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Should I keep my current backsplash?

13 years ago

I am looking to do a mini-makeover to my kitchen and wanted some opinions on my current backsplash.

As you can see from my pics, there is a lot of white in my kitchen. The current backsplash is 4x4 white ceramic tile that was installed by the builders (we are not the original owners). They are in really great shape. I really want new countertops as the current ones are white laminate with wood edging. The wood is starting to warp around the sink area and in front of the dishwasher. I would love to get quartz countertops and I think DH would be more inclined to spend the $ on quartz if I did not also need to replace the backsplash at the same time. The appliances are going to be replaced as they die (which should be soon).

I would love to get your thoughts. If the tiles are really dated then I certainly will consider replacing them. I keep debating between light and dark countertops so any thoughts on that is appreciated.




Comments (17)

  • theresse
    13 years ago

    Hi - I'm no expert but when I think of square tiles I think of 1920's houses or any craftsman house, really (although many also used subway tile too, I suppose). My 1913 house has square tile (original) in a couple of places but also has subway...and a friend's original 1920's bungalow has square tile. I'm not sure it ever goes out of style, even though at the moment other kinds of style are definitely in the limelight. It looks nice to my eye - especially with the contrasting darker cabinets.

    I like the wall color too. I think what would look nicest would be a 3rd element color-wise, for the countertop, whatever you do. E.g. somewhere in between the dark and the light (e.g. something multi-colored or with greens or blues or grays), or else much, much darker, e.g. black/charcoal. Black's pretty ubiquitous these days but frankly, I think it would look very nice w/ everything else you have going there...something like a dark grey or black honed granite, you know? I think white doesn't break things up enough and is just too matchy-matchy with the nice sparkling white backsplash, but that's just me! :) The white backsplash would look better contrasting with something different below it - and yet would also pick up on the white appliances and sink which would look really nice.

  • bmorepanic
    13 years ago

    If you decide to keep it, you'll have to build up the quartz with 1/4" plywood or something similar because quartz isn't as tall as your existing counter.

    3cm quartz is a tiny bit less than 1.25" and your current counter is 1.5". The exposed plywood edge might cause a small decorating issue (think people paint it).

    Just soes you knows.

  • jakabedy
    13 years ago

    I think it might be hard to replace the countertops without replacing the backsplash. But even though cost is an issue, I think you'll be able to find something interesting without breaking the bank. Maybe some slate?

    Also, once you have the quartz in, you're going to want something more modern and with more oomph than the 4 x 4 white squares.

    Backsplashes are totally DIY-able, if you and our DH are up for it. We've done two. The first was simple 3 x 6 subways, but with lots of cuts. The second was face paper-mounted glass mosaics without a lot of cutting (but much more difficult) and we lived to tell. For ceramic tiles you need a good wet saw, but these can be rented.

  • riverspots
    13 years ago

    I think the white tiles are classic. But it might be tricky to get the new counter to the same height as the old one. When I replaced my old wood-trimmed formica counters, the new granite ones were not as thick. If I had had a backsplash worth saving, there would have been a gap between counter and bottom of tile.

    I'd also look at granite in addition to quartz. There are several cream and brown granites that would look great with those cabinets.

  • paintergirl94
    13 years ago

    You have a cute kitchen that needs a little updating. I would definately change the tile, which doesn't have to be expensive.
    And then I would paint the island (white or a soft green, or....) and then extend the top so that you can add turned legs (about $30 ea.) and add two stools for island seating.
    Then, maybe some new knobs and pulls.
    And finally, for color inspiration, use that funky vase in olive green with the splash of red. Maybe choose a window treatment with those colors.
    Your counter will be the big ticket item, so choose that first and then tile, etc...

  • chocolatebunny
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Thanks for the responses!

