Sort of Stainless Steel Kitchen Backsplash

After posting pictures of the kitchen on the message boards of my local mom’s group, I had a few questions about the kitchen backsplash.

Sigh, I still get that first-date feeling every time I walk in the room.

Anyway– I can’t tell the backsplash story without starting with the countertops. Countertops aren’t cheap, but I got lucky one afternoon, getting a bunch of black granite tile for about $1.25 a square foot.

I had leapt at the granite, without considering the backsplash. Imagine (and laugh– go ahead, it’s funny–now) my surprise and JB’s annoyance when I vetoed every single tile sample for the backsplash. Most them gave the kitchen that Tuscany look. I’m not a fan, being neither Italian, nor a patron of the Olive Garden. Now, give me a piece of subway or glass tile– that’s my look. Even the subway tile didn’t look right, unless it was custom glass subway tile (cha-ching!). So, we both kept coming back to stainless steel. Okay, but at $120 for a 30×30 sheet? I just…couldn’t.

For a year, I walked the aisles of home improvement and salvage/re-use stores, just looking and thinking. I spent an hour in the roofing section, trying to convert large rolls of flashing into a backsplash.

Then came the day I found the solution. And that is the DIY high, what keeps me going back for more each time: $9.34 per 24×36 inch sheet compared to $120 per 30×30 inch sheet? Um, yes please.

A few small words of caution. This is professional grade stuff; the edges are sharp– get some heavy duty gloves. And good tin snips. Cutting out the holes for the electric sockets looked like it sucked– JB’s job, what with all that superior upper body strength.

Beyond that? Easy. We glued it to the wall with paneling caulk stuff rated for wood and metal. Maybe even cement and moon rock, I can’t remember.

The cardboard and painters tape accent pieces? Those were the templates for the tile that would someday hide the sharp cut edges. I’m guessing you could sand the sharpness away, assuming you cut a straight line. With tin snips. I’m almost certain that it’s not possible. Those cardboard pieces stayed just like that for 6 months. Then, around the time we tiled the master bath, I grabbed a few sheets of the 12×12 mosaic tiles and silicone caulked myself a new border. No need for thinset since they were sitting on top of the metal. I hadn’t intended to grout, but tile without grout looks strange, so we fixed that another night.

Total backsplash cost? It took 6 sheets of the metal, so $56 plus tax + 3 of the tile sheets, which cost $4 each, $12 plus tax. Which means that we did the whole project for less than what one sheet of the other stuff would have cost.

Tomorrow the boys (all 3 of ’em) and I are going to finish the crib-to-lego-table project. Then perhaps I’ll get the cabinet handles installed. Again. Don’t ask– when it’s done, I’ll tell you all about it.