A lot of you have been reading my Airstone-on-the-tub post, so I’ve got another awesome Airstone project to share with you…in my friend Amy’s house! I offered to help her install it in the kitchen as a backsplash.

amy's kitchen before

Amy’s got a great big kitchen, which makes standard tile an expensive choice. But with Airstone, we were able to do the large backsplash for a few hundred bucks in about 6 hours!

amy's kitchen 2

Since I already talked about the basics of installation in my last post (the only thing different here is the type of adhesive), I wanted to talk a little bit about tiling in general. When I was working with Amy, she asked some questions as a first-timer that I wouldn’t have thought of myself. So here goes it.

For the most natural look, I like to punctuate series of long pieces with short pieces-rather than the other way around.

using airstone as backsplash

That means a few things, 1) sometimes it looks better to cut a longer piece a little shorter to fill a space, then to use two short pieces together and 2) when you encounter an obstacle, consider working “into” it on one row and “out of” it on the next. That way you don’t have a bunch of odd size pieces all in one place.

Speaking of obstacles, what are you supposed to do with the sunken in outlets? To reattach a wall plate on top of the tile, you’ll have to bring the outlet out of the wall a bit. It’s not difficult, but it does take a little patience.  First, turn the power off, plugging in a lamp to each outlet if necessary to make sure. Go ahead and ask me why it’s important that you’re sure.

Then, unscrew the screws that are holding the little metal flange (top and bottom) pieces in place. Typically they go through the metal flanges and into a blue box with a threaded hole in it. Pick up a pack of these handy spacers and some 1 1/2″ screws (you will need longer ones than you have removed, most likely). The spacers work by snapping together popping onto the screw. The order from front to back goes like this: screw- metal flange – spacer stack (as many as you need to make the outlet flush with the new surface)- blue box. Now, re-attach your wall plate and admire your work!

DIY Kitchen Backsplash with Airstone

You’ll notice the outlet by the sink is still under construction…the wires going into the outlet box are so short that we will need to splice some extra length on there. I didn’t encounter this on any of the other outlets in Amy’s kitchen (or any in my house), so I’m not sure how often this would happen. But be prepared to call in a pro when doing electrical work!

Now one of the main things I love about Airstone is that it’s PERFECT for uneven/not level/not square applications. I already demonstrated that a little bit with my tub, but this backsplash really put it to the test. Firstly, the house is over 100 years old, and half the kitchen is an addition. The floor is not level and the walls are not square which led to a major gap problem behind the countertops. In some areas the gap between the counter and the wall was upwards of 1″. In some areas there was no gap at all. So you can see how installing, say, perfectly spaced white subway tile would be ummmmm a nightmare, yes? Airstone’s natural stone profile lends itself to imperfect surfaces, and the thickness covered the gap completely in all but one area.

filling a large gap

So, I’m not sure this is a 100% sanctioned use of Airstone, but we used scraps from cuts to help fill the gap. We applied adhesive to 3 small pieces, slapped them on the wall, and let them dry. Then we glued the longer tile to those pieces. Oh snap. It happened.

In our defense, we knew we only had one problem area. I don’t know that it’s a great way to install like the whole bottom row or something. But it worked like a charm for this one tile, and you can’t even tell we did it! But even if you could, props work wonders.

airstone backsplash

Well now that we’re breaking the rules, I should tell you that we went rogue on an outside corner. Airstone makes corner pieces, but there was just one iiiitty biiittty spot that would require the corner blocks, and we didn’t want to have to buy a whole box for 8 pieces!

outside corner using flat stones

Not too shabby! Again, it was really just a judgement call we made based on this kitchen…if you have a bunch of outside corners I recommend purchasing the corner blocks. If you look closely at the picture above, where the counter and stone meet you can see my sweet caulking skills. Yeah, let your mind go nuts with that one. BAHAHA.

