DIY Marble Kitchen Backsplash

I’m diverting away from the typical subject of this blog to reveal the DIY backsplash that my husband and I teamed up to complete last weekend! One of the perks of being married to a teacher is the built in time off for home renovation/refresh projects that typically would not be completed during the busy 8-5 work-week grind. I have gushed before about my love for Mr. Handyman husband, but this project really takes the cake. In fact, I should probably make him a cake for all his hard work.

This is the most current “final product” that I shared a couple weeks ago:

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After the facelift of tearing out the laminate countertops and replacing with stone countertops, the next goal was to add a backsplash. While we are no strangers to DIY backsplashes, I have to admit this one turned out better than our last attempt (glass subway tiles that were a nightmare to cut and required incredible precision in the laying process, ay-yi-yi). By the second time around we are practically pros…right? Ha! I’m especially proud because I contributed to the actual design and installation process this time.

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After 4 visits to wander the aisles of the store, numerous conversations, Pinterest searches, and daydreaming we decided on a marble tile to lighten the color palette of the kitchen and tie in some of the gray-blue tones from the granite countertops.

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The specific product we chose is Hampton Carrara Cornith from The Tile Shop. The tiles are a beautiful mix of creamy white, gray, and blue with a hint of darker cream accents throughout. While my husband was hoping for a pure white tone, I was secretly hoping for a ton of color variation and pattern. I think the lot we received was a perfect mix between the two.

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The project took about 12-13 hours just for the layout/cutting/installation of the tiles on the wall (split between two days, thank goodness). Looking pretty good already…

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In addition to time, the project required tons of patience due to the 8 electrical outlets in the kitchen; those suckers can really throw a wrench into the tile laying process and slow you down! I admit to holding my breath every single time my husband went to the basement to use the wet saw, and I was relieved when that part of the process was complete. I am clearly a wimp with a paranoid imagination. While he is good at measuring and accurate cutting, I found my strengths in the detail work; making sure the tiles were level, the spacing was uniform, and piecing in the odds and ends around the outlets.

The next day a thin layer of sealer was applied to the surface of the marble tiles because they are porous and need protection. Next came the grout.

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Using a grout flout we carefully worked the unsanded grout into the spaces between the tiles and began to fill the gaps; we chose the standard white to accentuate the light color of the tiles.

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Such a difference compared to the tiles with spaces between them!

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A totally messy job, but oddly satisfying, because you quickly see the transformation from bare tiles laying on the wall with gaps and crevices to a beautiful, cohesive product. Like it should have always been there. Word of advice: ladies remove your wedding rings before grouting; I still have a ton of grout in the nooks and crannies and need a trip to the jeweler for a cleaning. After filling in a small section with grout, a damp sponge is used to wipe the excess away from the tiles; this process is repeated periodically over and over and over and over. No joke. Grouting took around 3-4 hours (not including the emergency trip across town to the store for more grout after a mixing mishap which we will not mention here) and went a lot faster with two people.

The final product turned out wonderfully:

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We still need to seal the grout lines to prevent water in the future (grout + water = no good), but overall the project is complete and looks stunning. I couldn’t be happier; it looks exactly how I pictured and compliments the granite beautifully. The horizontal pattern makes the kitchen look even larger; an unexpected bonus! I can hardly remember what the kitchen looked like before. I had a great time working with my husband during the project and building our DIY skills. I love checking home projects off the list! I expect many great recipes and memories to be made in our OFFICIALLY completely kitchen!

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