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Unread 05-10-2022, 08:41 AM   #1
aa7483
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Backsplash on unlevel countertops

Installing a 3 x 6 subway tile backsplash. Existing lower cabinets out of level from one end to the other 5/8" across 8'. Top cabinets are level.

I know the protocol if the lowers can't be leveled (countertops replaced at this point so not an option) is go trim the lower course. But this will leave the last 4' or so between 2 3/8 and 2 1/2 which will probably be noticeable. Is this the better move or would it be better to follow the counter and have the unevenness st the top?
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Unread 05-10-2022, 12:23 PM   #2
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Level the first course. One thing you're not factoring in is what the countertop looks like once the kitchen is back to being functional.
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Unread 05-10-2022, 07:48 PM   #3
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You mean once the appliances etc are back on the countertops?
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Unread 05-11-2022, 07:08 PM   #4
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I feel like it may almost be less noticeable to follow the counter and hide the 5/8 under the top cabinet. You can't really see the slope with the naked eye but I feel like the bottom course is cut, leaving 2 3/8 of a 3 inch tile may be really noticeable.
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Unread 05-12-2022, 02:09 PM   #5
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It's your home and you can do it how you please but if you can see the slope at the countertop level then you're going to see it the whole way. Especially when it's closer to the cabinets and closer to eye level.

I have a hunch you would like to not cut every individual piece to start with but my advice would be to not let mistakes compound.

Bite the bullet and do what needs to be done.
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Unread 05-12-2022, 05:25 PM   #6
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Not really concerned with the extra cuts. That wouldn't be a big deal. Definitely not trying to take shortcuts. But if I level the first course Your going to see some 3 inch tiles cut down to 2 3/8 on the right. I feel like that would be more noticible. I dunno. I could be wrong
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Unread 05-12-2022, 09:52 PM   #7
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You could easily set the tile on the low end 1/8" off the counter, then you would only cut 1/2" off the high end. Not perfect, but better. And a well-tooled bead of caulk will hide that.

The only other option I can think of would be to use larger tiles.

If you follow the slope of the counter as is, I promise you'll notice it in more than one place. For instance, if you have a shorter piece on one end, the end cut is going to be at quite an angle.
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Unread 05-13-2022, 09:53 AM   #8
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That would definitely help. These tiles have the built in 1/8 spaces. I guess I wouldn't have to put a spacer between the tile around counter on the high end?
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Unread 05-13-2022, 10:12 AM   #9
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If you do, just make it a sliver, just enough so the tile isn't in direct contact with the counter.
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Unread 05-13-2022, 01:12 PM   #10
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Is it even necessary if it has built in spacers?
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Unread 05-14-2022, 07:17 AM   #11
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Still struggling with this one. When I round the bend there is one spot on the counter that is 1/8 inch even lower than what I thought the low point was. So now at my high point I'd be trimming 3/4 off. As much as I hate I still feel like following the counter is the lesser evil. That's how i did I previously like 12 years ago when I bought the house. Maybe I didn't care as much then haha.
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Unread 05-14-2022, 08:26 AM   #12
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We’re your countertops installed by a company? If so, get them back out to level it properly within standards.
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Unread 05-14-2022, 09:02 AM   #13
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I wouldn’t have the same opinion as Christopher on this. It’s been my experience that unless the countertop fabricator/installer has an unusual agreement within their terms, it would be unlikely that creating a level surface over non-level cabinets would be included in their installation. Their standards have more to do with a flat plane preparation and/or properly supporting the countertop to prevent over-stressing/cracking.

If this is bugging you a lot, it’s not the end of the world to remove the top and level the cabinetry. And, yes, I understand what’s already been installed the effort that will be required. But if this bugs you a lot, it’s a proper way to fix it.

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Unread 05-14-2022, 09:21 AM   #14
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Yea I don't think it's the countertop company's responsibility and I believe it's in the contract. I started on the opposite side of the kitchen. I installed some new cabinets to match the old ones where I removed a wall. Of course that is a piece of cake since I installed the cabinets dead level. It's my fault for not checking the existing but I was really busy wirh work the week of install and quickly removed the old tops the night before install to be ready. At this point removing the tops will involve bringing the company back out since I would be afraid of damaging them myself. I can live with cheating the backsplash to make it work. I'm just trying to pick the lesser evil and right now it looks like following the counter. It's so slightly off you can't see it withi the naked eye. You. Just see a 5/8 inch difference across the top if you bend down or are looking from far away. That's how it always was but before I had a small glass mosaic so it was less noticeable I guess. Is there maybe a way to use a trim piece along the top to hide it?
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Unread 05-14-2022, 09:38 AM   #15
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With that in mind, I would re-visit your tile size choice. There are plenty of larger tiles that would give you the same feel as what you’re showing us.

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