How to Plan and Design a Kitchen Backsplash

Looking to remodel your kitchen? A kitchen backsplash may be the most fun you’ll have during your remodeling project. It brings together the counters, cabinets and flooring, allowing for great creativity, and it offers an avenue of personal expression.

1. Measure carefully
Measure the backsplash area carefully. Measure it twice and order some extra. Once you have chosen your tiles, you need to calculate how many will fit. If you have a pattern of differing tiles or a mosaic, look for a way to fit them together to fit the space.

2. Draw on the wall
Yes, draw on the wall by transferring your math.  There’s no substitute for a life-size sketch to visually represent what you are about to do. Spaces! Don’t forget to include the space between tiles in your little drawing.

Make sure the space between tiles is consistent. Plastic spacers are available in the tile section in your local home improvement store. The pros use them to get those perfect gaps for their grout, so why shouldn’t you!

3. Cut the tiles
Watch your fingers and cover your eyes for this task. A good idea instead of purchasing a tile saw is to rent one for smaller projects. It is the most cost-effective way to get what you need. If you plan on tiling an entire house, you may consider buying a tile saw. As an option, you can always resell the saw when you’re finished. Make sure to get all your cutting done before you start your adhesives. You’ll thank me for that tip!

4. Apply adhesive
Apply a layer of thinset adhesive using a 3/16″ square notched trowel and comb the thinset at a 45-degree angle. Don’t apply more thinset than you can apply in a 5 minute time-span. When setting the tile, don’t press so hard that you have thinset squish out between the tiles. Press it in lightly and wiggle it back and forth to get out any air bubbles.

5. Set tiles
Wipe each tile clean and do some back buttering (apply a thin layer of thinset to the back of each tile). Start at the center and work your way out to the edges. Have an odd size at one end? For symmetry’s sake, you’ll need to install the tiles from the center of the wall so you can split that odd size between the left and the right. Looking good!

6. Grout
Grout between the tiles. It’s not hard, just wait until after the tile is set and adhesive is dry.

7. Seal
Apply a sealer about 48 hours after the grout is set to protect against water. Good news if you purchased a glazed ceramic tile,  they only need to have the grout sealed. If you use decided to go with slate, terra cotta or marble…yup, you guessed it… you need to seal the tile too, in order to prevent stains.

To learn more about what tiles or stone you can use for your next kitchen backsplash project, please contact one of our design consultants at 1-800-764-1633.

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