How to plan for tile in your kitchen
By Carri Carlson and Josh Blanc
at Clay Squared to Infinity
Step 1 Creating the vision of your tile project
There are hundreds of tile designs, colors and concepts for you to choose from, so theprocess can sometimes feel overwhelming. When creating your vision of your tile project, we recommend looking at books, magazines and the Internet. Your local bookstores carry a great selection of magazines and home improvement books. Clay Squared to Infinity has a small library of historic and contemporary books to get ideas. We recommend utilizing the National Kitchen & Bath Association, Houzz, and the Handmade Tile Association websites. Bring in clippings or digital ideas and color schemes you like.
Step 2 Questions to ask yourself
What is the style you want to create in the space? Do you want to work within the period of the home, i.e. Bungalow, Arts & Crafts, Tudor,
Victorian, Rambler, or Contemporary style? Working within a historic era will guide your decisions and help narrow down your choices. Are you more eclectic and want to make room for art in the space? If so, working with themes and color ranges will help you keep on task.
Step 3 Time lines
We recommend that you begin planning for your tile needs closer to the
beginning of your remodel, before other things are installed that could limit your tile choices and design. In many cases tile selection is left until near the end of the project, because that is when it is installed, limiting your options. Order time for tile can be anywhere from 2-8 weeks. (Clay Squared to Infinity is about 3-4 weeks.) You will also want to make sure that you have your tile when your tile installer is scheduled, unless you are installing the tile yourself.
Step 4 Do I need a designer or architect to do my kitchen tile project?
Designers and architects are people who understand space, design and color. They typically cost 15% of a project but, when you have large projects, their insights and knowledge can save you more than their fees.
If you don’t have a designer and feel you need some help, Clay Squared will help you find your vision and pull it all together.
Artist/owner Josh Blanc has been working with tile since 1995 and is the designer and maker of the handmade tiles at Clay Squared to Infinity.
Step 5 Locations for tile use in the kitchen
Tile was originally used to protect walls and floors, prior to becoming decorative. In the kitchen, it is best to have it at least behind your sink and cooktop where water and oils can build up. Tiles are the easiest surface to keep clean and have a life span of 100 years.
Step 6 Electrical and other backsplash obstacles
Plumbing, electrical and countertops all determine what you can do in your kitchen. With the kitchen backsplash there are many things that can become obstacles when designing your backsplash.
Electrical outlets in the kitchen backsplash are required by code every 4 feet. Kitchens generally have many light sources requiring light switches. An alternative for both the electrical outlets and the light switches is an undercabinet power strip mounted to the bottom of the wall cabinets at the back, by the wall. This will totally eliminate any switch plates on your backsplash.
Many times it will be recommended by your fabricator to add a 4” lip of your countertop material to the backsplash. If you are intending to install a tile backsplash, the lip is not necessary and could actually limit your tile design and choices.
A potential obstacle when designing your backsplash is the placement of a pot filler faucet, usually located behind the cooktop. Consider all the other items you keep on your countertop: coffee makers, cappuccino makers, utensil crocks, butcher block knife sets, cookbooks, toasters... the list goes on. The location of these, when designing your backsplash, can effect your design options.
Step 7 Time to design
Now that your have removed any items from your tile space that might restrict your tile design, you can start playing with the tiles and “listen” to what they have to say. Your intuition is an integral part of the design process. Contemplate colors and play with new combinations; let the mood and personality of your home guide your choices. Come into the showroom and, at no cost, check out tile samples to help you determine color and size. If you are out of the area you can order one of our sample packs on our website or call us.
Step 8 Placing your order
If you can figure out how much tile you need, great. If you have a tile setter installing the tile, they can determine the amounts and sizes for you. If you need, we are happy to help. We recommend bringing in a drawing with as many dimensions and details as possible. Digital pictures of the room or area arealso helpful.