Whitewashed pine kitchen backsplash

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Forum topic by Charlie posted 07-22-2012 01:32 PM 3804 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1100 posts in 2309 days

07-22-2012 01:32 PM

My wife wanted a whitewashed pine tongue and groove for the backsplash in our new kitchen remodel. I was struggling a little with how to get exactly the level of opacity she had in mind and how to finish the boards. Here’s where I’m at:

Mixing BIN + Shellac + denatured alcohol in equal parts, applied very fast (no going back to touch up, just slap it on completely with a big brush). Any areas that DO show a brush overlap can be blended out perfectly just by rubbing it with a rag dampened in alcohol.

This yields a very consistent opacity. The look is exactly what she had in mind.

Now start application of straight shellac. 2 coats thinned 50/50, then 2 coats (maybe 3) of straight 2# cut. VERY light sanding to remove nibs if needed. (I didn’t do this on the test piece as it dried so fast, nothing stuck to it…. even the fly that landed on it almost as soon as I got done!)

So…. shallac finish as a backsplash…. It will certainly get an occasional splash, but it will never stay wet. We don’t leave water on stuff like that. When you clean up, you wipe stuff down.

So…. thoughts? I really don’t want to poly this. I like the repairability of the shellac finish. I have some slight concern over it’s long term durability, but again, we dry stuff off, not leave it spattered with water.

6 replies so far

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

4032 posts in 2257 days

#1 posted 07-22-2012 03:01 PM

I’m with you, Charile, shellac is a serviceable, durable finish, and only slightly water resistant. Its important not to assume that water is the only chemical that might be splashed there, but being in the proximity of Kitchen Work, there are likely other things that get splashed there. There will be splashes that dry out because the “perp” (!) may not be aware of the splash, or getting distracted by the job at hand delays clean up. Perhaps the best you could do for it is to wax it heavily with a quality Carnuba paste wax that will hold stuff off the shellac. Periodic recoats will be necessary, but perhaps pleasant. If another coat of shellac is needed, a good cleaning with a dewaxer detergent like TSP (trisodium phosphate) will do the job easily.
Any recent pictures of your project?

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL One should always prefer the probable impossible to the improbable possible.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2309 days

#2 posted 07-22-2012 03:47 PM

recent pictures….. uh…. in all the remodeling we’ve somehow lost the battery charger and spare battery for the camera. Right now it’s all still being prepped. Haven’t brought in a cabinet yet. Electrical is roughed. Sparky left us a couple of plugs to use since we couldn’t get the refrigerator out of the space easily and the recessed lights all work. Other than that it’s still bare walls. Oh wait! We got the floor in and I replaced a couple of doors. There were FOUR LAYERS of flooring to remove. Each with underlayment. And believe me when I tell ya they didn’t spare the staples. Installing the new floor we worked it to about mid-point, pushed the refrigerator onto the new floor, continued past it and then rolled it against the wall where it will end up. I still have some holes in the wall that will be behind cabinets, so I’m not going to patch them and get crazy (all on inside walls, not outside walls).

The goal between today and tomorrow is to spot prime the last 2 patches on the ceiling and then get the ceiling painted and the one wall we have to paint.

I’m going to end up having to do more work on the ceiling in one area where we’re installing an island range hood. The 6 inch duct is up there (I ran it across the kitchen ceiling from the garage scuttle.) But I have to put a couple of pieces of blocking up there and until I get some cabinets set we won’t have the EXACT location of the island and cooktop. So….. I’ll be doing some patching again, but I’m not willing to hold everything up for the range hood for possibly a 2 by 3 foot area that needs patching. I’ll also be building a “medallion” for where the hood duct penetrates the ceiling. But the medallion will be rectangular and quite large so I might not need to get too fussy with the patching anyways.

With any luck I’ll get the sink side base run set this week, build one refrigerator end panel, and fabricate the corian count top. Once that corian top is done and assuming I don’t screw it up, the rest is relatively easy. I’m just stressed about the countertop because one end has to span from the kitchen sink to the refrigerator end wall. It’s only 24 inches, but I have to cut this thing exactly to fit and it will rest on a ledger type support at the back wall and the refrigerator end panel. I can make the ledger on the wall an inch and a half but the one on the refrigerator end panel is only 3/4 inch. I am just plain running out of space and using 3/4 here and 3/4 there to make sure I have some support for the counter top has run me out of wall. :)

The corian will have a 3/4 inch thick “frame” under it, from the sink to the fridge panel. THAT will be attached to the ledgers, and the corian will sit on the frame in that area. AND…. this is a single thickness (1/2 inch) of corian. No built up edge, and with a farm sink cut out just about in the middle of it.. Should be an adventure. :)

View HerbC's profile


1763 posts in 2882 days

#3 posted 07-22-2012 08:03 PM

I think it’s a bad idea to use tongue and groove lumber as a backsplash in a kitchen, with or without the additional complication of using shellac as the finish in an area exposed to humidity, grease and who knows what else… The inherent “dirt” in a kitchen will build up in the cracks in the surface of the tongue and groove. I think you’d be better off using either a tile backsplash or a solid surface corian.

Just my $0.02 worth. Your milage may vary.

Good Luck!

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2309 days

#4 posted 07-22-2012 10:58 PM

I do not totally disagree. However, this is what she wants and if it gets messed up, I take down 2 wall cabinets and redo it with something else. In the overall scheme of this remodel, this is an easy piece. I’ve warned her about the durability. She’s accepting responsibility for keeping it clean. All I can do and then I move on to other challenges.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2309 days

#5 posted 08-17-2012 01:26 AM

PICTURES! I still can’t find the battery and charger for the camera so I bought another one. :)
Here’s our progress on the kitchen remodel so far. It has been about 6 weeks since we started demo.

This is the working side (as opposed to the pantry side. Island cabinets just starting to go in. Had to place them to spot the island range hood. Blue tape on the floor is to get them back where they are now when we fix them to the floor. My wife and I just hung the range hood tonight. Have to get the ducting and electrical hooked up and get the stainless steel chimney cut down.

Then there’s the pantry side…

The “spare wood” up on top is extra shelves. We haven’t got to the details of organizing this yet. Heck, I still have tools and junk on 3 shelves :) I still have to make all the doors (18 of them) and there’s trim work to do everywhere, but once we get the range hood hooked up, they’ll also install the gas line for the cook top and I’ll plunk that puppy into a piece of 3/4 inch plywood until I get the island counter top installed. That’s probably a couple of weeks out yet.

It’s a lot of work. A lot of details. A lot of fussin’ and fiddlin’ ‘cause nothing in this house is straight. Not surprised, but it sure adds to the fun when virtually everything is a custom fit.

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

4032 posts in 2257 days

#6 posted 08-17-2012 10:29 AM

Great work Charlie! I’ve been wondering how you were doin’. This is already nice and inviting!

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL One should always prefer the probable impossible to the improbable possible.

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