Backsplash Tiling Advice Needed

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Old 03-06-14, 04:11 PM
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Backsplash Tiling Advice Needed

I'm finally getting around to tiling the backsplash in my kitchen and I have no experience working on a vertical surface with small pieces. Since this is a backsplash it's difficult to layout and cut all the pieces like a floor so I'm looking for advice how do you install?

This is the tile I'm using and it comes in the usual 12" square sheets with a mesh backing.


I've spoken with one installer and he recommended using thinset and stick up the big, easy sections and full tiles where possible like you would normally do. Then before the thinset hardens scrape it off in areas where cut pieces will go. Then cut the little pieces and use adhesive caulk on the little bits.

I was wondering if I should try cutting whole sheets, leaving the little pieces attached to the backing, where the sheets would meet the counter and upper cabinets which would save the labor of dealing with lots of little bits. It would speed things but I dont know how well they'd cut.

I have three tile saws. A cheapie with a non moving table with the blade below. A proper tile saw with a fixed table where the cutter is mounted on a moving gantry above. And a heavy duty brick saw with the saw fixed and moving platform below.
 
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Old 03-06-14, 05:11 PM
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It's usually 18" from counter top to the underside of the cabinet, unless you have a counter with integral backsplash. Assuming you do not have a backsplash, I would cut the mesh square on the bottom, install and cut the upper mesh to fit with the lower "v" pattern on the tile. Makes no sense to input a whole sheet and then try to piece together the missing elements. So, in recap, square off the bottom sheet and get rid of the waist. Then square off the upper piece and discard the waste. You can pretty much pre-cut these to start and worry only about the extreme ends. If you start in a inside corner, square those off first so they fit together nice and then work out in each direction from there. 1/8" v-notched trowel and if you can find it - Mapie Ultra Light thinset mortar. This thinset has an excellent grab and will not sag.
 
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Old 03-07-14, 06:23 AM
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Further read your questions.

Tricks used in cutting glass mosaic tile:

-Use your "proper" wet saw and if the blade is old, invest in a new one. Go with the brand name blades found at the box stores not the off labels. Too often the off labels chunk the cuts out as the diamond dust seems to be in larger pieces. You get a smoother cut with a good blade.
-No need to invest in a "glass" blade. A regular brand name diamond wet blade will work fine.
-Cut the glass with a piece of regular scrap tile underneath it. This stops the glass from wanting to bend down as the mesh gets wet and the sliver cuts don't want to stay put.
-Go slow and if the glass won't sit tight, you need to get your finger in there to hold it steady. Please use caution as you will be close to the blade. Rig up a jig if you are not confident.
-Glass (or tile) tends to blow out as you near the end of the cut. Most always, the blow out will go in the opposite direction to which side you are holding. So to prevent your glass from cracking toward the good side, hold the good side tight and let the scrap side float. I always keep the good side to the left so not to confuse.
-use a sharpie to mark your cuts. It will wipe right off after you finish.
-I do a complete layout on the floor using spacers and exact measurements so that everything is cut and staged prior to laying the glass. Less risk of the thinset flashing over before you get a chance to get the sheet or cuts up. Particularly important if the glass will be an inlay to other tile surrounding it.

One last general tip that pertains to all backsplash work, make sure the countertop and the cabinets are level with respect to each other. Don't assume you can just start at one side and put up the tile. I have had large "L" shaped kitchens where the two ends of the "L's" were out of level by 3". If this is the case, I would consider a tile border top and bottom (6" tile) where you can gradually feather the tile and blend the "out of level" over the full length of the wall. Mosaic with lots of little grout lines close to the cabinets or countertop will make the out of level stick out like a sore thumb as one line of glass shrinks and then disappears.
 
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Old 03-07-14, 05:45 PM
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Thanks for the tips, I never thought of putting a piece of scrap tile underneath to support when cutting. That will make things go a lot faster. I was dragging my feet on properly laying out each backsplash area on the floor to pre-cut the tiles but it sounds like that might be the best method.
 
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