I recently completed a custom 2×4 Tumbled Travertine back splash with random glass tile accents in Lutz, Florida and I wanted to talk about it. I was contacted by a customer who seen a few pictures of back splashes and wanted me to give them an estimate on a similar installation in their new home. I was able to find the exact tile they had on a picture they had seen online that they liked. It was a Jeffery Court tile called Quartz Fire & Ice Brick. I located the tile through a couple places and it was pricy. On top of that the shipping from Southern California to the Tampa Florida area was high and the texture of the tile for grout gave them second thoughts. I gave them the price and it was reasonable but I showed them a few picture of it installed in other kitchens which led them to decide against it.
I then sent them to Tampa Tile, one of my tile suppliers in the Tampa area. They met with my sales person and she helped them with a few designs and styles. They looked around for a while and then made a final decision on a 2×4 Paredon “Durango Cream” tumbled travertine in a 1/4 offset subway pattern. The glass tile accent they selected was a Vetrissimo “Murano Decorato” 2×2 Tozzetto in color Gold/Brown. The customer told me that the help they received from the showroom I sent them to was above the norm which they liked. All tile was then ordered and a schedule start date was set. The tile all came in within a week and we had scheduled the project for 2 weeks out. The day we started we first covered the granite counter with our canvas drop clothes to protect them. Then I opened the boxes of 2×4 & 2×2 tumbled travertine along with the 1×12 dome pencil liner and the glass tile and inspected them for any problems. All of the tile was in good shape, same shade, no chips, etc.. I then removed the outlet covers and started to do the tile layout on the backsplash.
The main area of focus was on the framed design the customer wanted behind the range. They wanted a diagonal area of 2×2 tile framed out by the 1″x12″ dome pencil liner. I laid it out so I would have full diagonal halves inside the picture frame of travertine dome liner. Once that was done I set the lower 2 rows of 2×4 tile under the area that would be framed and then set the dome liner and the diagonal 2×2 tile. I did it this way so I could make sure it all lined up and I also used the lower rows as support. After that area was installed I started setting the sheets subway travertine on the left and right sides of the back splash. I was using Laticrete 4XLT as the thinset on this project. It helped with the installation since its a non sag mortar. You can spread the wall and set the tile without the tile sliding. It is made for extra large tile, but I find it better used on small mosaic tile like glass, porcelain or marble so they stay in place.
Once all of the tile was set on the main back splash and the other section across the kitchen. I then made some copies of the glass tile and cut them out. I taped them on the tile for the customer to decide where they exactly wanted the glass accents to go. I felt it was easier doing it this way then installing the glass tile and them deciding to move one. Which could possibly ruining the glass tile by chipping it. After the copies were placed in the right spots and the owners liked it I removed the 2×4 travertine in those areas. The thinset wasn’t fully cured yet and they came of fairly easy. I then installed all of the glass tile accents in those spots selected and called it a day. The next day after the tile was dry I showed up to grout the travertine back splash. The grout used was a Laticrete sanded grout #23 Antique White. Clean up of the grout was easy and after the final wash I installed new travertine colored resin outlet covers. It was a nice touch to finish off the backsplash.
Enjoy the progress photo’s of this beautiful back splash.