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March 14, 2014

Backsplash Value & Benefits

Welcome back guys. I’m Greg Fox, owner of Fox Granite Countertops. This week you guys overwhelmingly were asking about backsplashes. Very tricky topic. I’ll cover the top questions that you all asked. Hopefully, it’ll help give you backsplash ideas for your home.



Very easy. A backsplash does two things. They cover gaps in your walls. When we install the granite countertops, the cut’s straight but your walls are not straight. So there will be a gap between the end of the countertop in the wall. The size of the gap depends on how straight the walls are. So the backsplash is there to drop down, hitting in your wall on top of the granite and covers that gap so you don’t see those unsightly gaps.

The second main objective of the backsplash is to protect against water. You don’t want water getting into the wall. You don’t want mold, especially behind the sink. So you put a backsplash there to block the water. And also as a visual. It’s stunning, it’s beautiful, that’s the third objective. And so that is the main reason why you have backsplashes.


I’m of the opinion that a backsplash gives your kitchen that finished product. When you do a granite countertop with just a four-inch backsplash, which I like too– there’s nothing wrong with it. You’ll have four inches. Then you have about 12 inches above it of sheetrock, your painted wall. And then you have the bottom of the upper cabinets.

To me, that’s not a complete, finished look. And even though it looks good, I do like tile backsplashes. Because the tile come from the top of the granite to the bottom of the cabinet to have a complete look. With no painted wall, so it’s one complete thing covering that area.

Now it’s this tailored, finished product, complete look. Which to me, truly helps transform your kitchen and takes it to another level. Because at the end of the day, when you spend money, you want your kitchen to look different.


Backsplashes are very much subjective. There’s no right or wrong answer. There are plenty of options: mosaic tile, subway tile, and even glass backsplash.

One of the structures is that you want to usually have a contrasting color on the backsplash than your countertops. It doesn’t need to be black and white contrasting. It just needs to be different shades to where the backsplash will separate from the countertop. It’ll be different. If it’s too close in color tone, it’ll blend and the countertop will roll all the way to the backsplash with no separation.

So I suggest always having contrast– at least two or three shades of difference for the countertops. Between choosing backsplashes, the line in the sand is usually between natural stone, which we call travertine, and porcelain tile or glass. Porcelain tile or glass are easy to maintain. It’s almost impossible to stain them. The only thing you have to worry about is the grout. So that is really good maintenance.

Natural stone, travertine is porous, very soft and sucks in whatever it touches. That’s something that people love. It’s definitely worth doing but you have to seal it every six months to a year. Now we already went over the sealing process about granite. Pretty much the same process with backsplashes. Spray it on, wipe it on, wipe it off. Very easy so don’t be afraid of it.

But I do you want to know the truth ahead of time so you can make the best decision for you guys. If you don’t want maintenance, stay away from natural stone. If you don’t mind a little bit of maintenance, natural stone is the overwhelming majority of pairing with granite countertops. Natural stone backsplash pairs up with natural stone countertops.

There are three main travertines that people like. One is a light, medium, and a dark. Again, talking about contrasting, with another countertop, you might want to go with a medium gray. If you go with a darker countertop, you might go with a lighter gray. That’s up to you. And I definitely help assist my customers in choosing their backsplashes. We have tons of pictures you guys can look at to help you choose.


I want to keep it. That question is a little bit tricky. Because it’s not an easy answer. Whenever you’re taking off your old countertops, the thickness of that countertop is different from the granite. So first, we have to be able to slide the new countertop underneath the existing backsplash where it actually fits. That’s first and foremost if you want to keep it.

Second, if that gap is big, meaning the top of the granite to the bottom of the backsplash tile of your existing countertop are much thicker than the granite, then we’d have to close that gap by shimming up the granite to close that gap to be manageable. It can be done and we do it about six to ten times a month. So have no fear. We can assist you with that. As long as we can manage the gaps as we talked about then we can do this.

And the next thing you want to consider when deciding this is, will the granite match up with it very nicely? There’s no point in saving money or saving this backsplash if it doesn’t look good with the new granite. That’s counterproductive. So as long as it fits, it looks good, and we have the gap under control, we can successfully do it.

Now having said that, when we come to install, we have to successfully remove your current countertop and pull it out without damaging the tile backsplash. There are no guarantees. We cannot guarantee that. We will not know if it’s going to break a couple of pieces of tile when I pull out the countertop until we’re out there doing it.

It’s always good to have a couple of extra pieces of backsplash tile lying around in case we chip a couple. We have to pop them out and replace them. So that’s not a guarantee, although 80% of the time, we successfully remove the existing countertops without damaging the existing backsplash tile.

The last thing you want to do– and this is getting really technical, but I know you guys want the answers so I’m giving them to you. Is you want to get a grout caulk for that gap where the granite hits the backsplash tile. You want to go to Home Depot or Lowe’s to buy a grout caulk that matches your grout color as close as possible. If we use our caulk, it comes in white or clear. And that’s going to look really funky.

The goal of keeping existing backsplash is for nobody to know that it ever was installed before the granite. You want everything to feel like it was done at the same time. To do that, we need you to find a matching grout caulk for that bottom gap that we recaulk. So it looks the same as the rest of the grout in between the top. And that should cover it pretty good. If you do all those steps, we’ll give you a successful project to keep your existing tile backsplash.

Guys, I think we answered all your questions. If you have any more, please do not hesitate what you’ve been doing the last couple of weeks and contact us more questions about tile backsplashes. Thank you very much. We’ll see you next time.

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