

On your other question about how to end, I'm a little stumped. We have an abrupt end like that (no glob of grout!), but it falls at the end of a counter where the refrigerator slides in. Because of its location, that squared end can't be seen from the side. Where is yours falling?

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 1:30PM
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Ours is natural quartzite right on drywall, painted in some areas. Contractor said it wasn't an issue, so I didn't argue.

For the edging, you can try a product by Schluter. They have several profiles to choose from. They have both metal and plastic materials. I installed their aluminum Jolly that was the same (at least very close) color as my grout. In the photo, you can see where I used it to create a clean edge to transition to a SS backsplash behind the range. In hindsight, I should have done the backsplash first, but that's another story.

Here's where I used it to transition to to the dining area:

Here is a link that might be useful: Schluter Tile Edging

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 1:30PM
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jscout, I will definitely check out your suggestion. And I'm glad to know from the rest of you that we really don't need the backer board.

suzannes1, one ends at the refrigerator, which wouldn't be a problem. The others end at counter's edge next to the dishwasher about 4-5 inches from the door facing (where mosaic would be at end of counter after the corner of back wall). That end would have the edges on the top and side. Another ends at the end of the counter/cabinets to the right of entering the back door. And then there are two places about 4-5 inches between the window facing and uppers by the sink. I hope that description makes sense.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 2:28PM
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I have NEVER heard of someone using backerboard over the rock for the backsplash area. As mentioned- it does not have constant water soaking like a shower. I have always tiled over the sheetrock (usually painted).

For the ends- You could use a finishing trim (there are many styles and finishes) or-depending on the type of tile, you could make your own bullnose. A good tile shop can knock down the edge of the tile to form a bullnose. It really depends on the type of tile and if the color goes through the tile.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 2:41PM
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collins design

Is it glass or ceramic or stone mosaic? Glass and often natural stone don't need any edging at all, because the edges of the tiles are attractive. Simply taking care to clean up the thinset and grout carefully should be all you need. If it's porcelain or other ceramic, the edge will often show the clay plus the glaze and look unfinished. In that case you will need some type of finish...

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 8:31PM
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After reading many comments on this subject I will use "green" board instead of backerboard or Hardyboard to replace damaged old backsplash drywall. The paper came off the old drywall and some crumbled around the 70 year old electrical outlets and switches (that will be replaced and moved anyway). Had the drywall needed only minor repairs, I wouldn't even replace it. Is there any chance I can just patch the holes and repaper the drywall?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 11:41PM
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