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Installing a kitchen backsplash- what goes on the wall before the tiles?

Installing a kitchen backsplash- what goes on the wall before the tiles?

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  #1  
Old 01-20-15, 10:09 AM
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Question Installing a kitchen backsplash- what goes on the wall before the tiles?

Hi guys,

I'll be re-doing my kitchen this Spring. New cabinets, new sink, the whole deal.

Right now, we have these mirrors:



But we're removing them, and adding a tiled backsplash. And behind those mirrors is regular 'ole cheap drywall.

This is my first attempt at installing a backsplash. So here are my questions:
  • What goes between the drywall and the backsplash tiles? Backer board? Some sort of waterproof membrane? Or do I tile straight onto the drywall?
  • There are a lot of types of backsplash tiling, but I'm not sure which one to choose. Which one is easiest to install, but looks the nicest? Glass and stone ? Glass blend? Ceramic?

Help me to not screw up this project!
 
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  #2  
Old 01-20-15, 10:21 AM
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It's ok to set tile over drywall in dry locations. I'd be more concerned with what the condition of the drywall will be once the glass is removed.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 01:38 PM
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Agree with Marksr. If the drywall is in good shape after removing the mirrors then all you need is to seal the wallboard if the surface has been compromised. However, if when removing the mirror tile, the wallboard breaks or crumbles then no harm in replacing with backer board.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 05:19 PM
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The mirrors are mostly likely secured in-place using that awful, black sticky tack stuff. That's what was used in other mirrors around the house. It ripped the hell out of my drywall paper when I renovated another part of the house.

I'll probably have to repair the drywall using joint compound, then repaint it. Can I just tile over repaired drywall like that?
 
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Old 01-20-15, 06:24 PM
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I'll probably have to repair the drywall using joint compound, then repaint it. Can I just tile over repaired drywall like that?
I've done that but you should use a sealer such as Kiltz.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 07:36 PM
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Yes, you can tile over the drywall. It doesn't need to look pretty. The mirror mastic can probably be scraped off. The only drywall you need to fix is where the paper came completely off, exposing loose and crumbling gypsum. You also want to get rid of any torn paper hanging off wall, this can be done with a scraper.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 07:53 PM
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Melon Cat:

While you CAN tile directly over damaged drywall, it's best to fix it before you tile over it.

As long as the gypsum core of the drywall is still intact, you can repair missing surface paper on drywall with fiberglass mesh drywall joint tape. Simply:

1. cut strips of fiberglass mesh drywall joint tape to go from undamaged paper, over the bare gypsum, and then up onto the undamaged paper again.

2. Dilute white wood glue with water to get it into a paintable consistancy, and paint over the fiberglass mesh strips with the diluted glue. As the glue dries, it will bond the fiberglass mesh to the gypsum core and damaged paper.

3. Put on a second coat of fiberglass mesh strips running perpendicular to the first coat and paint over them with diluted glue as well.

4. Once that glue is dry, you can skim coat over the repair with drywall joint compound, GENTLY sand smooth so as not to damage the fiberglass mesh tape, prime with a latex primer and then tile over that.

The strips of fiberglass mesh drywall tape serve the same purpose as the paper. That is, drywall is rigid because in order for drywall to bend, the paper on one side or the other of the gypsum core has to stretch. Try rolling up a piece of printer paper and pulling on it hard enough for it to tear apart and you'll see what I mean. By replacing the paper with fiberglass mesh, then for the drywall to bend outward, that fiberglass drywall joint tape has to stretch. And, it's just as strong in tension as the drywall face paper is. So, both the paper and the fiberglass mesh joint tape do the same job, which is to prevent the drywall from bending far enough for the gypsum core to break.

So, repair any partially missing or completely absent drywall face paper if you can. If it's so bad that the gypsum core is broken, then your best bet would be to replace the damaged drywall with a proper tile backer. For ease of installation, I'd recommend a product made by the Georgia Pacific Company called "Dens-Shield". You cut and install Dens-Shield very much like you cut and install drywall, but Dens-Shield is a suitable tile backer even in wet areas like showers. I'd recommend a cement board for showers, but Dens-Shield is perfectly suitable for a relatively dry area like a kitchen backsplash that doesn't have people slipping and falling against it like you might have in a shower.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 08:17 PM
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Melon Cat:

If those mirrors are stuck onto the drywall with an adhesive, I'd enlist the help of a friend to warm the mirrors with a hair dryer while you slide some wooden shims in between the mirrors and the drywall to separate the mirrors from the drywall. Just keep heating the mirrors while you keep pushing the wooden shims in further behind each mirror. With luck, you'll be able to get the glue soft enough to remove the mirrors without damaging the drywall.
 
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Old 01-21-15, 03:05 AM
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Whenever the drywall face paper is missing you need to coat those areas with either a solvent based primer [oil base kilz will work] or Zinnser's Gardz. That prevents the moisture in joint compound or latex primer/paint from causing the surrounding paper to lift.

I've repaired and painted a lot of damage drywall over the years along with repairing some for the tile man.
 
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Old 01-21-15, 07:26 AM
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I agree with Marksr about using the Zinsser Guardz on the damaged drywall first, before starting with the fiberglass mesh drywall joint tape.

