April 9, 2013
The old faucet was surprisingly easy to remove. I was afraid the access would be very difficult but the short counter width and small sink made it not bad at all. I could reach under and unscrew the plastic bolts. Once the old faucet was removed, it revealed a standard size center hole that had a thin film of the counter top covering it and two smaller than standard holes for the water lines. I don't know why they do this sort of thing. I don't much like the counter material but I don't want to replace until I get around to refinishing and probably remaking the cabinets. It is crappy particle board covered with a thin plastic finish.
I've also been wanting a ferrous back splash that would hold a magnet and to have it go all the way across the galley counter. I had been thinking of getting stainless steel tiles but came across a bit of information that some tin ceiling tiles are made of ferrous metal. A bit of searching showed that Home Depot carries several metal ones in 2'x2' and 2'x4' of various designs. They are described as unfinished steel.
Home Depot's web site said my local store had one each of each design. I went down there to find out that they have none, not even a sample to see. They recommended that I order one and deliver it to the store. I could then see it and test it to be sure that it can hold a magnet. If it didn't, then I could just return it right there and not be out any money at all since I don't have to pay for shipping when delivered to the store. The only catch was when it arrived, they got confused because they didn't have any in stock and then had to spend a long time searching for the box that their email told me was shipped. While their procedures and stock tracking were abysmal, the clerks were persistent and pleasant in finding it for me. It did indeed hold a magnet and is quite pretty.
I got the 2'x4' Unfinished steel panel in 6" square pattern for less than $30. I got the Rustoleum spray paint in hammered copper and oil rubbed bronze to finish it. I also got some spray primer. I used a bi-metal blade in my oscillating saw to make the few cuts I needed to fit the top to my upper cabinets after taping the cuts with masking tape. The edges are quite sharp so I filed them to take off the very sharp bits. I first sprayed the primer on the back of the panel. Since it is ferrous metal, all edges need to be finished to prevent future rust. I then experimented with the paint to see if I liked how it looked. After the primer was good and dry, I sprayed a coat of urethane varnish.
The finish was a couple coats of the hammered copper paint to make a solid cover. Then after it was dry, I did a light spray of the bronze paint in a variegated random pattern so a good deal of the copper showed thru. After that was dry, I sprayed about 4 light coats of the varnish to provide a good strong finish. It took me a couple of weeks to get the finish on because there were few days where the outside temperature got above 50F which is the minimum temperature to use the paint.
I decided to also paint all the cabinet knobs in the bronze color rather than the silver they came as. I also sprayed the screws. To mount the back splash, I first ran a narrow bead of clear silicon caulk between the counter and the vinyl wall covering. I didn't need to remove any of the wall covering. Once the panel was in place, I drilled little holes to screw it to the wall with stainless steel screws that I had sprayed with the paint. I put a little clear silicon caulk on a bit of the threads to seal the hole and prevent rust. Finally, I ran another bead of the caulk at the base of the panel and the counter to make it water proof.