How to Make a Tile Backsplash with Diagonal Tiles

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  • 8-16 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 600-1,500
What You'll Need
Tile cutter (wet saw)
Tile nipper
Safety glasses
Brick or carborundum stone
Mortar or adhesive
Rubber Grout Float
1/4 inch spacers
Grout Sealant (if necessary)

Designing a tile backsplash with diagonal tiles can be an intimidating task. It is even more challenging with diagonal tiles, rather than straight tiles, but by following these simple steps, you can create a beautiful backsplash that is sure to be the envy of the neighborhood. First, you will need to choose the color and style of tiles that will coordinate best with your current kitchen design.

Try to match colors that will blend with the cabinets and appliances. Add contrast to a room that has dark cabinets and appliances by installing light-colored tile. Or install colored tiles that go well with the other colors in the room. There are many different colors and textures of tile available. It is recommended to buy a few samples so that you can see what they will look like next to the cabinets and in the light of your kitchen.

Prepare the Surface

Make sure that the countertop is level. If it isn’t, you will have to add shims on one side to ensure it is level. Clean off the surface of the backsplash so it is dry and clear of debris.

Tile Layout

Before adding mortar, dry-fit the tiles on the wall so you can see what the finished product will look like. Start by cutting several tiles in half diagonally. These triangle pieces will be used as the border. Smooth the cut edges of the tile by rounding the cut edge of the tile with a brick or carborundum stone. Dry-fit the triangle pieces along the bottom edge of the counter to see how they fit. Use the spacers to ensure equal spacing between all tiles.

Adding Mortar and Tiles

Follow the instructions on the mortar package to ensure proper mixing and handling. If this is your first time installing tiles, only mix enough mortar to be used for 15 to 20 minutes so the mix doesn’t become hardened too fast. Using the trowel, add mortar to cover enough space to add 8 to 10 tiles. Use the notched side of the trowel to comb straight lines in the mortar. Add a tile to the mortar with a slight twisting motion to help the bond. Insert a spacer and another tile next to the first. Continue adding mortar and tiles, using the triangle pieces as the borders.

Grout and Sealer

After the mortar has dried completely (see package for dry times), you can grout the space between tiles. Choose a grout color that will blend with the tile and kitchen décor. Mix the grout according to the package instructions. Use a float to add grout between the tiles. Tilt the float at a 45-degree angle to remove excess grout on the tiles.

After the grout has dried, take a moist sponge to clean off the grout on the tiles. Use a small circular motion to minimize disturbing the grout lines. When finished, take a soft cloth to remove the film that may be on the tiles. Check with the tile manufacturer to see if a grout sealant is recommended. If so, follow instructions on the sealant package for proper installation.