The proper backsplash in a kitchen or bathroom can make a room go from dull and ordinary to beautiful, unique, and original. A backsplash complements most nearly any type of floor or countertop and adds an elegant touch. Perhaps the most attractive variety of backsplash is one that is made of natural stone tile.
While installing a natural stone tile backsplash will make a permanent accent to your kitchen or bathroom, precautions need to be taken in order to ensure that your backsplash will look as beautiful in ten years as it did the day it was installed. Chances are your backsplash will be exposed to lots of water and debris over time, and not all natural stone is completely resistant to water. Natural stone with a high absorbency level (0.2 percent) is porous, leaving your backsplash vulnerable to mold and mildew, and also to looking less than stunning.
The best way to ensure your backsplash’s longevity and luster is to apply sealant to your tiles and grout; luckily, the process is a simple and relatively painless one.
In order to preserve your natural stone backsplash, you will need:
- Either a clean cloth or dry sponge
- A drop cloth large enough to protect your working area
- Painter’s tape
- Stone sealer (can be purchased for $40-$50 from most hardware stores; solvent-based lasts longer)
- Paint brush (medium- to large-sized foam brushes work best but are not necessary)
- Optional: stone cleaner
- Dust your backsplash with a cloth or dry sponge. Make sure your backsplash is completely clean; you need to work with a clean canvas. Be thorough as any spots that you missed will end up being sealed into your backsplash! If you decide to use stone cleaner, now would be the time to apply it. Allow to dry until the stone reverts back to its natural color.
- Apply painter’s tape to the wall surrounding the backsplash. Place your drop cloth over the sink or stovetop, and over your working area to ensure these areas are protected from any renegade sealant.
- Following the directions on your container, mix the stone sealer. Pouring the sealer into a plastic container may make it easier for you to dip your brush into.
- Using your brush, apply the sealer to the tiles in broad, even strokes, going from top to bottom and overlapping the strokes so that you are painting on a wet edge.
- Allow the sealer to absorb into the stone, then wipe off any excess with a rag before it dries. Make sure to start with the tiles that were sealed first, rubbing in a circular motion until the tiles feel smooth. Sealer typically takes about 10 minutes to dry but can sometimes take up to 3 days. Be sure to check the directions on the sealer container.
- Remove the drop cloth and painter’s tape only after you are sure that everything is in place
- Now your backsplash is prepared to handle any mess and still remain beautiful!
Tips and Warnings:
- It is wise to apply the sealer to your natural stone tile before grouting and once again the day after grouting.
- If, over time, your stone tile stops deflecting water, you will need to apply sealer again. Using solvent-based sealer will prevent you from have to re-seal as often.
- Ensure you are working in a well-ventilated area and follow all directions and precautions on your sealer’s container!
- Store the unused portion of the sealer in a cool, dark place and far out of reach of children.
- If your natural stone is not highly absorbent, you probably will not need to use sealer.
Peter is a writer for multiple high-traffic blogs and websites including eHow and Weight Ladder.. He likes writing articles that are related to interlocking stones and driveways. He has been receiving awards for being the top content writer.
I’ve been wanting to use natural stone tiles for my kitchen backsplash, so it helps to know a few things that will improve how it looks. Your tip to apply sealer to my tiles before grouting, then a second time the day after it’s been grouted is really useful for me to know. I know to seal it before grouting, but I didn’t know to also do that for my stone after I’ve grouted it. Now, I’ll be sure to do this since sealing my tiles twice will probably help to make them last longer.
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