January 25, 2010

Kitchen Backsplash Installation

We’ve been cooking up some more progress in our kitchen makeover.   Once our granite countertops were in, our next step was to install a kitchen backsplash.  We browsed several tile and home improvement stores and decided on 1” x 2” brick shaped ceramic tile from Lowes.

The tiny tiles are attached together like mosaic tiles to form a 12" x 12" sheet which made installation easy. We also chose them because they're brown and tan earth tone colored which nicely unifies the brown in our new counters with the tan of our existing tile floor.

kitchen backsplash installation
We started the backsplash installation by covering our new counters with newspapers to prevent any adhesive or grout from dripping on them.  Then we removed the outlet covers and sanded down any glue that was left over from the countertop border we previously had.  After the prep work, the fun began!

This was my first tiling job so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out how easy it was.  The helpful folks at Lowes recommended an easy-to-use adhesive and grout which made the process much simpler and faster (and no one is paying me to say this, it’s my honest review!)  We started by spreading Tec Ready to Use Adhesive onto the walls and then simply stuck the 12” x 12” sheets of tile on top.  Like the name implies, the adhesive is ready to use straight from the tub and no mixing of anything is involved.  Simply spread on the walls in an even coat and stick the tiles on top, easy as pie! 
backsplash tile adhesive

Between each sheet of tile, we used plastic tile spacers to ensure there were equally sized gaps for grouting later on.  It only took us a few hours to adhere all of the tiles to the wall and then we let it set overnight. 
kitchen backsplash tiles

The next day, it was time to grout.  Grouting was also super easy because we chose another pre-mixed ready to go product, Tex Ready-to-Use Grout in Casual Beige.  It’s a little pricier that regular grout (which is typically a powder that you mix with water), but unlike regular grout which requires sealing afterwards, the ready-to-go stuff doesn’t require sealant which makes the price difference less noticeable.  Plus as an inexperienced grouter, I enjoyed the peace of mind of not having to worry about mixing the exact amount of water into the grout, and risking ruining it with the wrong amount.
grouting kitchen backsplash

Working in small sections, we simply slathered the grout on top of the tiles, making sure the gaps between each tile were completely filled.  After a couple minutes, we wiped the tiles down with a wet, and then dry, sponge to remove any excess grout from the top of the tiles.  This was the hardest part of the grouting process because we needed to give the grout a little bit of time to set, but we also had to act quickly and wipe it off fast enough to ensure the grout didn’t dry on top of the tiles.  For this reason, it’s really important to work in small sections and only grout a small area at a time.
kitchen tile grouting
But after a couple of hours, and a few more passes of sponge cleaning the tiles, our grout was done!  I was so surprised at how easy the process was (which is mostly due to the products we used and because the 12” x 12” tiles are fast to install).  I was so happy, I even wandered around the house seeing what else I could tile!  But no more tiling projects for us just yet, we still have to finish our kitchen makeover by painting the walls and adding some decorative cabinet trim.

In the meanwhile, here’s a sneak peek at how our kitchen is looking so far, renovation mess and all!  Adding the backsplash already makes the kitchen look much more finished.

kitchen backsplash photos

The project is shared on Metamorphosis Monday, Make it Monday, Make the World Cuter, Made it Monday, Make Your Monday, Diy Day.


Frugal Home Designs said...

That looks great. About how much did the project cost you to do. I want to do this in my kitchen! It definitely makes it look more finished.

Niesz Vintage Home said...

Great job!
I really like the look of that brick tile.


Catherine said...

Your backsplash looks AMAZING. I love mosaic tile. We did a mosaic on our backsplash as well - i think bigger tiles would be harder. Your kitchen is looking great!

Maryann @ Domestically-Speaking said...

What a beautiful choice... I really love it! I'm adding it to my kitchen list... thanks!

Jennifer Juniper said...

It gives you kitchen such nice interest and texture! You really did a great job, and I love how they look like mini-bricks.

Ashley @ AshleysBusy said...

I'm really loving it! You make tiling look super easy!

Thankfully Thrifty said...

We really need to do this! Maybe you've motivated me... how much was the whole project and how long did it take?

Carmen said...

It looks fantastic! Do those tile sheets require a tile saw? I've seen them and wondered how you cut smaller pieces and how you ensure having a smooth edge.

Rebekah said...

I was so glad to see your post on DIY @ Kimbas. I am in the process of starting to tile the backsplash in my kitchen as well, and was wondering the same thing as Carmen above me- did you have to use a wet/tile saw or were you able to just cut the mat as needed?

It looks great!! Hope mine turns out just as beautiful as yours did!

Jenny @ DIY Newlyweds said...

Thanks so much for all the compliments! I'm really happy with how it turned out so I'm thrilled to see others like it as well :-) It really was surprisingly easy to install (the products I mentioned really helped) so I encourage everyone to give it a try if a new backsplash is something you've been considering! The shape of tiles definitely made it easier as well. Not only were the mosaic style 12" x 12" sheets quicker to install than a smaller tile, but they were also easier to make cuts with. Around the outlets, we simple cut out the unnecessary tiles with a pair of scissors (each little piece is only attached together with glue). If one of the 1" x 2" tiles needed to but cut further, we used a simple hand tool to snap a cut. However in a few places , like when we approached the end of the wall, we needed to cut multiple mini tiles at once and in a straight line, so we used a tile saw. I'll post some more info on the tools we used and our total cost once I tally everything up, but I will say we got a lot of bang for our buck with the backsplash!

beth said...

I LOVE your backsplash. Those tiles are so beautiful! We're also getting ready to do a tile project(our first), so thanks for the product recommendations. We may have to try the ready to go grout and adhesive!
Have a great day! Beth.