Kitchen Backsplash Tile Selection & Installation

Ceramic tile is a great choice for kitchen surfaces.

It’s durable, easy to maintain, and waterproof. Mass manufactured tile is also one of the most affordable surfaces you can buy, and if you’re craving a more custom look, you can purchase a few accent tiles at a reasonable price.

Tiling a kitchen backsplash is an attractive wall treatment that holds up well to kitchen heat and humidity, and it’s an easy do it yourself project that can be accomplished easily in one weekend.

Follow these steps to make your kitchen backsplash a success.

A modern style range hood and small, monotone tiles complete the contemporary look of this elegant kitchen.

Selecting Tile for Your Kitchen Backsplash

Achieve a unique and colorful look in your kitchen with a pattern like the mosaic tile pattern in this designer backsplash.Generally, most people will select ceramic tiles, but there are some other options if you’re looking for a different look. You could always try a pressed tin version if you like the look of tile but want a different finish.

If you find a floor tile that you absolutely love, but can’t afford to cover an entire floor, consider using that for the backsplash. But really, the patterns and colors available in ceramic can suit any kitchen.

When it comes to selecting colors, the sky’s the limit. Sure, you can have plain white tiles if that’s what you really want, but it’s easier than you think to install a row of accent tiles in one of your kitchen colors or create a checkerboard pattern.

Some tile manufacturers offer mosaic patterns and even murals. If the idea of a mural scares you, try looking for one of the pre-assembled ones. You just fit it into place. These are available in a variety of patterns and styles, including Tuscan kitchen design.

The size of the individual tiles is also important. Large tiles offer an easy way to cover a large area with fewer grout joints. Small tiles require more grouting, but most styles have lugs or spacers built into the sides to create automatic joints to make the installation a little easier.

Easy Steps to Install Your Backsplash

Follow these simple steps to install your kitchen backsplash. With a project like this, thorough planning is the key to success.

  1. Mark off the area to be tiled and find the center of the area. Whenever you tile, you should start from the center and work your way out. Use a level to make a horizontal line across the entire area. Don’t just install the tiles in a line along the cabinets or other kitchen surfaces; they might not be level.
  2. Have someone help you hold up a row of tiles along the line to make sure that it fits and looks good. You should also put up one column of vertical tiles to check out the layout. If you’ll need to install a tiny tile fragment at the end of a row or column, shift your center point a little and try again.
  3. Shut off the power for the area, remove any wall plates, and pull out appliances that might get in the way. Cover the counters with drop cloths or heavy paper.
  4. Starting at your center point (or adjusted center point), apply thin set mortar to the wall and to the tile with a notched trowel. You can choose to apply mortar to the entire area of a wall and then insert the tiles, but you’ll have to work fast so that it doesn’t dry. If you’re new to tiling, it’s better to start with smaller areas in case of problems. Push the tile into place with a slight twisting moWhite ceramic tile gives this kitchen backsplash a clean look and contrast nicely with the black stone countertop and stainless steel sink faucet and hardware.tion.
  5. If your tile requires the use of spacers, place them between the tiles to insure that the tiles are evenly spaced.
  6. After installing a few tiles, take a 2×4 wrapped in a scrap of carpet, rest it against the installed tiles, and tap it lightly with a rubber mallet to make sure that the tile lies flat.
  7. Work along the horizontal line to install a complete row of tile. Periodically use your level to check to make sure that the row remains level. Continue to work in horizontal rows.
  8. You may need to trim the tiles at the top, bottom, and each side to make them fit. The easiest way to do this is to use a tile cutter. The cutter will score the tile, and then the extra pieces just snap off.
  9. Allow the mortar to dry as recommended on the package. Usually you’ll have to wait about 24 hours.
  10. Use a rubber grout float to apply the grout at a 45 degree angle. Don’t go over the same area more than once or twice; repeated passes will actually pull the grout out.
  11. Wipe the excess grout off the tiles with a damp sponge and then let the grout cure. Once it’s completely cured, wipe the tiles down one more time to remove any leftover grout film.
  12. Caulk around the backsplash and smooth the bead with a wet finger. Reinstall the electrical plates and push the appliances back into place.

Enjoy your new backsplash!

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