    I realize that the new counter will not be the same height as the current one, so I am OK with cutting tiles and adding them to the gap. If I do go with a new backsplash we would probably install it ourselves anyway to save some $. DH is already hyperventillating at the cost of quartz so I am trying not to overload his system. :)

    I cannot have an overhang on the island for seating b/c there is a wall that is on a 45 degree angle where the edge of the island is (you cannot see it in the photos). Any kind of overhang would make it really tight trying to get around it.

    The vase is one of my favorite things in my house. :) I didn't think about using it for color inspiration. The paint is staying. It is Whole Wheat by Sherwin Williams and I do still like it.

    I have several brownish quartz colors written down in my notebook (Zodiaq vela brown, smokey topaz among others) but when I had the samples on my counter they blended too much with the cabinets.

    I am trying to stay away from beige b/c it seems like my whole house is beige. We redid our master bath recently and have travertine stone on the surround of our tub, and big beige ceramic tiles in our shower so I am kind of beiged-out.

    There is a Hanstone color called Mediterranian Olive that looks nice but will I get tired of a green counter quickly?

    I have not totally ruled out granite; I would want a quiet one however. EVERYONE in my neighborhood is upgrading to granite so I kind of want to be different with the quartz. :)

  • ellendi
    13 years ago

    You have a beautiful kitchen in really great shape. That said, the white counters and the tiles are too stark for the warm wood cabinets. I agree with the above posters that it will be difficult to line up a new counter. Have you priced around? You might very well be able to replace the two. If not now, maybe wait until you can. A new backsplash coordinated with a new counter will bring this already nice kitchen up to a whole new level!

  • paintergirl94
    13 years ago

    Sounds like you have everything under control, and I do love that you are not going granite. I did walnut counertops, my DH made them and I smile every time I see them.
    You may tire of a green counter, but how about a green island? :)

  • jsweenc
    13 years ago

    This is just my personal preference, and probably because I had 4x4 tile in my kitchen before reno, but I don't much like them, so my gut answer to your question was to replace. But if you like them, the answer really depends on what kind of counter you get. I agree that it doesn't quite go with the tone of the wood. But I try not to spend other people's money; if it's not in the budget, it will be fine to keep it for a while.

    Rather than not look, if you want to be different than your neighbors, you should also check out leathered granite. People know polished granite, but I always get the question "What is the countertop?" They are surprised it is granite, so it is definitely on the unusual side. Many of the quiet ones are available in leathered. I think a dark gray or black leathered granite would look stunning with your cabinets and paint.

    FWIW... I looked first at brown quartz. and got several samples from Cambria, Silestone and Zodiaq (including Autumn Light, Corona Brown, Vela Brown, Smoky Topaz, Saddle Brown, Warm Taupe, Nutmeg, Black Forest, and Chestnut). I can't find the order confirmations from the other two companies to give you the colors, but Cambria has some interesting flecks of color variation without being too busy.

  • whenicit
    13 years ago

    You could always remove the back splash and paint it while you save up the money, and spend the time, determining what the new back splash will be. I agree, you'll need to get rid of the white. You'll just want to. Having said that, I added granite to my old kitchen to try and sell the house and left the back splash, which was white tile like yours, just on the diagonal!

    And in my opinion, going to quartz to be different is probably not the best reason. (I do this kind of thing a lot and typically regret it - not going with the 'norm'). Even if you don't want to think about resale, you might want to... Either granite or something that is newer than granite.

  • formerlyflorantha
    13 years ago

    I know I've read about painting tile in various articles. Just found one how-to piece online and there are others out there also. This would buy you time and allow you to try out new colors. You would see the currently white area in a new way.

    Here is a link that might be useful: how to paint tile

  • bmorepanic
    13 years ago

    Yeah, about that thought of cutting the tile thing and adding pieces ...

    Unless you have some of that specific lot of tile, it ain't gonna match colorwise. Tile is marked with color lots because glazes are awful to match across batches. No tile maker guarantees that the color will match another lot.

    Plus the grout ain't gonna match because (a) aging of grout and (b) color variation in batches and (c) you probably don't know the maker of the grout. All whites are not created equal.

