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Thread: Bathroom countertop backsplash

  1. #1

    Question Bathroom countertop backsplash

    We are planning a bathroom remodel and have chosen a solid-surface countertop and sink. We are interested in a pebble tile backsplash. The current backsplash is 3 3/4 inches high. Above it is a large mirror that extends the length of the countertop.

    The contractor is discouraging us from doing a pebble tile backsplash. Can someone tell me why it would be a bad idea?

    We are also putting in solid-surface walls around the tub/shower alcove. He is also discouraging us from putting in any pebble tile accents around the shower, like maybe around the top.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member SteveW's Avatar
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    Can't answer your question, but we just had a Corian lavatory top fabricated and installed. They apparently glue on the backsplashes and then send the joint so it looks like it was made out of a single block of Corian! I really like that seamless look.

  3. #3
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
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    what are you doing at the cove corner bottom edge where the backsplash meets the counter?

    what kind of pebble tile? I've seen 12" x12" sheets at prices ranging from $5 to $50, so i think it all depends. Can you upload a picture? Have you heard discouraging words? or is the guy jsut changing the subject? can you be more specific?

    david

  4. #4

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    geniescience, to clarify a bit...When the contractor came over to look at the bathroom and talk to us about what we wanted, I said we would like a pebble tile backsplash. He seemed to respond positively at that time, showing us how thick the tile would be on the wall. Then when we got his estimate, he didn't include the backsplash. When I talked to him about it, he said, "Well, most people just have the same solid surface material used in the countertop as the backsplash." When I pressed him a bit more, he said something like, "Ahhhh...not if you want to keep that mirror..." Then when I asked, "Is there anywhere in the bathroom we could incorporate some pebble tile?" he said, "Ahhhh...maybe the floor, but you already said you want sheet vinyl."

    He is a competent person and a clear communicator, except when it comes to the backsplash I guess, LOL! I wonder if he thinks we're nuts and is afraid to just come out and say it! I thought there might be a technical explanation for why it would not work. I'd be fine asking him again, but I already asked him in 3 different ways.

    I don't know specifically what pebble tile we want. I had the idea, then mentioned it to the contractor, thinking he'd know about it as he has used it before in other jobs, on the floor I think. I said "pebble tile" and also "river rock tile," saying it's the kind that is cut flat. He is a tile and stone specialist.

    The alternative is to have the countertop and backsplash fabricated by the solid surface company and have it delivered in one piece.

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Are you using all pebble tile, or just accents? The only reason I can think of is that the surface where the backsplash meets the top might be uneven because of the pebble tile and possibly leak.

  6. #6
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
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    tell the guy to deal with this right now.

    i smell a bad situation when a contractor starts this process this way. Just blast back that you want him to focus on getting pebbles in the backsplash without making it look like there are consequences to pay.

    david

  7. #7

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    So, no one can tell me if it is possible to use pebble tile, river rock tile, or any tile that has rocks in it, in the applications I described above?

    hj, you are saying that if we use a pebble tile that has uneven edges, water might get down in where the countertop meets the tile or grout?

    geniescience, I'm not sure I understand your post. Could you explain further?

    Thanks everyone!

  8. #8
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    SUre you can use them. If you like the look, it's your house. It will be harder to keep things clean. You should use caulk between the top and the bottom of the row of the tile. The rocks next to the manufactured surface may look out of place and if there is an outlet in this area, it can be a major pain to install. Code requires the cover plate to actually fit on the surface which is impossible with something like the pebbles. This means that your outlet would either have a large flat grout line around it, or be recessed, or some other means (maybe moved out of that area entirely). There may be other gotcha's in this, too. I can see the contractor's reluctance, since it will be very hard to make it look good, depending on the layout. If you are willing to pay for the time and effort (and it will be a fair amount), go for it. Dont' expect him to do it for free.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  9. #9

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    Thanks jadnashua! There is no outlet in the backsplash area. The current backsplash butts right up to the bottom of the mirror. So my best guess was that it might be hard to tile up against a mirror? Or maybe there isn't enough space to work with between the countertop and the mirror?

    As far as the shower walls, I still don't understand that either. Maybe it's hard to do tile when the solid surface may be a different thickness than the tile?

    I really don't know anything about tiling. I just know I like rocks, LOL! We can't spend a lot of money, so if it would cost a lot then it might be better to just not mess with it. But we had told him about these ideas when he came to look at the bathroom, before he did his estimate.

  10. #10
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
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    is it clearer now, based on the foregoing? Yes, you can have the rocks you like, but no you will not get what you what dealing with a guy who is always forgetting to ut them in his estimate, changing the topic and focussing on something else. The guy who didn't put them in the estimate.

    David

  11. #11

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    I talked to the contractor yesterday and got a better explanation. He said it would be hard to make it look good as the pebble is uneven, and that would kinda look funny up against the straight edge of the countertop below and the mirror above. Plus, there would be a lot of grout (ie empty space visually) at the top and bottom. It would also be harder to clean, and the grout would look dirty over time. He said we would end up spending more time on that backsplash than we would on anything else we're doing in the bathroom.

    I do have some ideas for "art projects" I can do with pebble tile, so I could maybe make something that would hang on the wall.

  12. #12
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
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    switch to epoxy grout in any case. All grout looks like dirt after a few years,if it's portland-cement based grout.

    at least you got something explained to you. He doesn't want to do it. Another person might say he'd help you find rocks that "meet the criteria" but he says that the grout will look ugly. Fine, fine, have it your way.

    david

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