A customer in Sarasota, Florida contacted us last summer to do a custom backsplash in their brand new remodeled kitchen. They wanted a soft, upscale look to go with the new white cabinets and counter tops. I sent them to a showroom I have used on occasion in their area. The showroom salesperson showed them several tile styles from glass tile to tumbled travertine and even some ceramic & porcelain tile with deco or accent bands. None them fit the look they wanted in the new kitchen. Then I sent them to the Walker Zanger showroom and the salesperson showed them the Green River Onyx “Studio Moderne” Polished Mosaic. It was a beautifully made mosaic tile with octagon and rectangle polished green onyx marble. They decided this was the tile they wanted us to install. It took about 3 weeks to be made but when it came in and they picked it up they were so happy with the selection of tile they made.
Upon starting the installation of the tile I protected the new stove and counter top with towels to work on to protect them from possible scratches. We did minimal wall prep but had to float out a few area’s with thinset to make smooth. The thinset I was using for this back splash was Laticrete 253 Gold. I started setting the tile on the stove & microwave side. It was a simple back wall with 2 small 6″ splash area’s. We trimmed the edges of the Onyx with a bright white Schluter Rondec in pvc. It was a nice way to end the tile since this natural stone mosaic doesn’t have bullnose pieces. After that area was completed I worked on the sink side and side return area’s of the backsplash. I also made sure to leave a small gap at the bottom of the tile on the counter top so it could be caulked later on. I used tape to hold up the side area’s until the thinset set up a little to hold them in place. I finished setting all of the tile and left for the day to let it dry overnight.
The next day I got to the job the first thing I had to do was remove the plastic off the face of the onyx tile. This type of mosaic is plastic faced rather then paper faced or mesh mounted. So once the thinset has dried you need to remove it to grout. It is also clear so you can see the tile you are setting to make sure the grout joints are straight and aligned. You need to be careful to remove the plastic by pulling it sideways close to the face of the tile. You don’t want to pull out since you might pull some tile off the wall by pulling outwards. After all of the plastic was off the face I prepped for grouting which includes cutting out some thinset sticking out of some joints, cleaning dust off the counter top, wiping down the tile and getting the grouting materials ready. I decided on using a #44 bright white unsanded grout from Laticrete rather then a sanded grout so I wouldn’t scratch the soft green onyx marble mosaic tile.
Once the grouting was done I let it sit up for a while and then did a final clean wash with a sponge to remove as much grout haze or dust as I can initially. Then a final buff with a dry soft cotton towel to remove any streaks and also cleaned off the counters and the faucets. A final caulking with a white caulk before turning the job over to the new owner and I was done.
the last 3 pictures are from the happy homeowners.