It's springtime, time for home improvement! I bought my house just 4 1/2
years ago, and ever since I've slowly been making it into my dream home.
It's a house constantly in transition. I wanted to make a change to my
kitchen, but I wasn't ready to completely renovate it, so I decided to
spruce it up by changing the color on the walls, adding crown molding to
and painting the cabinets, and by adding decorative backsplashes. The
wall painting and back splashes I did myself, the crown and cabinet
painting I had a contractor do. I am very happy with the result. Next
stopůmy laundry room countertop!
I am giving you the directions here, but there are many books available,
plus lots of information available on the Internet, that are worth
reviewing for a more detailed explanation of how to do this.
o Tile: your choice of material and finish; get enough to cover the
space, plus some extras to cover any cutting errors
o Wet saw (you can get an inexpensive one at a local hardware store)
o Notched trowel
o 1/8" spacers
o Mastic adhesive
o Large sponge and bucket
o Grout float
o Safety glasses
o Ruler/tape measure
Prepare the wall
o Remove all the switch plates and outlet covers from the backsplash.
o Sand the wall with sandpaper, and then wipe off the dust with a damp
o Measure and mark the exact center of the backsplash
o Using a pencil and a level, draw a starting line through the center
o Lay out your tile pattern on the floor first; to make sure it will fit
evenly on the wall. I reworked my design several times until I was happy
o Spread the mastic on the wall vertically, then horizontally. Hold the
trowel at a 45-degree angle when spreading mastic. The trowel's notches
help make sure you get an even distribution of the adhesive. Spread only
as much adhesive as you can tile in 10 minutes.
o Firmly press the tile into the mastic. Then continue setting tiles,
working out in both directions from the center line (above). Place a
spacer at every corner of each tile, unless you are self-spacing. Check
to make sure that the tiles are level and plumb. Adjust before the
Notch tiles with a wetsaw
o Mark any tiles that need to be notched around a cabinet corner, switch
box, or electrical receptacle. I had to cut around an under-the-cabinet
light as well.
o Mark the section of the tile that you want to discard with an "X". Cut
the tile using the wetsaw. Sometimes you will have to make two cuts,
this is when the "X" comes in handy.
o Completely finish tiling the backsplash. Let dry overnight.
Fill the tile joints with grout
- The next day, mix a batch of tile grout in a clean bucket, following
the directions on the carton. Use sanded grout for tiles spaced apart
1/4 inch or more, unsanded for narrower grout lines.
- Scoop some grout out of the bucket with a grout float and push the
grout into the lines between the tiles. Pack the grout deep into the
joints, but don't get any into the seam between the tiles and the
Clean and caulk
Stand back and enjoy!
- After grouting the entire backsplash, lightly clean the surface
with a large, damp sponge. Clean diagonally to the grout lines so as
not to pull any grout from the joints.
- Once all the walls have been grouted, rub the surface lightly
with the sponge. Sponge the surface one last time, and allow to dry
for one day. Buff the tile surface with a clean, dry cloth until it
- Squeeze a thin bead of tub-and-tile caulk into the joint at the
very bottom of the backsplash, in the corners, and between the tiles
and the cabinets. Smooth with a wet finger. Wipe off excess.
- If you are using natural stone, such as the tumbled marble that
I used, you will have to apply a sealer once you are finished.