Everyone, I am super excited to show you how I did my own tile backsplash. It is crazy simple! But first, my apologies for only posting once a month. Lame, I know. The house is still a mess and there is stuff scattered in all the rooms. We have had roofing, siding, and drywall contractors here fixing all the problems we have had this past year. Sections of the roof and some siding are being fixed. We are also having a section of the office wall replaced due to it getting wet. There was a small hole in the siding caused by the kick out flashing that was never caulked. Yep, water / snow got in over time and wasp were flying in and out of the hole! The office can smell stagnate and musty, as a result. Especially, when the sun shines on that part of the house. Needless to say, our house has been a construction zone off and on for the past eight weeks. I know I have not written much about the details of our house issues, but after writing a 52 page Power Point presentation for our builder and regional office, I was beyond exhausted!
Okay, let’s move on to more happy stuff!
After the kitchen received it’s new flooring and I started painting the walls, I really wanted some kind of backsplash behind the stove. I will be honest folks, I was going to hire out this job. Gasp! Seriously, I was willing to pay $200.00 (labor only) to have it done. Why? Because I wanted it done asap and was so over the kitchen being a construction zone. Well, the tile guy ended up getting busy and two weeks went by. The wall behind the stove haunted me. See, I have never done any tiling what-so-ever. I also did not want to have to rent or buy a wet saw for this little tile job. One night while in the kitchen, my Wonder Woman side kicked in and said, “Woman! Go tile that wall! If you can refinish the garage floor , you can tile above the stove.” The next day I was at Home Depot and gathered my supplies. I knew I wanted to tile that small section of wall in the easiest and simplest way, without compromising quality.
Here it the same angled picture before the backsplash.
As much as I like how the tile looks above the stove, I am more excited to show you what I used to do the job!
- Simple Mat (available at the Home Depot).
- Simple Grout (available at the Home Depot).
- Large sponge.
- Handheld tile cutter with scoring.
- 120 grit sandpaper.
- Tape measure.
- Your choice of tile.
Yep! That is all that is needed. The only thing that is optional (a personal preference) is the metal trim edge on the sides of the backsplash. I will show you that later on in this tutorial.
Let me show you how I did it!
Because I had never tiled before, I measured the space behind the stove. Actually, H did that for me while I took a cat nap. Next, I made a template (on the floor) of how I would like the tiles to look above the stove. I basically just played around with different variations of the tile, until I had the layout I wanted. I also needed to figure out my center point – meaning, I wanted equal widths of tile on each side. I knew this is where I would need to cut some of those little tiles in half. My center point ended up being about a 1/2 an inch to the left of the actual center above the stove. Psst…sorry for the poor quality photos ahead. I usually do my projects at night when I am delusional.
Because the walls in the house are of knock down texture, I lightly sanded the wall (by hand) to rough up the paint surface. Note: I was not trying to get rid of the knock down texture. I just felt more comfortable knowing that I roughed up the wall a little bit before sticking on my tile mat. Also, make sure the wall is clean of any grease and grim.
People, this stuff is super sticky! It is A LOT more sticky than your sticker collection, you may or many not have had as a kid. No, the Chiquita banana sticker does not count as a sticker. Nor does the 100% beef sticker on meats. Just sayin’…
When applying Simple Mat, be sure to smooth out the mat and apply pressure. I used my rubber float margin to smooth out the mat, while applying pressure. I would have used my J roller, but I could not find it.
Once done applying the Simple Mat, I started laying my tile. I started at the top and off centered my first tile piece by 1/2 an inch, per my floor template.
I continued laying each piece in place. Note: I purposely left each side of the backsplash unfinished at this point.
One thing I forgot to add that I used was a utility knife. I used this to cut my tile to the size that I needed for the bottom and third row of tile. Note: One could probably use open scissors (sharp) to cut the tile mesh.
Now it was time to add the metal trim edge to each side of the backsplash. Note: Adding a metal trim edge to the sides is optional. Because I only did a backsplash behind the stove, I felt the trim edge gave the tile a more finished look for that space. If you decide to use a metal trim edge, they do come in a variety of finishes.
After measuring the length of the metal trim edge I needed on each side of the backsplash, the metal was then cut using tin snips.