Zinsser® Gardz® Problem Surface Sealer Product Page

(I was aware of Guardz but forgot what it was called because I've never used it. Zinsser has a veritable ZOO of different specialty primers and paints.)
 
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Old 01-21-15, 07:57 AM
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This may be obvious but I just wanted to point it out.
Some people will get granite and have a 4" backsplash installed. They will then tile above the 4" splash up to bottom of cabinets.
I think it looks much better to forgo the granite splash and have the tile all the way down to counter.
The stone must be measured more precisely to avoid any large gaps between counter top and back wall.
 
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Old 01-21-15, 08:06 AM
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Nestor....why in the heck would you use 2 layers of mesh tape and diluted wood glue? Prime as required, one layer of paper tape, joint compound, and done.

Maybe they do things very different up North?
 
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Old 01-21-15, 09:30 AM
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Gunguy45:

One layer of paper tape would only be strong in the direction you lay those strips of paper tape. If the drywall were to bend outward with only one layer of paper tape strips, you'd end up with cracks in your drywall joint compound BETWEEN those strips of paper. You'd need a second layer of paper strips running perpendicular to the first layer to ensure the paper tape resists bending of the drywall in both directions (pronounced "all directions"), just like the original (but now missing) surface paper of the drywall did. So, yes you can do the thing with paper tape, but newbie homeowners generally have a lot more trouble using paper tape than fiberglass mesh. But, paper or fiberglass, you still need two layers laid perpendicular to each other to restore the drywall to it's original strength.

Maybe they do things different up North? Heck, I'm not in the north. I live in the SOUTHERN part of Canada; only about a hundred miles away from the US border. True "North" is where the trees don't grow.

PS:
While I agree 100% with Marksr that an oil based primer like KILZ would work to seal the damaged drywall face paper, there's a case to be made here that it'd be better for the OP to purchase any general purpose alkyd primer to seal the damage drywall face paper instead of KILZ.

Here's the MDSD of KILZ Original alkyd stain blocking primer:

http://www.azpartsmaster.com/images/msds/KILZ3.pdf

Kilz alkyd primer is quite simple. It consists of:

1. ordinary alkyd resins (that crosslink when exposed to the oxygen in the air)
2. magnesium silicate (which is what talcum powder is. This is the "extender pigment" in KILZ. It's this coarsely ground talcum powder that makes KILZ dry to a matte finish instead of a glossy finish.)
3. titanium dioxide (which is what gives KILZ it's white colour and it's hiding ability).

But, it's the liquid thinners in KILZ that are important to look at here. The thinners consist of 60 percent naptha and 40 percent mineral spirits. "Mineral spirits" is normally what's referred to as "paint thinner" for "alkyd" paints.

Normally an alkyd paint or primer will just use mineral spirits alone as it's thinner. In the case of KILZ, 60 percent of the mineral spirits thinner has been replaced by naptha. What's naptha? It's camping fuel. In order for naptha to make a good camping fuel, it has to evaporate very rapidly so as to provide enough vapour to keep a strong flame going on a camp stove. Naptha evaporates very much faster than mineral spirits, and that's the reason why KILZ dries so fast. Rapid drying is an advantage in a stain blocking primer because it causes the primer to get thick quickly so that any stain that dissolves in the wet KILZ primer won't have time to diffuse through the wet primer film to discolour it's surface and thereby "bleed through" the primer.

But, here, there's no real advantage in using a quick drying primer to seal the damaged drywall paper. If the OP has to wait another few hours for the primer to dry completely it's not a big deal.
That is, they'd be just as well off using any general purpose alkyd primer.

The disadvantage in buying KILZ, though, is that any time that can of KILZ is open, the naptha is going to be evaporating out of the can very much faster than if it was an ordinary alkyd primer thinned with mineral spirits only. This is going to make the KILZ that remains in the can dry up faster and become difficult to apply with a brush without making a brush stroke mess.

Yes, you'd be able to thin that thickened KILZ out again by adding naptha, but few newbies would know to do that without reading this post. Or, they might opt to thin out that thickened KILZ by adding mineral spirits, but then all they're doing is making their KILZ more like an ordinary general purpose alkyd primer.

So, while KILZ would still work, I'd probably advise the OP to buy an ordinary alkyd primer for use over their damaged drywall paper instead of KILZ only because the ordinary alkyd primer would allow them to apply it by brush for a much longer period of time before it had to be thinned to restore it's flow and leveling characteristics. So, it's not a big deal, but it's enough for a newbie to get the impression that KILZ is hard to use.
 
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Old 01-21-15, 10:33 AM
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Zinnser's Gardz. That prevents the moisture in joint compound or latex primer/paint from causing the surrounding paper to lift.
Anytime you remove something adhered to drywall there's a good chance the paper will peel off.
I'm talking just the surface paper, revealing the brown paper under that.
It's simple to fix. Tear off any large pieces of torn paper. Apply Gardz with roller. Let dry and a light skim coat of mud. If this is a repair job that will be seen, more coats of mud and texturing is needed.
There's no need to try to duplicate the top layer of drywall paper by using tape or anything else. It's torn off and that's fine.
The only reason you apply the Gardz is to seal the exposed paper, Gardz also glues down loose torn edges of paper.
If you were to apply mud straight to bare paper, it will get air pockets, bubble up, and look real bad.
 
