Tiling the Backsplash

Take a deep breath – its time to tile this b.

Before you dive into tiling, you should lay out the design to make sure the beginning and the end of the tile is the look that you want. We played around with different size tile spacers and layout before landing on our look. I couldn’t decide on the finished edge. Long story short, there are two options for your finished edge – bullnose (rounded edge) or Dural (metal/sharp edge).

We ended up going with bullnose because you get the softer edge (and “the metal edge can sometimes look tacky”- Jay).

Jay teaching us how to cut around the outlet

To hang the tile, we used SimpleSet Pre-Mixed Thin-Set Mortar. To apply, I used the flat side of the trowel to apply the mortar to the wall, in small sections at a time (approx 1 ft x 1 ft).

Once the Mortar is applied, we used a V-notched trowel to scrape off the excess – you’ll want to angle your trowel perpendicular to the wall to scrape off the excess

Then you begin placing your tile on the wall. Place tile spacers in between each piece of tile to get a consistent grout line. We used 1/16″ spacers and I love the look of the thin grout line.

There are a bunch of options when it comes to what you use to cut your tile- our choice is a wet saw. Jay let us borrow his, which may be a few years decades old – but still works like a dream. If you want to be just like Jay, you can find his Workforce THD500 Wet Saw on eBay.. for $75 – wait just give him a call, I’m sure he will let you borrow his.

Number 1 Rule while cutting tile, patience. Highly likely that you will measure 7 times and make 3 different cuts before you get a piece that fits, but it will be okay.

You need to wait at least 24 hours after you finish tiling to apply the grout. One of my favorite bloggers, Young House Love, raves about Mapei Flexcolor Grout. If its good enough for John & Sherry, it’s good enough for us (p.s. follow them, you will not regret it).

Reasons this grout is amazing:
1) Pre-mixed.
2) Stain resistant and doesn’t need to be sealed.
3) Shrinkage Controlled
4) Easy to clean

To apply, moisten the tile lightly with a sponge. Use a Grout Float to smear grout on the tile like you’re putting cream cheese on a bagel. Make sure you really push it into all of the nooks and cranny. Remove excess grout from the center of tiles (future you will appreciate that). You want to leave the excess by the grout lines.

Wait 5-10 minutes for the grout to dry before you start to clean.

To clean, moisten your sponge and clean the excess grout off the tile. Repeat until your tile is smooth and no longer has a hazy look from the grout. You’re going to need some elbow grease and to change the water frequently, but you’ve got this.

This was the easiest and hardest thing for me to finish. Caulking is so easy, but it was the process of finishing the project that seemed daunting (do you ever feel like projects hang in the 95% complete stage for far too long??).

Step 1. Put painters tape down about 1/8″ away from the tile to give space for the caulk.
Step 2. Place a bead of caulk down.
We’re trying out DAP’s Extreme Stretch Product to hopefully combat the extreme shrinking many people see in Kitchens.
Step 3. Wet your finger, or your use the Husky 3-1 Caulk Tool, and run across the caulk to blend into the tile and counter top.
Step 4. Once you like the look of the caulk, remove the painters tape.

DAP Extreme Stretch Caulk
Caulk Gun
Subway Tile
Bullnose Tile
Detailed Tile
Pencil Tile
1/16″ spacers
Similar Wet Saw

7 thoughts on “Tiling the Backsplash

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