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I want to try and add a backsplash to our kitchen. Besides the tile of choice what exactly would I need to tackle this project?


Would I need to strip the wall of its texture and paint before I get going on the project?





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Posted 2011-03-02T20:54:56+0000  by PB3 PB3

Hey Pete, I'm Blake from the California office. Backsplashes are a totally doable project that can really add beauty and functionality to a kitchen. There are actually a few ways to go about tackling this project with regard for the base of installation. 


The easiest way to do the install is the Simplemat Tilesetting Mat: With this product you cut the mat with scissors and apply to the wall. Once the mat is in place you remove the film from the out-facing side and just stick your tiles on. With this system it is VERY important that the wall is clean and dry, and that the tiles are clean and dry (completely dry, especially important if using a wet-cut saw to cut tiles). 


The next easiest way would be to apply the tile directly to the drywall using a tile mastic. Mastic comes in a tub and provides an immediate bond so that tiles do not slip off the wall while applying them. This process requires that any glossy paint be sanded off of the drywall for optimal adhesion. I would however suggest you consider the third option. 


The most tried and tested method would be to screw some 1/4" hardibacker board onto the wall. Hardibacker is designed to have excellent adhesion to mortar or mastic. This installation method will be the most durable and longest lasting. You will need to choose between mastic, or mortar with a polymer admix in it (for bonding strength on a vertical surface). Mastic is easier to work with as it is ready to go out of the tub, but it is more expensive. Mortar or mastic is applied with a notched trowel, to the backerboard and also to the back of the tile. The tile is pushed into the backerboard, and spacers are placed between tiles to maintain appropriate spacing. 


Once the mortar/mastic has dried, you will grout the joints using a grout float. Use sanded grout for lines 1/4" or larger, or non-sanded for grout lines less than 1/4". Wipe away residual grout using a wet, clean sponge and let the grout dry. Once everything is dried and set, seal the grout (and tile if using a natural stone) using a tile sealer. 


If you are using glass mosaic tile you will need to use a white mortar or mastic to keep from dulling the colors in the tile. If only doing glass mosaic you may not need a tile cutter, however if using standard tiles you may want to consider renting a wet-cut tile saw, as it makes much faster work of a tricky task. 


We also have some great threads on this subject that you may want to check out: Glass Tile BacksplashesSimpleMat


I hope this helps Pete. Please let us know if you need any more help!





Posted 2011-03-02T22:06:10+0000  by BlakeTheDiyGuy

Hi Blake!


Thanks for the great information! I like your third option on applying the backsplash. Our house is only three years old so I would like to do something right and that will last. We want to use stone tiles. We want to use a combination of medium sized tiles and some small tiles to accent.


How much mastic should be applied to the hardiback when applying? Is there a such thing as too much mastic?

I am guessing that after installing the hardibacker and tiles that the outlets will no longer be flush. How do you fix or adjust these?


Thanks again for all the help!



Posted 2011-03-03T01:53:18+0000  by PB3

Hey Pete,


Sounds like a cool plan to use the combination of stones. Are you planning on using a natural stone like Travertine or Slate? If any of the stone you're planning to use is pourous, make sure you seal it before you start applying all that mastic or grout, or else you'll end up covering all the natural holes, which is half the look :)


As far as how much to apply, this will really be factored in by the trowel you use. For walls, I find either a 3/6" - 1/4" V-notch trowel to work best. This will keep you from overapplying the mortar and caking too much on. Just make sure you put your trowel lines horizontal, not vertical, lest your tiles slip later on. 


Keeping the fixtures flush is a common issue, but it's an easily fixed one too, Wiring Spacers. In our electrical department you can find spacers that go between the box and the switch/outlet. The mounting screw goes right through them so everything remains in place, and your box should be flush with the tiles, so that your plates can go on over them. As with any electrical issue though, take care to follow safety procedures and make sure the circuit you're working with is off, and consult a local electrician if you feel in over your head. Worse comes to worse most of our stores have an in-house master electrician that can help walk you through the steps too :)


Hope that answers your questions, and best of luck with the project!

Posted 2011-03-03T17:48:18+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI

i installed my backsplash but find it very hard to remove the grout from my g lass tile. the grout dried how do i remove it from the glass tile

Posted 2012-08-15T03:26:55+0000  by shortstuf
May I ask y you want to remove the grout?

There are a few ways of tackling such a task (none of them fun).

1.) a good old fashioned stanley knife. Depending on the age of the grout this is either the easiest or hardest way of doing it. Also dangerous.

2.) the new oscillating tools have an attachment that has carbide grit on it specifically for this task, though depending on the grout joint sizes could be dangerous for your tile.

3.) a rotary tool will also have a few attachments to tackle this project.

4.) depending on how hard it is to tear the grout out it may be much less of a hassle to simply tear the tile down and start over again. Most of those attachments are meant to cut the grout out from around one broken tile or something like that. Not an entire backsplash. Give me some more info and I can help more :-)
Posted 2012-08-16T00:00:30+0000  by RyobiTileGuy
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