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How to Plan and Design a Kitchen Backsplash

Posted: Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A kitchen backsplash is the most fun you'll have remodeling your kitchen. It ties together the countertops and the flooring, it allows for great creativity and even a little whimsy, and it offers an avenue of personal expression.

1. Measure carefully Measure the area. Having chosen your tiles and your tile size, you need to calculate how many will fit. If you have a pattern of differing tiles, look for a way to fit them together to fit the space.

2. Draw: Transfer your math onto the wall. There's no substitute for a life-size layout. Don't forget to include the space between tiles in your drawing.

PRO TIP! In order to make your space between tiles consistent, get some plastic spacers from the tile section in your home improvement store. This is how the pros get those perfect gaps for their grout.

3. Cut the tiles: For this task, a rented tile saw is the most cost-effective way to get what you need. If you plan on doing a lot of tile such as tiling an entire house remodel consider buying a tile saw that you can resell when you're finished. Get all your cutting done before you start your adhesive.

4. Apply adhesive: Using a 3/16" square notched trowel, apply a layer of thinset adhesive and comb the thinset at a 45-degree angle. Don't apply more thinset than you can use in 5 minutes. When setting the tile, press it in lightly and wiggle it back and forth to get out any air bubbles. Don't press so hard that you have thinset squish out between the tiles.

5. Set tiles: Wipe each tile clean, then apply a thin layer of thinset to the back of each (this is called back buttering). Work from the center to the edges. If you have an odd size at one end, 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 for symmetry's sake.

6. Grout: After tile is set and adhesive is dry, grout between the tiles.

7. Seal: Wait 48 hours and apply a sealer to the grout to protect against water. Glazed ceramic tiles only need to have the grout sealed. If you use slate, terra cotta or marble, seal the tile too, in order to prevent stains.