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How To Tile Your Kitchen's Backsplash

April 23rd, 2012 Bed and Bath

As you've probably noticed, things tend to get messy in the kitchen. Between spraying sinks, whirling mixers and other various food preparation disasters, your walls might be taking a serious beating. That's why you may want to consider installing a mosaic tile backsplash in your kitchen. When placed behind the range of your stove, underneath cabinets or behind your sink, you'll find that a backsplash is not only useful and easy-to-clean, but it'll give your kitchen a decorative boost, and who doesn't want that? Here's how to get started on the project - which, by the way, should only take up one of your precious weekends.

First, choose a tile pattern that complements your kitchen's decor, including the wall colors, countertops and floors. This will ensure that your space has a cohesive look once you're done. Keep in mind that you don't have to go with one shade - experiment with multicolored tiles in the same color family or consider creating a geometric pattern for a mod look. Once you've found the perfect design, prepare the wall you're planning to cover by removing any wallpaper or loose paint, then sand the wall so the tiles stick better. Now you're ready to begin the installation.

Stock up on mosaic sheets that will suit your needs, and make sure you have the necessary materials to set it in place, including grout and adhesive. To get your layout situated, hold the sheets against the wall where you want the backsplash to be and tape them into place so you can get an idea of where each sheet will go. Be careful to line up the grout lines and colors. It might be a good idea to leave a grout line along the countertop.

Before you remove the mosaic sheets, use a pencil to mark where each one was located so you can use it as a guide. Now, cover up the countertops to protect them from any spills, then smooth mortar on the walls with a trowel to make even ridges. Apply the mosaic sheets according to your guidelines and use spacers to keep the joints even and the tiles straight.

If you have electric outlets in the way, you'll need to remove the plates. Turn off the power at the breaker panel and pull the whole thing carefully away from the wall. Add a box extender after the tile is in place, and keep in mind that because there is extra thickness, you might need to get longer screws.

When every sheet is set on the wall, use your hands or a grout float to press the sheets against the wall. Wipe off any extra mortar that you notice, then leave the project to dry for at least 12 hours.

Once the mortar is dry, mix up some grout and apply it to the tiles using a grout float. This will work the grout into the joints in between tiles. Make sure every crevice is filled completely, then wipe away the excess with a damp sponge to clear the tile faces. Check to see how long the grout needs to dry, then allow it to do so.

After the grout has dried, use a dry cloth to wipe away any grout film. You might want to apply a grout sealer to protect the grout from stains, then caulk the areas where the backsplash intersects with the cabinets and countertops. Give it one final washing with a sponge and then step back to admire your handiwork. Wasn't it worth it?