View Full Version : Gap Between Countertop/ Backsplash

Mr Fixit eh
January 21st, 2005, 08:40 AM
I've just completed a ceramic tile countertop and tiled backsplash in my kitchen. I used 12" tile on the counter and 6" tile on the backsplash with 1/8 inch grout lines all around.

There is a little problem that has developed because the walls are not square. The gap between the countertop and the backsplash is mostly 1/4inch, but there are a couple spots where the gap increases to 1/2" and 5/8" in one corner.

Will this big of a gap look hideous once it is caulked? I was going to put a foam backer rod into the gap so I don't use up too much caulk. My caulking is tinted the same color as the grout.

A friend mentioned that there is such a thing as cove moulding made in ceramic tile. Would this be an option?

Any suggestions?

January 22nd, 2005, 03:43 PM
Sounds like you missed an important step in the tiling process. That being using a set dividers to determine the relationship of the wall to the cabinet top. The dividers are opened up to a 1/4 inch more then the largest gap between the wall and counter top. Then hold the dividers upright with the pencil on the counter top and the pin scraping the wall. Run the dividers along the wall for the full length of the counter top section. The pencil will transfer the differences in gap spacing and wall irregularities to the counter top. Once you have that done, if a new counter top, trim it to the pencil line for a tight fit and cut the back row of tiles accordingly after snapping a chaulk line for straight rows of tile (on the front side of tile).

Sounds like you are on the right track for remedying. I like the moulding idea the best, as the molding will give you a nice transition between the wall and counter top and may actually give a more appealing appearance to the installation then if you had used the divider method.

Mr Fixit eh
January 22nd, 2005, 07:40 PM
Here are a couple pics so you can see what I'm dealing with....

'Tis a shame I missed the step of scribing the countertop. I guess that's the price of learning by doing :rolleyes:

January 22nd, 2005, 09:07 PM
My father, a retired builder, looked at this picture when he stopped by. His advice (too late for you) was to strike your level line for the backsplash tile at the lowest point along the countertop, and scribe the tile off that line. Like I say, too late for you. He suggested that you should be able to cut slivers of tile and glue them in the larger gaps and have the finished project still look pretty decent. Do you still have that tile saw?

Mr Fixit eh
January 23rd, 2005, 07:25 PM
The pictures don't show it very well, but both the countertop and the backsplash tile are perfectly level. Problem is the countertop "pulls" away from the wall because the wall has a lovely bow in it, so there is a gap behind the countertop tile.

Jacksnap is right, I should have scribed the plywood and cement board and cut it to fit the wall, then cut the tile to fit the narrower parts. Too late now.

I thought of cutting little slivers of tile, but the rental saw was due back and it would have cost another day's rental to keep it longer. Another problem with this idea is that because the substrate also "pulls" away from the wall, there is no surface to lay tile slivers onto. The only way would be to use expanding foam or foam backer rod and caulk. It seemed pretty hinky.

I thought about removing the backsplash completely and installing a cementboard backer, then reinstall the tile. This would give the most professional finish, but of course would be a whopping boat-load of work. 'Twould also be expensive because I imagine the tile would be ruined taking it off, so I'd have to buy new tile, rent the saw again, grout......

At this point, I'm leaning towards buying a couple new cannister sets and lots of new kitchen accessories for camouflage.

January 23rd, 2005, 10:04 PM
Try the ceramic moulding. Your right in that when the counter is in daily use, all the 'stuff' that's on it will cover most of the imperfections. But, you need to think about "am I going to die in this house?" If not, when you go to sell, you're going to take a big hit on the saleability of the kitchen to perspective buyers.
If not the moulding, then down a quick 6-pack, then grab large crow bar and start ripping. When you sober up :mad: , you'll have no choice but to do the backsplash over :D . You'll be happier in the end, IMHO.
Good luck.

February 10th, 2005, 01:06 PM
Since this post hasn't been responded to in a couple of weeks I'm going to assume it's OK for asking a related question on this thread.

How is the issue of non flat walls dealt with when granite countertop is installed? Are there templates made to match the contour of the wall which are then used to cut the granite with a matching contour? Is this the main reason plywood templates are used (or so I thought I heard once). If the granite isn't cut to match any non flatness of the wall it is to be butted against, then how is the resulting gap dealt with?

The original poster wrote:
"My caulking is tinted the same color as the grout"

Is it possible to have caulking tinted? or am I taking this too literally?

Thanks for any feedback.

Mr Fixit eh
February 10th, 2005, 01:22 PM
Welcome 'unregistered.'

Probably best to start a new thread, you'll get more relevant replies.

Yes, your local tile specialty store can order grout in many different colours to match or complement your tile/ stone.

As far as scribing/ cutting granite slab, I don't have a clue.

Another forum you may want to check out for stone-specific help is http://johnbridge.com/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=1

If you plan to stick around, go ahead and register for full privileges. No cost. We'd like a handle to know you by.