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Unread 07-26-2021, 05:34 PM   #1
TomT29
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Installing Kitchen Backsplash Over Wavy Wall?

Hi, all,

Found the forums via a Google search and was hoping I might be able to solicit some opinions on a kitchen backsplash project. Briefly: Have a home with an in-law apartment built circa the 1920s. Want to install a backsplash. Two of the three walls look fairly level/flat, but the other has a "valley" that looks to be about a half-inch deep from the rest of the wall.

It's hard to see in photos, but you can see how far away the wall is from the countertop backsplash here. (The unseen parts of the backsplash on either side are fairly flush with the wall.)

I know if I start installing tile that the wave in the wall will create issues, lead to a strange layout, etc. Can I just "float" the valley of the wall with some tileset to build it up?

The wall is also exhibiting some separation of the top layer. It might be plaster. I know I'll need to remove this before adding any adhesive. Can that be done on the bare surface underneath? Attaching photos of both the loose plaster and what's underneath a removed smoke detector. Thanks in advance.
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Unread 07-26-2021, 07:03 PM   #2
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Welcome, Tom.

You're certainly gonna want to remove any loose plaster before you do anything else. For the patching and flattening for a kitchen backsplash, you could use some setting-type drywall compound. You really don't wanna try that with thinset mortar. Not only is that not what the mortar is designed for, it's also gonna be very difficult to work in your situation.

If you use the setting-type drywall compound, I recommend you get some listed at at least 30 minutes working time. You get to fooling with the 15 or 20 minute stuff and it's easy for a beginner to get in trouble.

And if you use that compound, which is gypsum based, some folks will recommend you then prime the wall before setting your tile with thinset mortar.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 07-27-2021, 11:32 PM   #3
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Thanks, CX. By priming, you mean use an underlayment primer like Mapei over the portion built up by the joint compound? Or over all the walls? Will thinset adhere to the joint compound directly?
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Unread 07-28-2021, 06:53 AM   #4
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Nothing that exotic (or expensive) required. A good PVA paint primer is often recommended. You can get such in Kilz brand at your local home center.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 07-28-2021, 08:25 AM   #5
TomT29
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Got it. Thanks for the advice!
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Unread 07-28-2021, 10:33 AM   #6
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One follow-up: Would you suggest any particular brand for the setting-type drywall compound? I've seen DuraBond suggested elsewhere on the forum, but I don't think it's stocked in my area.
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Unread 07-28-2021, 11:24 AM   #7
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Any plaster or drywall joint compound will work, do not use topping, it'stoo soft. Be sure yo scrape back all of the loose plaster top till it is tight to the wall, many times it will yun several feet before you cant scrape any more off. Repair what you scraped offsand then seal with at least 2 coats of oil based Kilz or BIN.
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Unread 07-28-2021, 11:37 AM   #8
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"My area" would be more meaningful if you'd add a geographic location to your User Profile, Tom.

Depends upon where you shop. Homer carries USG (the former USG) products, including the Easy Sand joint compound.
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Unread 07-28-2021, 01:03 PM   #9
TomT29
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Got it! Updated my location. Thanks again.
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