I got a call a few weeks ago from a customer who wanted to spice up their kitchen and wanted to do a tile backsplash in Lithia which is near the Brandon/Riverview/Fish Hawk area. They have only lived in the home for a few years and were relocated here from another state. They have been putting off doing a backsplash but thought it was about time they did something to add value and elegance the homes kitchen. After looking at a few different types of tile they came to the conclusion they wanted a tumbled marble travertine backsplash to go with the decor of the home and the Granite counter tops. They selected a 2″x4″ tumbled Chiaro travertine set on sheets in a brick pattern.
I had already been out to measure the job and give the homeowners an estimate for the installation of the backsplash which they agreed on and gave me the go ahead to schedule a start date. I knew the square foot and pretty much how I was going to do the installation so all materials were ordered. I selected the Laticrete 255 MultiMax modified thinset since it’s an excellent non sag thinset for this type of marble installation. When I got to the job the day of the installation the homeowner had everything cleared off the counter tops out of the way and removed the under cabinet lighting which is a great help.
After opening the wrapped sheets of travertine to inspect for any tile that was set crooked on the sheets or wasn’t of the same shade I stacked them and got them ready for the installation. I took off the outlet covers and loosened the main screws and pulled out the outlet some so I could tile around the box and behind the outlet ears that hold the outlet down on the tile later on. I also put my drop cloth over the part of the granite counter top area I was working on. I used my level to make sure the granite 4″ backsplash was level so I could run my starter row off it. Using the Laticrete 255 MultiMax non sag thinset was great. It helped me place the travertine sheets and not have them slide or need to use spacers or wedges to hold them up.
I centered the layout on the main backsplash and was able to lay it out to get full tile and halves with my soldier row of tile as the edging type bullnose finish piece. I also centered the stove area backsplash and it was 4″ shorter which would still allow me to achieve a full and half tile layout. I then mixed my Laticrete 255 thinset and started the installation using a 1/4″ x 1/4″ notched trowel. As I was putting the sheet into the thinset I embedded them by using my rubber grout float to set the travertine into the thinset and create a good bond. The 2×4 Chiaro travertine was set on the sheets pretty straight, but even some irregular set ones will look good and add to the rustic stone look when grouted. Some have small pits and divots and some even have corners missing during the tumbling process.
After setting the main cabinet side back splash I cut in around the outlets and then filled in the top row under the wall cabinets. The cut worked out to be a half cut which is a good layout and looked great. I finished setting that side and moved my tools over to the stove side back splash area. First I covered the glass top stove with my drop cloth to protect it from tool or tile I have setting then during the install. The stove side went easier then the cabinet side since it was a slightly smaller and had I already did one side. The only difference was it had a small short return side wall but that was easy to do also. I finished cutting in around the outlets and also filled in the top row under the wall cabinets on this side.
After the thinset dried I prepped for the grouting process by wiping the travertine down with a damp sponge to remove and dust or powder created during the installation process. Some say to pre seal before grouting but since they selected a matching colored sanded grout there was no need to. The grout selected was Laticrete #40 Latte sanded grout. The sanded grout filled the grout joints, pits and divots nicely and matched the travertine perfectly. I final washed the travertine and left the final job clean for the owner. They decided to seal with a penetrating sealer and not use the enhancing sealer like most use.
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Enjoy the pictures of the installation……