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March 24, 2016

How to Keep Your Existing Tile Backsplash

Hi guys. My name is Greg Fox with Fox Granite and Countertops. This is another session of our video blog series, and one of the topics that I would love to talk about is keeping your existing tile backsplash.

We have probably ten jobs a month. We have clients who would like to keep an existing tile backsplash for one of two reasons. One, they just love it. The color is perfect, the tile is discontinued, you can’t get it anymore, and they really, really are invested in this tile backsplash.

Another reason obviously is: save some money. Never a bad reason, save a little dough, because the countertops are going to cost some additional cash.

Either way, we’re 100% committed to helping you guys out to accomplish this goal, but what I want to stress is, it’s not in our control. Meaning, it’s basically a 50/50 chance of whether we can accomplish it or not.

There are two main factors in this process.

  1. You physically have to remove the current countertops without breaking the tile backsplash. Most people don’t additional tile left by the previous owner or the person who did the original tile work. Therefore, something breaks in the wrong spot, you’re pretty much screwed and you have to replace the whole thing.
  2. When you pull it out, sometimes the gap is not big enough from the original countertop to the granite to where you can’t slide it underneath. In that case, we’ll do our best to cut the tile as even as possible even through we’re using Mikiya. It’s not going to be perfectly straight to fit it in and mediate that problem for you.

Let’s say we actually get past the first hurdle, we’re successful in pulling off the countertops without breaking any of the backsplash and we have a gap there that’s big enough to fit the new granite countertops or quartz countertops underneath.

The thing that is somewhat out of our control are the gaps, especially in the high bar where the granite comes into the first backsplash (which is the lower part of the gap). We can control the gap a little bit by shimming up and closing it to a recognizable size to where you wouldn’t feel like it’s weird.

But, when you have a high bar and the tile meets it, sometimes there’s a bigger gap than we can do and we can’t bend the granite down lower to cover it, so you’re left with whatever’s there. 100% out of our control.

It may not bother you. You can potentially put a piece of tile trim there later. But the reality is, no matter what we do, we can’t control that gap.

We hope that it comes out great, and between all these obstacles – between not breaking it and controlling gaps – we would say 50% of the time, the customer is happy, and 50% of the time something just doesn’t fit perfect and they end up replacing it.

I don’t want to be a negative person, but I do want to let you know up front that we’re not responsible to replace your backsplash if it doesn’t work. We will do everything in our power to make it work and give you the best possible chance to keep your existing tile backsplash.

We also recommend that you guys match the grout color. Buy sanded or non-sanded grout caulk – whichever your grout color is – and have at least three to four tubes there, so when we caulk that gap, we’re using your matching grout color, not clear or white caulk. It looks bad, but we carry it.

If you guys follow these processes we will have the best possible chance to do it right and keep you guys happy.

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