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Old 01-21-15, 10:41 AM
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I may not know what I'm doing but I've never gone further than prime with Gardz, apply mud, primer with latex primer and then paint and it's always done the job.
 
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Old 01-21-15, 11:00 AM
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If the drywall were to bend outward
Why would already installed (hopefully correctly) sheetrock bend outward? From typical house expansion and contraction? No tape mesh or otherwise is going to stop that.

Heck, I'm not in the north.
I'm in Arizona...to me anything higher than that is North.


I agree with Brian, if this is going to be tiled over, there's probably no need for anything other than primer and a skim coat.


Melon cat...you may want to explore the adhesive meshes they have now for doing a job like this. I've seen them used a few times and they make it quite simple.
 
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Old 01-21-15, 12:34 PM
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I think at some point, you have lost and confused anyone trying to follow this thread for information, and the OP's head is probably spinning. She hasn't even removed the mirrors on her backsplash, yet she now knows the ins and outs of naptha and the kilz brand name.

If the paper is completely torn, down to gypsum center, replace the drywall.

If the paper shows moisture damage and continually bubbles when you try to repair, replace the drywall

If the paper is chewed up slightly but otherwise sound, apply Gardz to seal and apply tile.

If in doubt, remove and install cement board.
 
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Old 01-21-15, 12:53 PM
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Tear off any large pieces of torn paper
It's best to take a utility knife and cut the paper then remove what you need to. Just tearing it off can remove more face paper than you need/want to
 
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Old 01-21-15, 03:08 PM
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GunGuy45 asks:

"Why would already installed (hopefully correctly) sheetrock bend outward?"

Someone on the other side of the wall driving a nail into a stud to hang a heavy mirror.

Two kids playing rough on the other side of the wall and pushing each other around, occasionally into the wall.

Someone pushing hard against the other side of the wall to stretch out their leg and calf muscles before going for a run.

Father dearest, coming home pie eyed at 5 in the morning after a night of heavy drinking.
 

Last edited by Nestor; 01-21-15 at 03:32 PM.
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Old 01-21-15, 03:35 PM
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Someone on the other side of the wall driving a nail into a stud to hang a heavy mirror or picture.
That's just silly. I've driven many nails into studs with never an issue unless it vibrated off a picture on the other side or similar. No way, no how is hammering a nail into a stud going to bow a properly built wall. Unless maybe it was built with 2x2 lumber. Most kitchens are all on outside walls anyway, at least in my lifetime.

I guess if someone backed their car into the wall, it could bow.

I just don't understand your reasoning? Maybe your experience is all apartments and such? If the OP was in such a situation, they can't be doing the work described anyway.

Jeez
 
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Old 01-21-15, 06:44 PM
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GunGuy45:

You said:
"That's just silly. I've driven many nails into studs with never an issue unless it vibrated off a picture on the other side or similar. No way, no how is hammering a nail into a stud going to bow a properly built wall."

If your wall didn't move a little as a result of hammering a nail into a stud, why would the picture have fallen?

And, if the wall bows out a bit with each hammer blow, why wouldn't the drywall on it stretch slightly as it changes shape?

In fact the loud low frequency THUD-THUD-THUD sound every one in the house hears when you're hammering a nail into a wall is noise produced by the wall moving in response to the hammer blows. No one would hear anything if you were driving the nail into something that moved very much less in response to the hammer blows, like a tree stump.
 
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Old 01-22-15, 03:33 AM
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The odds of a dry secured wall bowing because the face paper is missing is minimal. While drywall looses some strength when the paper is removed - it's not structural! I've primed/skimmed walls where a lot of the face paper got torn from removing wallpaper with no issues.
 
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Old 01-22-15, 02:04 PM
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The odds of a dry secured wall bowing because the face paper is missing is minimal. While drywall looses some strength when the paper is removed - it's not structural! I've primed/skimmed walls where a lot of the face paper got torn from removing wallpaper with no issues.
I concur with marksr. I've also patched large area of torn drywall paper and skimmed with patch and then tiled over it. Have never had problems.
 
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Old 01-24-15, 05:56 PM
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Wow! This is a lot of information (better than not getting any at all)!

Just to confirm- in what order do I use the Klitz sealer? Is it sealer first, then mud, then repaint?

Also, I'll probably be using Zinsser's Problem Sealer instead of Kiltz, since it's the only one that I can find somewhat locally. Unless there's a better alternative to this Zinsser product?
 
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Old 01-24-15, 08:40 PM
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Yeah MC,
When it comes time, it might be better to start a new thread. This one got a little out of control.

It'll be a job just to get mirrors off. Be careful and expect breakage. Try to control the shards best you can in case of breakage.
 
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Old 01-25-15, 03:18 AM
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The Gardz gets applied over the damaged the drywall prior to applying any joint compound. We always used an oil base primer until Zinnser came out with Gardz, either will work fine.
 
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