Monday, April 04, 2011

Tiling Kitchen Backsplash

By Mark J. Donovan

I spent much of this weekend tiling the kitchen backsplash in our home. It looks fantastic even though it’s not completely finished. I still need to grout it. Though tiling a kitchen backsplash is fairly easy to do, it is quite time consuming and it is awkward to do, particularly when you’re a tall person like me. Fortunately though, my wife helped out positioning the tiles after I measured and cut them. A wet tile saw is key for this type of tiling project. It’s important to get clean straight cuts due to the fact that a tiled kitchen backsplash is so visible.

Prep work also took quite a bit of time. After removing all of the items on the countertop, I had to install electrical outlet box extenders so that the outlets and switches would be flush with the finished tile surface. In addition, I used 80 grit sandpaper to rough up the painted drywall surface. Sanding the kitchen backsplash walls helps to ensure a good bond between the tile and drywall surface. We used 4”x4” Travertine tile for most of the kitchen backsplash tiles, however we added a row of small glass tiles to add some unique character to the tile design. I applied the tiles using a tile adhesive instead of thinset mortar due to the fact that this area of the kitchen backsplash doesn’t get wet.

I went with 1/8 inch spacing between tiles based on the fact that the small glass tiles that I used were affixed to a mesh backing with 1/8 inch spacing between the tiles. I also used small 1/8 inch wedges to prop the first row of tiles off of the granite backsplash. In addition, I used 1/8 inch tile spacers to ensure the rest of the tiles maintained proper spacing.

All that’s left to do now with my kitchen backsplash tiling project is to grout it. I plan on using a sanded grout and expect to complete the project next week. Stay tuned for more pictures!

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