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Unread 12-02-2021, 09:14 PM   #1
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Tiling kitchen backsplash - first timer

I’m working on tiling the backsplash in our kitchen. This is my first ever tiling project. I have so far done an area in the kitchen that is off to the side of the main countertop area, and I plan on grouting that tomorrow. I wanted to finish the smaller area (~6 sq ft) first before doing the main area so I could learn the process and correct any issues. I’m looking for some advice before I do the main area within the next few days.

The original backsplash on the main area is laminate/Formica. I’m going to use MAPEI EcoPrim Grip over it, as MAPEI customer service has said it can be used for this purpose (see attached screenshots). I plan on then using 45 minute mud to flatten the walls, and then put another coat of EcoPrim Grip on just for good measure.

I have a few issues though:

1. We want the backsplash to end where the upper cabinets end, rather than continuing a few inches past. We think this will look best. However, there is a receptacle essentially right on the edge of the backsplash. There is only 1/16” between the edge of the wall plate and the end of the laminate. We got a Schluter RODEC edging to use here, but without moving the outlet, we won’t be able to put it in and even if we could, it wouldn’t look good with the wall plate bumping right up against the edging. My plan was to cut a section of the wall open, detach the junction box, screw in a piece or two of 2x4 to the stud to move the location over 1.5 or 3 inches, then reattach the box and fill back in either with the piece of drywall & laminate that I cut off or fresh drywall. The issue I have is, how would I deal with the joint at the cut line? If I used plain drywall I could build it back up with mud to make up the depth difference, but either way I’m not sure the right way to finish the joint so I don’t have any issues.

2. We are using a 3x6 marble tile with an accent piece running down the middle as the 3rd row of tile. This accent mosaic comes mounted on mesh backing. I’m not a fan of the way its made as the grout spacing is all over the place, the cuts aren’t perfect, etc. but its what we decided to go with. On the first wall I did, the issue I had was that the accent piece sits deeper than the 3x6 tile because the thinset mortar squeezes through the mesh. The accent piece is the same depth as the 3x6 tiles and they are made to pair together. Is there any way to remedy this without trying to put more on the back and just having it squeeze out and leaving a mess of thinset to scrape off?

3. The grout line between the 2nd and 3rd row will be just below the bottom of the window trim, so it will be visible. There’s probably not much I can do about this, but when I put the trim back on should I get a slightly larger trim for the bottom to cover it, or just live with the grout line? Which way would look best?

4. As mentioned, there are some valleys in the wall that I’m going to have to build up – wish I did this on the smaller area.

I’ll post again if I think of anything else.

Any help is appreciated.

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Unread 12-02-2021, 10:07 PM   #2
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Welcome, Logan.

I think the Schluter profile you have is RONDEC, yes? And yes, you'd need to make at least enough room for the "foot" to sit against the wall if you plan to install it the way it's intended. That would also require a narrow cut tile to fill that gap.

1. Depending upon the exact location of the framing adjacent to your existing electrical outlet box and the wiring for it, it may be quite simple to move it to your desired new location without dealing with the framing at all, using what is commonly called an "old work" box. There are a number of different styles, but the one I linked is a common type.

2. Not sure I understand the issue. You seem to be saying the accent tiles are the same thickness as the field tiles, but the accent tiles sit lower because thinset mortar "squeezes through the mesh" backing. That doesn't seem to compute. You sure the accent tiles are the same thickness as the field tiles?

3. 'Fraid I'd need a photo or two for that one.

4. Yes, you would want to flatten the substrate before continuing.

Not sure what's in your screen shots, the print is far too small for these old eyes.

My opinion; worth price charged.

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Unread 12-02-2021, 10:24 PM   #3
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Hey, thanks for the response.

It is RONDEC yes, my bad.

1. I did actually consider an old work box like that but I wasn't sure if the tabs that sit on the substrate would be an issue with the tile. I used one of these boxes recently but can't remember how far the cover plate extends past the tabs.

2. They are the same thickness for sure, I will take pictures tomorrow.

3. Again pictures tomorrow.

The screenshots were basically just showing MAPEI responding saying yes you can use EcoPrim Grip for this type of application.

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Unread 12-03-2021, 10:07 AM   #4
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Stud is located on the right side of the outlet.

In the picture with the window showing the grout line below the trim, the tile is probably going to sit slightly lower since I have to take just a hair off the bottom of the tile in order to make the first course level all the way around.
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Last edited by LK7; 12-03-2021 at 10:18 AM.
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