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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Making a (Back)splash

Stephanie Staton
Hobby Farms and Hobby Farm Home Editor

With major farmhouse renovation projects taking place all around, I hatched a plan that would keep me out of the way but still productive in the building process: bathroom backsplashes.

Turns out that while my shopping prowess scored us big savings on vanities and countertops for the bathrooms, they didn’t include a backsplash to match the countertops. I took this as the opportunity to add a little personality to the space. Aside from backsplashes looking nice, hand washing is a must in our house—and I’m not pointing fingers, but some boys … I mean, hand washers … are a little more vigorous in their water-soaking endeavors than others—making a backsplash almost equally necessary. 

This in mind, I went shopping! (Twist my arm, why don’t you?) I visited a couple different stores—from specialty tile shops to big-box stores—to get an idea of the products and application options available.

The first score was a new product that peels and sticks to your wall on one side, then peels and adheres to the tiles on the other side. I just have to say, my mind was blown. After the exhausting experience with the tile floors, this was just the shortcut I needed!

No need for thinset was just the ticket, but having no experience with backsplash tiling also made me a little nervous to install individual tiles (as did my need to keep it simple). I chose a few patterns that came in sheets on mesh backing. Before buying the amount needed for each room, I purchased one sheet of each in a few different patterns and colors, took them home and held them next to the countertops—a good call because one I thought would look nicest didn’t quite work with the brown vanity and was easily swapped with another sample I’d purchased. With the choices narrowed, I returned the sheets that didn’t suit my liking and purchased what I needed to complete the projects.

A peel-and-stick product made laying backsplash tile easy for HF editor Stephanie Staton. Photo by Stephanie Staton (HobbyFarms.com)
Photo by Stephanie Staton

I went with a brown motif for the first bathroom and white for the second. Bonus No. 2: The white sheets don’t need grouting. How’s that for easy!

Back home, I laid out my tile sheets to make sure they would fit together and match up with the overall pattern. It took swapping some pieces around as well as trimming out some rows so that the colors matched up properly, but trimming the rows was a quick as snipping the scissors through the mesh backing. Really the hardest part was cutting the tiles. Because I didn’t have a tile saw on hand, I roped my husband into using a small diamond blade fitted to a Dremel tool to trim the edges while I poured water over the tiles for a clean cut.

I used a level to install the peel-and-stick backing, as well as the tiles, pressing firmly to get good adhesion. I then caulked the edges of the white tiles to finish them off and offer more protection from rogue droplets, checking those backsplashes off the list. I did the same thing with the brown-vanity bathroom, but my selection of tile meant grouting and sealing on top of those steps—a small price to pay for a big splash!

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Making a (Back)splash

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