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This Stone backsplash was physically hard to do, the hardie board was hard to work with, the stone was heavy, the grout bag was heavy, there were hard to reach places and I had to run back and forth between the garage, kitchen and backyard. But it was so worth it!
I knew I wanted stone like in this inspo picture that I was obsessed with! It was really hard to find some stone that was also thin (no bigger than an inch in thickness), but I came across some at Floor&Decor and ran to get it! This project ended up costing me about $400 after I returned the unused stone. I overestimated the amount of stone I’d need by a lot! I returned 4 boxes of it and I think I originally bought 11 boxes. The below is the stone I purchased, but last time I checked Floor&Decor doesn’t carry it anymore, which is a bummer because I’d love to redo my fireplace faux brick paneling with the same stone to tie in the kitchen with the living room. But they do have this stone that is similar, just a different color and more square.
When I removed the old backsplash it tore up the drywall pretty bad and this stone is 50lbs per sheet and I was worried the broken drywall wouldn’t be strong enough to hold the weight of the stone. So I removed it all and replaced it with hardiebacker board. Hardie board is really strong and heat/moisture resistant so it’s used a lot on fireplaces, bathrooms and anywhere you’d want something stronger than drywall, like for this heavy stone. The drywall wasn’t too hard to remove, it was screwed into the studs and I was able to unscrew some of it and just rip the rest out. I used my Milwaukee Multi Tool to cut along the top and bottom. This tool is incredible useful and has come in handy more times than I can count!
For the outlet holes, I drew a line where it should go and then drilled holes into it so I could hammer out the box. I didn’t put enough holes the first time so I went back and added more and it was easy to break off with a hammer.
Once that was out, I took my multi tool and smoothed out the uneven edges a bit. You can see the hardie board dulled my blade pretty bad, I should have went and bought a diamond blade and it would have held up better.
It fit great! But then I realized I needed to trim off some more of the hardie board on the side so it ended right on half of the 2×4 stud so I’d have somewhere to attach the next piece. Drywall and hardie board needs to begin and end on a stud. You attach it with cement screws that are meant to be used with this material. I also left way too much of a gap on the top, but I made it work with the mortar and grout at the end. It’s all a learning process. I’d definitely cut this hardie board to the exact size I needed if I were to do this project again.
It took me all day, but I got it all up.
The next day I started on the stone, this was super heavy and roughed up my hands! If I ever work with this material again I’ll be sure to get some construction gloves. I installed it by troweling on mortar to the hardie board with a wide tooth trowel. There are different sized trowels for different tile. I used a rapid setting mortar to prevent the stones from slipping too much. I back buttered the stone, that’s where you also add mortar to the back of the stone with tooth marks as well so it creates a suction and sticks really well. You do this with larger/heavier tile/stone.
This stone came in sheets attached to a metal grid, some I put the sheet up there whole and I had to remove some of the stones from the backing to fit a smaller stone into smaller areas. It was like a puzzle. I put an old towel down on the counters to prevent the stone from scratching it up.
This stone work took me 2 days to get it all up and installed and organized just the way I wanted it.
Then it was time for grout. I chose a white grout from Floor&Decor, they have so many different colors to choose from! I mixed both the mortar and grout myself with a regular drill and a mixer attachment. It is recommended that you use a corded drill for this so you don’t mess up your battery or motor of your drill because they typically have more consistent power and torque that a battery style setup.
I used a 5 gallon bucket to mix it in, planning to just throw the bucket away afterward so I didn’t have to clean it out. I applied the grout with a large grout bag, it was super heavy with all the grout in it and not super easy to squeeze, my hands were so tired after this project!
I would do a few square feet and then I took a wet grout sponge as I went and smoothed out the grout, also rubbing some of the grout on the front of the stone because I wanted it to look more like a German Smear.
I let the grout dry a bit and once it was a little harder it still had sponge marks in it, so I took some 180 grit sandpaper before it was too hard and smoothed out those lines a bit. This kitchen took about 2 bags of grout.
This was a super messy project! There was grout everywhere! But look how good it looks!
Then for the smaller details. The original tile backsplash went up higher than the stone. I would have taken the stone up all the way to the ceiling, but it wouldn’t allow enough clearance for the cabinet doors to open so that wasn’t an option. The old backsplash was thinner by a lot so it could go up higher and still allow the doors to open. I just sanded this area down a bit so it would blend in and then I painted it.
The outlets were a bit difficult. I took a small freezer bag and filled it with grout and grouted around the outlets. I let it dry a bit and then removed the outlets and put them back on so that they weren’t grouted into place forever. I’m sure there are way better ways of doing this, but it has worked out for us.
I love this stone look so much! What do you think? Is this something you would like in your home? It’s one of my favorite additions to my kitchen!
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Next up, kitchen hutch and fridge surround.