River Pebble Tile Kitchen Back Splash – A DIY Project Anyone Can Do

picture of StrataStones River Pebble Stone Back Splash

If you have ever endeavored in home remodeling, you know that the last 10% of any project takes the longest. Our kitchen remodel has been fabulous, I am beyond thrilled with the results of my dream kitchen. To give the kitchen a finished look, we installed a River Pebble Tile backsplash.

River Pebble Tile Install Video Recap using StrataStones

We found the River Pebble Tiles from StrataStones.net, (Updated 9/2021 StrataStones is no longer in business, however, we recommend a new style on Amazon.com that is similar) where they offer a variety of different stones, colors, and sizes to match any decor or room.  StrataStones are interlocking 12″ x 12″ segments of pebble stone tiles. Buying online with StratStones.net is easy. You can even order a sample before placing your order for just a few dollars.

The installation of the StrataStones was probably the easiest, quickest project we have taken on so far. Check out this post for in-progress photos of installing the pebble stone tiles!

River Pebbles installed on a wall
Installing Strata Stone in 12×12 tiles

Grouting, cleaning, and polishing took much longer. Thus the reason the last 10% of the project has taken weeks. Mostly, it is because my motivation was hampered by the work that lay ahead of me and the warm weather beckoning me outside.

kitchen done

Before and After Kitchen Back Splash Pictures

Before I show you how messy I got installing the river pebble stones because I didn’t have the right tools, I wanted to show you a quick couple of pictures so you can see the amazing before and after pictures.

picture of Kitchen with no back splash
Kitchen with no back splash
picture of Kitchen with StrataStones River Pebble Tile Installed
Kitchen with StrataStones River Pebble Tile Installed

Grouting River Pebble Tile

I suggest getting the right tools when you can for any home remodeling job. It is recommended to use a sponge float to apply the grout to protect the stones. We only had a metal one, so I used my hands. My husband called it the chimpanzee technique, not clean, not efficient, but it got the job done.  I didn’t go to school for this, or it would look a lot more professional, probably a lot cleaner, but I got the job done. We used Polyblend Sanded Grout in a Delorean Gray for a natural look, a coffee bean color would look nice too. This step with the below step took 5-8 hours but should not have taken so long.  I did it in 1-2 hour increments. However, if I had to do it over, I’d spend the $5 and get the right tool to save a LOT of time. It should have only taken 1-2 hours. Lesson learned!

picture of Chimpanzee technique worked but not recommended!
Chimpanzee technique worked but not recommended!

After the grout sets for 15 minutes, you are to wipe down the stones to get the grout off the stones. This will give you a flat surface of stones and grout lines in the end. I think we used more grout than were were suppose to because we had to wipe quite a bit away. It wasn’t a hard job, just required a sponge and water that was frequently changed. I did this as we went along with the applying the grout section by section – mostly while my kids were in school, thus the broken up time frames.

My husband and I really liked the natural look of the stones with their various shapes and sizes. We choose to pull out more of the grout so that the beautiful stones would pop out. This required us taking away more than just the grout from the tops of the stones. It took a lot more time but it was the look we were going for.

After 24 hours, we wiped down the excess grout haze from the stones.  I didn’t feel like enough of the haze was gone, I think I used too much grout to begin with, so we applied a Grout Haze Remover to the stones. This isn’t required but it gave us a nicer, shiner look. We just used a sponge to wipe away the haze. This took 1-2 hours, it was really easy.

picture of See the leftover grout haze?
See the leftover grout haze?

We took a break for a week or so, because we were also working on the new foyer walls and floors, dry-walling the living room, and building a new storage room.

In just 1-2 hours yesterday, I applied a High Gloss Finishing Sealer to the pebble stones. How beautiful! It is all about personal preference, but we like the shininess. Of course, many would like the natural sheen of the stones.

picture of We used a High Gloss Sealer on the river pebble stones and grout
We used a high gloss sealer on the river pebble tiles

We couldn’t be happier with the finished product. Our kitchen is now complete. It looks polished. It looks finished.

picture of River Pebble Stones Back Splash in Kitchen
River Pebble Stones Back Splash in Kitchen
picture of StrataStones River Pebble Stone Back Splash
StrataStones River Pebble Stone Back Splash

StrataStones Review

Choosing the River Pebble Tile for our kitchen back splash was the best decision. It really shows of the colors in our cabinetry, brings in the natural surroundings outside, and adds to the Frank Lloyd Wright style of our home.

The River Pebbles from StrataStones are beautiful. Each stone is unique in shape and colors. The colors we chose were perfect for our home. The stone were organically laid out to compliment each other side by side. We were pleased with our entire experience with StratStones.net and highly recommend this product and company.

StrataStones can be used anywhere for inside or outside applications. You can use it for a shower floor or wall, for a accent wall or back splash, for an entire floor,  or even counter-top, as a patio or pool surround, accent exterior wall trim. The applications are endless, the results are stunning and unique. This is a project that anyone can do, there isn’t much skill involved, little tools, and great results!

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This was not a paid post. My own opinions were used based on my perceptions and experience. Thank you to StrataStones who supplied the products for the review.

Check out options on Amazon.com since StrataStones is no longer online.

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Founder and Lead Blogger at Akron Ohio Moms
Cindy is the top Akron Blogger with her own take on awesome brands for families, where to vacation for families, a beat on local activities and family fun, a knack for getting moms to share , and a house that is always 2 weeks away from a complete remodel!
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