Mosaic tile kitchen backsplash - Unglazed porcelain okay?

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Tim Young
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Mosaic tile kitchen backsplash - Unglazed porcelain okay?

Postby Tim Young » Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:42 pm

I'm putting in a new mosaic backsplash in the kitchen. I'm planning to buy the mosaics from my local Dal-Tile showroom. The tile series that I like the best is the unglazed porcelain. Will there be any problems with using this for a kitchen backsplash? I'm wondering if it's too porous and will let water pass through or if the unglazed surface will stain easily. I'm planning on using tar paper and backer board behind it. We have an unglazed porcelain mosaic outside that is original to my 1961 ranch and it seems to have held up. I like the way the matte finish tiles looks as well (we have matte finish in other places in the house), but don't like the colors and sizes they come in. So am I okay to go with unglazed?

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rockland
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Postby rockland » Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:08 am

What does the tile seller say? If it is really un-glazed, i wouldn't use it.
Most matte finish is sealed or should be sealed. They should be able to
give you a sample to test.

Just put down 12 x 18 floor tile at work. Matte finish. The clean white
travertine modern look. Ceramic. I tested it with various sauces, oil,
ketchup, soy, anything i could find. It wiped off without a trace. So it was
sealed with a matte finish.

You will want to seal it anyway to seal the grout. It will look grimy in no
time with out some sort of sealer. Many 'dead flat' varnishes available.

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Postby scowsa » Tue Jul 14, 2009 6:33 am

Many tile manufacturers , including high-end Ann Sachs, have unglazed tile in their offerings. Porcelain can still do its job without the glaze and, as Rockland says, there are sealers out there. DIY boards reference Sealer's Choice from Aqua Mix or Surface Guard by Tile lab.

So while one might not use it for a counter top, use on a back splash seems fine.
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Postby redneckmodern » Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:50 am

we've used DAL keystones (Black D311) for the floors of our bathrooms without problem (sealed with tilelab penetrating sealer). i'd imagine a bath floor would take more abuse than a backsplash. for a kitchen backsplash, tar paper and backerboard is overkill, methinks. many folks install backsplash tiles on drywall with adhesive mastic without issue... it's not a high water surface (or if it is, you're doing something weird in the kitchen)... if you're starting at the studwalls, think of using paperless gypsum board (denslgas or similar). overkill never hurt anything but the wallet and the schedule, but...

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Postby JXBrown » Tue Jul 14, 2009 7:42 pm

I've got an unglazed porcelain Dal-tile backsplash. I haven't had any trouble with it. I think it's spiffy!

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Postby Tim Young » Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:21 am

The ones we're using are Dal-tile keystones. Glad to hear you're happy with them. Redneckmodern, based on what you're saying, maybe I should ditch the tar paper. My thought was that the counter seems to get wet quite a bit near the sink, so I thought I should use extra protection for the studs. I've already bought the backer board. You think that would be enough? To be honest, I really don't want to mess with putting tar paper up.

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Tim Young
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Postby Tim Young » Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:26 am

The ones we're using are Dal-tile keystones. Glad to hear you're happy with them. Redneckmodern, based on what you're saying, maybe I should ditch the tar paper. My thought was that the counter seems to get wet quite a bit near the sink, so I thought I should use extra protection for the studs. I've already bought the backer board. You think that would be enough? To be honest, I really don't want to mess with putting tar paper up.

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Postby rockland » Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:17 am

Daltile website has info on install and care.
http://www.daltileproducts.com/careandmaint.cfm?cms=1

Pre-Grout Treatments:
Some unglazed tile products have rough or open pores in the surface that can trap grout particles during the grouting process. These grout particles become difficult to remove and can leave a stained appearance on the surface of the tile. For these products it is necessary to seal them with a pre-grout sealer to protect them from trapping the microscopic grout particles. This will also ease the grout clean-up process. Industry guidelines recommend that, prior to grouting, you seal terra cotta, saltillo, porcelain, and brick or quarry pavers with a high quality penetrating/impregnating sealer or with a temporary grout release sealer. Always test an area first to obtain best results. Glazed wall or floor tile products do not need to be sealed prior to grouting.

The speck sheet on the tile you want to use does list back-splash.
Good to go!
I do like matte finish tiles.

I recently had a grout issue so this was helpful for me as well.

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Postby redneckmodern » Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:06 pm

tar paper is easy enough to put up, but i think it's overkill... then again, my sink area doesn't get that wet. if you have it, it's only take a few minutes to tack up, so you might as well at this point. good luck with the project. take lots of pix.


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