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» Installing a Kitchen Backsplash

How Did I Do It? > Home & Garden > Installing a Kitchen Backsplash
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Installing your own kitchen backsplash is not as difficult as you might think.
Installing your own kitchen backsplash is not as difficult as you might think.
A new kitchen backsplash can really improve the look of your kitchen, and it has the added advantage of being really easy to clean.

The project can be really cost-effective if you select a mass produced tile and install it yourself.

This is an easy do it yourself project that you can do in a weekend.

To install your kitchen backsplash, follow these simple steps:

  • Use a measuring tape to find the center of the area that you’re going to tile. Starting at the center, make a horizontal line across the entire area. Make sure to use a level; if you use the cabinets or appliances as a reference you might end up with crooked tiles.
  • Check out the layout. Put in one row and one column without the adhesive just to see how the tiles fit. If you find that you need to install less than half a tile at the row or column ends, shift the center point until the fragments disappear.
  • As with any remodeling project, make sure to turn off the power before you start. You should also remove wall plates, take down decorations, and pull out appliances. Cover the counters and other surfaces to protect them.
  • Starting at the center point you marked off, use a notched trowel to apply thin set mortar to both the wall and the tile. Depending on your level of experience, you can apply mortar to a large area and then insert the tiles or apply smaller sections to the wall at one time. If you use larger areas, make sure to work fast so that the mortar doesn’t dry out. Push the tile onto the wall with a slight twisting motion.
  • Some tiles automatically space, but others require the use of plastic spacers. If your tiles require spacers, place them between the tiles as you install each one.
  • After you install a few tiles, rest a 2×4 wrapped in a scrap of carpet against the installed tiles and tap it with a rubber mallet to make sure that the tiles are flat.
  • Install the tiles in rows, and make sure to use your level to check to make sure that your row doesn’t float up or down.
  • You may need to trim tiles to make them fit on the edges. You can purchase a tile cutter at any home improvement store, and they’re easy to use. All you do is score the tile with the cutter and snap the extra pieces off.
  • Allow the mortar to dry according to the package directions.
  • Apply the grout at a 45 degree angle with a rubber grout float and wipe off the excess with a damp sponge. Avoid repeated wiping of the area; this will actually pull the grout out from between the tiles.
  • Let the grout cure. You may need to apply a sealant too; check the package directions to find out. After its cured, wipe down the tiles once more to remove any leftover grout film.
  • Caulk all the way around the backsplash, and then smooth the bead.

The project is done!

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