Dad’s Tile Backsplash | Part 1

We’re almost complete with this little series I’ve called “Dad’s Dated Kitchen Redo".  We started by removing the wallpaper, then painting, updating the cabinet hardware, and now the pièce de résistance: a tile backsplash. 

I had told Mike and my dad that I wanted to lead this project, with Mike overseeing “quality control” of course.  So, a couple weekends ago, Mike helped me load up all the equipment, (wet saw, buckets, trowels, etc.) and we went over to get her done.  Mike ended up helping me a lot more than he expected since it was just him and I in the end, but he made sure to make me do most of the cutting, make a lot of the decisions, and generally do a majority of the work.  I was sore and tired, but also grateful because I got comfortable on the wet saw, and confident in my tiling skills. 

We really started with a blank slate since there was only wallpaper before.  My dad painted up to the backsplash area, removed all the outlet covers, and cleaned off all the knick knacks from the counters before we got there.




I didn’t take a single photo of the tile process since I was covered in mortar and glass shards, but it was pretty basic: mix mortar, spread mortar, cut tile’s, swear after glass tiles broke unevenly, place tile sheets on wall, sigh with relief, then repeat. 

Seriously, the tile we picked looks awesome but it was a bitch to work with.  It consisted of glass, very brittle stone, and stainless steel wrapped tiles.  I really got comfortable with the wet saw since you usually don’t have to deal with three different types of materials at once.  But, once you knew how each would react, I got used to the glass shards that shot at my face, (while I wore safety glasses of course), knowing the stone couldn’t be cut too small or it would break apart, and the metal needed the burrs filed down after each cut.

The kitchen looked completely different after we were done, even before the grout was completed.



We extended all the way up to the exhaust hood and it really makes a statement.  We also extended behind the refrigerator about 8 inches or so, so that no matter what angle you look at, (seriously, even if you’ve got your cheek on the counter looking back there), it looks like it extends all the way.  It’s also good practice in case someone gets a smaller fridge for some reason and all of sudden 2 inches shorter show the unfinished edge. 


For the other side of the kitchen and tile termination, we went with a stainless steel Shluter strip. 


We stopped it at the edge of the top cabinet, even though the counter extended a couple more inches.  To install the Shluter strip, you add some mortar, press the strip (which is an L shaped for anyone who’s never used it before) into the mortar and then add some more on top.  Then place the tile making sure it fits against the edge.

My dad’s house is a little old, built in 1989, so it’s still rocking an old telephone jack which we decided was too much hassle to remove so we left it.  #lazy 

Luckily, it’s stainless steel so it matches the tile and Shluter strip, yeah that’s our reasoning!



Even though it was a really crappy task, I’m glad I did it, because now I can say I did it, and know that I have the skills to do it again.  Although I never want to do it again, at least I know I can!

We were able to grout a couple days later, so in Part 2 I’ll show the grout and then we’ll only have a couple more small changes before it’s officially complete!


  1. looks awesome! btw you can replace telephone jacks with a blank cover (I just tape the telephone wires to the back of the cover so it doesn't fall into the wall)

    1. Duh, I'm not sure why we didn't think of that, thanks!! I'll tell my dad to get on it!