When Laying a Backsplash, a Methodical Approach Is Best

Ceramic tile for bathroom

So you want to spruce up your kitchen, but don’t necessarily want to shell out tens of thousands of dollars doing it. What’s a savvy homeowner to do? Why, add a new backsplash tile of course!

Unlike installing new cabinets, a kitchen backsplash does not require a professional to install. Backsplash tiles are also a low cost option when upgrading a kitchen, unlike installing new flooring. If you would like to know more about how to install a beautiful mosaic in your kitchen, read below.

The Key to Easy Installation Is Preparation at Each Step of the Way.

Any home improvement job can be nightmarish if proper preparation is not undertaken. Experts recommend the novice tile installer to be prepared for between 11 and 13 steps when laying even a simple backsplash tile. That number may seem a little much, but it is better to be methodical than to be dissatisfied with your work.

So what are these steps to laying kitchen tiles?

    1. Measure the wall. Make sure you write down the numbers clearly on a new sheet of paper you won’t lose midway through deciding on a tile pattern.

    2. Prep the workspace. Clear the counters of all clutter, then protect them with a layer of thick cardboard. If your stove is detached, pull it away from the wall to give yourself room to work. Have all the materials and tools you’ll need close by.

    3. Prep the wall. Home improvement stores recommend using an 80-grit sandpaper to roughen the paint on the wall. This will help the adhesive stick.

    4. Pre-lay the tile. Before applying the adhesive, test the placement of your chosen tile by marking where each piece will go. Make any cuts or changes you’ll need now, before the adhesive is waiting.

    5. Prepare the mortar. Prepare your chosen mortar in a bucket according to package instructions. Be careful, as some brands set quickly.

    6. Apply the mortar. Working in a small two by two area, apply the mortar with the flat side of a trowel at a 45 degree angle first, and then go back over it with a little more mortar using the ridged side. These ridges give the tile a little more to hold on to.

    7. Lay the tile. Working quickly, lay the tile in the pattern you had decided on during the pre-laying stage.

    8. Dry and pre-seal the tile. It may take up to 24 hours for the tile to fully dry and set. If you used a natural stone tile, it will need to be sealed.

    9. Clean Tile and Prepare Grout. Wipe the backsplash tiles gently with a damp sponge. Prepare the grout according to package instructions.

    10. Grout the tile. For this step you’ll need a grout floater. Work quickly, as the grout will set fast but not be fully dried for up to three days, but some take as little as 24 hours.

    11. Seal the tile. This prevents staining.

Choosing Tile Comes Down to a Complement or a Contrast.

There are hundreds of beautiful mosaic tile designs, but an ornate backsplash may not be right for every kitchen. Backsplash designs can either complement the existing color scheme, or provide a direct contrast. What this means is that the tiles can either fade gently into the room, or call attention to themselves.

The material itself may not be an indicator. For example, decorative subway tiles in white may seem very understated, but if installed in a kitchen with dark cabinets and countertops, the backsplash tiles will really pop. So even plain white subway tiles may provide interest. It all depends on what you already have in your kitchen.

Will Anyone Even Notice the Work I’ve Put Into These Tiles?

The kitchen is a popular room to redecorate. It is the second most popular home improvement request at 69%, according to one survey by the National Association of Home Builders, NAHB. Even a minor kitchen renovation shows an average Return on Investment, ROI, of nearly 83%. As the heart of any home, a smart appearance does not go unnoticed.

Any renovation can be time consuming and stress-inducing. But doing the job right the first time is certainly worth it in the long run.

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