Generally when you grout tile, the grout has a matching caulk to go from the tile to the counter. I used gray sanded caulk from the tile and grout section for this job because of the tile and countertop color. You don’t want to use bright white acrylic here, folks. The sandy texture makes it blend much better with the stone. If you have lighter countertops, you could pick lighter color like tan or off-white, but I’d still go with the sanded variety.

DIY airstone kitchen backsplash

Looks so much more finished!

airstone kitchen backsplash

Whatcha think?

 

27 Responses

  1. Marsha Milstock

    Totaly makes this kitchen beautiful.
    Rachael, Amy, you transformed this kitchen worthy of a magazine layout.
    Rachael you are so fun to read, you make me smile, and laugh out loud.
    Love
    Marsha

    Reply
  2. mary fran

    I keep saying I want to move next to you guys!! It looks great. It changed the whole kitchen design and really looks professionally done. I am a “fudger” also…if it works and looks good…go for it!
    My husband is really interested in the Airstone too. We are going to work on a project soon.
    Thanks for the lessons!
    And I agree…you make me chuckle Rachael…

    Reply
  3. Amanda

    Wow – VERY cool! What a great way to update your kitchen. We don’t have any backsplash in our kitchen right now but I’d love to do that someday. Never heard of Airstone before, but I’ll have to remember it! I like the idea that it’s more “forgiving” than subway tile, etc.

    Reply
    • Rachael Evans

      We used the gray! I thought about mixing, but we decided against it. I’d like to try it at some point though.

      Reply
  4. Meredith Kitts

    I”d really like to know about the clean-ability of the product. I’m concerned about the grease and such that can “build up” in a kitchen? Do you have to seal the product? Does it clean well? What can you use on it?

    Reply
  5. hausfrauChelsea

    I’d love to see a picture of the quarter round attached and caulked. My husband is not the visionary I am and in order for me to even get him to consider this, I’ll have to show him how it looks totally finished! Also, are you worried about the quarter round warping from the moisture or did you buy the plastic/composite one to avoid that?

    Thank you!

    Reply
  6. Emily

    Did you put the stone around the stove or behind the stove? We are doing this today and I can’t decide what to do.

    Reply
  7. Grady

    Looks good Rachel. I am working an exterior project at this time. My question, did you elect not to use a corner box on the corners? The over-lap works, but curious why not set corners?
    Grady

    Reply
    • Rachael Evans

      Hi Grady, in this case we literally would have used like 4 or 5 corner blocks (there was only one outside corner) so it wasn’t worth purchasing a whole box.

      Reply
  8. quitana

    how did u keep the wall adhesive off the brick? we tried this awhile back but one of our stones got the the white wall adhesive on it. its really hard to get it.off. did you have that problem as well?

    Reply
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  10. Dena

    Rachel you’re a Rock Star! Beautiful job. Your AIRSTONE tub makeover floored me as well, it’s going to be part of my Renov plans when I return from vaca. Thanks for all the fabulous inspiration. Kudos!
    Dena

    Reply
  11. Brice Bogar

    Hi!

    I am currently installing Airstone on my newly installed concrete steps. Cutting the pieces has become quite cumbersome and I want to ask how you cut your “thin” pieces that are directly below the window trim? I have a LOT of cuts to make and want to find the best method. Thanks and your project looks great!

    Reply
    • Rachael Evans

      Brice- you may need to replace the blade on your hacksaw…the sandy material dulls it after awhile. Hacksaw is the best tool to cut it, though.

      Reply
  12. Sarah

    Just curious…. have you heard any reports about keeping the airstone clean? Since you put it behind the stove and sink I am just curious if it is a pain to keep clean? Looks fabulous, btw!

    Reply
    • Rachael Evans

      Hi Sarah – You know what? I haven’t! I think a damp cloth would do the trick in most cases. This isn’t my house, so I can’t speak from experience (I helped a friend install this in her rental house, where she no longer lives)

      Reply
  13. Sarah

    I love this!!! I’d lllooovvveeee to be able to do it but have a rental. I’m thinking of using command Velcro strips on each piece. Any thoughts? Or any suggestions for how to get this look…temporarily 🙂

    Reply

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