A quick and easy tile backsplash
Refresh your kitchen with this simple makeover
Quick fix is a relative term. Installing a tile backsplash is actually a weekend-long job. The first day is spent on layout and tiling. Twenty-four hours later, apply the grout, sponge off the excess; apply grout sealer and you’re done. But let’s take it back a step or two.
Unless you’ve tiled before, your first step is to head to the hardware store. You’ll need a notched trowel, grout float, adhesive, grout, spacers and tiles.
Start off by measuring the wall(s) to be tiled. Mark a centre line and then do a dry run with tiles and spacers. If there’s less than half a tile to complete the row, adjust your centre line.
You can also mark off a grid with a chalk line. A grid helps you visualize tile spacing and it also acts as a guide when applying adhesive. Use your trowel to spread the glue on the wall in cornrows. It will form a skin fairly quickly, so lay down one row’s worth of adhesive at a time. Starting with the bottom row, apply the tiles with a twisting motion to work them into the adhesive. Cover at least 80 per cent of the back of each tile with adhesive.
Plastic spacers come in a number of widths. You simply butt the tile you’re applying up to spacers at the side and top of tiles already in place.
When you get to the end of a row, you’ll probably need to trim tiles down to size. You can pick up a pair of tile nippers to cut edges off (ideal for shaping tiles around outlets and switches). A manual tile cutter works on a two-step process: score the tile, then use the handle to apply pressure on a rubber pad. This snaps the tile along your score line. With a wet saw, the bottom of the blade is immersed in a pan of water. The liquid keeps dust and friction to a minimum.
Let the glue set for 12 to 24 hours before you apply the grout. Work the grout between the tiles with a grout float. After it has dried, clean off the excess with a damp sponge. Finish by applying a grout sealer.