Installing a kitchen backsplash is a relatively easy home improvement job which can have a drastic impact on your kitchens look and style. You have a wide variety of tiles that you can choose from, ranging from natural stone, to porcelain, to ceramic, and you even have painted tiles which can be bought to create a stunning visual focal point. While most tiles come in standard square or rectangular shapes, you can also use broken chip mosaic pieces to create a backsplash which simulates the natural world.
In order to compensate for breakage, you should purchase at least 10% more tile than your measurements indicate is required. Once you have the material on hand, lay it out on a flat surface in order to arrange the various pieces in the way you want, and get an idea for how it will actually look when placed all together.
Next, find the exact center of the wall area where you will be tiling. Using a meter stick and a level, draw a horizontal and a vertical line through this center point, running perpendicular to one another. This will be a guide that will ensure that your design is symmetrically placed side to side, and top to bottom.
Using a pencil, mark off a piece of wood or a stick, in correspondence to the size of the tiles being used in the project. Make sure that you leave small gaps between your marks to accommodate grout lines. Then use this stick to actually draw a pencil pattern on the wall, setting out in grid form where the various tiles will be placed.
Once your grid is drawn you can begin to apply your adhesive to the wall. Using a notched trowel spread an even coat of tile mastic on the wall just below the horizontal guideline, using it as a reference point to keep the adhesive straight. Then use the notched edge of the trowel to score grooves into the mastic so that it will adhere to the tile better.
Start your tile placement by fitting the square edge of the piece into the bottom right angle of the intersection between the horizontal and vertical guide lines. Press the tile firmly into the mastic, twisting it slightly so that it adheres in a firm manner. As you continue, form a straight row leading to the right, and then to the left of this first piece. Use plastic spacers to keep your grout lines even as you set each piece. Then step back and make sure that the line is straight and even across the wall, before moving down to the next level. If a row ends up being cut off by the counter, use a tile saw to custom trim pieces.
Once the bottom half of the tiling is complete, move on to the area above the horizon line, being careful to keep all of your rows straight and even, with grout joints lining up perfectly. Use bullnose tile pieces to finishes off the edges on the side.
When complete, take a 2X4 wrapped in carpet and lay it across the tile patterns surface. Then tap a mallet along the length of the wood, in order to set the tile firmly, and ensure that all pieces are at the same height dimensionally. Once complete, allow the mastic to dry for a minimum of twenty four hours.
If you’re using natural stone tile you will want to apply a sealer before grouting. Grout is applied over the entire surface of the tile installation, with special attention given to the joint areas. Application should be done with a rubber grout float, angled at 30 degrees to try and force the grout down into the gaps. Once grouting is complete, use that same float to scrape the surface of the tiles clean. After allowing the grout to set, use a wet sponge to clean off the surface of the tiles, revealing the beauty of the backsplash that you have just created.
This article was sponsored by PebbleZ’s line of mosaickitchen tableswhich are hand crafted from real pieces of natural, mountain born stone. The article was written by stone specialist Joey Pebble.