In order to get the tile to stick to the metal trim edge, I decided to cut a narrow and long piece of Simple Mat and placed it over the trim edge. Instead of placing the all over sticky side of the Simple Mat (this side is placed onto the wall) on the trim edge, I placed the side that had the raised and spaced adhesive sections (this side is used for the tile) on the trim. If I was using larger tile, I would not need to do this. Since mosaic tile pieces can be very small and I had to cut some in half, flipping over the Simple Mat was a good idea. Note: Let me point out that I do not know if Simple Mat would recommended what I did. All I know is that it worked and worked well!
Because each side of the backspalsh was such a small section to work with, I decided to manually place each tile by hand. I know some of you may think it would take forever to do that, but it did not. It was extremely easy to snap off a piece of tile from the tile mesh holding all the pieces together. I followed the tile pattern (kind of) and knew where a metal or stone piece would be placed. Due to the offset patten of the mosaic tile, I knew I would have pieces that would need to be cut in half. Because the individual tile pieces are so small (1.25 inches), I used a handheld tile scoring cutter. All I did was score each little tile and break it in half! EASY! Since I was scoring and breaking the tile in half, some pieces did not have a smooth cut. Some had sightly rough ends. No, problem! After few passes across 120 sandpaper, the cut edge was smooth and ready for placement.
For those wondering how I cut the stainless steel tile pieces, I did not cut them. H and I tried cutting those metal tiles (stainless steel caps over tile) and it was difficult to get a straight and smooth cut. After getting frustrated with the whole thing, it finally dawned on me that I do not have to cut those stainless steel tile pieces or even use them. Duh! If you look closely, all tile pieces that are cut in half, are stone only. Why make something difficult, if it does not need to be? Besides, who is really going to notice that I did not use half sized stainless steel pieces? Most people will not. Plus, having the metal trim edge helps blend in the overall use of stone and metal tile.
Are you guys still with me? Okay, now to the grouting part.
I like simple. I was not in the mood to be mixing grout. Nope! The Simple Mat brand recommends using their premixed grout line. Fine by me. I chose Delorean Gray as the grout color for the backsplash. The color blends very well with the tile and is a close match to the grout used on the kitchen the floor. Note: I did not have enough leftover grout from the kitchen floor tile to use. I decided to use Simple Grout because it is cheaper than the pre-mixed grout used on the kitchen floor and the backsplash is not a place where it will be in constant contact with water. Besides, the Simple Grout is suitable for wet areas (in case one is worried about steam from boiling water) and is highly stain resistant. Cooking grease wiped off easily.
I will be honest. At first, I had a lot of trouble using the grout. Why in the world did my clean side need to kick in?! If you are grouting a vertical surface, grout will fall. End of story. I was trying so hard not to let any fall off my rubber float margin, that I looked ridiculous. I was trying to be all neat and pretty putting grout into all those mosaic tile gaps. Insert eye roll at myself. H had been watching me and said, “I think you are suppose to scoop a lot of grout on the float and smooth it over the tile quickly.” Huh? How does he know that? Well, apparently Mr. H decided to watch a YouTube video on grouting when I told him I was going to do the stove backsplash. Ha!
Let me just say that it is a good thing I am small (5’1″). Why? Because that beast of a stove can NOT be moved by one person. It took three men and an appliance roller to move it when the kitchen floor was being replaced. Since the stove could not be moved (H was able to move it one inch away from the wall for me – My Hercules!) I had to sit on the stove during the whole tiling process. My silly husband even took a picture of me grouting. I actually have pictures of me doing past projects that he likes to take. Not sure why.
By the time I was almost half way done, I finally got the hang of grouting. I was impressed at how fast grouting the second half of the backsplash went. I just needed to figure out my technique and style.
Everyone, that backsplash is going no where. The Simple Mat is amazing and easy to use. If any of you are wondering how well it will hold up, check out this lovely kitchen backsplash from Nancy at Artsy Chicks Rule. She did her backsplash using a similar product called Bondera Tile Mat. I found her post a few months back and hoped one day I would be brave enough to try my hand at tiling.
- If you have doubt you can do this, get rid of it.
- You CAN do this easily.
- I decided late Thursday I would do my own backsplash. Friday, I was at Home Depot getting my supplies. Saturday, I laid out everything and tiled. Sunday, I grouted. Done!
- Minimal mess! This is fantastic if you are wanting to tile in your kitchen.
- If you wish to use bigger tile, you can rent a wet saw, buy a cheap one or buy a manual tile (scoring) cutter between $20 and $35.
- It CAN be done.
There ya go!
Whether you want to add a backsplash, build something, paint something or create something that you daydream about, but were afraid to – decided now that YOU ARE going to do it!
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