    Plus a tiny tile fragment (the quarter inch minus whatever is the width of your current grout line) is going to be a lotta trouble to cut and install. It'll look weird.

    If you've got an ikea nearby, they sell this counter to backsplash silvery rubber stuff that might be a better idea for a temporary stay of execution.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Boren counter molding.

  • boxerpups
    13 years ago

    Hi Chocolatebunny,

    I like the backsplash.
    I think it looks simple and lovely. I have the same simple
    white sq tile backsplash. And my granite counters were
    installed right up to them. I kept the backsplash because
    I could not find something I liked better. I thought
    about white subway but then my DH said.
    "Won't that be too similar to what you already have?"
    And so I kept the sq white. And 1 year later I am so glad
    I did. I like it.

    Granite or Quartz or Corian or even laminate can go
    right next to the old backsplash. And with new counters
    you won't even notice the backsplash. It will be simple
    skirt with the beautiful blouse. The simple side dish to
    the rich meal. I know there might be issues of height
    and having to cut.

    But this is what we did. We put plywood on top of the
    cabinets. It was a support system for the upgraded
    counters and it brought the level of the granite up
    to the space we wanted on the BS. I had ugly thick white
    tile with white grout before so there was a thick
    backing but still not high enough to meet the BS.
    There are many things you can do. I wanted to raise my
    counters as I am fairly tall and like it up 1/2 inch higher.

    Have you visited Dupont's site? Not to buy Corian or Quartz
    or even granite but to see the different colors available
    and how they match up to similar cab colors. I loved
    this little tool to play with while I searched for what
    I wanted in my own kitchen.

    I think an exotic granite might be different than your
    neighbors. Something with movement and yes leather them
    or honed the surface and get some fun.

    And lastly what about white Marble. Marble would look
    yummy with your cabinets. And white would match those
    tiles and go with any color.


    A granite with great movement Copper Canyon

    Golden River

    Honed Granite with beautiful movement

    Eco Counters with great colors and this is NOT granite.

    Quartz white and pretty

    Copper might be a fun different counter...


  • WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a
    13 years ago

    Chocolatebunny, I am so glad you posted this question. I too like my current backsplash and seriously considerig retaining it when I replace my tile countertops with granite, marble, or soapstone (still have to make up my mind). Would the same constraints mentioned above, apply to removing tile countertops?

  • chocolatebunny
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Thanks again for all the suggestions!

    I should say that I don't want quartz countertops JUST to be different. My sister has Zodiac countertops and I really like them. I don't care for the really busy granites so that is also why I am drawn to quartz. Why does it have to be so darn expensive?

    I would probably use plywood to build up the counters whether or not I keep the existing BS. I am also (don't slam me) considering laminate again. There is a WilsonArt color called "Rustic Slate" that I think would look really nice. I would want to go with a slate backsplash (or porcelain tiles that look like slate) if I go with this lamiate.

    I found on another post somewhere that there is a site that has tiles that look like fabric, but they are actually ceramic. I would love to do something like that too.

    It looks like I'm inclined to get a new BS, but it's nice to hear that my current one is not horrible. :)

  • s_smith0918_comcast_net
    13 years ago

    Hi, Did you end up keeping your backsplash. Your kitchen looks a lot like mine, but my backsplash is a matte bisque with the tiles at an angle. I too am planning to replace my countertop (with granite) and would like to keep the backsplash. My concern is the depth between the backsplash and the cabinet. Mine is built just like yours (I thought I was looking at my kitchen for a second). The granite is 1 1/4 inches thick. Cam you tell me after you took your counterop off, what was the depth from splash to cabinet? Thank you.

  • Robert D'Ambrosio
    7 years ago

    My backsplash was installed before my new granite countertop. The fabricator made a template and scribed to the backsplash to bring the granite countertop as close to the backsplash as possible. He then applied silicone where the backsplash and countertop meet. Excellent job.