A Ceramic Tile Backsplash is an Easy Kitchen Upgrade A Ceramic Tile Backsplash is an Easy Kitchen Upgrade

Fed up with the appearance of your existing kitchen backsplash? Installing a new ceramic tile backsplash is an easy way to upgrade the appearance of your kitchen and since a back splash is  a small area, you can do it at minimum cost. Here's how to install your new ceramic tile backsplash.

Getting ready

  • Carefully measure the square footage your tiles need to cover and add about 5% for potential breakage and mistakes.
  • Put together a scale drawing of your tile layout to act as a guideline for your installation.
  • Now go get your tiles.

Prepare your supplies

  • Installing ceramic tiles requires some unique tools you may not have if this is your first tile job. Fortunately the hand tools are relatively inexpensive and the power or specialized tools can usually be rented at your local home store.
  • Definitely, you'll need a notched trowel to spread the tile adhesive and a rubber "float" to spread the grout. You may also need a tile nipper for making curved cuts, and a tile cutter or a small wet saw (which you can rent at a home store) for straight cuts, along with tile spacers, adhesive, grout, a sponge and some clean cloths.
  • Use the type of adhesive and grout recommended by the tile manufacturer and be sure to follow their directions on timing as well.

Installing Your Tiles

  • Before you start installing patch and smooth any uneven areas on your wall. It's also a good idea to dry fit your tiles before you actually install them to be sure your design works in reality and not just on paper.
  • Using the smooth side of the notched trowel, spread a 1/4" layer of adhesive over a 3 square foot area then go back over it with the notched side to create ridges in the adhesive.
  • Put tiles in place one at a time using a slight twisting motion to set them firmly in the adhesive. Insert tile spacers between the tiles as you install each one to ensure you end up with the same spacing between the tiles and consistent grout lines. Remove any adhesive that squeezes out before it dries.
  • Make straight cuts using the tile cutter or wet saw then smooth the cut edge with a wood rasp or carborundum stone. When cutting curves, use the tile nippers to cut off small pieces at a time to avoid cracking the tile.
  • Allow the adhesive to set up overnight then remove the tile spacers. Next, holding the rubber float at a 45° angle apply the grout to fill in the grout line. Now, turn the float to 90° and scrape away any excess surface grout.
  • Wait 15 or 20 minutes then use a moist sponge to remove any grout left on the surface and smooth the grout lines. It's important you keep the sponge clean and use lots of fresh water when cleaning the tile surface.
  • Leave the grout dry for a few hours (overnight) and finish your new ceramic tile backsplash installation by buffing the tiles with a clean, dry cloth.
Murray Anderson is an experienced freelance writer whose work has appeared on numerous web sites, in newspapers and books in both the US and Canada. He is often cited as an expert on home related topics.

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