Putting in a new splashboard (also commonly called backsplash) will give your kitchen a new look and doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Most splashboards can be installed easily over a weekend, saving you the cost of having it done by a professional, plus giving the self-satisfaction of knowing you did it all by yourself!
Materials & Equipment
You will need however much tile is necessary (be sure to measure at least twice!), tile mastic, a grout float and a notched trowel, a ceramic tile cutter (most home improvement stores rent these), spacers (you can use matchsticks, if necessary), caulk and a caulking gun, a measuring tape, 80-grit sandpaper, a large sponge, soft towels or scrap cloths.
Prep Work & Applying Mastic
First, sand the area over your sink and along the wall where you will be installing your splashboard with 80-grit sandpaper. Doing this roughs up the surface, which allows the tile mastic you’ll be using to bond securely.
Using a straightedge and level, mark a vertical line exactly down the center of the area. You then need to diagonally cut enough tiles for the bottom row. Rather than thinset, acrylic mastic for tile is utilized to glue the tiles to vertical space. With a notched hand trowel, apply the mastic to the wall with a sweeping motion.
Lay the Tile
Being careful to align the triangular tile pieces with the points next to the vertical line you’ve drawn, set them into the mastic. You will need to wiggle them slightly into the mastic to get rid of any air bubbles and to make sure they are sticking properly.
Continue with the rest of the tiles, marking and cutting them as needed to fit around corners, electrical outlets, and any other odd-shaped areas. For the edges, you will need to use either wood molding or tile bullnose (recommended) to finish. Allow the set tiles to dry overnight.
Grouting, Clean Up & Caulking
Grout comes in as nearly as many colors as the tiles themselves, but it’s best to choose one that’s neutral, like grey or cream. You can also get grout that has additives premixed into it that not only inhibit the growth of mold, but also help resist water damage to the tile.
So after you’ve chosen and mixed your grout according to package directions, spread it over the tiles you’ve set the previous day. Apply the grout at an angle that allows you to work it well into the joints between the tiles.
Wipe off excess grout from the surface of the tiles as you work to prevent the grout from drying hard. Use a large damp sponge and rinse it frequently. After you’ve allowed the grout to set – at least four hours – buff the tiles with a soft, dry cloth or towel to remove any last vestiges of grout.
Finally, use a high quality silicone caulk and seal the edges of your new tiled splashboard. That’s it! You’re done, and you’ve not only saved yourself money by doing it yourself, but you can brag about the fact, as well.
Photo by Jeff Kalikstein -CreativeCommons